The Panda German Shepherd: A Complete Breed Guide


Panda German Shepherd

For German Shepherd lovers, the rare Panda German ShepherdOpens in a new tab. is the perfect pet. These dogs have all of the desirable qualities of a full-bred Shepherd, the only difference being their beautiful coats, which are white with black or tan spots, like a Panda. 

Panda German Shepherds are a rare breed, but differ only in their coat color to traditional black and tan German Shepherds. Because of their intelligence and build, they are well suited for many roles, including police work and service dog applications as well. These dogs require a lot of training, so they may not be a good fit for first-time dog owners.

Read on to learn everything there is to know about the Panda German Shepherd, including their appearance, personality, trainability, temperament, and more. 

What Is a Panda German Shepherd?

Panda German Shepherds are full-bred German Shepherd dogs (GSD) with an uncommon genetic mutation in their KIT geneOpens in a new tab..

This genetic mutation gives Panda German Shepherds a unique piebald coat coloring, a mix of white, tan, and black. White fur is unheard of in typical full-bred German Shepherds, which is what makes Panda German Shepherds so unique! 

The white coloring is commonly seen in the following body partsOpens in a new tab.. However, the exact location and amount of white fur vary from dog to dog:

  • Muzzle
  • Chest
  • Stomach
  • Collar area
  • End of their tail

Other than their white fur, Panda German Shepherds exhibit the following physical characteristics: 

  • Muscular bodies that are longer than they are tall 
  • Heads that are proportionate to the body 
  • Non-protruding eyes that are almond-shaped
  • Relatively pointed ears that stand erect when they are alert 
  • Thick feet with strong nails 

Male Panda German Shepherds generally grow to be 24-26 inchesOpens in a new tab. (61.0-66.0 cm) tall and weigh 75-95 lbsOpens in a new tab. (34.0-43.1 kg). Females grow to be 22-24 inchesOpens in a new tab. (55.9-61.0 cm) tall and weigh 55-73 lbsOpens in a new tab. (24.9-33.1 kg). 

Panda German Shepherds are basically the same as other GSDs when it comes to temperament, trainability, exercise requirements, and nutritional needs. The only difference is their unique coloring! 

Watch the below to see a Panda German Shepherd with white fur and black spots. While no two Pandas look exactly alike, this video demonstrates their general appearance and demeanor: 

Is a Panda German Shepherd the Right Breed for Me?

Panda German Shepherds need consistent training and exercise. They have a lot of energy and are very intelligent, so their owners need to mentally and physically challenge them.

If they do not receive the training, exercise, and stimulation they need, they may well act out in some not so desirable ways! 

Do You Have Enough Time for Panda GSD?

Panda Germans Shepherds need a lot of exercise (more about this below). They aren’t very active indoors, so they either need a backyard where they can play, or they’ll need to be taken outside regularly. 

If these dogs are left by themselves all day or aren’t getting enough exercise, they will likely become bored, frustrated, and even depressed. Any of the foregoing feelings in a GSD may cause destructive or even aggressive behavior.

Owners need to provide Panda GSDs with frequent physical and mental challenges for them to remain happy and non-destructive.

If you plan to be gone for most of the day, and do not have safeguards in place, you should think twice before getting Panda German Shepherd. If you don’t take this advice to heart, you may find your house destroyed by the time you get home! 

For more detailed information about what we’ve just covered, be sure to check out these two excellent article listed below:

  1. Do German Shepherds Get Depressed?
  2. How to Keep a German Shepherd Busy While You’re at Work

Do You Have Experience With Dogs? 

It is generally not recommended for first-time pet owners to get a Panda German Shepherd. These dogs need confident leaders to provide them with consistent training regimes.

New owners may lack the confidence and experience necessary to train this breed properly. Without proper training, these dogs can become unruly, which will be difficult for first-time pet owners to handle. 

If you are an inexperienced dog owner and choose to buy a Panda German Shepherd, we recommend that you attend training classes. These classes will teach your dog how to do basic commands, such as sit and stay and make your dog behave more appropriately in general.

However, you will need to continue the training that your dog learns in class at home, or the positive behaviors may not transfer over to a home setting. 

For more information about German Shepherds for first-time dog owners, as well as a complete guide to German Shepherd training, we have a couple of excellent articles for you linked below:

  1. Are German Shepherds Good First Dogs?
  2. German Shepherd Training Guide: All You Need to Know

Panda German Shepherd Basic Facts 

Panda German Shepherds, also called Piebald German Shepherds and Tricolor German Shepherds, are a relatively new variation of the traditional GSD. 

