The Shiloh Shepherd might be a breed name that you haven’t heard before, but if you’ve ever seen a German Shepherd and thought, ‘wow he’s a big boy’, then there is a very good chance that it was, in fact, a Shiloh Shepherd.
The Shiloh Shepherd was bred with the purpose of creating a friendlier and healthier version of the German Shepherd, whilst maintaining his gorgeous and regal looks. This energetic canine requires a lot of exercise, and with his larger stature, he requires a larger home with access to a backyard.
Additionally, for those readers who are wondering how to say his name, Shiloh is pronounced ‘shy-low’. So, if you are wondering whether this unfamiliar dog breed is for you, fear not as we have it covered! So, sit back, relax and read this comprehensive guide to the Shiloh Shepherd.
The Shiloh Shepherd is a new crossbreed pup who is still under development, but his journey first began in the late 1970’s in New York. A German Shepherd breeder, Tina Barber, became increasingly concerned about the German Shepherd’s health problems and demising appearance, particularly his sloping back. Tina had an ideal of the perfect German Shepherd, and so in 1989 she mixed a German Shepherd with the larger Alaskan Malamute, and it is these two breeds that form the foundations of the Shiloh Shepherd. Later in the 2000’s, she added the Canadian White Shepherd and the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog into the mix to add genetic diversity with the hope that it would increase his health.
In 1991 Tina separated her breeding stock from the American Kennel Club (AKC), but it was only in 2007 when she finally created her ideal pup. Although he is still not recognized as a breed in his own right by the major kennel clubs, he is recognized by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA). He is currently a relatively unknown dog, but, as this article is being written the Shiloh Shepherd is the ARBA’s featured dog of the month, and he has won multiple ‘best in show’ awards, and he is most certainly starting to turn heads in the canine kingdom.
Just as he was intended to be, the Shiloh Shepherd is relatively calm and docile. Whilst he is an energetic dog, he will happily use the afternoon for a snooze or two, and if it is a snuggle bug that you are after then the Shiloh Shepherd is definitely the breed for you. They are tranquil and passive indoors, which makes them a great housemate to live with, as you don’t have to worry about the zoomies or him knocking things over. However, with that being said, you cannot skip on their daily exercise, because they will become restless and bored, and will destroy your homely possessions in minutes. They are large and powerful dogs who should not be left to entertain themselves for hours on end.
Their gentleness goes hand in hand with their friendly and sociable demeanor, and he is kind and affectionate with all of his family. Unlike the German Shepherd he does not cling to one family member, and he has an affinity for children, and he can often be found snuggling himself around them. As with any dog, particularly a large one such as the Shiloh Shepherd, he should always be supervised around children simply because of his size and the potential for accidental mishaps.
As with any new cross breed it is important to remember that not all Shiloh Shepherds will conform to the norm, and some of them may retain their guarding tendencies inherited from their German Shepherd parent’s. However, with their extra genetics thrown into the mix it should not be too difficult to train them so that their guarding traits are manageable and to return his temperament to what it should be, a gentle giant. It is believed by many Shepherd owners that the Shiloh Shepherd is the least protective of them all, which is great if you are seeking a kind creature such as the Shiloh Shepherd.
Size & Appearance
The Shiloh Shepherd and the German Shepherd are very similar pups who look almost identical, but there are a few giveaways that set the Shiloh Shepherd apart from the German Shepherd. Thanks to his selective breeding they have straighter backs and better hips compared to the German Shepherd, and not only does this look much more proportionate, but it also has health benefits that we will discuss later. Due to his size, he’s commonly mistaken for another closely related breed, and the Caucasian Shepherd (Aka the Russian Bear).
The Shiloh Shepherd is also much larger than the German Shepherd, and he is more similar in size to his Alaskan Malamute parent. The male and female Shiloh Shepherd will measure between 26 and 30 inches tall, from paw to shoulder, and they will weigh anywhere between 80 and 130 pounds. When you compare this to the weight of the German Shepherd, who weighs between 50 and 90 pounds, it is much easier to put his extra bodyweight into perspective.
The Shiloh Shepherd is wolf-like in his appearance thanks to his broad head and elongated muzzle. He has large triangular ears that generally stand erect, but with dark golden-brown eyes that give him an almost calm and deep aura. He has a long pluming tail similar to the Alaskan Malamute, and large paws. For further information about the appearance of the Shiloh Shepherd, take a look at his full breed standard.
