Shiloh Shepherd dog

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Plush Coat Shiloh Shepherd
Shiloh Shepherd
Common nicknamesShiloh
OriginUnited States
Foundation stockGerman Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, Sarplaninac, Canadian White Shepherd, Altdeutscher Schaeferhunde
NotesIn development since 1974
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Shiloh Shepherd is a new dog breed that is still under development. They have been recognized by the American Rare Breed Association since 1991. [1] They are not yet recognized by the AKC or the UKC, but they maintain their own clubs.

Vigorous health testing takes place before breeding, often including: temperament tests, hip and elbow x-rays, holter monitor (heart EKG), auscultation test, degenerative myelopathy test, thyroid test, and a TLI test.[2]

Shiloh Shepherds are larger and have a straighter back than most modern German Shepherd Dogs;[1] they are bred for intelligence, size, and stable temperaments. Their coats can be a variety of colors and color mixes. They compete in obedience, agility and herding events and work as therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, livestock guardians, and service assistants.



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 typically a shade of dark to light brown.

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.[2]

Size standards[edit]

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 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 kg) with a minimum of 80 pounds (36 kg). With their even proportions, Shilohs should appear longer than they are tall.[2] They are bigger than German Shepherd Dogs.

Coat types[edit]

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.[2]

Coat colors[edit]

Shilohs come in 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 can also 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 for since they are disqualifying faults.[3]

Shilohs may have a small white blaze on the chest or white on the toes, but white in any other area is a fault. To meet the standard, this should blend in with the lighter color of their coat. Pale, washed-out colours are discouraged.[2]

Movement and gait[edit]

The Shiloh's gait is smooth and rhythmic. Their long strides and flowing motion require good muscular development and shows in its prime when the dog reaches maturity. 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.[2]


Bred as companions, Shilohs have loyal and outgoing personalities. Many of the breeders in the United States operate out of large farms where the puppies are introduced to a large variety of animals. 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. Shiloh Shepherds are reported to be the least territorial when compared to other Shepherd breeds. 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.[2]


Shilohs have an average life span of 9–14 years, on par with the German Shepherd Dog breed.

As with other large/giant breed dogs, Shilohs may experience problems with gastric dilatation volvulus, also known as bloat. When young, it is especially recommended that Shilohs be fed a consistent diet of high quality food due to their sensitive stomachs. Small intestine bacterial overgrowth syndrome has also been reported and can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain and difficulty absorbing nutrients from food. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency is another health concern although manageable with digestive enzyme supplementation. Each condition is serious and should be treated immediately by a veterinarian.[4][5]

Though less prone to them than German Shepherds, Shilohs are susceptible to hip dysplasia and other skeletal disorders. Due to slow bone growth, if Shilohs are introduced to strenuous activities before maturity that impact the joints, serious injuries can occur. An exhaustive and detailed genetic breeding program has greatly reduced the incidence of hip and elbow dysplasia. [6] Panosteitis may occur during a Shiloh's growth stages.[7]

Titling and competition[edit]

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.[8] The AHBA's preliminary test for Herding Instinct is used to determine if a Shiloh has the instincts and interest for herding.[9]

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.[10]

Child with Shiloh Shepherd Dog

Shilohs' gentleness and calm temperament allow them to be a part of therapy work.[11] 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.[12][13]

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, and the National Canine Association, as well as special shows by two Shiloh dog clubs and an annual homecoming held by the breed founder.[importance?]


German Shepherd Dog used as Foundation stock, circa 1978

The Shiloh Shepherd was developed by Tina M. Barber of Shiloh Shepherds (kennel) in New York, United States. In 1974, she began developing a new line of German Shepherd Dog.[clarification needed] Her goal was to preserve the type of dog she remembered from her childhood in Germany: dogs that are good family companions, intelligent, both physically and mentally sound, and large in size.[14][15]

Tina separated her foundation stock from the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1990, and the FIC (Federation of International Canines) agreed to register these dogs as a separate breed. (FIC, which has appeared on multiple warning lists of bogus, "puppy mill" pedigree registries, is not to be confused with the world-recognized Fédération Cynologique Internationale, FCI.) The name chosen for these dogs was "Shiloh Shepherd" after the kennel of origin. Shortly thereafter, the Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club of America (SSDCA) 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.[14][15]

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 used this program to document vital data on each Shiloh Shepherd in its registry. Tina Barber was active in the development of the breed as the President of the SSDCA, Inc. and Breed Warden for the ISSR.[15][16] Tina Barber died at the age of 63 on May 30, 2011 in Warsaw, New York.[17] Lisa Barber (daughter) has assumed the role of Breed Warden and Registrar of the ISSR since the death of her mother.

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. In June 2009, the SSBA was closed.[15][18][19][20]

There are significant differences of opinion between the founding club and registry and subsequently established clubs and registries as to how best serve the breed.[21][22]


  1. ^ Source?
  2. ^ a b c d e f Barber, Tina M. (1990). "Shiloh Shepherd Breed Standard".
  3. ^ "Shiloh Shepherd Appearance".
  4. ^ Lanting, Fred (2003). "Gastrointestinal Disorders in the GSD and Several Other Breeds".
  5. ^ Marvistavet. "Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency". Archived from the original on 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
  6. ^ "OFA Hip Dysplasia Statistics". Archived from the original on 2010-10-19.
  7. ^ Padgett, George A., DVM (2002). Genetic Diseases and Estimated Carrier Frequency of the Shiloh Shepherd.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ ISSDC, Inc. (January 2006). "The First "FAB FIVE" Herding Team — Marti and Tuck".
  9. ^ ISSDC, Inc. (2006). "ISSDC Dogs at Work".
  10. ^ Franken, Bob & Fiegel, Eric. "Father: Lost Scout had planned to hitchhike home". CNN.
  11. ^ Linder King, Straja (October 2005). "Tangus Hero Award". Spiritual Directions.
  12. ^ ISSDC, Inc. (November 2005). ""Nicki", and the Reading Education Assistance Dog (R.E.A.D.) Program".
  13. ^ Harrison, Audrey (June 2006). "Versatility Triumphs!". ISSDC, Inc.
  14. ^ a b Barber, Tina M. (1993). "The Origins of the Shiloh Shepherd In Word & Picture".
  15. ^ 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 978-0-9771978-2-8.
  16. ^ Barber, Tina M. (1982). "Practical Genetics". German Shepherd Quarterly.
  17. ^
  18. ^ SSDCA, Inc. (March 2004). "The Original Shiloh Shepherd — A Rare Breed Dog, Revision 6" (pdf).
  19. ^ Wendy Fullerton (1997). "Early History of the Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club of America". SSDCA, Inc.
  20. ^ Setterlund, Gloria (2004). "Why are we here?". ISSDC, Inc.
  21. ^ Tina Barber (1999). "Why are There Two Shiloh Shepherd Registries and Two Breed Clubs?". SSDCA, Inc.
  22. ^ ISSDC, Inc. (2008). "The Other Side of the Shiloh Shepherd Story".

External links[edit]