Do you know what is the difference between a Shiloh Shepherd and German Shepherd?
They’re two breeds of dog that are often confused or misrepresented online, with the German Shepherd a long-established breed but the Shiloh Shepherd a relatively new addition to the dog world.
German Shepherds originated from Germany in the late 1800s thanks to a military officer, but in modern society, they’re one of the world’s most common and popular dog breeds.
On the other hand, the Shiloh Shepherd is a rare breed that was developed in the 1970s, with the result a large dog that is loyal and protective.
You can easily find a lot of misinformation about both breeds online, especially when researching the Shiloh Shepherd breed.
However, we’ve spoken to a Shiloh Shepherd expert – Cynthia Kelly – to gain an in-depth understanding of the breed.
In this article, we’ll be examining the differences between the Shiloh Shepherd and the German Shepherd, considering factors such as appearance, size, temperament and exercise requirements.
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What Is A Shiloh Shepherd?
The Shiloh Shepherd is a large dog that can make an excellent companion. These magnificent dogs are originally derived from herding and working breeds, which explains some of the common traits found in Shiloh Shepherds. Tina Barber is credited with being the founder of the breed after she attempted to recreate some of the shepherd dogs that were commonplace in her childhood Germany. Barber began working on the Shiloh Shepherd breed in the 1970s before the Shiloh Shepherd was granted status by the American Rare Breed Association in 1991. The International Shiloh Shepherd Alliance’s website explains how the Shiloh Shepherd breed got their name:
The German Shepherd lines behind the Shiloh come from Tina’s Shiloh Shepherds kennel lines. Eventually, the kennel of origin gave the new breed its name when Tina split from the AKC in 1991.
The ISSA go on to shed light on Barber’s goals for the Shiloh Shepherd breed that provide a useful insight into the desired temperament of this modern dog breed when contrasted with the German Shepherd breed.
She bred for a softer, calmer, more family-friendly temperament instead of a working temperament, and created a special program called LMX to improve our dogs’ hips. Over 40 years of development has set these traits into the Shiloh.
You’re probably wondering at this stage what exact breeds were used to create the Shiloh Shepherd if it wasn’t just German Shepherd dogs. The ISSA explain:
Shilohs are a mixture of breeds: German Shepherd, Sarplaninac, Malamute, Canadian White Shepherd, Altdeutscher Schaeferhunde, and more.
Unlike the German Shepherd, the Shiloh Shepherd isn’t currently recognised by the AKC, UKC or FCI.
What Is A German Shepherd?
The German Shepherd is a dog breed with a rich history having first been founded in the late 1890s. The breed’s creator Max von Stephanitz was a former military man who wanted to create his ideal herding dog. The American Kennel Club explains the process that Von Stephanitz adopted in his quest to find the perfect dog to meet his needs.
Von Stephanitz and like-minded breeders crossed various strains from the northern and central districts of Germany, resulting in the ancestors of today’s German Shepherd Dog (GSD).
Von Stephanitz created the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (Society for the German Shepherd Dog) and spent the next 35 years promoting and refining the dog breed. This proved a success as The German Shepherd Dog Club of America was formed in 1913, highlighting how the breed became popular worldwide.
World War 1 had a detrimental impact on the German Shepherd and they were even renamed Alsatian Dogs in the United Kingdom before the Kennel Club in the UK reverted back to the German Shepherd name in 1977. As of 2020, the German Shepherd was recognised as the third-most popular breed in the USA.
Shiloh Shepherd Vs German Shepherd: Size
Shiloh Shepherds will usually start at least 26 inches at the wither for females and 28 inches at the withers for males. The modern dog breed can range from 80 to 120 pounds in weight. As with any dog breed, some Shiloh Shepherds can exceed this height and weight range but will need careful monitoring as excess weight can result in health issues.
German Shepherds range from 22 and 24 inches at the withers for females and 24 and 26 inches at the withers for males. They can weigh anywhere between 50 and 90 pounds depending on the sex of the dog. According to the AKC, the German Shepherd should be a large but agile dog with a muscular frame.
Shiloh Shepherds should be larger than German Shepherds, both in terms of size and weight.
Shiloh Shepherd Vs German Shepherd: Appearance
Cynthia Kelly, who is a member of the International Shiloh Shepherd Alliance, has provided hellobark.com with a brilliant description of the Shiloh Shepherd breed.
Shilohs are large, big-boned dogs with wolfish features, a 9:10 body ratio, and blocky heads. Their colors vary from all shades of sable, bi-color, and dual, as well as solid white and solid black. Most Shilohs are plush-coated, but there are short-coated Shilohs too (affectionately called ‘smoothies’).
German Shepherds have a wide, square head with big pointy ears to give them an alert appearance. They’ve got a gently sloping spine culminating in a bushy tail. German Shepherds can come in a variety of different colours. The most common is black and tan but these dogs can also be all black, yellow, sable and brown.
The AKC’s breed standard for German Shepherds has the following to say on GSD coat color:
The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog must be disqualified.
The ISSA goes on to further emphasise the difference between the two breeds on their website.
Shilohs also have smaller, triangular ears, and less of a square head, more “wolfy” in appearance. They are not as long in the body as German shepherds. The long “plush” coat is the most popular coat type in Shilohs, unlike in German shepherds where the long coat exists but is not the standard.
Shiloh Shepherd Vs German Shepherd: Temperament
We’ve already touched upon Barber’s motivations for starting the Shiloh Shepherd breed but let’s delve a little deeper. The ISSA explain that Barber was training German Shepherds as protection dogs but observed how the breed could be difficult for the average family to handle. Hence, she wanted to create a shepherd dog that was easier to handle and trustworthy around younger members of the home.
Cynthia provided a summary of Shiloh Shepherd temperament.
