The Shiloh Shepherd is a breed of dog in the Shepherd family that looks very similar to the popular German Shepherd. However, calm and loving, the Shiloh Shepherd is more docile and has fewer health conditions than the German and was bred to be the perfect family companion.
The Shiloh Shepherd still retains the intelligence of the German Shepherd along with their excellent work ethic, but they are believed to be a little easier to handle while still giving you all the love and attention you want from your furry friend! These dogs are one of the parent breeds of the King Shepherd, which is no surprise given their size.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Shiloh Shepherd and whether they might be the dog for you, keep reading to find out everything you need to.
History Of The Shiloh Shepherd
Back in the 1970s, the biggest concern with the German Shepherd was their health issues and the fact that they could be difficult to handle. Breeders wanted to create a dog that had minimal health issues and was a gentler pup, but still had Shepherd tendencies.
Therefore, the Shiloh Shepherd was created. A very intelligent dog breed, these friendly dogs are often used as working dogs such as guide dogs or search and rescue dogs. However, they are also very clam and loving, making an excellent family pet. They are the least territorial out of all the Shepherd breeds, although they are still very loyal and protective.
The Shiloh Shepherd isn’t recognized by any Kennel Clubs, including the American Kennel Club (AKC), although they do have a breed standard.
They were first bred by Tina Barber in the 1970s, who used to train German Shepherd dogs in New York. Barber realized that German Shepherds were a lot for families to handle, due to their power and activity level. She wanted to create a pup that was more family friendly, but also didn’t have all the health issues that a German Shepherd did.
Throughout the years, different breeds were introduced to the German Shepherd to create the Shiloh Shepherd. In 1989, the Alaskan Malamute was introduced because of their size and good hips. They were followed by the Canadian White Shepherd in 2001, which were introduced for their size and genetic diversity. Lastly, the German Shepherd was bred with the Czech Wolf Dog in the mid 2000’s.
Breeding these different dogs gave breeders the chance to cherry-pick the best qualities for each dog. There are some concerns about the genetic diversity of the Shiloh Shepherd and the limitations of this, but if you buy from a reputable breeder, you should not find any issues.
Characteristics Of The Shiloh Shepherd
A Shiloh Shepherd puppy can usually set you back around $1,000 to $2,000. These pups are normally born in litter sizes of six to twelve puppies. You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder, so you can minimize any further health issues. Lets take a look at some of their characteristics below.
The Shiloh Shepherd does look very similar to the German Shepherd, although they are larger dogs and have a straighter back. They still hold the pointy ears of the German Shepherd on top of their head and their head is domed.
The Shiloh Shepherd can weigh anywhere between 140 to 160 lbs for a male, and between 100 to 120 lbs for a female. Males normally stand between 28 to 30 inches high and females are smaller, standing between 26 to 28 inches high.
The Shiloh Shepherd dog can have two different coat types. One is a smooth coat that is a dense, short coat, while the other is a plusher coat that is softer and longer. If your Shiloh Shepherd has a plush coat, they may look like they have a mane. The plush coat also sheds less but will require more grooming, although we will go into more detail about that later on.
The Shiloh Shepherd can come in a range of colors and may be a solid color or bi-colored. Most often, they have the coloring of a German Shepherd and are back and tan, but they can also be gray and black or golden tan, reddish tan, silver, sable, red brown, dark grey or black. Sometimes they might also have a white blaze on their chest. There are 33 different colors recognized by their breed standard!
The Shiloh Shepherd is a very loyal and courageous pet, that makes an excellent companion to many. More laid back than the German Shepherd, the Shiloh Shepherd is docile and gentle, making them a great dog for families and those with children.
These dogs are very intelligent, something they inherit from their German Shepherd parents, which makes them easy to train. They are also great working dogs due to their intelligence and confident nature, and can excel as therapy dogs or service dogs.
