FAQs

Helpful Fireside Fernweh and White Swiss Shepherd Information

 White Swiss Shepherd, White Shepherd, or white German Shepherd? 

The registration of white colored descendants of the German Shepherd Dog is more than complicated in the USA. We'll start with the history of the breed in order to help this all make sense.


When the white color fell into disfavor in German Shepherds, many breeders across the world began breeding away from the white color, and some even culled white puppies. Before the genetics were understood, it was believed that the white color was linked to health issues. However, in America, we continued to breed white colored German Shepherds even after most of the world had stopped. While AKC and the SV made white a disqualification in German Shepherds, UKC still permits white colored German Shepherds to this day. Eventually, in April 1999, UKC became the first all-breed registry to recognize a white descendant of the German Shepherd, which it then named the "White Shepherd." Keep in mind, when referring to a White Shepherd, I am referring to this UKC breed, and NOT the German Shepherd Dog - color white.


Fast forward a few years, and breeders in Europe began importing this American stock. They developed another breed standard, similar to the one written by UKC. Originally, the breed was to be called the "American/Canadian White Shepherd," but the name was rejected and the Swiss decided to dub it the "Berger Blanc Suisse" or "White Swiss Shepherd." The FCI did not grant full recognition to the White Swiss Shepherd until 2011.


Scouring the many pedigrees available on Pedigree Database, you will find that the vast majority of today's FCI registered White Swiss Shepherds can be traced directly some of the first UKC registered White Shepherds. It is also true that several of today's UKC White Shepherds can be traced directly back to FCI registered White Swiss Shepherds. To put it plainly, the UKC White Shepherd and FCI White Swiss Shepherd are the same breed. Now, I must add a disclaimer to this statement because it is possible to get AKC German Shepherd Dogs - colored white into the UKC White Shepherd studbooks through a loophole presented by AWSA. For this reason, it is important to make sure pedigrees are at least 3 generations clear of any non-white German Shepherd Dogs.


UKC registration as a White Shepherd does not and will never affect the standings of an FCI White Swiss Shepherd because FCI does not acknowledge or partner with UKC in any way. As far as FCI is concerned, UKC may as well not even exist. However, registering an FCI White Swiss Shepherd with AKC as a German Shepherd - colored white is not a type of dual registration. it is instead, a change of breed because FCI works with AKC. FCI reserves the right to have papers pulled from FCI White Swiss Shepherds registered as AKC German Shepherds via foreign registration (this does not apply to PAL or the Canine Partners Program because then the dog has not been entered into the German Shepherd Dog studbooks), because it is against the rules of the Circular 77/2007.


Writing off the UKC White Shepherd as separate from the FCI White Swiss Shepherd is harmful to the future health of the breed. Our breed has the luxury of having a set of dogs which didn't make it into the studbooks when they should have, but can now be used for genetic diversity. Unfortunately, while UKC accepts FCI, FCI does not accept UKC. For this reason, it is up to use breeders and owners to do everything we can to get UKC dogs into FCI for the health of the breed.

 Are White Swiss Shepherds recognized in America? 

White Swiss Shepherds are not a recognized breeder under the American Kennel Club (AKC) which is the largest canine registry in America. However, they are recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) as "White Shepherds." The reason for the name discrepancy is because UKC recognized "White Shepherds" in 1999 - four years before "White Swiss Shepherds" earned FCI provisional recognition. UKC is the only American-based registry which recognizes a white colored descendent of the German Shepherd, but White Swiss Shepherds in the USA can maintain FCI registration by registering with Federacion Canofila de Puerto Rico (FCPR). 

However, there are many competitive registries which do not track pedigrees, but allow WSS to compete as White Shepherds or White Swiss Shepherds. They include, United States Agility Association (USDAA), United Kingdom Agility International (UKI), DockDogs, Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA), International All Breed Canine Association (IABCA), American Rare Breed Association (ARBA), and more.

 Do Fireside Fernweh puppies come with breeding rights? 

Selling breeding rights has become controversial, so before explaining our process, I wish to explain our reasoning behind allowing future homes to breed their Fireside Fernweh puppies, should the puppy grow up to meet our breeding requirements. As a breeder, it is important to me that my lines positively impact the White Swiss Shepherd breed. If I do not allow anyone else to breed my lines, my lines die out with the last puppy sold from Fireside Fernweh, and I firmly believe this does nothing to better the breed, and that it would be a wasteful breeding venture. For this reason, it is imperative to me that dogs I have bred which meet my total dog standards shall carry on the line for the betterment of the breed.

Fireside Fernweh puppies may be bred if, and only if, they meet the requirements laid out in the puppy contract, including passing OFA Hip, Elbow, and Cardiac evaluations (we Embark DNA test all of our puppies, so MDR1 and DM testing is done before they leave), titling in conformation, and titling in at least one performance sport. We believe titling is an important aspect of breeding and shows dedication to the dog and the breed, thus we require it on puppies carrying the Fireside Fernweh name.  We would additionally hope those who purchase Fireside Fernweh puppies and intend to breed to consider our judgement on whether the dog is truly a breeding dog after completion of the breeding requirements, for breeding is far more complicated than black and white. Skylar Copeland remains the Sole Signatory on UKC paperwork (with the Buyer listed as the "Successor") and retains the FCI registration certificate until the dog has met the breeding requirements or has been sterilized. At that point, all paperwork will be transferred to the Buyer (unless the dog has been placed on co-ownership).

We do not believe in determining breeding quality prior to the puppies leaving for their new homes because so much can change in both structure and temperament by the time they are of breeding age. Therefore, all puppies are sold on the same contract.

 Does Fireside Fernweh take puppies back if the owner can no longer care for them? 

All puppies sold are required to give Fireside Fernweh the first right of refusal if they can no longer care for their puppy. This means any puppy who can no longer be cared for by their owner may be returned to us at any point in their lifetime, no questions asked.

 What is the price of a Fireside Fernweh puppy? 

As far as we're aware, our pricing is handled differently from any other White Swiss Shepherd breeder. We have two prices: $3500 and $5000, based on the owner's previous experience with show/sport and/or breeding.

Puppy buyers who have not titled and/or health tested dogs before are given the $5000 price, HOWEVER, they can get up to $1500 back by titling and health testing their dog. Think of it as the "proven" homes getting a credit because they have historically done things that benefit the dogs, the breed, and our kennel. This is NOT to say that show/sport homes are better than pet homes, because that is not what we're looking at here and is most definitely not always true. However, show/sport homes prove to us that we are producing what we are aiming to produce. See the title and health testing rewards program HERE.

Puppy buyers who are considered "proven" homes are given the $3500 price. These are homes that have previously titled dogs and/or health tested dogs. Essentially, these homes are getting a $1500 credit for health testing and titling because we have confidence it will be done based on their previous dogs.