Shiloh Shepherd

The Shiloh Shepherd is a calm, very intelligent, even-tempered dog that was developed to restore the stable temperament and superior size of the German Shepherd as it existed decades ago in Germany. Loyal, loving and confident, this breed is suitable for both single individuals or large families with children. Although definitely a dog that is large in physical stature, your puppy will also have a huge heart that’s full of love and devotion. This is a breed that makes a good watchdog without being aggressive.


A relatively new and rare breed, the Shiloh Shepherd was developed by a New York woman, Tina M. Barber, out of her passion for preserving the German Shepherd that she remembered during her time as a child in Germany. Beginning her project in 1974, Barber's focus was to nurture a breed with a sound temperament, large hips and superior size, after the popularity of the German Shepherd exploded and people who were not reputable breeders began to carelessly breed the dogs to meet the huge demand. This compromised breeding resulted in dogs that were inferior, in that they were not physically sound or even-tempered. Ultimately, the German Shepherd underwent a negative change brought on by these "backyard breeders," and Barber responded with her goal to preserve the bigger, mentally sound dogs she remembered so well from childhood.

This new line of German Shepherd-like dogs took on a new name, the Shiloh Shepherd, named after the kennel of origin. In 1990, Barber was able to register these dogs as a separate breed with the relatively new registry, the FIC (Federation of International Canines) which should not be confused with the well-known FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale). However, Shiloh Shepherds still are not formally recognized by the AKC or any other traditional, established registry. The SSDCA, Inc. (Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc.) was formed not long after in an effort to protect the welfare of the breed and preserve it for future years.


The Shiloh Shepherd looks quite similar to the German Shepherd, only a bit heavier and larger, athletic in appearance with either short (smooth) or long (plush) hair. Strong and solid, this breed has a broad back and head with cheekbones that are strongly developed. A predominantly black muzzle gradually tapers and is generally equal to the length of the forehead. Plush-coated dogs have a distinct mane from neck to chest; smooth-coated varieties have a thick coat with outer hair that is a bit rough or harsh to the touch.

With expressive eyes which range from yellow or light brown to dark in color, the Shiloh Shepherd has a striking presence, conveying true beauty and the nobility of the breed's spirit. Colors range widely, with 35 color combinations recognized by the breed standard. Some of the colors found in the Shiloh include solid black or white; dual (solid black from the tips to the roots); sable (two-toned black with roots being another color and tips black); or a base color of cream, brown, gray, tan, red, or silver. One trait that distinguishes the breed is the lighter-colored hair around the eyes. Males typically weigh about 110 pounds or more as adults and grow to be a minimum of 28” tall at the shoulder, while females will reach 26" or more in height and weigh a minimum of 80 pounds as adults.


While their countenance may be a bit intimidating, the Shiloh Shepherd is the perfect family pet for those with children, offering a gentle and loving attitude toward all family members and even other pets. This breed is known for its calm, serene personality and extreme intelligence. Unlike some dog breeds, this is thought by many to be a pleasure to train, and is easily adaptable to almost any lifestyle or environment.

As is the case with other breeds, not all Shiloh Shepherds have the same personalities or temperaments. With this breed, much of your puppy's personality will be influenced by its environment, whether a rural country setting, suburban home, or city apartment. The Shiloh Shepherd may develop a lack of confidence or even fearfulness when around others if it has not been properly socialized, particularly if it has been somewhat secluded during its upbringing. However, if you are looking to adopt a pet that is fiercely loyal, courageous, and the perfect watchdog, consider this magnificent, imposing breed.

Proper Environment

Almost any environment will be suitable for your new puppy as long as you make sure it gets sufficient exercise. Whether you live in the country with acres and acres to roam, in a subdivision with a large yard, or even in an apartment, your pet will want most of all to be close to you. Not terribly sensitive to temperature, this breed can tolerate living outside in either hot or cold climates but will require shade and lots of water in hotter situations. A dog house or other shelter will ensure your pet is comfortable in cold winter temperatures. If you live in an apartment or home with a small yard, it is important to expose your new pet to regular physical activity.


Like many other large breeds, the Shiloh Shepherd is prone to many of the same health issues as German Shepherds and other large dogs, particularly orthopedic conditions including osteochondritis and elbow or hip dysplasia. Skin allergies and heart disease are other common concerns. If your pet is generally healthy, the average life expectancy of this breed is about 12 to 14 years.


Depending on whether you have a smooth or plush-coated Shiloh, grooming needs vary. The smoothcoated variety requires very little grooming, only an occasional brushing. The plush-coated Shiloh Shepherd requires daily brushing in most cases, as this is a breed that sheds heavily. You will want to bathe your new dog only once or twice per year when needed in order to avoid depleting the oil from the skin which can cause it to become dry or itchy.


Shiloh Shepherd Temperament What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About ‘Em.

Retrieved 5/18/2013

Shiloh Shepherd Dog.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Temperament and Training

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Shiloh Shepherd.

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Shiloh Shepherd Health Problems and Raising a Shiloh Shepherd Puppy to be Healthy.

Retrieved 5/13/2013

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