Of course, the temperament of your Shiloh Shepherd can alter drastically depending on the environment they are raised in and their surroundings. One thing to remember is that, because this is an intelligent breed, they do not like to be left alone. You shouldn’t think about adding a Shiloh to your home if you are going to be out for hours at a time, because these gentle giants just want to be by your side!
The Shiloh Shepherd has an average life expectancy of between nine to fourteen years.
Known Health Issues
Although one of the reasons the Shiloh Shepherd was bred was to eliminate some of the health problems the German Shepherd faces, unfortunately, like all dogs, the Shiloh Shepherd can still be prone to some health concerns. We have laid these out below.
- Hip Dysplasia — this is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
- Gastric Torsion (Bloat) — this is potentially fatal. You need to know the symptoms of it. Feeding your dog smaller more frequent meals instead of one big meal can help to reduce the risk.
- Degenerative Myelopathy — this is a progressive disease of the spinal cord that can result in hind leg paralysis. There is no cure but there is treatment. It can be helped with intensive physical rehabilitation.
- Ventricular arrhythmias — this is when the heart beats too fast and can lead to cardiac arrest.
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency — this is the inability to digest certain foods as the pancreas does not produce enough digestive enzymes.
- Panosteitis — this is common in large breed puppies because they grow very fast. It is when the bones of young dogs become inflamed causing lameness. It can last for as long as they are growing.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced. Trusted breeders will do health checks on both parent dogs and will not breed if there is a chance of passing on any severe issues to offspring.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Shiloh Shepherd, lets take a look and see what living with one of these dogs is actually like. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise requirements and their grooming needs.
Food And Diet
It is no surprise that a giant breed of this size eats a lot. You can expect to feed the Shiloh Shepherd between 2,000 to 3,200 calories a day, which can equate to around eight cups of kibble a day. As a puppy they will be eating more, sometimes up to 5,400 calories a day, and you should split this into four meals. When your Shiloh reaches adulthood, this can be two meals.
You must be careful that your Shiloh Shepherd doesn’t eat too much too quickly or all at once, as this can lead to bloat. This can be fatal within dogs and you will need to learn the symptoms for it.
You should always check the back of the food packet to see how much of a certain food you should be feeding your Shiloh dog based on their weight. Make sure you feed them a high-quality kibble — preferably one that is tailored to the needs of large breeds.
Best Dog Food For The Shiloh Shepherd
Blue Buffalo has millions of fans who love the brand’s formulas such as this dry dog food. The Life Protection formula is suitable for adult dogs that need a little extra help. It comes in a 30-pound bag to cover multiple feedings and uses a chicken and brown rice recipe. Thanks to the real chicken used in the formula, your dog gets the protein that it needs to build and maintain healthy muscles. The formula also uses fruits and garden vegetables along with whole grains.
Unlike other dog food that uses lots of grains and fillers with a small amount of protein, Blue Buffalo gives your dog a nice dose of protein with just the right amount of grains and no fillers. This food is also suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs and other problems as it is free from soy and wheat along with preservatives and corn.
We recommend the Rachael Ray Nutrish dry dog food for the Shiloh Shepherd. Formulated for large breeds, this food helps to support hip and joint health in bigger dogs. With U.S. farm-raised chicken as the number one ingredient, this formula also provides your Shiloh Shepherd with all the protein they need to keep their muscles lean and healthy.
The large kibble size of this food not only provides a crunchy texture, but it also helps to support dental health in large dogs by scrubbing the teeth as they chew. Even better, there are also natural prebiotics which help support healthy digestion and there are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
The Shiloh Shepherd has high energy levels and therefore has high exercise needs. You will need to walk these pups for at least 60 minutes every day, and you can’t skip it! If these dogs don’t get the exercise they need, not only will they become obese but they will become very destructive!
