Selectively bred to be larger yet gentler than the German Shepherd it originates from, the Shiloh Shepherd can safely be called a gentle giant on account of how stoic it is. Not to say that other German Shepherds are too naughty, but even when compared with the breed’s default behavior the Shiloh Shepherd seems somewhat more lethargic.
Having said that, rest assured that the dog has plenty of energy reserves to engage in playful behavior when prompted to do so, it’s just that it rarely initiates play on its own accord. Then again, they are quite inquisitive and confident by nature, which surely makes up for the lack of initiative.
Over the next few minutes, we’ll try to find out more about this gentle giant, what irks it, what faults it has, and how to best care for such a peculiar yet reliable companion. As we are about to find out, there is more about the Shiloh Shepherd that meets the eye.
Table of Contents
- What is A Shiloh Shepherd?
- Shiloh Shepherd Personality & Temperament
- Caring For A Shiloh Shepherd
- Quick Breed Summary Table
What is A Shiloh Shepherd?
A Shiloh Shepherd is what you get when you breed the largest German Shepherds you can get your hands on. The creator of the breed, a woman by the name of Tina Barber selectively bred German Shepherds in the 1980s with a variety of other breeds including Alaskan Malamutes.
The end result was a mixture of German Shepherd-based mixed dogs that retained many of the physical and mental characteristics of German Shepherds combined with the look of other breeds. The fact that she also thought to breed certain types of Shepherds among themselves resulted in the Shiloh Shepherd we see today.
In a way, the Shiloh Shepherd inherits the history of the German Shepherd, with the added bonus of being larger in size. Just like its ancestors were used for herding and guarding purposes, so can the Shiloh Shepherd with good results.
It comes as no surprise that the Shiloh Shepherd looks nearly identical to a German Shepherd, just a little bigger. As such, the dog has a tapered muzzle with a blunt nose and brown eyes. Some of these dogs also have black markings on the face and an expressive face to top it off.
The body of a Shiloh Shepherd is well-proportioned and impressively muscular by most standards. These dogs have straight backs and a bushy tail that enhances the effect of their already large bodies. In this regard, the dog is quite a sight to behold.
Height & Weight
A Shiloh Shepherd can grow up to be between 26 and 32 inches tall as an adult, with males being slightly taller than the females. This, of course, also varies depending on the dog’s nutrition, lifestyle, and general health.
In regards to weight, a Shiloh Shepherd will weight around 100 lbs as an adult, with some growing as large as 130 lbs. As we said, these are big dogs by all standards, the types of dogs that might overwhelm you based on size alone.
Coat & Colors
Seeing how Shiloh Shepherds are very similar to German Shepherds in many genetic and anatomical ways, you can expect them to share the Shepherds’ coat thickness as well. These dogs have either a thick and coarse double coat or a plush coat of similar thickness. The outer layer of the coat is usually dense and fairly straight, with the undercoat being a bit thicker.
Some of these pups can have a plush coat that’s easier to groom, a coat that can be coarse or soft depending on the dog’s genetics. Dogs with these coats have longer manes and chest hair, with a lot more feathering around the head and leg areas.
Shiloh Shepherd Personality & Temperament
Seeing how big and strong these dogs are, many are those who are intimidated by Shiloh Shepherd to some extent, but they really shouldn’t on account of how tame these dogs are. Gentle, cheerful, and very affectionate by nature, they boast a very friendly personality that makes them near-perfect pets.
Bear in mind that these gentle giants were bred for companionship and that as such, they are very friendly, loyal, and intelligent. At the same time, they all share a very stable and composed personality, with very few aggressive bursts if any.
For the most part, a Shiloh Shepherd doesn’t have any special needs or requirements other than companionship. You do need to stimulate their inherent need for attention and you need to do that often enough so that the dog doesn’t get bored or distracted.
Interestingly enough, these dogs seem to exhibit a different behavior based on whether they’re indoors or outdoors. While outdoors, these dogs tend to be very active and demanding, they tend to calm down when they’re indoors and try to spend as much time as they can with the family.
One thing you will notice over time is how happy these dogs hare to share in your hobbies and activities. For instance, they are among the few dogs that enjoy spending time in front of the TV with the family, and they might even have favorite programs or shows they enjoy watching.
Shiloh Shepherds are very polite dogs that tend to behave well around strangers when they’re out in public or at the dog park. The behavior changes when the strangers enter their territory, you see, which may be a problem considering how big these dogs can get.
Due to their German Shepherd ancestry, Shiloh Shepherds make very good guard dogs, even though they rarely showcase any real aggression. Loyal and intelligent, they have a fairly composed temperament and will seldom get in trouble even when challenged.
The fact that these dogs are very versatile and polite, they can be tasked with a variety of jobs, including service, therapy, guide, or watchdog duties. That said, leaving them alone for too long can result in the dog developing some antisocial tendencies that might take a long time to correct.
