Another in a series of continuing reports by 
Tina Barber
Shiloh Shepherd Breed Founder


ISSR™ Shiloh Shepherd© Head

Non-ISSR Shiloh Shepherd Head


Both males are of same color and age.

The ISSR, Inc. Breed Standard describes the ideal head as "...broad and noble, slightly domed and in proportion to the body. The width and length of the skull are approximately equal with a gently defined stop, strong developed cheekbones, and a gradually tapering muzzle. The muzzle should be predominantly black, the length being equal to that of the forehead, with the lips firmly fitted and solid black. The muzzle should not be long, narrow, or snipey in appearance."

I certainly hope that it is obvious from the two examples shown above that  the counterfeit registries are certainly not very concerned about maintaining the proper "look" that one should expect from a Shiloh Shepherd. Please examine these 2 pictures carefully. Both dogs were sold as show (breeding) prospects!

ISSR b CH. Ptd. Zion's
Raven out of the Mist
Grand Victor for 1999 and 2000 in one of the "counterfeit" registries. ISSR GV bCH. Highlife's Penny for a Thought

From the ISSR Breed Standard:

 "THE GAIT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A VERY CRITICAL PART OF THE OVERALL PERFECTION OF THIS BREED. This breed must be observed while the dog is on a loose lead so that the natural gait is evident. The gait is outreaching, elastic, seemingly tireless without effort; smooth, and rhythmic, covering the maximum amount of ground with the minimum amount of steps. At a walk, it covers a great deal of ground with long strides of both hind legs and forelegs. At a trot, it covers still more ground with even longer stride, and moves powerfully but easily with coordination and balance, so that the gait appears to be as the steady motion of a well-lubricated machine. The feet travel close to the ground on both forward reach and backward push. In order to achieve ideal movement of this kind, there must be good muscular development and ligamentation. The hindquarters deliver, through the back, a powerful thrust, which slightly lifts the whole animal and drives the body forward. Reaching far under, and passing the imprint left by the front foot, the hind foot takes hold of the ground; then hock, stifle, and upper thigh come into play and sweep back, the stroke of the hind leg finishing with the foot still close to the ground in a smooth follow through. The overreach of the hindquarter usually necessitates one hind foot passing outside and the other hind foot passing inside the track of the forefeet, and such action is not faulty unless the locomotion is crab-wise with the dog’s body sideways out of the normal straight line. As the dog increases speed into the "flying trot', he should move fluidly, without pounding. The forelegs should reach out well past the nose while the head is carried forward."

Please note the chart below which judges are required to follow when rating our "breed" as a whole:

MINOR FAULTS – l. undue length between the last rib and thigh when viewed from the side 2. Tails that are too short, thin or ratty 3. any white markings on any part of the body, excluding the chest and toes (unless all white, then other or faded markings covering the white should be penalized) 4.when in motion any back that does not remain firm, but displays a sway, whip, or roach 5. an uneven topline when standing , with the withers lower than the croup.

VERY SERIOUS FAULTS - 1. spooking at strange sights or sounds, along with tucking under of tai l. 2. faults of gait, whether from front, rear, or side 3. ears that are too large in proportion to the head, shows signs of weakness, or point 'east-west' away from the center of the head 4. any coat that is open, woolly, curly, too close or too long 5. splay and/or hare feet, weak and/or cowhocks 6. a tail that forms a hook or ring when relaxed.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS - 1. any male (over 36 months) measuring less than 28" or female (over 36 months) measuring less than 26". 2. dogs over 15 months of age with hanging ears 3. any adult dogs with a distinctly overshot or undershot bite 4.A tail that is raised above the vertical line and/or past the horizontal line of the croup.


1) General Appearance
strength, size, balance
2. Character
alertness and attitude
eyes, teeth, & neck
body, chest, ribs, abdomen


All ISSR breeding dogs must pass hip and temperament certification prior to receiving their registration category.  Our breed standard focuses the hardest on movement, because this is where the judge can help us in properly evaluating the quality of each animal shown. If you add items 6 (topline, tail, hindquarters) and  7 (gait, transmission) together, the sum  can be up to 40 of the maximum 100 points. 

Why is this area so important to our dogs? Because watching these dogs moving in a "flying trot" looks awesome? Not exactly! First and foremost the Shiloh Shepherd was bred to be a trotting dog, be it for herding or just jogging next to their owners.  These dogs should possess an easy flowing (non-tiring) trot. The dogs that naturally choose to move in an extended trot also display correct structure (everything where it should be) while dogs that do not move well could be exhibiting some serious structural defects! For a deeper understanding of the importance of proper movement, I would like to suggest  Dogsteps: Illustrated Gait at a Glance by Rachel Page Elliott. Some people think that the beauty of the flying trot is not that important if you only plan to have your dog as a pet (couch potato)....But...there is a lot more to this than meets the eye! 

