Frequently Asked Questions--Breed Specific

written by Tina M. Barber in 1999

What's the Difference between a Shiloh and a regular German Shepherd?

How was the Shiloh Shepherd Developed?
What makes these Dogs better than other GSDs?
Can I register my longhaired GSD as a Shiloh?
What other breeds were added to the Shiloh?
How much Malamute is in the Shiloh?
Why is inbreeding on the "MAW" not allowed?
Can too much inbreeding lead to defective dogs?
When is inbreeding/linebreeding discouraged?

What's the difference between a Shiloh and a regular German Shepherd?

Basically they both started the same way, that's why it is important that you have a good understanding regarding the development of the GSD before you can do an accurate comparative study.

More indepth information is available in the "Introduction to the Shiloh Shepherd" and "The Origins of the Shiloh Shepherd in Word and Pictures". To obtain a copy of both, please send $5 to:

The SSDCA, Inc.
PO Box 309
Silver Springs, NY 14550 

[2006 update: both are available for download from our Learning Center.]

How Was the Shiloh Shepherd Developed?

The Shiloh Shepherd came from Shiloh Shepherds (Kennel) in New York. Over 3 decades of research went into choosing the four lines that were best suited to producing the desired size, temperament and hip quality. Dozens of German Shepherd Dog bloodlines were rejected after intense inbreeding proved that they did not possess the desired genetic qualities. Basically one person, Tina M. Barber.  implemented the entire project (since 1962).

What Makes these Dogs Better than other GSDs?

Different strokes for different folks! Anyone seriously researching the GSD will find a variety of sources that conflict with each other, greatly! Unfortunately (due to their extreme popularity) the GSD "breed" has gone through a myriad of fads! Many small breeders have been able to "set" a certain "type" that best represents their kennel, although none (other than Shiloh Shepherd--Kennels) has taken their "type" any further. Tina Barber, on the other hand, devoted the time (36 years) and financial commitment needed to maintain the data on thousands of dogs, and hundreds of litters! Her "breed" was not designed to be "better" then other breeds, just different!

Can I register my long haired GSD as a Shiloh?

No! The coat factor does not determine breed type! Shilohs come in both--smooth and plush-coats! (Unless your dog has the LMX data that can meet the Hip, Size and Temperament requirements set by the ISSR, Inc., he/she would not qualify for the registry, even into the NB category. Accurate littermate data is a very serious prerequisite.

What other breeds were added to the Shiloh?

The only "breed" out-crossed blood was introduced in 1989 through a specially programmed GIANT Malamute/Shepherd cross. The Malamute line used came from a kennel known for huge size and fantastic hips. The GSD line came from Northwest Canada and was very well known. Neither of these kennel names will be revealed due to prior agreement.

How much Malamute is in the Shiloh?

Since each individual puppy in a specific litter will pick up "different" percentages from each parent, there is no way to give an exact percentage average for each individual. As a "litter" the first generation dogs from this out-cross would have possessed approximately 25%, their offspring would average 12.5%, etc. Most Shilohs actively "breeding" now are at least 3 to 5 generations removed from the original four ("MAW" descendents) Snow, Sheba, Bria and Goliath.

Why is inbreeding on the "MAW" not allowed?

Several experimental "linebred" litters were produced with very negative results!

  1. The size was not increased, actually the progeny was much smaller than the original pair (the opposite of most Shilohs linebred on the Ursa/Kari line).

  2. The hips were not improved, many were rated "borderline" to "barely" fair--no excellents!

  3. Most had extremely faded or "white" muzzles (like the Malamute) with large GSD but "kite" (set off tilting to the side) ears.

  4. Very "straight" fronts with limited reach, preventing these dogs from attaining the proper "flying trot".

  5. Hook tails on dogs that did look like Shilohs (crossed with an Akita!) Many of them carried these tails just like a typical Malamute.

  6. Worst of all, stubborn/spooky temperaments that did not reflect the "willingness to please" that makes the Shilohs so endearing. Destructive house manners, dog aggression and enough other undesirable temperament traits have also been exhibted in progeny from such breedings.

Please note: the "MAW" descendents so widely used are also one-half "BAKER", a/k/a the "SABRINA/SELAH" line, and many of the problems noted could be the result of too heavy linebreeding on that line or that combination!

Can too much inbreeding lead to defective dogs?

Yes! Research will prove that in order to establish "type" quickly, most breeders use a very selective program of inbreeding/linebreeding for several generations using only the "best" progeny while carefully documenting data regarding the entire litter. Without this critical information regarding possible "hidden" recessives/health problems, etc., such a program is doomed to fail.

Inbreeding brings out the best and worst qualities in a particular line and can be a great tool when used properly by experienced breeders or become a nightmare when attempted by a novice.

For more intense research on this subject, please visit

 When is inbreeding/linebreeding discouraged?

Unfortunately in the "Shiloh World" many breeders are not aware of the dogs that appear in the 6th-9th generations of their pedigrees, thereby unknowingly they continue to "linebreed" on these dogs, and are inevitably heading for a syndrome known as Inbreeding Depression.

CompuPed has a wonderful program that is capable of performing Coefficencies of Inbreeding based on eight plus generation pedigrees. I would like to suggest that any serious breeder purchase this program, and the data needed on their breeding stock or request a full R.C. report from the breed founder) before making such important (life changing) decisions as choosing the "right" pair! With the TCCP data on each dog in our database and this program "too much" inbreeding can be avoided properly!

For more information, please take some time to read these articles, written by the breed founder, for the November 98 SSDCA Newsletter as well as an article written by Dr. Bell in our March Newsletter.

Be sure to read Tina's  much more extensive Real Questions Honest Answers From The Shiloh Shepherd Breed Founder (updated in 11/2006)!


These FAQ's were specifically written by Tina M. Barber for the Shiloh Shepherd Learning Center  in 1999.