The mysterious Panda German Shepherd Dog is a rare anomaly with a beautiful piebald colored coat. It is 35% white due to genetic mutation of the “KIT” gene. The white spotting caused by this mutation led to the name.
The Panda German Shepherd is still a full German Shepherd breed and DNA is exactly the same. Unfortunately, the Panda German Shepherd Dog gets a bad rap from breeders who see this miscoloring as a sign of cross breeding.
Panda German Shepherd Quick Stats:
- Breed Popularity: Rare
- Life Expectancy: 11-13 Years
- Group: Herding Group
- Height: Male – up to 26″ Female – up to 24″
- Weight: Male and Female 75-85 lbs
- Temperament: Courageous, Faithful, Loyal
Origin of the Panda German Shepherd Dog
This rare mutation first occurred back in 2000 in a female German Shepherd “Frank von Phenom.” The puppy was born of a purebred black and tan German Shepherd male and a purebred black German Shepherd female and was a black sheep. The rest of the litter had the normal black and tan coat colors. The newborn black, tan and white puppy entered into the world with two blue eyes.
The owner and breeder of the dog took the tricolor German Shepherd to the Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital to undergo DNA testing to hopefully identify the reason for the rare anomaly. They confirmed that the dog and the parents were in fact purebred German Shepherds and had no trace of White German Shepherds in their bloodline.
The same parents produced three more litters all of which produced normal black and tan German Shepherd puppies. The one of a kind dog was called Frankie and several more tests were administered on the color of the unique German Shepherd’s coat color.
Once Frankie was old enough to breed, she was paired with a classic color black and tan German Shepherd. The result was three puppies with the piebald coloring only without the blue eyes. The fourth puppy had normal characteristics. These three puppies were called Panda Shepherds and this amazing and unique breed was born!
The Panda German Shepherd Dog has a muscular body that is sturdy and extended with a bone structure that is both light and solid in nature. The head is proportionate to the body with a forehead that is slightly rounded. The nose is black the majority of the time but blue or liver color can present itself although they are treated as a fault.
They have a powerful bite that is accentuated by their scissor like teeth. Their eyes are the shape of almonds, dark in color and never bulging. The ears point forward, are very pointed and upright, and outspread at the base. Puppies ears may come down slightly compared to adults.
The fluffy tail extends nearly to its hocks and will hang down when the dog is resting. They have thick, muscular front legs and shoulders. They have round feet with sturdy soles.
Their coat will be the same as traditional German Shepherd Dogs with the addition of the white markings.
Tricolors will include:
- Black, Tan and white
- Blue, Tan and White
- Liver, Tan and White
- Blue Sable and White
- Liver, Sable and White
- Sable and White
- Solid Blue and White
- Solid Liver and White
- Lastly Solid Black and White
Panda German Shepherd Dog Temperament:
The temperament of a Panda German Shepherd Dog is obviously in line with a traditional German Shepherd. They are fiercely loyal dogs who will protect and serve their owner, family or flock. They are extremely faithful and loving animals who will lay it all on the line for their loved ones.
Like the German Shepherd, they are suspicious of strangers and may get a little aggressive with someone they aren’t familiar with. This can be stymied with the proper socialization and training. Socialization should begin at a young age and will help thwart and unwanted aggression in the future.
The Panda German Shepherd Dog loves people and will require lots of attention, loving and time spent with the dog. They need a stern owner who will establish a firm rapport with the dog. Owners that tend to be too soft can cause the dog to become fearful, edgy and prone to bite out of fear. This can sometimes also lead to a guarding issue.
When raised and trained properly and consistently, the Panda German Shepherd Dog is a wonderful family pet that is great around children, adults and other pets. They are extremely smart and highly trainable. They love a hard task and will rise to the occasion to perform even some difficult jobs such as search and rescue.
These dogs require an outlet that allows them to expend their energy and they have lots of it. That being said, they are well behaved dogs who make a great family pet.
Caring For A Panda German Shepherd Dog:
Caring for a Panda German Shepherd Dog is the same as your traditional German Shepherd.
The same standards are applied when it comes to exercise, grooming, health, nutrition and training.
They love exercise and will jump at the chance to get into some physical activity. Keep them busy and make sure to challenge their mental and physical capabilities.
Walk them daily and make sure they get a minimum of two hours exercise daily.
If you need some ideas for keeping your dog busy, check out our article “Games To Play With German Shepherd When Bored.“
Like the German Shepherd, make sure to brush them daily. They are always shedding some hair but will shed heavily during the Spring and Fall for a period of two to four weeks. Only give them bathes when necessary and don’t over bathe them. It can lead to an irritation of their skin and deplete them of oil.
Check their ears on a regular basis preferably once a week. Clean them if necessary. Trim their claws on a regular basis.
