Shiloh Shepherd Dog Breed Info & Appearance | All Things Dogs

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A Shiloh shepherd is a crossbreed developed from a combination of dogs, including the German shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, Canadian white shepherd, and Czech wolf dog. Shiloh shepherds are 26 to 30 inches tall, weigh at least 80 pounds, and are known for their intelligence and affectionate nature.

This mix is gentle around kids and loyal to its owners. With plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, Shiloh shepherds are adaptable and calm in any household.

Shiloh shepherds cost between $1,500 and $2,500.

Shiloh Shepherd Quick Summary

Shiloh Shepherd Summary Table and Facts
Breed Type Herding
Purpose Herding / Companion
Size Males: 28-30 inches and Females: 26-28 inches
Weight Males between 140-160 pounds and Females between 100-120 pounds
Lifespan 9-14 years
Color Black and Tan, Golden Tan, Reddish Tan, Silver, Sable, Golden, Red Brown or Dark Grey
Temperament Loyal, Confident, Gentle, Loving, Intelligent, Patient and Docile
Daily Exercise High – at least 60 minutes each day
Activity Level Moderate but can be lazy once their daily dose of exercise has been met
Daily Food Consumption Species appropriate diet based on their individual weight – typically between 2,800 to 3,200 calories
Known Health Issues Hip dysplasia, Gastric torsion, Degenerative myelopathy, Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, Ventricular arrhythmias and Panosteitis in young dogs

Shiloh Shepherd Appearance

Shiloh Shepherd Dog lying on grass

The Shiloh shepherd is a large breed with a double coat and muscular build. These dogs are larger than German shepherds but are similar in appearance with broad heads, strong necks, and bushy tails.

Size and Weight

Shiloh shepherds grow 26 to 30 inches and weigh at least 80 pounds, with the ideal weight being 140 to 160 pounds for males, and 100 to 120 pounds for females. Aside from sex, other factors that affect size and weight include genetics, diet, health, and lifestyle.

Coat

Shiloh shepherds have medium-length double coats that come in two varieties: plush or smooth. Dogs with plush coats have pronounced feathering on their tails, legs, heads, and necks, while smooth-coated Shiloh shepherds have coarse, dense hair that lies straight against the body.

Smooth-coated Shiloh shepherds shed more regularly than plush-coated Shiloh dogs, but both blow their coats twice a year.

The color of this German shepherd mix varies. The most common colors of Shiloh shepherd are shades of black and tan, reddish tan, silver, and cream, while the rarest colors are solid black and solid white. Some of these dogs have white markings on their chests and paws.

Head and Facial Features

The Shiloh shepherd has dark almond-shaped eyes, triangular ears, and a wedge-shaped head. The dog’s muzzle is predominantly black and proportionate to the forehead.

Shiloh Shepherd Origins

Shiloh Shepherd Bloodline

The Shiloh shepherd is a rare crossbreed first developed in the 1970s by a German shepherd breeder, named Tina Barber, who set out to create a shepherd dog that was healthier, larger, and more gentle than today’s standard German shepherd. Barber achieved this by selectively breeding German shepherds with several breeds, including the Alaskan Malamute, Canadian white shepherd, and Czech wolf dog.

While not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), Shiloh shepherds are recognized by the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) and also have their own breed associations.

Understanding the parent breeds of the Shiloh shepherd offers a better picture of its temperament, health, and needs.

German Shepherd

The German shepherd is a working dog breed developed in the late 19th century. While originally bred to herd sheep, today German shepherds are popular companion dogs and used for public service work. This breed is intelligent, loyal, and courageous, though can sometimes be stubborn. German shepherds come in shades of tan, black, and red, and have erect ears, square muzzles, and muscular builds.

Alaskan Malamute and the Other Parent Breeds

Alaskan Malamutes were developed thousands of years ago in northwestern Alaska by the Mahlemut tribe. Alaskan Malamutes were bred to be sled dogs capable of hauling heavy freight but later became companion dogs because of the breed’s friendly and affectionate nature. Alaskan Malamutes are large, athletic dogs with deep chests and broad heads.

