Shiloh Shepherd Dog

Shiloh Shepherd 101: Everything You Need To Know

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The “Wolf-like” Shiloh Shepherd is a new breed developed in the late 20th century. It was initially bred by crossing German Shepherds with Alaskan Malamutes, aiming for a gentle yet robust large Shepherd-type dog. The breed’s name “Shiloh” was chosen to evoke a sense of peace and tranquility.

Shiloh Shepherd Quick Facts:

Dog Breed Group: Purebred Dog

Size Male: 28-30 inches tall, 100-140 pounds

Size Female: 26-28 inches tall, 80-120 pounds

Life Span: 9-14 years

Exercise Needs: Moderate

Shedding: Smooth-coated dogs shed continuously; plush-coated dogs don’t shed as much throughout the year- mainly shed twice a year)


Shiloh Shepherd Origin:

Originating from a blend of herding and working breeds, the Shiloh Shepherd stands out as a large and amiable companion. The breed's roots trace back to Tina M. Barber, who initiated the project in the 1970s, leading to its recognition as a rare breed by the American Rare Breed Association in 1991. Renowned for its substantial size, gentle disposition, and ease of handling in comparison to other working shepherd dogs, the Shiloh was carefully bred by Tina Barber to exhibit softer, calmer, and more family-friendly traits. Addressing hip issues, she implemented the LMX program, employing a selective breeding approach.

Despite lacking recognition from prominent kennel clubs like AKC, UKC, or FCI, Shiloh Shepherds are in a developmental stage. Oversight and management of the breed fall under Shiloh Shepherd registries and clubs, exemplified by organizations like the ISSA. It's crucial to recognize that Shiloh puppies may vary depending on the breeder or organization, emphasizing the importance of thorough research to find a suitable match.

Tina Barber's journey began with German Shepherds in upstate New York during the mid-1970s, initially used for personal protection. Recognizing the challenges posed by these dogs for regular families, she envisioned creating a shepherd breed that could be trusted and handled safely, even by small children. Witnessing hip dysplasia issues in her lines, she dedicated herself to developing robust, family-friendly shepherds. To achieve this, Barber introduced various breeds into the Shiloh lineage, resulting in the Shilohs attaining rare breed status in 1991, distinct from the AKC.

Much like numerous modern dog breeds, Shiloh Shepherds are a culmination of various breeds, such as German Shepherds, Sarplaninac, Malamute, Canadian White Shepherd, Altdeutscher Schaeferhunde, and more. This diverse mix exemplifies the Shiloh Shepherd's evolutionary journey, revealing distinct characteristics within the breed.

 Shiloh Shepherd Appearance

Shiloh Shepherd Appearance:

 Shiloh Shepherds stand out with their larger size compared to German Shepherds, sporting distinctive triangle-shaped ears and a head shape that resembles wolves. What sets them apart is their unique appearance – they have shorter bodies than German Shepherds, and their long, dual-layered coats come in various colors such as black and tan, black, sable, or white. Beyond their striking size, these dogs, whether weighing between 100 to 130 pounds with a height of 28 to 30 inches or the slightly smaller females at 80 to 100 pounds and 65-70 inches, are recognized for their exceptional stature.

In the close-knit Shiloh community, the long "plush" coat is highly favored, contributing to their distinctiveness from German Shepherds. Shiloh Shepherds have a diverse range of coat colors, including black, brown, gray, pied, and red, with at least two colors blending harmoniously – a feature influenced by their German Shepherd ancestry. Their wide heads, black lips, and tapered muzzles give them a special look, complemented by the soft and thick coats that grow in distinct layers. This combination of features contributes to their unique and majestic appearance.

Shiloh Shepherds, known for their size, coat variations, and distinctive features like broad heads and black lips, have become synonymous with a breed that stands out in the dog community. The treasured "plush" coat, available in a spectrum of colors, underscores their individuality, and the meticulous breeding efforts have resulted in a breed that not only excels in size but also boasts a mesmerizing and characteristic appearance.

 Shiloh Shepherd temperament

Shiloh Shepherd Personality and Temperament:

Shiloh Shepherds are family-friendly, unique dogs, distinguished by their calm and friendly nature, standing out among various shepherd breeds. While some Shilohs have higher energy levels and excel in tasks like Search and Rescue work, the primary breeding emphasis revolves around fostering a companion dog with a calm, social, and versatile temperament. In contrast to German shepherds, Shilohs possess a softer temperament, contributing to increased adaptability and minimized training challenges.

With inherent herding and guardian characteristics, they flourish in environments aligned with their instincts. Despite their substantial size, Shilohs earn the endearing name of 'gentle giants' owing to their composed demeanor, making them excellent companions for children. Moreover, Shiloh Shepherds thrive in roles such as service assistance or therapy work. Early socialization helps address potential dominance, particularly in males. Similar to their German Shepherd ancestors, Shiloh Shepherds exhibit protective instincts without aggression, earning them the well-deserved title of great watchdogs.

 Shiloh Shepherd grooming

Shiloh Shepherd Grooming:

Shiloh Shepherds do shed, so it's important to think about how much you can tolerate before deciding on this breed. But don't worry, the shedding experience is different between the two coat types, and each one needs a different level of grooming care.


Shiloh Shepherd grooming

(Pet Brush- Great brush to remove matted hair and reduce shedding)

For the smooth (shorter) coat, shedding happens moderately throughout the year, with a more noticeable "blow coat" occurring twice annually. The smooth coat is low-maintenance and easy to maintain with just occasional brushing. It's also easy to clean, as dried mud and debris can be brushed away effortlessly. Bathing is infrequent, usually only a couple of times a year. This versatile coat works well in both hot summers and cold winters, providing a practical solution that stays beautiful.


