When Range Rover wanted to promote the Range Rover Velar in a TV commercial, they wanted to use dogs that would command respect, a subliminal way of showing that the Velar SUV was the “alpha male” of dogs that also commanded respect (this is TV land).
Watch the ad below, and see if you can identify the dogs before reading on.
If you think these are white German Shepherd Dogs, you wouldn’t be too far off. They are Berger Blanc Suisse, or Swiss White Shepherds, descendants of the German Shepherd Dog created by German cavalry officer, Max von Stephanitz. In the earliest days of the breed’s development, color wasn’t considered an important factor to Stephanitz who was aware that his original dog, Horand, carried genes for a white coat color from one of his grandfathers. Stephanitz didn’t care as long as the dog could work.
During the late 30s, however, the white color fell out of favor. In fact, in 1959, the German Shepherd’s parent club in Germany erroneously declared every all-white dog an albino, and banned the registration and breeding of any dog that had more than 50% white markings. This was in the days before science could disprove the theory, and the number of white German Shepherd Dogs plunged.
There were always those, however, who valued the beauty of the white dogs and continued to breed them. Once such person was Agatha Burch of Switzerland whose male, “Lobo,” and female, “White Lilac,” were her first two exemplars. Others also continued breeding the white shepherds, and since these dogs were excluded from most German Shepherd Dog breeding programs, the white dogs quickly developed into their own distinct type, and eventually became recognized as a separate breed. The Swiss White Shepherd was recognized by the FCI in 1991, and the United Kennel Club in 1999.