Other parent bleeds of the Shiloh shepherd include the Canadian white shepherd and Czech wolf dog. The Canadian white shepherd is the predecessor of the German shepherd and is known for its pure white look and gentle nature, while the Czech wolf dog is a relatively new breed developed from crossbreeding Carpathian wolves and German shepherds together.

Both dogs are energetic, hardworking, intelligent, and known for their athletic builds.

Shiloh Shepherd Personality and Temperament

Shiloh shepherds are gentle, adaptable, sociable, and get along well with children and other animals. Like all working breeds, these dogs are eager to please and happiest when given a job to do. Shiloh shepherds are active dogs and need plenty of exercise and bonding time with their owners.

Shiloh shepherds are prone to separation anxiety and shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time. When stressed, this breed often engages in unwanted, destructive behaviors such as biting, chewing, and scratching. These dogs are calm inside the home as long as their needs are met.

While lovable and loyal, Shiloh shepherds can sometimes be stubborn without a firm owner to guide them. This breed makes great family watchdogs because it’s alert, protective, and has strong guarding instincts.

Taking Care of a Shiloh Shepherd

Shiloh shepherds are easy to care for, but they need lots of exercise, mental stimulation, and attention. Feed these dogs nutrient-balanced kibble and take them on long walks daily.

With proper care, Shiloh shepherds are adaptable, loving companions that will brighten your days with their playful and social personalities.

Food Needs

Shiloh shepherds have a relatively high daily calorie intake because of their large size and active nature. An adult should be fed 3 to 4.5 cups of protein-rich kibble per day, split into two separate meals. The appropriate portion size depends on the dog’s size, activity level, sex, and age.

Shiloh shepherds are prone to bloat, so avoid feeding them just before exercise. Food low in fat and a puzzle bowl that reduces eating speed also help mitigate the chances of bloat.

Shiloh shepherd puppies require three meals daily up until the dogs are nine months old. Always buy puppy food designed for large breeds as it has the appropriate nutrients and calories to support the breed’s slow growth.

Grooming Needs

Shiloh Shepherd Puppy

Shiloh shepherds are moderate shedders and require brushing at least two to three times weekly. Dogs with plush coats need to be brushed more often to keep their fur free of tangles and mats.

Aside from coat care, owners should keep Shiloh shepherds’ nails well-trimmed, brush their teeth at least three times a week, and check ears regularly for signs of wax buildup or infection. Wash this breed monthly to maintain good fur and skin conditions.

Exercise Needs

Shiloh shepherds are active, playful dogs that need at least 60 minutes of exercise per day, ideally split into two separate walks. Change the walk route every so often to expose the dog to new sights, scents, and smells.

These dogs are intelligent and love having a job to do, which makes them particularly ideal for activities such as agility, hiking, tracking, and herding. Running with Shiloh shepherds, or letting them roam off-leash in secure areas, are some more great ways to help this breed burn off excess energy.

While Shiloh shepherds do best in households with large backyards, the breed is adaptable and can live in apartments comfortably as long as it’s exercised regularly. Without daily exercise, these dogs will become overweight, which can put unnecessary strain on their joints and eventually lead to arthritis.

Mental Needs

The Shiloh shepherd is an intelligent breed that needs at least an hour of mental stimulation per day to prevent boredom. While training is one of the best ways to meet the dog’s mental needs, interactive toys like frisbee, fetch, and tug-of-war also work well and allow for plenty of one-on-one bonding time.

Puzzle toys help challenge Shiloh shepherds and can keep them entertained for long periods of time. Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and will benefit from a blanket covered in your scent when you’re not around.

