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

 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.