White German Shepherds Adopted Throughout the Americas
In 1913 the German Shepherd Dog Club of America was established with the registry of Queen of Switzerland (AKC # 115006) and the adoption of Stephanitz’s breed standard.
One of the founders of the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and one of the earliest German Shepherd Dog breeders in America was Ann Tracy of New York. Ann Tracy's breeding program, using Stephanitz's colored German Shepherds imported from Germany, produced white-coated Shepherds almost immediately. A litter that whelped on March 27, 1917 in Tracy's kennel contained four white puppies: Stonihurst Edmund, Stonihurst Eric, Stonihurst Eadred and Stonihurst Elf. These four white German Shepherds are believed to be the first white Shepherds bred and born in the United States and are the first to be registered with the American Kennel Cub. In the early 1920’s, H. N. Hanchett of Minnesota and Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge of New York imported additional German-bred German Shepherd Dogs, including some white-coated dogs, to the United States. Thus, the white-coated German Shepherd Dog had an early and prominent entry in North America. The beauty of these White German Shepherds became increasingly admired throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico in the years after World War I and its numbers increased as popularity of the German Shepherd Dog breed increased. In 1920 America, just as the Strongheart (registered as Etzel v. Oeringen) and Rin-Tin-Tin silent movies were ready to exploded in popularity, the AKC registered just 2,135 shepherd dogs. From 1921 onward movies and vaudeville stage acts featuring nearly two-dozen German Shepherd stars rapidly grew in popularity. A few white German Shepherds appeared in movies during this period, but they were particular popular for vaudeville acts because their size and white coat made them highly visible on stage. Popularity of the German Shepherd dog on stage and screen quickly translated into explosive demand for German Shepherd puppies across North America. The German Shepherd became the most popular breed in North America as every little boy and girl wanted his or her own Strongheart and Rin-Tin-Tin dog. By 1926 the annual number of German Shepherds registered with the AKC had increased to 21,596 and that reflects only part of the population increase for the year as not every breeder and new shepherd owner registered their dog with the AKC. The German Shepherd dog remained the most popular breed in North America for several years thereafter. The recessive gene for white coats was common in the American breeding population during this period of breeding frenzy. As with the first two decades of Shepherd breeding in Germany, more than half the litters of this population explosion presented white puppies. The famous dog bloodlines of Strongheart (Oeringen) and Rin-Tin-Tin are also known to have produced black-pigmented white-coated puppies. The Oeringen bloodline was considered one of the better lines in Germany at that time and it supplied the foundation stock for many of the more prestigious kennels in North America. Paul Strang writes in his 1983 book, "The White German Shepherd Book" that, "During the late forties and early fifties Lloyd C. Brackett's Long Worth Kennels dominated the scene, producing more outstanding shepherds than any kennel in North America. This bloodline combined the best shepherds of the nation... From this line came solid black, Kirk of San Miguel, and many other notable dark color-coated dogs such as Morex or Ilex of Long-Worth, who each carried the white-coat gene. Here again we find the appearance of White Shepherd puppies in these popular lines was common. Many of North America's German Shepherd lines have Long-Worth bloodlines in their pedigrees. In fact, the Long-Worth bloodline is more common in American White Shepherd pedigrees than any other." It is, therefore, clear that well managed breeding programs produced high quality dark color-coated dogs side by side with dark pointed (pigmented) white-coated dogs in the same litters for generations.
Published in history