Since gait is considered to be a critical part of the overall  quality of these dogs, breeding programs should always take the "total" dog into consideration! If the structure is not correct (as per breed standard) then the faulty dog/bitch should ONLY be bred to a counterpart that will offset this condition, and future breeding quality puppies should be carefully selected for several generations!

One of the critical issues that needs to be considered is the full package. Since a specially designed Malamute line was crossed into this breed about 12 years ago, breeders must be concerned about the "baggage" that this line carries. We have found that certain genes seem to "cluster" together. One of these is the tail (gay), incorrect movement or pacing (see the drawings on the cover of Dogsteps) and stubbornness! Most of us are aware that Malamutes tend to be "hardheaded" as well as  "roamers"....these are not the temperament traits we want to see in our Shilohs! Although the MAW line added much needed improvement to our pelvic set, it also brought with it some undesirable (sled dog) traits that need to be "washed out".  Obviously dogs that tend to pace with gay tails should not be bred. 

 Now please look at the first row of dogs pictured below!

Top Row: Non ISSR "Shilohs"
Bottom Row (from left to right): 8 week old ISSR Shiloh puppy, non-ISSR "Shiloh" with good tail, 14 month old ISSR Shiloh male.

From the ISSR Breed Standard:

"TAIL: Bushy with the last vertebra extending past the hock joint.  It is set smoothly into the croup and should appear to hang as a plume. At rest the tail hangs in a slight curve like a saber. When the dog is excited or in motion, the curve is accentuated and the tail is raised, but it should never curl forward beyond the vertical line nor above the level of the back. The tail should never be carried straight out or rolled up over the back. A tail that is raised above the vertical line and/or past the horizontal line of the croup is a DISQUALIFYING FAULT. Tails that are too short, thin, or ratty should be severely penalized."

The following quote from pages 223-226 of  McDowell Lyon's book  The Dog in Action  should prove illuminating.

"The tail is also a barometer to the set of the pelvis and the value of the muscles attached to the pelvis and croup. Furthermore a normal tail or any part of it will tell us several important things about the dog in front of that tail.

"Examine a normal tail and you will find that the vertebrae are progressive in size but that the members taper from one juncture to the next and that each one observed will give you a good idea as to what to expect of the next closest one. Just as one bone in the leg will give you a good mental picture of the adjacent one and from there on to the full structure of the dog, the base vertebrae of the tail will tell you volumes about the spinal column. One or two bones taken at random from any animal will enable you to construct a full skeleton of a normal specimen.

"Many old-timers picked their dogs by the size of the tail at its base. 'A dog is no better than his tail,' has been said often. Another old time comment was, 'A dog thinks with his tail.' Certainly its carriage and action indicates the dog's mental attitude.

"Two muscles activate the top side of the tail and one the bottom. If the tail is curled, 'sickle,' or 'squirreled' continuously when this is not characteristic, it is not that the top muscles have become more tense but that the one on the bottom has lost or did not have sufficient tension. The tail that takes a corkscrew turn has normal tension on only one of the lateralis muscles on top.

"These lateralis muscles are the continuation of muscles which start at the back of the rib structure and play an important part in tensing the loins. You will note that a dog at play, throwing a gay tail will have slightly more than the usual arch to his loins. The wry or twisted tail indicates that one of the lateralis muscles is weak. Unless these conditions have become characteristic over generations, it is safe to conclude that muscles which are not functioning correctly at their terminals are not doing any better along the spinal column.

"The length and cross section of all the vertebrae in the spinal column are quite important and should be considered in any dog, particularly those used in breeding. The diameter of the body of the dorsal vertebrae decreases from the first to the eighth, the longest vertical spire coming on the second or third. From the eighth the cross section increases. The lumbar or loin vertebrae decrease in vertical diameter and increase in transverse diameter progressively from the back to the croup.

"The ruggedness of these bones provide substantial anchorage for the attached muscles and indicate the size and length of the ribs that spring from the dorsals.

"A number of breeds have altered the tails by mutation and developed the drop, hook, kink, rabbit, screw, and spike. One has to watch for one trouble in these: mutation does not always stop where it is visible but tends to cast an influence to bones beyond this point.

"The vertebrae of the croup and the pelvis bones are apt to reflect the mutation of the tail and manifest this at whelping and other times. Whatever condition you have in one vertebra will be extended to the next in milder degree. So, if mutation is to be  the fashion it is more safely practiced if it is not permitted to enter the last visible vertebra at the base of the tail.

"Even as the dog begins with his head, he ends with his tail, and by it many a story is told for it expresses health, mental attitude and what may be expected in the rest of the spinal column. Beware of any type tail that is not normally characteristic of the specific breed."


