To us, the perfect White Swiss Shepherd is a friendly dog with high intelligence, good athleticism, medium-high prey drive, and a solid off switch. Our goal is to produce the ideal "weekend warrior" dog - a dog which is easy to live with when life is busy and there is little time to devote to training and activity, but who truly loves hiking, training, and competing with their people. We also have a strong appreciation for versatility, and enjoy dogs which bond deeply with their owners and are willing and enthusiastic to join us in anything we do, whether it be sports, hiking, biking, or playing in the backyard.
We tend to believe in the saying, "put your money where your mouth is," and apply it often to our breeding program. We prove our dogs have the temperament we say they do via character tests, showing, and trialing in a variety of sports. To see our dedication to such things, please visit our Furrari's page. Many say their dogs are capable of a lot of things...we've proven it.
Despite being an overall pretty healthy breed, White Swiss Shepherds are still prone to a few diseases, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, MDR1, DM, CEA, pituitary dwarfism, allergies, and sensitivities. All of Fireside Fernweh's breeding dogs have had minimum hip and elbow x-rays evaluated by OFA or FCI, a complete DNA panel by Embark or Optimal Selection, and a cardiac evaluation record with OFA. We do not breed from dogs with hip and/or elbow dysplasia and all results for our dogs are available publicly on our site and at OFA's website (ofa.org).
We are cognizant of the rising Coefficient of Inbreeding (COI) and are dedicated to doing everything possible within the rules of FCI to maintain or increase genetic diversity. A dog's COI is the singlemost important factor in predicting the health of the dog, so we do not take this issue lightly. Currently, the breed average COI for White Swiss Shepherds is approximately 30% according to Embark.
While we do appreciate good conformation, our view is that a good tempered and healthy dog is beautiful. Thus, conformation is always a consideration, and you will see the majority of our dogs have conformation titles and have placed and/or won in the herding group. However, it is not our first priority by any means. As much as we'd like to say that we prioritize everything, it's just not possible. So, for us, temperament and health are first.
That being said, there are certain structural aspects we cannot ignore as lack of soundness increases the risk of injury for a sport dog. You just won't find us nit picking superficial flaws such as pigmentation - things of this nature just aren't deal breakers for us. Thus our "musts" in conformation are balanced angles and soundness in gait from the side, front, and rear. So long as that box is checked, the rest is just the icing on the cake. We say this not to indicate we don't care about conformation because we do! It just is not our number one factor - we are happy to refer you to other breeders who more strongly emphasize conformation is that is your cup of tea.