Coat & Colors
The Shiloh Shepherd has a choice of two coats, either smooth or luxuriously fluffy. Whichever form their coat takes, they both have a thick and dense under coat to protect them from the cold and warm elements. The Shiloh Shepherds who have a fluffy outer coat will have a particularly fluffy mane around their neck, and a coat that is smooth is generally rough to the touch; it is never silky.
Shiloh Shepherds tend to enjoy the same color coats of that of the German Shepherd. The most common color is the bi-colored black and tan color, and on occasion he will have the solid single color. Diluted colors such as blue or liver, similar to the German Shepherd, are considered to be a genetic fault, and breeders will not use them to breed. Other colors that can be found with the black are sable, red, gold and brown.
Exercise Requirements & Living Conditions
The Shiloh Shepherd, despite his laid-back approach to life, is a medium to high energy dog who needs around 60 minutes of exercise a day. Do not take his docile indoor nature as laziness, for as soon as you venture outside and begin your walk, he will almost begin to skip with enjoyment and gratitude. He is inquisitive and curious, and for this reason he should always be kept on a leash in public places. He surprisingly makes a great jogging partner (once fully grown) and it is a great way to tire him out, and playing interactive games will also mentally satisfy him.
Because of his larger shape, he requires a large home with space enough for this big fluff ball, and he may even need his own armchair unless you’re happy for him to lay across your lap. He will also need access to a large backyard with space enough for him to wander freely and enjoy the fresh air that he loves so much. Make sure it is enclosed by a reinforced fence though, as the Shiloh Shepherd can be quite the escapist.
Whilst he does have an affinity for children, he would be better suited to a family with older children who he cannot squash, simply because of his size. He is also great with other animals and dogs if he is socialized adequately as a pup, and therefore he also makes a great addition to a multi-pet household; just be sure to have a pre-meet to avoid any personality clashes.
As soon as the Shiloh Shepherd puppy goes home with you start his training immediately. The easiest way to begin is through early socialization, and this is the process whereby you expose the pup to as many unfamiliar situations as possible, such as meeting different people and dogs of all different shapes and sizes. It is also important to expose him to new environments, new sounds such as the hoover and the hairdryer, and it is this exposure that will teach him to be confident no matter what situation is put in front of him.
As soon as the Shiloh Shepherd displays behaviors that are desired, or if he picks up a command, then reward him for he is likely to repeat this behavior. This process is known as positive reinforcement training and this is scientifically proven to be the most effective way to train a dog.
Overall, the Shiloh Shepherd is intelligent, and he is eager to please his master, and whilst he may not be as intelligent as his German Shepherd parent, his intelligence far outweighs that of the average pooch. For this reason, the Shiloh Shepherd is suited for a first-time dog owner.
The Shiloh Shepherd inherits his health problems from his German Shepherd father, but remember that he is slightly healthier than him, which is great news for a Shiloh Shepherd owner and the family wallet. The German Shepherd is particularly known to suffer from Hip Dysplasia, and whilst the Shiloh’s hips may be healthier, dysplasia is not entirely eliminated. As such, be sure to watch for limping or dragging of his limbs, as these are sure signs that he may be suffering from Hip Dysplasia.
The other two main health issues to be concerned with are Gastric Torsion, which is also known as bloat, and this is characterized by a twisting stomach as a result of eating immediately after or before intense exercise. The other concern is Degenerative Myelopathy, which is the slow degeneration of the spinal cord, which can result in paraplegia.
Overall, the lifespan of the Shiloh Shepherd pup is 9 to 14 years, which is significantly higher than most Shepherd pups out there, and this is thanks to selective breeding of the healthiest German Shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes, and others.
The Shiloh Shepherd will need around 3 to 3 ½ cups of food a day. This might be less than the average large dog, but he is quite sedentary throughout the day except for his main exercise routine. Similar to his German Shepherd parent, because of his predisposition to bloat, he should be fed across two separate meal sittings, and not immediately before or after exercising.
If in any doubt regarding his nutritional needs or the risk of bloat, then be sure to speak to your veterinarian who will be happy to point you in the right direction.
