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  • 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 White Swiss Shepherds shed?
    Yes, White Swiss Shepherds are heavy seasonal shedders. In our experience, long coats and short coats shed about the same, but short coats do not mat. It is best to invest in good grooming tools, specifically: - high velocity blow dryer - rake or double rake brush - slicker brush
  • Are White Swiss Shepherds good guard dogs?
    Yes and no. Firstly, it depends on the lines with some lines being more social and outgoing while others can be more aloof and suspicious. In general, most make excellent watch dogs, meaning they will alert bark when someone arrives on your property.
  • Do White Swiss Shepherds like water?
    Love of water comes down to each individual dog's personality, but yes, most do like water. This is especially evident by the large number of WSSD who compete in dock diving!
  • When do White Swiss Shepherds quit growing?
    Usually, they are done growing height-wise at about a year, but they continue filling out for 2-3 years. Females tend to finish maturing faster than males, which can take up to 5 years depending on the maturation rate of their lineage.
  • What were White Swiss Shepherds bred for?
    The White Swiss Shepherd's history begins with the conception of the German Shepherd as a sheepdog. Since the beginning of the German Shepherd, the white color has always existed, thanks to the white colored grandsire of Horand von Grafarth, the first ever registered German Shepherd. In the 1930s, the white color fell into disfavor and was disqualified by the SV. By 1968, the American Kennel Club (AKC) joined the rest of the world by disqualifying solid white from the German Shepherd breed standard. Prior to this, the color was accepted and interbred with any other color German Shepherd. After the color was no longer accepted, most breeders worldwide culled the color from their programs. However, in the US and Canada, breeders worked to preserve the white lines, which were eventually exported to Switzerland, where they gained FCI recognition as the White Swiss Shepherd. These breeders sought to breed towards a softer, sweeter temperament ideal for therapy and service work, but today there is still much variation and the White Swiss Shepherd remains as versatile as the German Shepherd.
  • How much do White Swiss Shepherds cost?
    The price range in the US for a White Swiss Shepherd is approximately $3000-5500, depending on the breeder. Comparatively, the cost to import a White Swiss Shepherd puppy is usually $4500-6000 for the cost of the puppy and shipping. Given that all of our dogs are show champions or grand champions, titled in sport, extensively health tested, and come from excellent lineage from Belgium, Estonia, Croatia, Czech, the Netherlands, and the USA, Fireside Fernweh pricing starts at $4000, with a deposit of $1000 required to hold a puppy.
  • Are White Swiss Shepherds good with cats?
    Generally yes, given an appropriate introduction and that the breeder choose the right puppy for you. Ideally, a puppy with low-medium prey drive is preferable, and one that is not overly pushy that will pester the cat. It is also pertinent that the cat has places to go to get away from the puppy.
  • 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) and extensive titling in show and/or sport (many options are laid out in the contract to allow you to pursue what you want). 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. Fireside Fernweh also reserves the right to deny breeding rights to any dog which displays any severe fault of temperament or structure. 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?
    In 2024, the Fireside Fernweh pricing structure will be changing to a range of $4000-6500, depending on a multitude of factors, including: if none, one, or both parent(s) are proven producers, the accomplishments of the parents, whether frozen semen was used, and the quality of the individual puppy (most puppies in a litter will be the same price, or extremely close in price). The majority of our litters will be around $4500-5000, but litters of a higher quality will be more. Pricing includes a $1000 deposit to hold a puppy. ​ NOTE: Pricing applies only to 2024 litters and is subject to change in future years.
  • Does Fireside Fernweh sell service dog prospects?
    Unfortunately, we do not place our puppies for service work for a number of reasons. Firstly, we believe that given the importance of service work, we do not have the expertise in this area to appropriately match dogs for this work. Secondly, our breeding program focuses on breeding for a temperament suited to dog sports which is not exactly in line with a service dog temperament. Additionally, White Swiss Shepherds are often challenging dogs, especially during adolescence, requiring a lot of careful socialization. In our experience, the breed in general is often too sensitive for the level of "bombproof" service work requires, especially any form of psych work. White Swiss Shepherds are generally followers in that they often look to their handler for guidance, and issues stemming from anxiety or a racing heartbeat are likely to make the dog also feel that is should be anxious which can lead to issues with accuracy in alerts. We want to feel confident in our puppy placements, knowing that our dogs will live up to all of the owners' expectations, and there are simply too many variables with service work for us to feel confident in placing dogs in that role. If you are dead set on a White Swiss Shepherd for service work, we wish you luck and would recommend reaching out to other breeders who focus on this area specifically for the best odds at success.
  • Can I pick my puppy out?
    We choose your puppy for you and we do not do 1st pick, 2nd pick, etc. After spending the first 8 weeks with your puppy learning their personality as well as our knowledge of their close relatives, we are confident we can match the right puppy for you. Of course, gender and coat length preferences will be taken into consideration, but we look to pair dogs and owners based on the puppy's temperament first and foremost.
  • Does Fireside Fernweh ship puppies/dogs?
    Yes we do ship if needed. We prefer new owners make the trip out to us to meet us and the puppy's dam (and sire if on site), but of course, this isn't always a possibility. Transport is at the sole expense of the buyer.
  • Does Fireside Fernweh have White Swiss Shepherds for sale?
    Our current litters are posted under Puppies > Current Litters. If there is nothing there, check out our Planned Litters page. We will usually make a blog post when we have older puppies available, so also check there for availability.
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