Health problems will be the same as other large dog breeds which include elbow and hip dysplasia. Prevent these with regular trips to the vet and make sure that both of their parents have had their hips certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.
Possible Health Problems:
- Blood Disorders
- Chronic Eczema
- Digestive Problems
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Flea Allergies
- Hip Dysplasia
- Idiopathic Epilepsy
- Nose Infections
Feed the Panda German Shepherd Dog a healthy diet on a consistent schedule. Good quality healthy foods can extend the life of your dog by up to five years.
Keep it simple and stick to ground meats and vegetables preferably home cooked. For a complete guide on this subject check out “What Can German Shepherds Eat.” It will tell you exactly which foods your dog can and can’t eat with a list of the most toxic foods for your German Shepherd.
Training a Panda German Shepherd Dog is a must with their highly attentive and dynamic personality. The good news is they are easy to train and learn commands quickly and efficiently.
They are one of the smartest dogs out there and are known for their ease of training. Here are some tips on “Training German Shepherd Puppy.”
Socialization is a must when it comes to any type of German Shepherd Dog. Introduce your puppy to animals, family and friends starting at an early age. The more they are around other humans, the more comfortable they will be as they grow older.
There is some controversy surrounding the breed due to the white markings from the mutated gene. A lot of German Shepherd aficionados make the assumption that the white coloring of their fur comes from crossbreeding to other dogs such as collies.
Many breeders hold the belief that the color is due to a less superior stock and also that several breeders of the piebald color are in dispute with the GSDCA Code of Ethics.
The American Kennel Club tested the DNA of Franka von Phenom and concluded that her lineage was in fact, pure German Shepherd.
UCDavis also published a study in 2016 which found that the white panda marking is due to the dominant mutation of the “KIT” gene also known as the CD117 gene.
The dominant gene, in its homozygous state, is considered to be embryonic lethal. No living dog has been observed with the mutation.
Recessive S Locus:
Dogs with the recessive S locus are sometimes confused with the Panda German Shepherd Dog but they are not. Dogs with this gene have white spotting different from that of a true Panda Shepherd.
How to identify a true Panda German Shepherd Dog:
A true Panda German Shepherd Dog can have white on their face or head along with their chest, feet, legs or on the tip of their tail similar to a Collie although the gene that makes a Collie’s tail white is different.
They can have one or two blue eyes, partial China eyes, or traditional brown eyes normally found on German Shepherds.
It can be very difficult to distinguish between the “Panda” gene and the recessive S locus so to be completely sure a DNA test will be required. You can get one here for $45.00.
Does the “Panda” gene have any effect on their personality?
The gene mutation has no effect on the internal workings of a Panda German Shepherd Dog. It is simply a white pattern that replaces the normal color in that area on their fur.
Similarly, no health issues have been found to be linked to the gene mutation to date which is over twenty years now.
Are Panda German Shepherds good family dogs?
They make great family dogs with their loving and protective nature. Their highly trainable personalities make them the perfect family guard dog.
They will need an active family with a large yard and a tall fence. They love to run and will therefore need adequate space to do so.
For more information on this question check out “Are German Shepherds Good With Kids.”
How much do Panda German Shepherd Dogs cost?
Due to their rare nature and a small list of breeders, they can cost a little more than your average German Shepherd. Prices vary but can run anywhere from one thousand to three thousand dollars.
Make sure that the breeder can prove that they have the CD117 gene and are a true Panda German Shepherd Dog. They should have the appropriate paperwork for the new puppy and the parents.
If you are interested in purchasing a true Panda German Shepherd Dog, you can visit K9 Pines website for more information.
The Panda German Shepherd Dog is not officially recognized by the AKC or American Kennel Club. This is most likely due to the fact that it is so hard to tell between a purebred and a non purebred.
Their website states:
“The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious fault. A white dog must be disqualified.”American Kennel Club German Shepherd Standards
Panda German Shepherd Dog In Closing:
The Panda German Shepherd Dog is a magnificent and beautiful looking animal that is extremely rare and hard to find. They are charismatic, clever, confident, curious, courageous, loyal, loving, obedient, faithful and strong dogs who serve to protect their owners.
They make great pets for families of all sizes and will put their life on the line for you. We hope that this article has given you enough information to make a sound decision if you plan on owning one of these fantastic dogs.
Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!
Have you ever spotted one of these dogs? Tell us about it! Also feel free to send us any pictures or videos of Panda German Shepherd Dogs.
Make sure to check out some of our other articles on German Shepherds and other Shepherd Breeds! Thank you for visiting our blog! Stay tuned for more fresh content and exciting dog articles!
Photos courtesy of Cecile Zurawa and her dog Ollie.