White German Shepherds were registered and shown at A.K.C dog shows side-by-side with their colored brothers and sisters across North America from 1917 through W.W.II and up to 1967.
By the late fifties and early sixties members of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America endorsed the German Club’s mandate for wolf-like coloration and mounted a campaign to make white coats a disqualifying fault in the club's breed standard. By the mid-1960’s the color white was entered as a disqualification in the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (G.S.D.C.A) breed conformation standard. The disqualification was then adopted by the American Kennel Club (A.K.C.) and on April 9, 1968, and white coat German Shepherd Dogs were barred from the A.K.C. conformation show ring.
As the “standard-color” German Shepherd Dog Club of America moved to expel white coat members of the breed in the 1960’s, White German Shepherd Dog supporters formed their own clubs to protect the white-coated dog’s interests. In 1964, White German Shepherd Dog supporters in Sacramento, California formed the first White German Shepherd Dog Club to safeguard the white dogs. With the 1968 expulsion of white-coated German Shepherd Dogs from the A.K.C. conformation dog show ring, White German Shepherd Dog supporters across the United States joined with the Sacramento club in 1969 to form the White German Shepherd Dog Club of America.
The White German Shepherd Dog Club of America adopted Stephanitz’s German Shepherd Dog breed standard, scheduled conformation dog shows for white coat dogs and organized efforts to protect the interests of white coat German Shepherd Dogs. In 1977, the White German Shepherd Dog Club of America changed its name to The White German Shepherd Dog Club International, Inc. Through the club’s efforts, the A.K.C. chose to continue to register white coat German Shepherds in their German Shepherd Dog breed registry. The A.K.C. also allowed white coat German Shepherd Dogs to show in A.K.C.’s obedience show rings and compete in A.K.C. tracking, herding, and temperament trial events.
Since 1977 other white Shepherd clubs independently formed in the United States and other countries around the world. In the United States a second organization named The White German Shepherd Dog Club of America (W.G.S.D.C.A.) was founded in January 1997. Like the W.G.S.D.C.II the W.G.S.D.C.A. sponsors independent conformation dog shows using qualified judges to award championship points and titles to white dogs and colored dogs that carry the white-gene. Both clubs also promote activities including agility, obedience, tracking and various working trials.
Both the W.G.S.D.C.II and W.G.S.D.C.A. organizations today continue to lobby the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and American Kennel Club for the reunification of white-coated and color-coated members of the breed under one breed standard. The Constitution of both white dog clubs state that the first objective of the Club shall be: to preserve the name and heritage of the white-coated German Shepherd Dog as an integral and inseparable part of the German Shepherd Dog breed. (see charters at W.G.S.D.C.II and W.G.S.D.C.A. web sites)
The recessive gene for white hair, continues to circulate in the American population of the German Shepherd Dog breed gene pool. While many breeders strongly affiliated with the colored G.S.D. breed clubs do take care to never breed dog pairs that both carry the recessive white gene, many "back yard" breeders do continue to produce litters that include white puppies. Colored coat puppies from mixed white and colored litters, who in some numbers carry the recessive white coat gene, are sold and often used to produce new litters. Further, color-coated sires and bitches that produce white puppies, thus proving they carry the white recessive gene, are used again and again to produce new puppy litters who then carry the white recessive gene forward. White coated puppies, therefore, continue to be reproduced in some numbers, making white the second most common coat color registered in the A.K.C German Shepherd breed registry. This is why the American Kennel Club continues to register white coat dogs when new white coat German Shepherd owners choose to register their dogs.
In addition to A.K.C, the other prominent North American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club (U.K.C.) also registers white coat German Shepherd dogs in its German Shepherd Dog breed registry. The U.K.C. is an all-breed performance-dog registry, registering dogs from all the United States and 25 other international countries. The German Shepherd Dog has always been recognized by the U.K.C. as a breed that includes white coats as well as various colored coats.
The U.K.C .breed standard for the German Shepherd Dog states in part, “the German Shepherd Dog comes in many colors and white. Regardless of coat color, the dog’s nose, lips, and eye rims must have dark pigment.” White-coat German Shepherd Dogs are qualified to compete equally in all 12,000 annually licensed U.K.C. events including conformation shows, tests of herding and working ability, and other performance events in which those dogs can prove their instincts and heritage.
White German Shepherds can show in conformation events in a variety of other clubs too, including the American Rare Breed Association (A.R.B.A.), the International All-Breed Canine Association (IABCA), the National Canine Association (N.C.A.), and the Canine Kennel Club (C.K.C.). The WGSDCA awards championship points based on wins in many, but not all, of these clubs.