Is A Shiloh Shepherd A Good Family Dog?
There is no doubt in my mind that Shiloh Shepherds are good family dogs. In fact, these are some of the most loyal and reliable dogs you can own, the type of dogs that will exhibit unusual patience and composure when faced with difficult or adverse situations.
Sweet and gentle, these dogs are also very good with children of all ages. This is because of their remarkable patience and low aggression, even when they are suffering a great deal of discomfort at the hands of the children that might sometimes handle them too roughly.
Caring For A Shiloh Shepherd
While some of you might expect that a big dog like this would have some pretty high-maintenance requirements, the dog is actually quite easy to care for. This, of course, provided that you can provide the dog with its basic necessities.
It seems that the best way to ensure that a Shiloh Shepherd won’t develop any behavioral problems later on is to provide them with access to a yard or garden. You see, these dogs don’t fare well in apartments, no matter how well-trained the dog may be.
At the same time, their coats can be quite a bit of a hassle to deal with in the long run, especially as the dog gets older.
These dogs require regular exercise for around 90 to 120 minutes every day. Because of their thick coat, these dogs may exhibit difficulties when exercising in hot weather, so it is perhaps best to avoid working them too hard during the summer.
If you have the possibility, walk the dogs in different places from time to time to avoid the dog getting apathetic or bored. Believe it or not, some Shiloh Shepherd owners have complained that the dog became depressed after going to the same dog park for too long.
Grooming & Shedding
As we already pointed out early on, these dogs have a fairly thick coat that requires a fair amount of grooming. You will find that regular weekly brushing sessions are usually enough to groom the dog and prevent getting hair everywhere around the house.
Speaking of shedding, it needs to be said that these dogs shed a lot and will even have a blow-out season from time to time. When that happens, you will need to brush the dog on a daily basis and even employ a vacuum cleaner to get the job done well.
Interestingly enough, these dogs don’t require regular bathing because this is how their coat loses essential natural oils at a skin level. So if you want your dog’s coat to look healthy and beautiful, refrain from bathing them too often.
Feeding & Diet
Because of how big these dogs are, they require a hefty amount of food on a daily basis. While some owners swear by the benefits of a raw diet, you have to consider many things before committing to any specific diet in the long run.
Some people have reported great success by feeding their Shiloh Shepherd dry commercial kibble, but make sure to thoroughly check the ingredients. Try to avoid foods with low carbs and grains as they can be quite harmful to your dog long-term.
Known Health Problems
We keep referencing the dog’s size over and over again and understandably so considering how much it impacts the dog’s needs. This is also true in regards to health issues because such a large breed is guaranteed to suffer from hip dysplasia, more so than smaller breeds.
As a matter of fact, almost 20% of Shiloh Shepherd are predisposed to hip dysplasia, a condition many large breeds are prone to especially when they get old. These dogs can also get bloaty on account of their large stomachs, so make sure that the dog rests after each meal.
How To Train A Shiloh Shepherd
Because of how intelligent these dogs are, you will find it very easy to train them to do almost anything. Always eager to please their owners, these dogs will make it a personal goal to make you happy, going to extreme lengths to figure out your speech patterns and closely monitoring the tone of your voice.
Now, it has to be said that large dogs such as these can be quite a handful if they misbehave, so make sure to socialize them properly from an early age. While a small dog may look cute as it jumps the mailman, the situation changes when a giant teddy bear does it.
You should also know that these dogs respond very well to hand gestures, more so than almost any other dog breed. So if you may, try to be as expressive as possible when training the dog and in your general interaction with the pooch.
Quick Breed Summary Table
|Size||26 to 32 inches|
|Weight||80 to 130 lbs|
|Color||Black with tan, reddish, silver, and beige|
|Coat||Smooth and tidy or fluffy|
|Shedding & Grooming||They shed a lot and require constant grooming|
|Temperament||Very patient, loyal, and affectionate|
|With Other Pets||They do well enough around other dogs, but tend to prefer people|
|People Skills||Very intuitive and eager to learn by observing human behavior|
|With Children||Great with children of all ages|
|Exercise Needs||90 to 120 minutes on a daily basis|
|Food||Dry kibble seems to do the trick, a raw diet can also be used|
|Known Health Problems||Hip dysplasia and bloating|
All Things Considered
This giant dog is among the best pets someone could own, a dog that won’t just take great pleasure in hanging around you at all times but a dog that will show the same courtesy to your children as well. Loyal and friendly, a Shiloh Shepherd can be very protective of children and guaranteed to always respond well when they initiate play.
That said, bear in mind that such a large dog has certain grooming needs that not many people might be fond of. If you are prepared to spare the time to properly care for your dog’s need for grooming and exercise, then by all means get yourself a Shiloh Shepherd.