Have you heard of a Shiloh Shepherd?
They’re an extremely rare dog breed that shouldn’t be confused for a mix, even though they’re often mistaken for an Alaskan Malamute-German Shepherd cross.
The Shiloh Shepherd breed was created in the 1970s before the American Rare Breed Association recognised the breed in 1991.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about these large dogs online so that’s why we spoke to some experts to find out more about the Shiloh Shepherd.
Cynthia Kelly, who is a member of the International Shiloh Shepherd Alliance (ISSA), and Shiloh Shepherd breeder Darcie Coles gave us an exclusive insight into the dog breed.
You read can read our Shiloh Shepherd feature via this link but for the purposes of this article, we’ll be discussing the pros and cons of the breed.
For more information about Shiloh Shepherds, you may want to check out Cynthia’s Shiloh Shepherds on Instagram @campfireshilohs and Darcie’s Shiloh Shepherds @vanisleshilohs.
Note: All the photos in this article have been taken from Campfire Shilohs with their permission.
With the introduction over, let’s take a closer look at some Shiloh Shepherd pros and cons.
Loving family pets
Shiloh Shepherds can make wonderful family pets when paired with responsible dog owners. They can develop a deep bond with their guardians, staying close by their side throughout day-to-day life. Although the Shiloh Shepherd may be a large dog breed, they’re affectionate and loving with their owners. A dog breed that are happy to “go-with-the-flow”, Shiloh Shepherds will enjoy training or exercising with their fellow family members. Shiloh Shepherds are typically “up for anything”!
Cynthia explained a little bit more about the Shiloh Shepherd’s temperament in a family setting.
One of the goals of the breed is for a dog that is easier to handle and more family friendly. They often do well with other animals in the house if raised with them from an early age. Breeders will also select dogs that will do well in a family environment, as busy households can be overwhelming to a less confident dog. With any dog, it is important that there is structure for both puppy and children, and that children and dogs are always supervised and monitored for signs of distress when interacting.
Long live the Shiloh Shepherd!
If you grew up with dogs or you’re a fan of canines, you’ll probably have heard of the old adage that smaller dogs live longer lives. This tends to be true but the Shiloh Shepherd has a relatively long life expectancy compared to some other large dog breeds. Here’s more from Cynthia:
They have one of the best longevity statistics for an extra-large breed, averaging at about 10-12 years old.
Like to stay close
It’s an incredible feeling creating a close bond with your four-legged friends. Starting with puppyhood, dog owners have the opportunity to build love and trust with their dogs through enrichment games, interaction, playtime and training. Although Shiloh Shepherds are big dogs that may appear intimidating to the untrained eye, they’re actually a very loving breed.
They are not prone to wander, and love to stay with their owners, making them generally reliable off-leash on hikes.
Seeing as these dogs are big, you may mistakenly assume they’re utilised as attack dogs. That is not the case. While there is a protective streak, Shiloh Shepherds are not aggressive. They do have an underlying protectiveness towards their family and their family home. Up to 28 inches tall and weighing between 80 and 120 pounds, the sheer size of the Shiloh Shepherd should be sufficient to deter intruders.
The International Shiloh Shepherd Alliance provide a detailed explanation of the protective characteristic in Shiloh Shepherds.
A protective instinct, not aggressive, oriented toward their homes and families. They are NOT attack dogs, and should never be encouraged to escalate protective behavior. A warning bark from a hundred-pound shepherd is usually enough to make intruders think twice!
Strong breeding standards
Although the Shiloh Shepherd breed is still in its infancy having started little over 50 years ago, the International Shiloh Shepherd Alliance have strong breeding standards. Why does this matter? Here’s Cynthia to explain more:
The International Shiloh Shepherd Alliance (ISSA) is a very proactive Shiloh Shepherd breed club, and they are continually trying to improve the breed by embarking on breed-specific research studies, having strong standards for breeding dogs, and increasing genetic diversity.
Slow to mature
Shiloh Shepherds are slow to mature so owners will have to be patient with their dogs. They require consistent and persistent training along with a lot of patience to work through any potential issues arising from their slowness to mature. Cynthia added:
Shiloh Shepherds are slow to mature and may have adolescent fear periods between 1-2 years old, which can lead to reactivity without careful management.
Long waiting list
If you’re thinking about getting a Shiloh Shepherd, you should first visit the International Shiloh Shepherd Alliance’s website to learn more about the breed. Their website has a lot of great information to help potential owners weigh up whether they’re a good fit for a Shiloh Shepherd and vice versa. If you decide to press ahead and put your name on a waiting list for a Shiloh Shepherd puppy, you should expect a substantial wait.
Cynthia provided our readers with a suggested waiting time for a Shiloh Shepherd puppy.
They are considered a rare breed and are recognized by ARBA (American Rare Breed Association). There are only a few thousand Shilohs in existence.
Look for a breeder directly from the ISSA (International Shiloh Shepherd Alliance). All of these breeders are required to submit breeding proposals to a panel of breed wardens to ensure quality. Every pairing has mandated requirements which include PennHip/OFA hips and OFA elbows, DM clear, heart holter, heart auscultation, a temperament test, and DNA submitted to UC Davis.
Shiloh Shepherd breeders are few and far between, so it’s wise to anticipate some level of travel to get a Shiloh puppy from a reputable and responsible breeder. Currently, the only countries with breeders are Canada, Northern Europe, and the United States. You can anticipate average wait list times to be between 6 months and 2 years in North America, and over 5 years in Northern Europe.
Unaware of their size
These dogs may be big – but someone forgot to tell them! Shiloh Shepherds can sometimes be unaware of their size, resulting in some bumps and clumsy moments. For instance, they may knock things off the table. They’ll require supervision around small children and it’s a good idea to train them on good manners when people enter the home.
Larger than life celebrities
If you are one of the lucky ones who manage to find a Shiloh Shepherd breeder and end up with a puppy, you should be prepared for a lot of attention when out and about with your dog. They’re such a unique dog breed that they attract a lot of attention wherever you go. It’s a good idea to be well versed in all things Shiloh Shepherds so you can spread the word about these dogs too. Of course, if you’re an introvert or shy, you may not like the spotlight being on you and your dog.
We’ve reached the end of our Shiloh Shepherds pros and cons feature.
It’s important to remember that each individual dog is different so they can come with their own set of pros and cons.
However, we’ve heard from an expert on the breed in the shape of Cynthia with help from breeder Darcie.
Together, they’ve provided us with some key things to consider before getting a Shiloh Shepherd.