Common Health Concerns

While the Shiloh shepherd is a relatively healthy breed, it’s still susceptible to health issues that commonly affect large dogs:

  • Hip Dysplasia: A condition caused by improper hip development. Hip dysplasia and its symptoms can be managed and treated with surgery, medication, physical therapy, and weight reduction
  • Bloat: A life-threatening disease that causes the dog’s stomach to distend and twist. Large dogs with deep chests are most prone to bloat, but it can be prevented by feeding your dog an appropriate amount of low-fat kibble, using a feeding bowl that encourages slow eating, and ensuring they don’t engage in strenuous exercise immediately after meals
  • Panosteitis: A painful condition that affects the dog’s long leg bones. Commonly known as growing pains, panosteitis typically occurs in dogs aged between 5 and 14 months and resolves on its own in time. The pain it causes can be relieved with medication and anti-inflammatories
  • Megaesophagus: A disorder that hinders the functioning of the dog’s esophagus, resulting in eating difficulties. Treatment depends on the underlying cause
  • Perianal Fistula: A condition that causes tunnel-like lesions in the skin around the anus. Symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, ulcerations, and incontinence, while treatment involves dietary changes, medication, and surgery

Always buy a Shiloh shepherd puppy from a reputable breeder that can provide both parents’ health screenings.

Training a Shiloh Shepherd

Two dogs being trained for active service
Shilohs can be trained into a well-disciplined service dog or a loving and loyal family pet.

Shiloh shepherds are smart, eager to please, and love having a job to do, which makes them easy to train. While Shilohs are quick learners, these dogs do get bored easily, so training sessions should be kept short and spread out throughout the day.

Shiloh shepherd puppies should be exposed to new sights, animals, and surroundings to help the dogs become confident adults. Begin with crate training, house training, and obedience training, which includes commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.”

Always train this breed using reward-based training measures (positive reinforcement), and never punish them. Punishment only serves to cause fear and stress, and can even damage the bond with owners. Some Shiloh shepherds are stubborn and need a firm owner that can be persistent and determined with training.

Shiloh Shepherd Cost

Shiloh shepherds are expensive due to their rarity. The overall cost of this breed depends on whether you adopt or buy a puppy from a reputable breeder.

How Much is a Shiloh Shepherd?

Shiloh shepherds puppies cost between $1,500 and $2,500 on average, with price depending on lineage, breeder, and appearance. Shiloh shepherd breeders can be found on the International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club’s website (ISSDC).

Adopting an adult shiloh shepherd is a cheaper alternative, but the breed can be hard to find in rescue shelters because of its rarity. The ISSDC does have a dedicated rescue and rehome service, with the average adoption cost being $250.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Shiloh Shepherd?

The monthly cost of owning a Shiloh shepherd is relatively high due to the dog’s grooming needs and high-calorie intake. Expect to pay between $100 and $200 per month, which includes costs such as food, grooming supplies, toys, treats, and healthcare. Professional grooms, training classes, and dogsitting will all increase the total monthly price.

Should You Get a Shiloh Shepherd?

Shiloh shepherds are loving, sociable, and gentle dogs that make wonderful family companions. However, the breed’s size, activity level, and high monthly cost make it not suitable for all lifestyles. These dogs need an owner who can take them on long walks daily and give them lots of undivided attention.

Shiloh Shepherds are Suitable for:

Shiloh shepherds get along well with kids and other animals, making this breed suitable for families with children and multi-pet homes. Households with large backyards are ideal for Shiloh shepherds because the dogs have lots of energy. For the same reason, these dogs are best suited to people with active lifestyles and who enjoy a range of outdoor activities, like walking, hiking, and running.

Shiloh shepherds are large dogs that can be difficult to control, so they need a firm owner that can dedicate lots of time to training and care.

Shiloh Shepherds are NOT Suitable for:

Shiloh shepherds aren’t suitable for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle, have mobility issues, or can’t play with them for at least an hour daily. Since these dogs are prone to separation anxiety, they’re also unsuitable for people that aren’t at home for most of the day. People looking for a low-maintenance, laidback breed should avoid Shiloh shepherds.

Shiloh shepherds are expensive to care for and require an owner that is prepared to spend a lot of money on their care.

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