Shiloh Shepherds - What R They? GSDs, LHGSDs or Just Mixed Mutts?


Tina M. Barber
December 2005

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding these dogs, so I would like to take a few minutes to try clearing up some of the unrealistic misconceptions and outright false rumors.

So let's start at the beginning.

I started breeding GSD's in 1962, and continued to expand my program yearly.  By the early 70's I was getting very discouraged with some of the trends I was starting to notice within certain circles.  I was also disheartened with the major problems resulting from CHD.  I felt that I had to make some dramatic changes in my program, or give up my dream of ever attaining the "ideal" GSD again!


As most of you probably already read, in 1974 I changed my life and my kennel name to Shiloh Shepherd. The full story regarding all of these events have already been fully documented via our Learning Center, so I will just focus on the "missing" parts that seem to be misleading so many innocent victims into paying outrageous amounts of money for "unpapered" dogs that would otherwise be sold for only a few dollars, if that!

So what instigated this huge deception? THE NAME!

During the 70's and 80's the Shiloh Shepherd started developing quite a reputation! Even though many Sch breeders would "poke fun" at these "clumsy" "oversized" "baby hueys" that were too "mushy" to ever kill the "bad guy", etc., etc -- a lot of people liked the idea of having such a "Gentle Giant" protecting their family!

But that wasn't all--they liked the idea of having a BIG, super intelligent dog with good hips! Before long people started demanding LMX pups that had 3-4-5 generations of documented data, and the price for such pups started to rise drastically. 

Back in the '80's, most GSD pups sold for $150-$250.  Shiloh pups sold for about $350--but the LMX litters rose in value with each generation--all the way to $950 for 7  generation pups!

Please take a moment to view some of these pages from my old kennel advertisements. 

1984 Kennel Newsletter           1984 Litterbox News             1987 Litter News

Hundreds of litters had to be produced and tested if the Shiloh Shepherd was ever going to succeed at actually developing into a "strain" aka "breed" of dog that could someday attain full recognition.

Anyone that is willing to take the time to investigate Breed Development will have no problem understanding the complexities involved in the actual establishment of a specific breed type, then setting the necessary foundations for a broad enough gene pool not to mention attaining the final step of actual breed recognition!

Rare Breeds -- What Are They?

During the late 80's I realized that I would have to do something drastic in order to protect my lines from being fully diluted by the greedy puppy mills that were already deceiving the public by advertising their pups as coming from "Shiloh" bloodlines!

It was during that time that I started investigating a potential break from the AKC! Of course, I ran into a slew of naysayer's that warned me that nobody would ever spend any money on pups that were no longer AKC papered, but I didn't care.  I only had one goal, that was simply to protect my gene pool!

I set out a target date; as of 9/1/90 we were going to march to the beat of a different drummer! I thought that I would be able to keep my lines safe as long as they were controlled by an independent registry (I had chosen the FIC) but before long I realized that they were only interested in collecting $ for papers, not in the future welfare of the breed itself!

At that point I immediately switched gears and started the ISSR in 1991 (incorporated as of 1993) and proceeded to rebuild all of the data that had been defiled by the FIC.  Thankfully, during that first year a lot of people still dual registered their dogs with the AKC, so that we had not lost any valid documentation.

As you can see by the article that I published in my June newsletter, very strict documentation was required from each dog, prior to entry into the ISSR breeding program!

Please read the exact details in   Shiloh or LHGSD

At this time I would like to clarify some of those foundation rules! Because I feel that a full understanding of these requirements will help the reader to get a better grasp of the "BIG" picture, that we were dealing with in the late 80's and are still dealing with 2 decades later!

I honestly think the biggest misconception that has surfaced is based around the word "registrable".

So let's take a look at the "definition" of "registrable".

Capable of being registered  (must meet the requirements to be registered)

Now let's consider a more  drastic view.

Take another look at "registrable" and answer this question.

A. You present a 24 inch AKC registered GSD to the ISSR that was OFA certified and even had a few ancestors in his pedigree with OFA hip certification and Schutzhund tiles.

B. Your friend tries to present a 32 inch Great Pyrenees that had 7 generations of documented LMX data and passed his IQ tests with high scores, demonstrating his unique superior intelligence.

Which dog would be deemed as "registrable" as per the foundation requirements listed below?

ISSR Requirments circa 1993

In other words, these chosen dogs had to meet  specific requirements that clearly distinguished  them from the GSD, LHGSD, etc. as a foundation prospect suitable for maintaining and expanding the future Shiloh Shepherd gene pool.

Now please take another look at the most critical requirements these dogs were specifically bred for during the 70's and 80's:

Hips were not just based on OFA results (as is the case with most GSD's that do document results) but on LMX data! As stated previously, even litter prices were based on the number of generations with specific LMX data.  (LMX=littermate x-ray)

A lot of breeders have always focused on having OFA certifications in their pedigree but never bothered to look at the big picture! Recently even the OFA has started to notice the importance of collecting sibling data!  Please read: Collecting and Using Phenotypic Data to Minimize Disease: A Breeder's Practical Guide.

Size: If you study the history of Shiloh Shepherds (Kennel) you will be able to note that I had always strived towards huge size (please see the Breed Standard).  Dogs that do not reach the minimum (although 30-32 inches is still preferred)  28 inches at the wither do not meet the *size* requirements.  PERIOD.

Most GSD's today do NOT meet the "Shiloh" size criteria be they short or long haired, because their breed standard specifically calls for a much smaller (22-26 inch) dog!

Temperament: The Shiloh was not evaluated in this area as "good" or "bad" nor was the criteria based on "working" qualities! The desired qualities were based on SUPERIOR INTELLIGENCE! I wanted these dogs to be able to "think" like the "Hobo" dogs did! This calls for a lot more intelligence than people would "normally" expect from a typical dog! My goal was to produce the Ultimate Companion like the ones that Max Von Stephanitz once had when he started his breed!

What about now? Will these dogs ever make it toward full recognition, or will they end up being polluted by all of the dissidents that refused to adhere to the original "recipe" but still insisted on printing off papers for the "GSD  mixes" that they keep selling?

Puppy Producers: What Are They?

The future welfare of this breed is in your hands.  Study Buyer Beware!  

Take your time and visit the Wall of Shame

If you're looking for a nice family pet that looks like a "larger boned" LHGSD, then do yourself a favor and select one from a reputable AKC Breeder!  Don't be fooled into paying a lot of money for a poor quality GSD mix that is being fraudulently represented as a Shiloh Shepherd!

Investigate the facts! Read our letter to the UKC President

Don't fall for a lie.  Find out what a Shiloh Shepherd should be! Read What is a Shiloh Shepherd (1990)!

If you honestly want a real Shiloh Shepherd because you believe in what this breed stands for, then visit our ISSR Licensed Breeder page.

Take your time-- read this article again  Shiloh or LHGSD

Registries: What Are They?

Investigate B-4-U Invest!   |  Shiloh Shepherds Buyers Beware | What is a Breed? |
About Our Breed Founder  |  Learning Center

Other articles in Tina M. Barber's Breed Development series:

Please also read The Shiloh Shepherd Story: Against the Wind--A Breed Is Born.

Site Map:  History of the Shiloh Shepherd | Ongoing Breed Development |



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