Shiloh Shepherd Dog: Wikis


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Shiloh Shepherd
Nicknames Shilohs
Country of origin United States
Recognized by Rare Breed organizations for Showing purposes.

The Shiloh Shepherd is a rare breed of dog that is still under development. Developed in the 1970s, they are meant to resemble an older variety of German shepherd. Shilohs are not recognized by any major kennel club, but may be shown in rare breed organizations.

Shilohs are larger and have a straighter back than most modern Alsatians and are bred for intelligence, size, and stable temperaments. Their coats can be a variety of colors and color mixes. They compete in obedience and agility. They work as therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, livestock guardians and service assistance. Unlike other shepherd dogs, Shilohs are not prone to problems with hip dysplasia. This is not to say that Shilohs do not ever develop dysplasia, but responsible breeders seek to eliminate this condition from the genepool through breeding stock screening using OFA[1] or Pennhip[2] radiographs.




According to the breed standard, the Shiloh Shepherd should have a regal bearing that shows intelligence and strength. The balance between elegance and strength is the key to their distinct appearance and fluid movement. Their larger size should not impede their movement or grace.

The head should be broad and slightly domed with a gradually tapering muzzle; bite alignment is important since either an over or undershot bite is a disqualifying fault. Muzzles and lips should be black, though pink has been seen, it is a fault. Ears should be firm, triangular and well cupped; they are carried erect when at attention. Their eyes are always a shade of dark to light brown; no other eye colors are bred.

Their broad and muscular backs should be straight with a gradual slope from the withers that complements their full chest. Tails should be long, plush and slightly curved; they may show a more pronounced curve when the dog is excited or exercising but should never be a ring or a hook shape.[1]

Size standards

The Shiloh Shepherd is powerfully built and well-balanced and should have a proud carriage and smooth, effortless gait. The male Shiloh stands 30 inches (76 cm) or more in height with a minimum of 28 inches (71 cm); he weighs 120 to 140 pounds (54-65 kg) with a minimum of 110 pounds (50.5 kg). The female is smaller, standing 28 inches (71 cm) or more in height with a minimum of 26 inches (66 cm) and weighing 100 to 120 pounds (45-54.5 kg) with a minimum of 80 pounds (36 kg). With their even proportions, Shilohs should appear longer than they are tall.[1]

Coat Types

Shilohs come in two distinct coat varieties: the smooth or double coat and the plush coat. The smooth coat should be of medium length and lie close to the body; the hair at the neck and on the back of the fore and hind legs may be longer and thicker than other areas. The outer coat will be dense, straight, and harsh. The plush coat is longer, with a soft undercoat and a distinctive "mane" which extends to the chest. The body coat should not be over 5 inches (12.5 cm) long but will have feathering inside the ears and behind the legs which should not be over 3 inches (7.5 cm) long.

The smooth coat is easier to groom, though the plush coat may shed less. For show purposes, the tufts that grow between the toes and pads must be trimmed. Coats that are open, wooly or curly are serious faults.[1]

Coat Colors

Shilohs present a wide range of coat colors. They may be bi or dual colored in black with tan, golden tan, reddish tan, silver, or sable. They also can be solid golden, silver, red, dark brown, dark grey, or black sable. Solid black and solid white are possible, but for show purposes, the nose, lips, and eye rims must be solid black. Blue and liver colors are possible but not bred since they are disqualifying faults.[2]

Shilohs may have a small white blaze on the chest or white on the toes, but white in any other areas is a fault. To meet the standard, this should blend in with the lighter color of their coat. Coat colors should be vibrant since pale, washed-out colours are discouraged.[1]

Movement and Gait

The Shiloh's gait is smooth and rhythmic. Their long strides and flowing motion require good muscular development. Even while in a flying trot, the straightness of their back should be maintained. The full trot is steady and level, without swaying or rolling. To help keep their balance, their feet are brought in toward their middle line when running. Forward reach of the dog should be as long as possible, ideally extending past the nose, giving the Shiloh the impression of "flying". Faults in movement or carriage are serious.[1]


Bred as companions, Shilohs have loyal and outgoing personalities. They were developed to be gentle and loving, able to work with animals and children, while still possessing a trainable drive for working applications, such as assistive service, obedience, or herding. With proper socialization they adapt easily to a variety of environments and are stable. Extreme aggression or shyness is severely penalized in the breed standard.[1]


[Shilohs have an average life span of ten to twelve years, slightly less than the German Shepherd breed.]]

Shilohs just like other large/giant breed dogs may experience problems with bloat. Small intestine bacterial overgrowth syndrome has also been reported and can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain and difficulty absorbing nutrients from food. Both conditions are serious and should be treated immediately by a veterinarian.[3]

Shilohs are less susceptible to hip dysplasia and other skeletal disorders than the average German shepherd. Rare cases of osteochondritis have also been reported.[4] Panosteitis may occur during a Shiloh's growth stages.[5]

Titling and competition

Using their speed and balance, Shilohs perform agility related activities with ease. However, due to slower bone growth they should not perform strenuous obstacles or jumping until they reach maturity. Shilohs have herding instincts that make them excellent partners in the arena. Shilohs have been recognized by the American Herding Breed Association(AHBA) since 2004.[6] The AHBA's preliminary test for Herding Instinct is used to determine if a Shiloh has the instincts and interest for herding.[7]

Shilohs have been trained as search and rescue dogs. In March 2007, a Shiloh named Gandalf received national media attention after finding a Boy Scout lost in the mountains of North Carolina.[8]

Even a child can show a Shiloh.