Shilohs are a little easier to manage than most other shepherd breeds, but still retain herding and protective instincts. This should be considered when training and socializing, as these traits will make them more environmentally aware than other non-herding type breeds. Shilohs are typically a medium to low energy breed, with some exceptions to either end of the spectrum. However, that doesn’t mean that Shilohs are inherently couch potatoes, and they require training, calm exposure, and proper socialization.
A wellbred Shiloh is even-tempered and fits into family life, and many are accomplished therapy dogs! They’re typically neutral to strangers, but with pushy or improper socialization, they can be fearful/shy.
Aggression, nervousness, and shyness are faults.
It’s important to note that Shiloh Shepherds are not a working breed, although they can excel as service or therapy animals. This is in stark contract to the German Shepherd, who are typically seen as working dogs.
German Shepherds can have an aloof personality but they’re not inherently aggressive dogs. Cautious around new people, German Shepherds are loyal to family members. They’re traditionally seen as a protective and strong dog breed. Rated as one of the world’s most intelligent dogs, they’re highly trainable but can become bored and frustrated if they don’t get sufficient mental and physical stimulation.
When comparing the temperaments of Shiloh Shepherds and German Shepherds, the ISSA states:
Due to selective breeding for a more family-friendly shepherd dog, Shiloh Shepherds are noticeably calmer and easier to handle than most working shepherd breeds, including many German Shepherds. Though higher energy and higher drive do exist within the breed, and some individuals are capable of working at demanding tasks such as Search and Rescue work.
Shilohs are also “softer” in temperament than German shepherds, being more amenable to going with the flow and less likely to be a training challenge to their owners.
Shiloh Shepherd Vs German Shepherd: Exercise
Shiloh Shepherds will need regular exercise to ensure they get sufficient opportunity to stretch their legs, engage their minds and get fresh air. They’ll require around 60 minutes of exercise a day, whether that’s a walk or some other form of appropriate exercise. Shiloh are smart dogs so it’s a good idea to have some brain games to stimulate their minds. However, Cynthia told hellobark.com that it’s important not to overexercise Shiloh Shepherds as it can have a detrimental effect on growing bones and developing joints.
German Shepherds are also active dogs who’ll need lots of daily exercise to prevent boredom and subsequent destructive behaviours. Like the Shiloh Shepherd, they’ll need at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, whether that’s going for a walk or a jog, a training session in the garden or with a professional dog behaviorist, or a mentally stimulating game. The AKC offer some suggestions for GSD owners:
Participating in canine activities such as agility, herding, tracking, and dock diving provides excellent physical and mental exercise and is fun and rewarding for both dog and owner.
Shiloh Shepherd Vs German Shepherd: Shedding
The ISSA’s website states that if shedding is a deal breaker for a prospective dog owner, Shiloh Shepherds probably aren’t the right dog breed for you. Shiloh Shepherds can have two different types of coats: smooth (short) and plush (long). The smooth-coated Shiloh Shepherd will usually shed to a certain degree throughout the year and blow out their coat twice a year. The long-coated Shiloh Shepherd doesn’t shed throughout the year but will have a heavy blowout twice a year.
The German Shepherd has a double-coat that will shed throughout the year and blow out their coat twice a year at the changing of the seasons. The AKC go into greater detail on GSD shedding.
The German Shepherd Dog has a medium-length, double coat consisting of a dense, harsh, and close-lying outer coat with a softer undercoat. The breed is easy to maintain, usually requiring just a quick brushing every few days or so to help remove loose hairs, but they do shed more profusely once or twice a year.
So it’s pretty clear, whether you own a Shiloh Shepherd or a German Shepherd, you can expect shedding!
Shiloh Shepherd Vs German Shepherd: Grooming
Shiloh Shepherds will require regular grooming, whether your Shiloh has a short or long coat. The short-coated Shiloh Shepherd has a smooth coat that is described as being “wash-and-wear” so it’s quite easy to look after. A quick brush throughout the week will help maintain this all-purpose coat. The long-coated Shiloh Shepherd will require a stricter grooming regime during shedding season.
The German Shepherd will need a quick brush every few days to remove any debris or dirt caught in their coat. It’s also a good idea to groom your GSD regularly to get rid of any dead hair. However, shedding season will require German Shepherd owners to step up their schedule by brushing their dogs most days.
Shiloh Shepherd Vs German Shepherd: Price
A Shiloh Shepherd puppy can cost between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on a number of factors. As a relatively rare dog breed, you’re unlikely to find a Shiloh Shepherd that needs to be rescued. You should also be prepared to go on a waiting list for a Shiloh pup given the limited number of breeders.
You won’t be surprised to learn that there are a lot more German Shepherd breeders so there won’t be a long wait. A GSD pup could cost between $500 or $1,000 but if you contact a breeder with a distinguished line of German Shepherds, you could pay between $2,000 and $10,000. German Shepherds and German Shepherds mixes can also regularly be found in rescue centres in need of a new home.
Shilohs, unlike in German shepherds where the long coat exists but is not the standard.
We’ve reached the end of our article on Shiloh Shepherds versus German Shepherds.
The Shiloh Shepherd is roughly around 30% larger than a well-bred German Shepherd and have a more wolf-like appearance than the GSD breed.
With the general aim of the Shiloh Shepherd breed to create a family-friendly dog, they tend to be calmer, softer and easier to handle than the German Shepherd.
Shiloh Shepherds have been bred to be companion dogs that are loyal and protective of their family and home but not aggressive. Usually their sheer size should be a sufficient deterrent.
German Shepherds can function as working dogs as well as family pets but they’re more highly strung than the Shiloh Shepherd.
The long “plush” coat is the most popular coat type in Shilohs, unlike in German shepherds where the long coat exists but is not the standard.