Panda German Shepherd and Panda German Shepherd puppy side by side images
This is Fezzik, and can see more of him growing up on Instagram! @fez_the_pandaOpens in a new tab.

The very first Panda German Shepherd was born in 2000. She was named Lewcinka’s Franka von PhenomOpens in a new tab., otherwise known as Frankie.

Both of her parents were full-bred German Shepherds with normal coloring. Lewcinka was the only puppy in her litter to exhibit white fur caused by a genetic mutation in her KIT gene. 

This unique mutation was passed down to some of Lewcinka’s puppies, who also had white fur. Her bloodline is the only one that carries the KIT gene mutation, so all Panda German Shepherds originate from her! 

In general, Panda German Shepherds tend to be about 35% whiteOpens in a new tab.. The rest of their fur is tan and black. Their life expectancy is about 9 -13 yearsOpens in a new tab. if they receive proper nutrition and exercise. 

Typically, female Panda German Shepherds can have about 6-10 puppiesOpens in a new tab. in each litter. Some of these puppies may exhibit the unique white coat, while others will likely display typical GSD coloring. 

What to Expect From a Panda German Shepherd 

Panda German Shepherds are all around amazing dogs. They have the same desirable personality traits as other GSDs, including intelligence, loyalty, and confidence.

These dogs are an excellent addition to any home, as long as their owners can provide them with enough exercise and mental stimulation. 

Intelligence

Panda German Shepherds are extremely smart. They are often used as guard dogs, police dogs, and guide dogs because of their high intelligence.

They also have strong nosesOpens in a new tab. that are able to sniff out intruders, drugs, bombs, and other types of contraband. 

Since they are so intelligent, they need frequent mental stimulation to avoid becoming bored. When they are not provided with enough stimulation, they are more likely to act out and become destructive. 

For more detailed information about German Shepherds and their role as guard dogs, police dogs, and guide dogs, we’ve got you covered! Just check out the articles below:

  1. Top 5 Best Guard Dogs to Protect Your Home and Family
  2. Why Are German Shepherds Good Police Dogs?
  3. Are German Shepherds Good Service Dogs?
  4. Are German Shepherds Good Emotional Support Dogs?

Loyalty

Panda German Shepherds are very loyal to their owners. With the proper training, they make great family dogs who will fiercely protect the ones they love. They have been known to give up their lives for their owners because of their deep-seated loyalty. 

Properly trained Pandas should be able to distinguish between threats and non-threats, meaning they only act aggressively when their owners are in trouble.

This breed needs early training to help them distinguish between threatening and non-threatening situations.

If they don’t receive this training, they may act aggressively whenever an unfamiliar person or pet approaches their owners. 

Confidence

Panda German Shepherds are generally very confident. They are poised and alert, and are interested in their surroundings. They enjoy experiencing new things and facing challenges. 

Panda German Shepherds need authoritative leaders who are confident themselves. If their owners are passiveOpens in a new tab., they may become overly timid. 

According to the Panda Shepherd Dog StandardOpens in a new tab., it is considered to be a fault in the character of this breed if they are shy. Panda German Shepherds that hide behind their owners or cower are considered to be faulty. 

Shyness is also a problem because timid Panda German Shepherds are more likely to act aggressively towards other humans and animals out of fear. 

Coat 

Panda German Shepherds have a medium-length white, tan, and black coat. All German Shepherds are double coated, meaning they have a thick outer coat with a softer coat underneath. 

This breed’s coat is relatively easy to maintain. All you have to do is quickly brush it every few days to get rid of any loose hair.

However, twice per year during their heavy shedding periods, owners may want to brush their coats a little more frequently, so their hair doesn’t end up all around the house! 

If you want to know everything there is to know about German Shepherd shedding, we have an excellent article for you right here:

Do German Shepherds Shed? All You Need to Know

Health Concerns 

Panda German Shepherds, like traditional German Shepherds, are prone to certain diseases, including degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, bloat, keratitis, and epilepsy. 

Degenerative Myelopathy 

Degenerative myelopathyOpens in a new tab. is a disease that slowly degenerates the spinal cord. This results in weakness in the hind legs and eventually paralysis.  

