There are many different types of large dogs, such as the Golden Retriever, the Great Dane and the German Shepherd. They often grow rapidly and require a larger place to stay in. However, despite their size, they are usually very mature and friendly.
That being said, the Shiloh Shepherd is no exception. Like most larger sized dogs, they often make good companions and are more adaptable to meeting new people. So, don’t be intimidated by its size and let us know more about this breed.
What is a Shiloh Shepherd?
If you have never heard of the Shiloh Shepherd, it is because they are still a rather rare breed that is under development. Hence, they have not received any major recognition from kennel clubs. Although they look like the German Shepherd, the Shiloh Shepherd tend to have a bigger and straighter back.
There are two main kinds of Shiloh Shepherd, namely, the plush-coated Shiloh Shepherd and the smooth-coated Shiloh Shepherd. With their strong cheekbones and larger build, the Shiloh Shepherd can be livestock protectors, search and rescue dogs as well as service assistants.
Although it is still in development, the history of the Shiloh Shepherd can be traced back to the 1960s. It was developed by Tina M. Barber in New York, United States. She wanted to breed her ideal Shepherd dog, as the most common problem faced by the German Shepherd is often hip dysplasia.
Hence, she used the LMX program to collect data from littermates and researched the many generations and siblings of dogs in order to predict how their genetics will turn out. This has helped her to develop the Shiloh Shepherd, a large, clever and reliable Shepherd that has good health and hips.
By the 80’s, the Shiloh Shepherds’ puppies were already noticeably different from the German Shepherds’ puppies. With their outgoing personality, stable behavior and better health compared to other Shepherds, a new breed was born.
In 1990, the Federation of International Canines agreed to register the Shiloh Shepherds under a separate breed. Barber pulled her stock out of American Kennel Club in the same year, as she wanted them to be bred independently. The Shiloh Shepherds are developed to be gentle, family-friendly and more loving as well.
As Barber continued with her research, there were two other projects that were like hers. One was researching on the right lines in the Shiloh Shepherd’s foundation. The other one was on the MAW line, which included another line of Wurttemberg-type of German Shepherd known as the Texas Woollies. All these helped Tina to develop her Shiloh Shepherd with the right size and bone dimensions that she wants, with the intelligence and temperament as well.
The Shiloh Shepherd is generally very calm and clever. Even as puppies, they are distinctively calmer than other dogs. Furthermore, they have a protective instinct, which is not overly aggressive or hostile. However, you have to remember that the Shiloh Shepherd are not dogs that will attack. So, you must not provoke them to start attacking anyone.
Like most dogs, they have to be trained from a young age to start socializing with people. One good advice is to handle them with a firm but loving attitude. However, they will chew things once they start teething, so be prepared to hand them a toy.
They make wonderful companions due to their friendly nature. With their loyalty and courage, they also get protective when they feel that their owners are threatened. As a result, these characteristics make them a good guard dog and watchdog.
The Shiloh Shepherd will often form a close relationship and bond with their owner and family. Hence, they are often good therapy dogs or service dogs as well. In fact, you might be surprised that many Shiloh Shepherds work as diabetic, seizure alert dogs, or mobility service dogs.
The Shiloh Shepherd is a very powerful dog that is well-built. The males stand at 30 inches (76 cm) or more and weigh between 120 to 140 pounds. On the other hand, the females generally stand at 28 inches (71 cm) onwards and they weigh 100 to 120 pounds. Despite their large size, the Shiloh Shepherd still moves gracefully for a large dog.
Their heads are considerably broad, slightly domed in and are proportionate to their body. Their muzzle is usually black and slightly tapering, same length as their forehead. Their eyes only come in shades of medium to dark brown and no other colors have been bred so far. Furthermore, they usually have medium-sized eyes that are almond-shaped and not protruding out too much.
The Shiloh Shepherd has a broad and muscular back, which gives them their strength and size. Their entire body is supposed to look straight, solid and strong, which complements their chest. Moreover, their tails are long and slightly curved.
As mentioned earlier, the Shiloh Shepherd has two coats, one smooth/double coat and the plush coat. For the smooth coat, it is usually medium length, straight and harsh and tend to lie close to the body.
For the plush coat, on the other hand, it is longer with a softer undercoat. However, their ears, head and muzzle are still covered with softer fur. The length should generally not be longer than 5 inches and their neck has a distinct mane that covers their chest as well. The plush coated ones tend to shed less fur, but may require more grooming then the smooth coat.
You may think that most Shiloh Shepherds only come in black and brown, but there is a wide variety of colors. They may be shades of black with tan, reddish tan, cream, or even various shades of very pigmented red, silver or gold. Solid colors are also accepted if their nose, lip and eye rims are black. On the other hand, white and pale, washed out colored ones are often unhealthy and discouraged.
With its two variations of fur coats, the Shiloh Shepherd understandably has different needs for the two distinct types.
