As written by

Tina M. Barber
Shiloh Shepherd™ Breed Founder

Illustrations by Linda Shaw, MBA

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.

3) HEAD: The head is 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.

Ideal Head

Kite ears Roman Nose - tall ears

Inadequate stop -
Oversized ears


4) EARS: Ears are moderately pointed in proportion to the skull, open toward the front and carried erect when at attention, well rounded, triangular in shape, well cupped, stiff, height equal to width at base. If ear is folded forward for measuring length, tip should not pass upper eye rim. Set high and well apart, the base of the ear is placed above the center of the eye. A mature dog with hanging ears must be disqualified.

Ideal ears

Oversized ears



5) EYES: Shades of dark to very light brown will be accepted (no other colors are allowed), of medium size, almond shaped, set a little obliquely and not protruding. The expression should be keen, intelligent, and composed.

Too round

Too slanted

6) TEETH: 42 in number (20 upper and 22 lower) strongly developed and meeting in a scissor bite in which part of the inner surface of upper incisor meets and engages part of the outer surface of the lower incisors. An overshot or undershot jaw is a DISQUALIFYING FAULT.

Wry bite

Faulty: even bite

Faulty: overshot bite

Faulty: undershot bite


7) NECK: The neck is strong and muscular, relatively long and slightly arched. Proportionate in size to the head and without loose skin. When the dog is at attention with head raised and neck carried high a look of nobility should be easily observed.

Correct Neck

Faulty Short Neck



8) FOREQUARTERS: The shoulder blades are long and obliquely angled, laid flat and not placed forward. The upper arm joins the shoulder blade at about a right angle. Both the upper arm and the shoulder blade are well muscled. The forelegs, viewed from the side, are straight but heavy boned and oval rather than round. The pasterns are strong and springy and angulated at approximately a 25 degree angle from the vertical.





9) FEET: The feet are oval, compact, with toes well arched, pads thick and firm, nails short and dark. Dew claws, if any should be

Strong pastern
 Cat foot

Faulty (weak pastern)

removed from the hind legs. Dewclaws on the forelegs are left on. Splay or hare feet should be considered a VERY SERIOUS FAULT.

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.



Lacks wither/straight rear

German Roach Back Type

Low stationed (Alsatian)

American Show Type

11) BODY: The entire body should appear to be well coordinated, yet muscular and solid. The back is broad and straight, strongly boned, and well developed. There should be good depth of brisket. A roach back should be considered a SERIOUS FAULT, as should a soft or sway back. The body should not appear spindly or extremely leggy. All proportions must be well balanced.

Roach back /steep croup Too square--leggy
12) CHEST: Commencing at the prosternum, it is well filled and carried well down between the legs. It is deep and capacious, never

Too deep

Too shallow

shallow, with ample room for lungs and heart, carried well forward, with the sternum showing ahead of the shoulder profile.

Viewed from the top

13) RIBS: Well sprung and long, neither barrel shaped nor too flat, and carried down to the sternum which reaches to the elbows. Correct ribbing allows the elbows to move freely when the dog is at a trot. Too round causes interference and throws the elbows out; too flat or short causes pinched elbows. Ribbing is carried well back so that the loin is relatively short.

Abdomen tucked up

14) ABDOMEN: Should be firmly held and not paunchy. The bottom line is only moderately tucked up in the loin.

Abdomen too paunchy

15) TOPLINE: The withers are higher than and sloping into the lower back. The back is straight, very strongly developed without sag or roach and relatively short. The desirable long proportion is not derived from a long back but achieved by width of forequarter, length of withers, width of hindquarters, and position and length of croup viewed from the side. The loin, viewed from the top, is broad and strong (undue length between the last rib and thigh when viewed from the side is undesirable). The croup should be long and gradually sloping.


Low wither--soft back

Too Long Bodied

Soft Back--Overbuilt Croup


Rear--correct saber

Correct Side

Correct in Motion
16) 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.


Standing Ring

 Ring Tail in Motion


Standing Hook

Gay  Tail in Motion

Front View of the Thigh

17) HINDQUARTERS: The whole assembly of the thigh, viewed from the side, is broad, with both upper and lower thigh well muscled, forming as nearly as possible a right angle. The upper thighbone parallels the shoulder blade while the lower thighbone parallels the upper arm. The metatarsus is short, strong, and tightly articulated.