This disease is very common in German Shepherds and German Shepherd mixes. Typically dogs will start experiencing degenerative myelopathy when they are 4 to 14 years oldOpens in a new tab.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasiaOpens in a new tab. occurs when the hip bones do not form properly. Typically, the ball and socket joints that make up the hip do not grow at equal rates, which makes the hip joint too loose.

As a result, the body tries to tighten up the loose hip joint, resulting in the dogs getting osteoarthritis. This can eventually progress into lameness. 

Hip dysplasia is very common in larger dog breeds that weigh over 50 lbs (22.7 kg). It is especially prevalent in German Shepherds and Golden RetrieversOpens in a new tab.

While hip dysplasia is an inherited condition, it can be magnified by a lack of exercise and improper nutrition. 

Bloat 

BloatOpens in a new tab. is when dogs’ stomachs twist, so blood is unable to get to the rest of their organs. This is a life-threatening condition that often results in death.

Dogs that eat too fast, have anxiety, or are hyperactiveOpens in a new tab. are more likely to experience bloat. 

It is best to feed fast-eating dogs in special bowls to help them slow down to avoid bloat. A good bowl for this is the Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo BowlOpens in a new tab.. Using this bowl will slow down the pace at which your dog eats, allowing for better digestion, and just more fun eating all around!

We also recommend that you feed your German Shepherd several small meals per day to reduce the risk of bloat. 

Keratitis

KeratitisOpens in a new tab. is a condition where the cornea of the eye becomes inflamed. This can typically be treated with eye drops or ointments. Keratitis usually goes away within 5-7 daysOpens in a new tab.

Some severe forms of keratitis affect deeper layers of the eye. If it is a very serious case, surgery may be necessary to resolve the problem. 

Epilepsy

EpilepsyOpens in a new tab. is a brain disorder that causes seizures. It is the most common canine neurological disorder, affecting 0.75% of dogsOpens in a new tab..

Dogs can get epilepsy through genetics, damage to the brain, or unknown causes, otherwise known as idiopathic epilepsyOpens in a new tab.. German Shepherds commonly experience idiopathic epilepsy. 

Dogs with epilepsy can take anti-epileptic drugsOpens in a new tab. to help treat their symptoms. Some of the most popular drugs include phenobarbital and potassium bromide. 

Trainability 

Panda German Shepherds will do anything to please their owners. As long as they receive consistent training, they tend to be well behaved. 

Panda German Shepherds learn best from positive reinforcement training techniquesOpens in a new tab. in which their owners reward them with praise or small treats whenever they behave appropriately. 

For example, if your dog does not listen or otherwise behaves inappropriately, the proper behavior on the owner’s part is to ignore the dog. Owners should then wait until the dog performs the desirable behavior before rewarding them with attention, praise, or treats.

Doing this will help the Panda German Shepherds quickly distinguish between what their owners find acceptable and unacceptable. 

Owners need to be confident and consistent during training for the best results. Confidence will teach the Panda German Shepherd that their owners are the leader of the pack, not the other way around! 

Consistency is also very important when training this breed. These dogs need to experience consistent reactions from their owners to avoid confusion.

For example, if an owner doesn’t want their Shepherd to jump on their friends, they shouldn’t let them jump on them either. This will teach the dogs that it is never ok to jump on people. 

Panda German Shepherds should receive socialization training, starting from a very early age. They should be socialized to a variety of people, animals, objects, locations, and situations. This will make them better behaved in the future. 

Puppy obedience classes are also a great idea for these dogs. They do well with confidence and structure, which these classes are designed to provide. Plus, these classes will introduce them to other humans and dogs in a safe environment. 

For a detailed look at socializing your German Shepherd, we have a super informative article for you linked below. It will remove all of the guesswork and tells you exactly what you need to know!

How To Socialize Your German Shepherd

Temperament 

As mentioned above, the Panda German Shepherd is an intelligent, loyal, and confident breed. 

They are naturally protective of their families, so it is best if they receive early socialization and obedience training to teach them how to be friendly towards other dogs and people.

If they do not receive this early training, they may become overly aggressive towards others. 

Panda German Shepherds love being with their families. They should not be kept separately from their owners, as this can lead to problem behaviors. 

Additionally, these intelligent dogs need frequent training. They should be challenged, both physically and mentally, daily.

The AKC recommends performing agility, herding, tracking, and dock divingOpens in a new tab. activities with Shepherds to keep them mentally and physically energized. 