Shiloh Shepherd grooming

(Deshedding Dog Brush- One of my favorite brushes. Super easy to clean the brush with a simple click of the button)

On the other hand, the plush (long) coat sheds minimally throughout the year but has a big shedding event during the biannual "blow coat" periods. The longer coat catches shedding hair, so regular brushing is needed to prevent matting. Despite its appearance, the long coat is more manageable than it looks, requiring a brisk brushing two or three times a week. Bathing is a bit more frequent than the smooth coat, generally every 2-3 months depending on your dog's adventures. While the plush coat may not be as comfortable in hot summers (expect your dog to seek the A/C above 80 degrees), it does well in cold weather. You might notice this when your plush Shiloh refuses to come inside at a chilly 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember to brush your dog at least once daily and reserve baths for when they're needed to avoid skin issues.

 Shiloh Shepherd grooming

 (Grooming Kit - Love this grooming kit! It took some getting used to at first, Hazel was a little scared of the sound but now she loves it. It's perfect for those shedding months- 5 in 1- brush, vacuum, and clip. This kit saved me tons of money on professional grooming)

Shiloh Shepherd Training:

Shiloh Shepherds, despite their intelligence, may display some stubbornness. Ensuring a well-behaved companion involves consistent and firm training, particularly during their puppy phase. These dogs respond positively to reinforcement methods, such as using favorite toys or treats, while avoiding punishment due to their sensitivity. Early socialization, especially in homes with other dogs, is essential for puppies to adapt to new experiences. Their clever nature allows them to quickly grasp commands when properly trained in their early days. Positive reinforcement for good behavior, with rewards and ignoring undesirable actions, forms the basis for effective training.

 Shiloh shepherd training

Health Concerns:

Shiloh Shepherd can face some health issues passed down from its German Shepherd ancestor, especially hip and elbow dysplasia. Like many big dog breeds, there's also a worry about gastric torsion, a twisting of the stomach. Another health concern for Shiloh Shepherds is degenerative myelopathy, which is a spinal cord problem that can lead to paralysis.

There are other health problems they might encounter, such as perianal fistula, megaesophagus, and panosteitis. But it's important to know that most Shiloh Shepherds are usually healthy. They typically live for 9 to 14 years, and with good care, some can even live longer.

Taking care of Shiloh Shepherds involves giving them at least sixty minutes of exercise every day. It's important to feed them high-quality dog food for good nutrition, and regular visits to the vet, at least once or twice a year, help make sure they stay healthy.

The breed's founder aimed to address hip dysplasia, a prevalent health concern. Years of dedicated efforts have resulted in improved hip health for Shiloh Shepherds. Beyond hips, ongoing initiatives such as the Holtering program and mandatory health testing on all ISSA breeding stock underscore the breed's commitment to overall health. Shiloh Shepherds continually strive for optimal well-being.

 shiloh shepherd family friendly

Shiloh Shepherd For Me And My Family:

Shiloh Shepherds, known for their intelligence and gentle demeanor, create strong bonds with their owners and thrive in family environments. Their preference for being actively involved in daily activities and forming early friendships contributes to their adaptability to different places. Establishing clear and kind rules during their early weeks is crucial, given their cleverness and potential size. Shiloh Shepherds exhibit diverse personalities, with some being calm and excellent learners, making them suitable therapy dogs. While they may chew during teething, providing toys resolves the issue. Their protective instinct, paired with a non-aggressive demeanor, makes them effective watchdogs. Each Shiloh Shepherd is unique, displaying varying levels of confidence and interests, contributing to their individuality.

 shiloh shepherd puppies

Shiloh Shepherd Breeder:

Once you've decided that a Shiloh Shepherd is the right dog for you, the next step is finding a good breeder. It's important to understand that no breeder can promise that your dog won't develop hip dysplasia, a common issue in both German Shepherds and Shiloh Shepherds. The best a breeder can do is show you documents proving that the pup's parents haven't had this condition.

Doing more research can help you find the right breeder. Shiloh Shepherd forums and social media groups are places where pet owners share their experiences and recommend breeders. Using these resources can help you make a smart decision.

 shiloh shepherd breeder

Questions to ask the breeder:

 Is the puppy vaccinated?

Do you have recommendations from previous buyers?

Can you provide  information on the health of puppy's parents?

How long have you been breeding Shiloh Shepherds? 

 shiloh shepherd dog

Shiloh Shepherd Cost:

The typical cost for a Shiloh Shepherd puppy averages around $1,000- $3,000, particularly if the puppy's parents are champions and free of diseases. It's advisable to steer clear of backyard breeders, as the health of your dog may be uncertain in such cases.

Some other expenses to consider before getting your Shiloh Shepherd are annual veterinary bills, estimated at around $500, as well as, expenses for food, treats, and toys. Grooming, socialization, and training services can incur an additional cost of at least $700 per year.

 shiloh shepherd dog 101

In conclusion, Shiloh Shepherds are special dogs with a big and friendly nature. They have a unique look, and are calm and smart, making them great for families. If you're thinking about getting one, remember to find a good breeder and enjoy the loving companionship of these gentle giants.


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 **All photos and videos of Hazel - Shiloh Shepherd are COPYRIGHT and may NOT be used without our consent**

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