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Our Breeding Goals:


Thornvalley aims to produce dogs of stable and sound minds. While our dogs participate in IGP and show training, it is equally important that they are safe to play and interact with our grandkids.


Thornvalley dogs are extensively tested by radiograph and by DNA. We opt to use less popular lineage in order to maintain genetic diversity in the breed. All of our puppies are DNA tested through Optimal Selection or Embark. While the WSGP (White Shepherd Genetics Project) was active, we assisted in every way possible.


Our program does not specialize in one area or another, but hopes to produce dogs that are capable of everything. Most of our dogs are total dog award winners, and to us, there is no higher honor.

About Melanie

I am Melanie Fuellgraf and I am the person behind Thornvalley White Swiss Shepherds. My love for this breed and the origin of my kennel name began back in the 60’s and 70’s when I was ‘raised’ by the 5 white German Shepherd Dogs that my parents owned and bred. Most of my childhood memories include those dogs and they were very integral to our household and ‘funny farm’ as we referred to it. Our ‘funny farm’ was situated in a valley at the end of a dead end road with a creek, Thorn Creek, running through it. When it was time to come up with a kennel name, my obvious choice was to have the name reflect where it all began for me, hence the kennel name “Thornvalley”. As an adult, it was a dream of mine to add a white shepherd of mine own to our family. After an extensive search, to no avail, to find a descendant of one of my parent’s dogs. I looked elsewhere and had the very good fortune to obtain one of my foundation dogs, Nikita in 2003. Never in a million years would I believe the incredible journey I was about to start on. Through Nikita I was introduced to many wonderful people and organizations and my education of the history, genetics and health, as well as all aspects of the White Shepherd (White Swiss Shepherd) breed began. Dexter joined our family in 2005 and a trip to Germany in 2013 brought Emmy to us. I have had many mentors over the years in various capacities and to them I am truly grateful for where we are today. Mostly I am grateful to my wonderful husband, Bill, who without his support and rolling of the eyes Thornvalley would not be where we are today. My goals as a breeder are to produce genetically healthy and temperamentally sound dogs that can exist within a household and have the capacity to excel at various ‘sports’ venues, while preserving the type of the White Swiss Shepherd breed. My dogs are registered as White Swiss Shepherds with the FCI through FCPR and as White Shepherds with the United Kennel Club (UKC). I actively participate in Obedience, Rally Obedience, Schutzhund/ IPO/IGP, Dock Diving with my dogs as well as show them in conformation in UKC and IABCA. I adhere to the Total Dog philosophy of UKC and it is important to me to challenge the workability of my dogs.

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