Correct Rear

Skeletal View

Faulty: Cow Hocks

Tall hocks, lacking thigh

18) GAIT: 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.

Overbuilt--low wither

Square body--lacks reach

Over-angulated Show type

19) TRANSMISSION: The typical smooth, flowing gait is maintained with great strength and firmness of back. The whole effort of the hindquarter is transmitted to the forequarter through the loin, back, and withers. At full trot, the back must remain firm and level without sway, roll, whip, or roach. An uneven topline with withers lower than the croup is FAULTY. To compensate for the forward motion imparted by the hindquarters, the shoulder should open to its full extent. The forelegs should reach out close to the ground, in a long stride in harmony with that of the hindquarters.


Elbows Out

 The dog does not track on widely separated paralleled lines, but brings the feet inward toward the middle line of the body when trotting, in order to maintain balance. The feet track closely but do not strike or cross over. Viewed from the front, the front legs function from the shoulder joint to the pad in a straight line. Viewed from the rear, the hind legs function from the hip joint to the pad in a straight line. FAULTS OF GAIT, WHETHER VIEWED FROM THE FRONT, REAR OR SIDE, ARE CONSIDERED VERY SERIOUS.



For more drawings, please visit Linda Shaw's Illustrated Standard of the German Shepherd Dog (copyright Linda Shaw, 2003): Mechanics of Movement.  (

20) COLOR: The Shiloh Shepherd™ comes in various colors. Shades of black with tan, golden tan, reddish tan, silver, and cream are as desirable as are various shades of richly pigmented golden, silver, red, dark brown, dark gray, or black sables. Also solid black or solid white is acceptable as long as the nose, eye rims, and lips are solid black. A white blaze on the chest is acceptable as well as some white markings on the toes, as long as they are blended in with the other shades of silver, cream, tan, etc. Any other white markings on any other part of the body should be considered a FAULT. Any washed out or pale colors should also be considered a FAULT. Blues, livers, dogs with lack of proper pigmentation, or dogs with a nose that is not predominately black must be DISQUALIFIED.

Please visit for color pictures representing all acceptable variations for the  ISSR Shiloh Shepherd.

21) COAT (TWO ACCEPTABLE VARIETIES): SMOOTH: The ideal dog has a double coat of medium length. The outer coat should be as dense as possible with hair straight, harsh, lying close to the body. The hair around the neck area should be slightly longer and thicker. The rear of the forelegs and hind legs has somewhat longer hair extending to the pastern and hock respectively. The head including the inner ear and fore face, legs and paws should be covered with shorter hair. *Even though the smooth coated type requires less care and grooming -- the Plush coated variety seems to shed less.

PLUSH: The Plush Variety has a close fitting double coat of medium coarse guard hairs, with a softer undercoat. The head and muzzle, back of the ears and front of the legs and paws are covered with short smooth hairs. The neck has a distinct "mane" that extends to, and covers the chest, with slightly shorter hair covering the remaining torso, not to exceed 5" in length. The "feathering" inside of the ears and on the back of the forelegs should not exceed 3" in length. *Show Grooming should include the trimming of all excess fur from between the toes, around the pads, and the removal of all "tufts" from among the "feathering" inside the ears.


 1. 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.

1. Spooking at strange sights or sounds, along with tucking under of tail.
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.

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
wither, leg, feet, toes
body, chest, ribs, abdomen


Breed Standard Tail section clarified 7/2000

*Please note that the ISSR, Inc.  Shiloh Shepherd Breed Standard was written by Tina Barber in 1990 exclusively for the Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc., the only approved parent club for the Shiloh Shepherd dog, while under development by its founder.  Anyone using this standard without the written permission of Tina M. Barber, the International Shiloh Shepherd Registry, Inc.  and the owner of this website is in copyright violation.

All illustrations are copyrighted by their artist, Linda Shaw, and the SSDCA, Inc and are not available for private use.

© Tina M. Barber and the International Shiloh Shepherd Registry, Inc.  Reg # TX 6-201-686, TX 6-201-685 and TXu1-247-815 on file in the US Copyright Office.  This document may only be reproduced with written permission of Tina M. Barber and  the International Shiloh Shepherd Registry, Inc.