The Shiloh Shepherd breed was developed several decades ago in the United States of America by Tina Barber. Tina, having been born in Germany, grew up in a multi-generational family of German Shepherd breeders. She had been breeding AKC German Shepherds since the early 1960s. As the decades passed, Tina began to notice how the American German Shepherds did not look like the German Shepherds she remembered from her childhood in Germany. Many modern German Shepherds were becoming more difficult to handle for the average family. Hip and elbow issues were also rising in the German Shepherd breed. These were a few of the reasons why Tina decided to pursue the creation of a new dog breed. These dogs would have heavier bone, level toplines, and squarer body proportions to limit the chances of spinal injuries occurring, along with an easier to handle temperament and good longevity. The first official “Shiloh Shepherds” were born in 1991.
So what breeds were used in the Shiloh Shepherds development? The Shiloh Shepherd was originally developed from 20 dogs. 14 of these foundation dogs were AKC showline German Shepherds, and the majority were produced in the founder’s own kennel. Other breeds that played a role in the Shiloh Shepherd’s development is a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, a Sarplaninac cross, and an Alaskan Malamute mix. People often times think, that the Shiloh Shepherd is a wolf dog, but it is not true and DNA tests have proven no wolf content was included in the breed's development.
3) Versus German Shepherd
So the main ancestor of the Shiloh Shepherd, is the German Shepherd, but what are the differences between these two breeds? We can start with the appearance differences and the most significant is, that the Shiloh Shepherd is approximately 30% larger than a well-bred German Shepherd. Shilohs have a more wolf-like appearance, and more square body proportions than a German Shepherd. Shilohs also have distinctly smaller triangular ears and almond-shaped eyes. The temperament and personality is also different. The Shiloh Shepherd is typically more family-friendly, calmer, softer, and easier to handle than modern German Shepherds. It can be said that the Shiloh Shepherd is more of an active companion dog, while the German Shepherd is a better working dog. BTW, the Shiloh Shepherd is not the only breed developed from the German Shepherd, as there is also the East European Shepherd, White Swiss Shepherd Dog, and the American White Shepherd.
Shiloh Shepherd comes in two coat varieties, Plush and Smooth. The majority of Shilohs have the longer plush coat, while the shorter smooth coat is fairly rare. These are double coated dogs and they come in a variety of colors that including sable, as well as dual, saddleback, and bi-coloured, in shades of grey, silver, cream, and brown. Recessive black, and recessive white coats are also both accepted coat color variations by the breed standard, though these solid colored coats are more uncommon.
Speaking of the coat, it is important to mention the grooming and maintenance as well. These dogs do shed, but the level of shedding really depends on the coat length. The plush coated Shiloh Shepherds sheds only a little during the year, but they will blow their coats during the shedding seasons, most often two times a year and during this time, the shedding is extreme. During the shedding season, you must brush their coat regularly, even daily, to help them to remove the dead hair and to prevent matting. Other than that, the plush coat is very easy to maintain and groom and no special grooming is required. The smooth coat on the other hand sheds much more during the year and it is also recommended to brush it often to minimize the shedding, but it is impossible to stop it. No other grooming needs are necessary. Just like with all dogs you should also regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clip them or clean them if needed.
6) Exercise needs
Shiloh Shepherds are not hyperactive, but definitely not complete coach potatoes either. They will always be ready for fun playtime, outdoor walk or hike, or fun training sessions. Daily walks are definitely needed to keep the dog healthy, happy and in good shape. It is important to not only exercise the dog's body, but mind as well. You can do it by trick training, obedience training, fun puzzle toys, or some dog sport.
Shiloh Shepherds excel in the Search & Rescue field. Having a keen sense of smell and a sharp mind, they are occasionally used in scent detection work in both North America and Europe. They are also sought out as therapy dogs for both children and adults, since their gentle, empathetic nature is very calming and easy to bond with. Shilohs also make for hardy pack dogs while hiking the backcountry, as well as amazing wildlife deterrents thanks to their size and presence alone. The breed founder also envisioned the breed as trustworthy cart pullers.
The Shiloh Shepherd is a large and athletic dog breed with average height of females being between 26-30 inches, while male typically range 28-33 inches at the withers, which is 66-83 cm. Weight is usually between 80-130 lbs, which is 36-59 kg. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males.
9) Family dogs
If you are looking for a large family pet, Shiloh Shepherd might be one of the best choices. They have a great family oriented personality. They are also pretty gentle and tolerant, so they can live with kids, but of course, you should never leave any dog breed with a very young child unsupervised. Shilohs can also thrive with other dogs or other pets in the household, especially if socialized from puppyhood. Due to their large size, they might not be the best fit for first time dog owners, but they are definitely much more manageable than the majority of other large breeds and they truly do make excellent family companions.
The Shiloh Shepherd is a relatively healthy and hardy breed with an average lifespan around 10-12 years. Of course, they may suffer from some health issues, many are the same health issues as other large breeds, including some rare cases of hip dysplasia and bloating. They can also suffer from Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency and some allergies. German Shepherd Dog Inherited Ventricular Arrhythmia is also a concern in the Shiloh breed, which is why it is standard practice that all Shiloh Shepherds puppies wear a 24-hour EKG heart Holter monitor at 6 months of age to clear them for this rare invisible illness.