Shiloh Shepherd Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
By Michele Welton.
Copyright © 2000-2015
The Shiloh Shepherd was developed in the 1960s from selected German Shepherd lines judiciously crossed with a few other breeds. Shiloh Shepherds are larger than most German Shepherds and tend to have a calmer, softer, more easygoing personality than most German Shepherds.
Though they need brisk daily walks and occasional romping to stay fit, Shiloh Shepherds are known for stamina rather than high vigor -- one breeder calls them "slow but steady."
Most Shiloh Shepherds are intelligent, very trainable dogs. They enjoy swimming, carrying backpacks, and pulling carts or sleds. Some have been used in Search & Rescue, but unlike German Shepherds, Shiloh Shepherds seldom participate in protection dog sports.
If you want a dog who...
- Looks like a German Shepherd, but is larger and heavier and typically has a calmer, softer, more easygoing personality
- Is natural-looking and athletic, though tending to have stamina rather than high vigor
- Comes in longhaired and shorthaired
- Is intelligent and very trainable
A Shiloh Shepherd may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Providing brisk walks every day and occasional romping (i.e. needs some space)
- Skittishness and shyness in some lines, or when not extensively socialized
- Heavy shedding, especially the shortcoat
- Legal liabilities (public perception, future breed bans, insurance problems, increased chance of lawsuits)
- Serious health problems
- A high price tag
A Shiloh Shepherd may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Shiloh Shepherd
If I was considering a Shiloh Shepherd, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Shiloh Shepherds don't need miles of running exercise but they need regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become bored -- which they usually express by destructive chewing. The intelligence of these dogs is wasted when they have nothing challenging to do.
- Providing enough socialization. Shiloh Shepherds need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be excessively timid.
- Potential animal aggression. Most Shiloh Shepherds are perfectly fine with the pets in their own family, but some individuals are dominant or aggressive toward strange dogs of the same sex.
- Heavy shedding. Shiloh Shepherds shed a LOT, especially the short-coated individuals. Long-coats shed just as much, but the long hair catches a lot of the shed hairs so it doesn't end up on your floor. But still.....Shiloh Shepherds are major shedders and frequent vacuuming becomes a way of life.
- Multiple clubs to sort through. The original Shiloh Shepherd Club is the International Shiloh Shepherd Registry (ISSR), but there are several other organizations. Each group supports its own standard and differing opinions about how the breed should look and act. Unfortunately, political backbiting abounds and you'll have to do a lot of research to pick your way through a minefield of claims, counterclaims, and accusations.
Also unfortunately, Shiloh Shepherds have had a period as a "fad" breed, with lots of breeder ads filling the pages of dog magazines and charging very high prices. Whenever this happens, you can count on plenty of unknowledgeable breeders being part of that crowd as they leap into breeding without enough thought or experience. The result is a breed which has gone off in several different directions in appearance, temperament, and health. This can be difficult to sort through when looking for breeders.
- Serious health problems. From hip and elbow problems, to bone diseases, to stomach disorders, to skin conditions, Shiloh Shepherds face many of the same health problems as German Shepherds.
To keep this breed healthy, I strongly recommend following all of the advice on my Shiloh Shepherd Health Page.
- Legal liabilities. Because of their German Shepherd appearance and heritage, Shiloh Shepherds may end up targeted for "banning" in certain areas, or refusal of homeowner insurance policies. The legal liabilities of owning any breed that looks intimidating and has a history as a guardian dog should be seriously considered. Shiloh Shepherds are usually calm, sensible, non-aggressive dogs, but the reality is that people are quicker to sue when dogs of their general appearance do anything even remotely questionable.
To learn more about training Shiloh Shepherds to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Shiloh Shepherd the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Shiloh Shepherd. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Shiloh Shepherd might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Shiloh Shepherd home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Shiloh Shepherd...
When you're acquiring a Shiloh Shepherd PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Shiloh Shepherds who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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Copyright © 2000-2015 by Michele Welton. All rights reserved.
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