Owners need to be confident and provide their Panda German Shepherds with structure. Shepherds with passive owners may become timid or overly confident if their owners allow them to think they are the leader of the pack.

Dogs that either lack or have too much confidence are more likely to act out of line. 

Nutritional Requirements

All GSDs, including Panda German Shepherds, should be fed high-quality dog food. The food should contain a lot of protein as well as other essential nutrients, including vitamins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Before purchasing pet food, make sure it has at least 18% protein and 5 % fatOpens in a new tab. for adult Pandas, 22% protein and 8% fatOpens in a new tab. for puppies or mothers producing milk. 

These dogs should also be fed puppy, junior, adult, or senior food, depending on their age. This should not be overlooked – the quality of your German Shepherd’s diet will have a huge impact on their quality of life.

If you are trying to cut costs, it’s best to either avoid getting a German Shepherd, or perhaps trim your budget in other areas. We cannot stress just how important it is for you to feed your GSD top quality food!

We’ve listed some of our preferred foods for you below which can be found on Amazon. We personally feed Royal Canin to our GSDs, and do not hesitate to recommend it to all German Shepherd owners.

Royal Canin German Shepherd Puppy Breed Specific Dry Dog FoodOpens in a new tab.

Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog FoodOpens in a new tab.

Royal Canin German Shepherd Adult 5+ Dry Dog Food for Aging DogsOpens in a new tab.

Generally, adult Panda German Shepherds eat 3 1/2 to 5 cups of food per day. However, owners should always weigh their GSD and check the weight chart on their dog food bag to determine the right amount to feed their dog. 

How much food a Panda German Shepherd should be fed will also vary depending on their activity level.

If you would like some expert guidance on how much to feed your German Shepherd, we have it all laid out for you in this excellent guide linked below:

German Shepherd Feeding Guide: All You Need to Know

If you still have questions after reading this article, then we advise reaching out to your veterinarian to get an individual feeding plan for your particular pup – they will be happy to help!

Exercise Requirements

Panda German Shepherd running with toy

All German Shepherds, including Panda German Shepherds, require a lot of exercise. Owners that plan to leave their dogs at home all day should not get this breed. 

Panda German Shepherds need to have regular walks and playtimeOpens in a new tab.. If you don’t provide them with the exercise they need, they may act out.

To stay healthy, they need at least two hours of exercise per day. This includes long walks, jogs, or runs. Most GSDs enjoy jogging alongside their owners while they are biking as well. 

Panda German Shepherds also like other physical activities, including fetch and, playing with other dogs, and even frisbee!

Don’t believe us about German Shepherds being good frisbee dogs? Well, take a look at the article linked below and we’ll change your mind!

Can German Shepherds Play Frisbee?

A word of caution: always be sure to supervise your Panda German Shepherd while he is interacting with other pets to make sure they are playing appropriately. 

Cost

Since Panda German Shepherds are rare, they generally cost more than normal GSDs. They cost between $1,000 – $3,000, on average. 

Before purchasing a Panda German Shepherd, you should make sure that your breeder has the correct documentation, including DNA paperwork for the puppies and their parents. This helps assure that the Panda German Shepherd is, in fact, a full-breed GSD instead of a mixed breed. 

To take care of Panda German Shepherds, owners typically need to spend $1,200-$1,500 per year. This includes shots, neutering/spaying, heartworm prevention, pet food, accessories, and more. 

Final Thoughts

Panda German Shepherds are beautiful dogs with many desirable characteristics.

They are loyal, confident, and intelligent, making them excellent companions and great for applications in the police and military as well. They are also great pets and are often used as guide dogs for the blind. 

It is not recommended for first-time pet owners or pet owners with limited time to get Panda German Shepherds, as they require a lot of time and energy.

These dogs should receive at least two hours of exercise per day. Owners also need to provide them with frequent mental challenges to keep them entertained and out of trouble. 

Panda German Shepherds’ unique white spotted coats make them stand out from the crowd – your dog will be noticed!

For German Shepherd lovers, the Panda German Shepherd is an ideal choice. So, what’s stopping you?

Hunter Reed

I've owned and trained German Shepherds for over 18 years now. I'm originally from Indiana, though I've lived in many different states and traveled extensively. The places change, my dogs don't. German Shepherds have been my constant companions. I love every aspect of training them and simply just having them around. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge about German Shepherds with the world, and I encourage all future dog owners to consider one as a companion as well. Read my story here.

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