Shiloh's gentleness and calm temperament allow them to be a part of therapy work.[9] Their intelligence and willingness to please make them highly suitable for work as assistance dogs. They respond quickly to training and retain the capacity to make independent decisions when situations change. They are frequent recipients of the AKCs "Canine Good Citizen" Award and have been awarded the Companion Dog title, the Companion Dog Excellent title, the Utility Dog title and been certified as Reading Education Assistance Dogs.[10][11]

Shilohs are easy to handle and even children can be successful in the show ring. Currently Shilohs can be shown in the American Rare Breed Association, the International All Breed Canine Association, Rarities, Inc., the Rare Breed Club of South Western Ontario, the National Kennel Club Inc. and the National Canine Association as well as special shows by two Shiloh dog clubs and an annual Homecoming held by the breed founder.


German Shepherd Dog used as Foundation stock, circa 1978

The Shiloh Shepherd was developed by Tina M. Barber of New Zion Shiloh Shepherds (kennel) in New York, United States. In 1974, she began developing a new line of German Shepherds. Her goal was to preserve the type of dog she remembered from her childhood in Germany; dogs that are good family companions, exceptionally intelligent, both physically and mentally sound, and large in size.[12][13]

Tina separated her foundation stock from the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1990, and the FIC agreed to register these dogs as a separate breed. The name chosen for these dogs was "Shiloh Shepherd" after the kennel of origin. Shortly thereafter, the Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc. (SSDCA, Inc.) was formed to preserve and protect the future welfare of the breed. In 1991, the International Shiloh Shepherd Registry (ISSR) was established and took over registry functions from the FIC.[12] [13]

In 1993, The Complete Computer Place (TCCP), using a specially designed database program, officially started maintaining breeding records. This program tracked nine generations of pedigree and LMX (Littermate X-Ray Program) data and computerized all the older paper files. The ISSR continues to use this program to document vital data on each Shiloh Shepherd in its registry. Ms. Barber is active in the development of the breed as the President of the SSDCA, Inc. and Breed Warden for the ISSR.[13][14]

In 1997, during a period when the SSDCA was inactive, The International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club (ISSDC) was opened. In 1998, the ISSDC opened their own registry, calling it the ISSDCr. The Shiloh Shepherd Breed Association (SSBA) was opened shortly after and assumed registry functions for the ISSDCr. The National Shiloh Breed Registry (NSBR) was established in 2001 and The Shiloh Shepherd Registry (TSSR) in 2002. In 2004, the ISSDC was reorganized as a parent club for the NSBR, the SSBA, and the TSSR.[13][15][16][17]

There are significant differences of opinion between the founding club and registry and subsequently established clubs and registries. The ISSR claims that the NSBR, SSBA and TSSR produce lower quality dogs with more health issues, while the three later registries claim the opposite is true. [18][19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Barber, Tina M. (1990). "Shiloh Shepherd Breed Standard".  
  2. ^ TSSR (2003). "Shiloh Coat Color Guide" (pdf).  
  3. ^ Lanting, Fred (2003). "Gastrointestinal Disorders in the GSD and Several Other Breeds".  
  4. ^ Barber, Tina M. (September 2006). "Hip Dysplasia in the German Shepherd — the LMX Formula". BreedersUSA.  
  5. ^ Padgett, George A., DVM (2002). Genetic Diseases and Estimated Carrier Frequency of the Shiloh Shepherd.  
  6. ^ ISSDC, Inc. (January 2006). "The First "FAB FIVE" Herding Team — Marti and Tuck".  
  7. ^ ISSDC, Inc. (2006). "ISSDC Dogs at Work".  
  8. ^ Franken, Bob and Fiegel, Eric. "Father: Lost Scout had planned to hitchhike home". CNN.  
  9. ^ Linder King, Straja (October 2005). "Tangus Hero Award". Spiritual Directions.  
  10. ^ ISSDC, Inc. (November 2005). ""Nicki", and the Reading Education Assistance Dog (R.E.A.D.) Program".  
  11. ^ Harrision, Audrey (June 2006). "Versatility Triumphs!". ISSDC, Inc..  
  12. ^ a b Barber, Tina M. (1993). "The Origins of the Shiloh Shepherd In Word & Picture".  
  13. ^ a b c d Barber, Tina M (April 1, 2006). The Shiloh Shepherd Story....Against the Wind — A Breed Is Born. Mid-Atlantic Highlands. ISBN 978-0977197828.  
  14. ^ Barber, Tina M. (1982). "Practical Genetics". German Shepherd Quarterly.  
  15. ^ SSDCA, Inc. (March 2004). "The Original Shiloh Shepherd — A Rare Breed Dog, Revision 6" (pdf).  
  16. ^ Wendy Fullerton (1997). "Early History of the Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club of America". SSDCA, Inc..  
  17. ^ Setterlund, Gloria (2004). "Why are we here?". ISSDC, Inc..  
  18. ^ Tina Barber (1999). "Why are There Two Shiloh Shepherd Registries and Two Breed Clubs?". SSDCA, Inc..  
  19. ^ ISSDC, Inc. (2008). "The Other Side of the Shiloh Shepherd Story".  

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