From the ISSR Breed Standard:

"1) GENERAL APPEARANCE: The Shiloh Shepherd portrays a distinct impression of nobility with a unique aura of intelligence, that radiates a sense of regal wisdom and strength. Powerfully built with unsurpassed beauty and elegance; a picture of true balance; each part being in harmonious proportion to every other part, and to the whole. Being of giant size does not deter from his proud carriage or seemingly effortless movement. His total devotion and willingness to work can be seen in his alert eyes, and his happy attitude. Timidity, frailty, sullenness, viciousness, and lack of animation, impair the general character of this breed. A certain amount of aloofness is acceptable as long as it is not associated with any form of sharp-shyness.

2) CHARACTER: Courageous and self confident, this gentle giant possesses superior intelligence wrapped in a heart of gold, faithfully protecting his home and those he loves. This extremely versatile and easily trained companion loves to swim, carry packs for the mountain climber, endure long trail rides, or pull heavy sleds. His excellent Air Scenting ability can be utilized in various ways. As a true, loyal Flock Guardian descendant, he is steady and bold without undue aggression; ready to die fighting for those in his care; yet sweet and loving when playing with small children, animals, or comforting the elderly."


After seeing so many dogs at Brookville last year tucking their tails (a sign of fear) I was extremely concerned! This year the ISSDC/r dogs have shown no improvement in the area of temperament!

Although I took dozens of pictures of dogs in the ring, as well as just standing around with their owners, with tails fully tucked...I think these pictures should suffice!

Note no proximity of other dogs and humans!
Zooming in on the dog, please note tucking of tail, a sign of fear.

From the ISSR Breed Standard:

"10) PROPORTION: The Shiloh Shepherd should appear longer than tall. The desired height for males, at the top the highest point of the shoulder blade, can be no less than 28" with the ideal height of 30" or more preferred. For females, the desired height can be no less than 26" with the ideal height of 28" or more preferred. The minimum weight for dogs should not be less than 120 pounds at maturity (three years), with the ideal being 140 to 160 pounds. Minimal weight for bitches is 80 pounds at maturity and the ideal being 100 to 120 pounds. The length measured from the point of the prosternum or breastbone to the rear edge of the pelvis, the ischial tuberosity, with the most desirable proportion of 10 to 9. ANY MALE THAT MEASURES LESS THAN 28" OR FEMALES LESS THAN 26" AT MATURITY (36 MONTHS OF AGE) SHOULD BE DISQUALIFIED."

It is extremely obvious that neither a Corgi nor this dog  could ever fit Item 10 of the ISSR standard. 

Low stationed dogs (short legs) do not belong on the Shiloh Shepherd! Breeders must take much care in examining each potential breeding carefully to prevent this trait from taking over the entire breed!

Is this last year's (and this year's) ISSDC/r highest rated Champion Grand Victor?

The ISSDC/r President (tall man in hat) and former president (shorter man in dark jacket) seem very happy with the results of their labor.

From the above left in '99 to above right in 2001, are the King Shepherds losing it?

It is a shame that so many "pet quality (at best) dogs are being shown and bred! Worst yet, is the fact that they still insist on calling them Shiloh Shepherds!

ISSR, Inc. Breed Standard Broken Hearted Breed Founder Cherry Blossom Report  |  Brookville | Conformation Show Titles -- What Do They Mean?
Be Sure to Read the Other Articles in the Continuing Series of "Live" Reports from the Shiloh Shepherd™ Breed Founder:

Broken Hearted Breed Founder (1998)| Cherry Blossom 1999| Brookville Report (2000) |
Frederick Report (2001) | Sportsman Show (2004) | Broken Hearted Breed Founder Redux (2004) | Cherry Blossom Classic 2004 | Cherry Blossom 2004 Collage | What Should a Shiloh Shepherd Tail Look Like? (A Lesson for the Judges) | NCA Show 2005 | Rarities Show at the Hartford Pet Expo 2005 | Canada Show Update: May 2006 | Cherry Blossom Classic 2006 | NAKC and Rarities Show: October 2006 | Empire Classic: July 2007 | Rarities Show: Lums Pond Park: September 2008 | Broken Hearted Breed Founder Series |

Be sure to read:

What is a Shiloh Shepherd? |Examples of Real ISSR Shiloh Shepherd Pedigrees |Real Questions Honest Answers from the  Shiloh Shepherd Breed Founder | Puppy Producers: What are They? | Shiloh versus Long Haired GSD | Don't Fall 4 the Fraud | Registry Comparisons | Protecting Breed Development | Shiloh Fraud | Learning Center

And to see what the ideal Shiloh Shepherd should look like, please view our ISSR, Inc. Illustrated Breed Standard and don't miss Tina Speaks!

Shiloh Shepherd Story: Against the Wind - A Breed is born