As the smooth-coated Shiloh Shepherd has fur that is shorter, it requires less care as compared to the plush-coated ones. That said, you have to brush your smooth-coated Shiloh Shepherd about once every two weeks.
On the other hand, Shiloh Shepherds with plush coats will need more frequent brushing. Daily brushings are necessary to keep the fur clean and prevent tangles from forming. At the same time, you get to have some extra one-on-one time with your pet.
Both dogs don’t tend to shed much, but experience periods of time when shedding increases in severity and frequency. During those shedding seasons, it’s a good idea to increase the brushing a bit. Do take note that the smooth coat variation of Shiloh Shepherds shed more than its plush-coated counterpart.
As for bathing, neither variation needs to be bathed often. In fact, the recommended amount for baths would be about once or twice a year. This is to prevent natural oils in the skin from being removed and drying it out.
Of course, basic grooming such as nail trimming, brushing their teeth and cleaning out of ears are necessary and should be done on a regular basis.
The Shiloh Shepherd is an amazingly versatile kind of dog. This is because it can thrive in both hot and cold climates. It is important to ensure that they have shade in hot or warm weather as well as a warm and sturdy shelter when it’s cold out.
They can live in an apartment or a larger home, as they are more inactive when indoors. It is okay for the dog to stay outdoors, but they would prefer to be indoors where it’s closer to their human owners.
However, this is a breed of dog that needs its exercise to keep healthy and entertained. That said, it would be best if their living spaces include a yard. At the very least, it would do well for your Shiloh Shepherd to have a park to run and play in.
Possible Health Problems
Much like its relative, the German Shepherd, the Shiloh Shepherd has an expected lifespan of 9 to 14 years on average. However, they can also exceed 14 years of age if in good health. It is advised that this breed of dog be taken to the vet for an examination every year.
One of the problems this breed may have is halitosis, or bad breath. You are able to get them professional treatment for this, the state of which can be maintained by habitually brushing their teeth. However, if any bad breath comes back, it can be a good indicator of how the dog is doing in terms of health.
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
As the breed has sensitive stomachs, it is highly advised that they are fed a diet of high-quality food when they are young. Gastric dilatation volvulus is a very common disease in most dogs, being the second most common killer of dogs after cancer. Shiloh Shepherds are especially susceptible to this condition due to their deep chests. This condition is also known as bloat, twisted stomach, or gastric torsion.
Hip dysplasia is another health problem to look out for. This is the abnormal development of hip joints. Shiloh Shepherds are less susceptible to this condition compared to German Shepherds, due in part to a rigorous genetic breeding program. However, other skeletal issues may also present themselves. At the same time, slow bone growth in this breed requires that strenuous physical activities must not be introduced before full maturation, as severe injuries could develop.
Shiloh Shepherds are also frequently exposed to worms and may become infested by them. This includes heartworms, hookworms and roundworms. Thus, trips to the vet should be made for examinations yearly, or whenever any symptoms arise.
This breed of dog is also reported to have gastrointestinal problems, skin disease, autoimmune conditions and more. In addition to that, they may also have congenital heart disease. Panosteitis, which is the inflammation of long bones in the legs and low thyroid, is also likely to occur when your Shiloh Shepherd is growing up.
As mentioned, the Shiloh Shepherd is a dog that can do well indoors but needs its fair share of exercise as well. Thus, it is recommended that this breed gets at least some exercise every day.
Any form of exercise will do - a walk, or a run, or even some games. To save time, you are also able to do your daily jog or run with them as well. They make great partners for this, as they truly enjoy any kind of physical activity that you are able to give them.
How much exercise these dogs need is up to their age and level of health. However, as they are quite large and active when given the chance, it is better that you don’t just take them for a quick walk around the block. Be sure that your Shiloh Shepherd gets the exercise it needs because while it can be inactive indoors, it can also become bored and destructive.
Is It a Good Family Dog?
This breed, like the German Shepherd, make great family dogs. They are good with children even though they can look quite big and scary. Despite their sometimes mean demeanor, they are very loving and loyal. They are extremely friendly and outgoing and will definitely be great to have around the house and with the kids.
It is a great companion dog not only because of its capacity for love, but because of its protectiveness of its owners.
Dogs of the Shiloh Shepherd breed are extremely intelligent and catch on very quick. This makes them extremely easy to train. They are very eager to learn new things and are very capable. As such, they do well in tasks such as search and rescue and can excel in obedience competitions.
Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to get this dog to do what you want it to. The reinforcers used for training of this breed can be non-food items such as toys, or other helpful tools. There is also a specific training method developed to best train this breed of dog, called the Shiloh Training Method.
In conclusion, the Shiloh Shepherd is a great companion and family dog to have. Despite its large size and weight, they make very good therapy and service dogs due to their inherently calm nature. Their good socializing skills make the Shiloh Shepherd a very adaptable dog in many different environments.
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