by Tina M. Barber

In the elite world of show dogs, it is assumed that a Championship title represents exceptional quality of the individual dog. Every breed has a standard (blueprint) that breeders strive hard to breed toward, in an effort to produce the ideal representative of their breed. They then select their absolute best progeny to compete against other such dogs of their respective breed for the coveted championship titles. The competition can become extremely fierce, and politics can often play a role during such intense show competitions.

The Breed Standard "paints" a picture of the ideal dog. At the shows, the dogs entered claim to be the closest representatives of this standard, then it is up to the judges to select the one that is "THE" closest to the ideal, without any disqualifying faults. The dog that has managed to come out as "THE" winner in several such competitions should also be an excellent representative of his breed!! When he parades past the spectators, along with all of the other breed representatives, it should be easy to point him out as the "IDEAL" Beagle, Poodle, or Collie, etc. There should never be any doubt that he IS the epitome of the breed he represents!!

To illustrate how show ring politics can negatively impact a breed standard, a discussion of the transformation of the German Shepherd Dog will follow.

GV Lance of Fran Jo

In 1967 G.V. Ch. Lance of Fran-Jo was not only a Champion, but a GRAND VICTOR!!! The greatest of all the Champions for that year! There was no doubt that in his day, he was the "IDEAL" representative of his breed ;-)

Unfortunately shortly thereafter politics set in and a very destructive fad was created. In order to visually distinguish themselves from the German "Import" Shepherds, the America breeders set a new standard for their dogs. This new "ideal version" quickly led to the modern GSD we see today.


It took less then a decade to set this new "type" -- yet the results have continued to influence this noble breed ever since!! By the late 80’s several breeders started to cross the German Imports (that had remained true to type) back into the American lines in an attempt to restore what once used to be. Their efforts did improve the structure (although these dogs were no longer "show" quality) but serious temperament problems started to surface. Many of the hard working GSD’s did not "mesh" well with the timid American show dogs, resulting in progeny with very unstable temperaments.

In Conclusion; What did the "Championship titles" do for the German Shepherd Dog??

Extremely brave, intelligent dogs like Strongheart, Rin Tin Tin®, Roy Roger’s Bullet, Buddy (the first lady of the seeing eyes) and London (star of the "Littlest Hobo" series), among others, would never have qualified as "champion" show dogs ;(


It was dogs like those pictured above that created the demand for "German shepherd" puppies, and it was the responsibility of the parent club (GSDCA) to ensure that structurally sound (via the shows & properly supervised breeding programs), as well as healthy-tested (OFA), stable (ATTS-Working Dogs of America, etc.) dogs were being produced. Those goals were continuously sabotaged by people who created an unproductive "political" environment for the poor GSD’s!!!!!

In the early 70’s I heard the rumblings & saw the power plays that were being set to diminish the beauty & nobility of my beloved breed.

In 1974 I set forth on a different road to preserve these magnificent animals for all future generations ;-) That road has never been an easy one, yet I wear my battle scars proudly! I am just as thrilled with the REAL Shiloh Shepherds of today, as I was with my dogs nearly 3 decades ago!!!!!

7 year old Josh with London

5 year old Josh with Uli and 3 year old David with Doc

George Santanyana wrote that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Just as a small group of GSD show people took that breed on a path that often results in small boned, unstable and unsound dogs who are a far cry from the noble GSD who once existed, so too a group of inexperienced (non-ISSR) breeders are mass producing inferior puppies that they insist on calling Shiloh Shepherds.

They form their own counterfeit "registries" and show at "rare breed" shows that do not even check registration qualifications, much less the ISSR breed standard! They also have their own "specialties" with their OWN "breed standard" to title such dogs! Yet, they insist on calling them "Shiloh Shepherds" so that they can easily convince the unsuspecting public to purchase these (not ISSR approved) puppies; (

Their goal is to sell puppies, apparently having no concern regarding the damage this will certainly cause the entire breed. At this early stage of development, with such a small – limited genepool available, it is imperative that ALL concerned breeders work together for the betterment of the Shiloh Shepherd!! Although many Backyard Breeders may think that the ISSR is way too harsh when it comes to it’s rules, it is important that we all understand that those rules were created to protect the future welfare of this entire breed, and that breeders that adhere to them should be PRAISED while those who choose to reject them, should not be supported in their effort to sell substandard puppies!! (Please refer to Puppy Producers: What Are They?)

Even though these dogs may be "titled" it should NOT influence anyone to pay outrageous prices for such over inbred  puppies, that are almost certain to have some potentially serious health problems!

Just Look at

The dog pictured on the left has been shown at nearly every show available, from coast to coast, earning himself the title of GRAND VICTOR! The dog on the right has not been shown, although he has been bred several times, producing outstanding puppies, such as the progeny shown below. 

We expect him to earn his ROM before the end of this year--a title that should be coveted even more so than just a "championship" because it clearly shows that the dog can PRODUCE quality!!


NOW, please take a moment to compare both of the dogs shown above to the IBS drawing of the Ideal Shiloh Shepherd pictured to your right.

Which one (the "super" Champion or the "untitled" dog) do you think is a better representative of the "IDEAL" Shiloh Shepherd?


For a much deeper study into the original ancestry of our breed, please be sure to take some time to view this website !  Get a cup of coffee & don't miss any of the links .. they will take you to some fantastic pictures ;-)

For more comparisons, please be sure to read the reports listed below!!

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


Publication History:

Article written by Tina M. Barber in 2002 for the Shiloh Shepherd Learning Center; links updated in 2004 and 2006.