As a puppy, you should stick to the five minute rule. This means five minutes of walking per month of age. So, for example, if your puppy is four months old, you will be walking them for 20 minutes. You should continue this until they are fully grown (around 18 months to 2 years of age) to ensure no harm is done to their skeleton.
Due to the Shiloh Shepherd’s intelligence, they are very good at dog sports such as agility training, obedience training and flyball, too.
One thing to note with this dog is that they love to exercise, but once they’ve had a walk and have got their energy out, they’ll happily curl up on the couch next to you and relax!
The Shiloh Shepherd will fit in with almost every family and truly makes an excellent companion dog. We mentioned above that these dogs are extremely loyal and friendly, and they are especially gentle with children. They can also get along very well with other animals and dogs in the home, if socialization takes place. Their intelligence and working nature means they are easy to train too, so all the family can get involved.
Shiloh Shepherd’s do need quite a bit of exercise, and this is not something you can skip. You must make sure you can dedicate enough time to them every day for exercising and for this reason they will do well in an active household. They will particularly love to join you while you are out hiking or running, making a great exercise buddy! If you don’t exercise this dog enough, they can begin to exhibit destructive and unwanted behaviors.
The Shiloh Shepherd is a very intelligent dog and is therefore very easy to train, so much so all the family can get involved! Like all dogs, the Shiloh Shepherd responds best to positive reinforcement techniques and reward based training. This includes verbal praise and treats.
You should never get angry or frustrated with your dog when training. They may not understand what is happening and this will cause them to not want to learn. You should ignore negative behavior and praise positive behavior so they learn which is more desirable.
Shiloh Shepherd’s are known for being very sociable and loving animals. However, socialization should still take place from a young age so they learn there is nothing to be afraid of.
You should introduce them to new sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals when they are young, in a safe and controlled way. This means they will grow up to be a well-rounded dog with no fears!
Grooming your Shiloh Shepherd will depend on which coat type they have. Both the long coat and the short coat are double coats, which will mean your Shiloh has two blow outs a year and you will need to invest in a good vacuum cleaner! This is also means they are not a good dog for those with allergies.
The longer coat will shed less but requires more grooming than the short coat that sheds more but doesn’t need to be brushed as often. You should be brushing your Shiloh regularly throughout the week to rid them of any loose hairs and to keep them looking tidy.
Ensure you check their eyes and ears regularly and clean them when needed. You should brush your Shiloh Shepherd’s teeth regularly to help prevent the build up of dental decay and disease. You can always use dental sticks if this is easier.
Shiloh Shepherd FAQ’s
What is the difference between a German Shepherd and a Shiloh Shepherd?
A Shiloh Shepherd descends from a German Shepherd and so they share some visible characteristics, such as the shape of their ears or often the color of their coat. They are also intelligent just like a German Shepherd and make great working dogs.
However, a Shiloh Shepherd was bred from a German Shepherd to produce a more laid-back dog. The Shiloh is more docile and family-friendly, and they aren’t as much of a handful as German Shepherd’s can be!
Shiloh Shepherds were also bred to eliminate many of the health issues that German Shepherd’s have. While Shiloh’s still have health concerns, they do not have as many as the German.
How much does a Shiloh Shepherd cost?
A Shiloh Shepherd normally costs between $1,000 and $2,000. You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder that can show you health clearances for both parent breeds.
If this is out of your price range, you can always check your local shelter! There may be a Shiloh Shepherd there waiting for their forever home!
The Shiloh Shepherd is sweet, gentle, family orientated dog that makes the perfect companion to many. This good-natured pup certainly takes some of it’s traits from the German parent, yet they are bred to be a calmer, more docile dog that is more relaxed, especially around children. They also do not have quite as high exercise needs as a German Shepherd, nor are they as stubborn, making them easier to look after and train.
The Shiloh Shepherd has fewer health issues too, which can certainly save your vet bills! If you’ve got the space, why not think about adding this gentle-giant to your home? Do you think a Shiloh Shepherd could be the dog for you?