Just like most Shepherd dogs, the Shiloh Shepherd is a self-cleaner who can generally take care of his own fur, however, once every 2 or 3 months he will need you to lend a paw to fully bathe him. The Shiloh Shepherd is also a moderate shedder and as such he will need brushing every day to ensure that you remove all of his dead hair, and to promote blood circulation and hair regrowth. Additionally, during shedding season when the months are warming up, you should expect to brush him around twice a day, because he literally sheds his entire coat over the space of 2 to 3 weeks, and he has a lot of hair!
In regards to all other grooming rituals, such as ear cleaning and dental brushing, be sure to check these weekly to ensure that he is looking healthy and everything is as it should be.
As Family Pets
- The Shiloh Shepherd is a calm and docile indoor pet, who loves cuddles on the sofa.
- Despite this, he is still an active breed, needing 60 minutes of activity every day.
- He is a sociable and friendly dog.
- He might let out a bark or two when someone first arrives at the house.
- The Shiloh Shepherd is great with children but should be monitored due to size.
- He is also great with other family pets as long as he has been socialized.
- The Shiloh Shepherd needs daily brushing because of his fluffy coat.
- Expect higher than normal bathing & grooming requirements as well.
- You’ll want to de-shed regularly using a tool like the Dakpets de-shedder.
- Because he is a moderate to high shedder, he is not hypoallergenic.
- You’ll want to look at other breeds if you have allergies.
- The Shiloh Shepherd is not suited to apartment life.
- This dog needs to be in a large home with a reinforced backyard.
Finding A Breeder
The International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club (ISSDC) list a number of reputable breeders from various states, as well as listing stud only kennels if you are interested in breeding the Shiloh Shepherd. If you cannot find any breeders suitable for you and your circumstances then you can also search for closer breeders online, but just be sure to read other reviews and thoroughly research them before you proceed.
Another great way to find specific breeders is to speak to those on Shiloh Shepherd online forums, as almost everyone on the forums will be avid fans of the breed and they will know the best breeders and kennels around. Ultimately, however, you still need to complete your own research and don’t rush into any decisions as getting a dog is one of the best, but the most important decisions you’ll ever make.
The average cost of a Shiloh Shepherd puppy starts from around $1,000 and can increase if the pup comes from an award-winning lineage. The Shiloh puppy is much rarer than the German Shepherd, and as such there are much fewer breeders, so there is a chance, dependent on where you live, that the cost of the puppy might rise above the average cost.
The average size of the Shiloh Shepherd puppy litter ranges anywhere from 6 to 12, so when choosing a puppy, it is best to get to the breeder as soon as they will allow you too, for you will then have first choice of the pups. In order to get a pup with a good temperament, it is advised that you choose a pup that is neither shying away from his littermates, nor bullying them into a corner, the best bet is to choose a puppy with a temperament that lies somewhere in the middle.
Rescue & Shelters
The ISSDC also assist those who wish to adopt a Shiloh Shepherd, as they have a large network of rescue centers, and they will review your online application and get in touch with you if a suitable Shiloh Shepherd comes up for adoption. Be sure to fill out their application form to kickstart the process.
Additionally, another way to start the adoption process would be to contact the local German Shepherd rescue centers, as they are dedicated solely to all Shepherds and mixes alike. Some rescue centers will even allow you to trial a dog for a few weeks, which allows you and your family to see if he fits into the pack well.
Most rescue centers also utilize the power of social media to spread the word about pups who are up for adoption, so be sure to search for rescue center pages on social media and follow them to get the latest pup-dates.
The Shiloh Shepherd is a beautiful and majestic dog, who really does tick all the boxes. Not only is this guy gentle and docile and generally a pleasure to live with, but as soon as he steps outside of the house, he turns into an energetic ball of fun who cannot get enough of life!
He will keep the entire family entertained for hours on end, but he also makes the best hot water bottle for evening snuggles. He is much friendlier and more accepting than the German Shepherd, which also makes him slightly easier to train. And finally, he is also slightly healthier than the German Shepherd, and his hips certainly don’t lie with his generally better hip score.
All in all the Shiloh Shepherd has everything, and more, to offer any family. As long as you can provide him with the energetic hourly exercise sessions that he needs every day then you will be onto a winning partnership for many years to come.