shiloh shepherd standing in grass
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Shiloh Shepherds: Characteristics, care, training

By Justine Seraphin Country Manager

Published on the

Shiloh Shepherds are a relatively new dog breed. Though still rare in the UK, they have plenty of incredible qualities - could they be the breed for you?

The Shiloh Shepherd, as a relatively new breed, is not officially recognised by the FCI (International Canine Federation) or the Kennel Club. It is, however, recognised by many American clubs, and its popularity is growing every day!

Shiloh Shepherds are without a doubt beautiful dogs, but they require a lot of attention in terms of training, exercise, and even grooming! They are not a decision to be taken lightly. Could they be the dog for you? Let’s find out!

Shiloh Shepherd Origins

The Shiloh Shepherd was developed in New York in the 1970’s by German Shepherd enthusiast Tina Barber. Her goal was to create a dog that had all the qualities of a German Shepherd, but with a softer side that would make them easier to handle for families. She therefore decided to start crossing German Shepherds with Alaskan Malamutes, and the breed was born!

The Shiloh Shepherd was only officially recognised in 1990, and is mostly well known in the US. It remains rare in the UK. 

Shiloh Shepherd Size and Appearance

Females should be 26 to 28 inches (66 to 71 cm) in height and weigh 80 to 100 pounds (36 to 45 kilos). Males should be 28 to 30 inches (71 to 76 cm) in height and weigh 100 to 130 pounds (45 to 59 kilos).

In essence, these are very large dogs. This is a dog that can drag you on the lead, knock you over while playing, and inadvertently break things in the house with the simple wag of a tail. You must invest in training early on to avoid them becoming too much of a handful.

Shiloh Shepherds have a wolf-like appearance, with a pointed snout and ears. They have a plush coat that comes in a variety of colours, including black, brown, silver, gray, red, and pied. Their coats are usually a combination of two or more colours.

Shiloh Shepherd Exercise Needs

Shiloh Shepherds are not tranquil lap dogs that will be happy to sleep on the sofa all day. These are active dogs that require lots of daily exercise. Healthy adults will need at least 2 hours of off-leash outdoor time a day. You should not consider this breed if you are not active yourself, or if you have an extremely busy schedule that would not allow for long, daily walks.

Shiloh Shepherds are also incredibly smart and will get bored and frustrated easily if they are not mentally stimulated. Part of their exercise routine should include trick training and playing with intelligence games. This will keep their mind active when they can’t physically expend their energy.

Shiloh Shepherd Trainability

Shiloh Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs that can learn all sorts of commands and tricks easily, as long as you provide structure and consistency. You should start training sessions early, every day, and use positive reinforcement training techniques

Socialisation is key with this breed. As soon as your puppy has received all their vaccinations, take them out to meet as many people and other animals as possible. Training and socialising this dog is not an option - it’s a must. If left to their own devices, they can become destructive and unsociable.

Shiloh Shepherd Grooming

Shiloh Shepherds have medium-length, thick double coats. You should groom them at least biweekly to make sure the coat doesn’t become matted. Bathing might be necessary after muddy winter walks in which their hair is likely to pick up everything in their path.

Shiloh Shepherds are also heavy shedders, so you’ll want a powerful vacuum handy. In short, if you like your house clean and tidy at all times, this is not the dog for you!

Shiloh Shepherd Temperament

Shiloh Shepherds are friendly, active dogs. They are perfect for families who like to take part in outdoor activities. If properly trained, Shiloh Shepherds can also make wonderful service and therapy dogs.

Shiloh Shepherds make fantastic pets for active families©Terran Ambrosone - Shutterstock

Shiloh Shepherds are very attached to members of their pack and can suffer from separation anxiety if not properly trained to stay on their own at an early age.

Shiloh Shepherd Life Expectancy and Health

The average life expectancy of the Shiloh Shepherd is 9 to 11 years.

Shiloh Shepherds tend to suffer from big-dog problems, such as:

Shiloh Shepherd Puppies

Shiloh Shepherd puppies, like most puppies, are a bit of a handful. With their boundless energy, they’ll be looking to chew all of your belongings, dig up your beloved plants, and use their sharp little teeth to play-fight with you. Set your boundaries now to avoid these problems continuing as your puppy grows into a very large adult.

3-12 weeks of age is what is known in the dog world as “the window of opportunity”. Your puppy’s brain is like a sponge, it absorbs knowledge and hasn’t yet learned to be fearful of the world. Make the most of this time to socialize them properly, and to start training! Basic commands like “sit” and “stay” are simple to teach, but they’re enormously useful when handling a large dog.

This is the perfect time to download Zigzag, the #1 puppy training app that can guide you through your pup’s first few weeks

Shiloh Shepherd Price

As this is a rare breed, you should expect to pay a minimum of £1,500 for a puppy. As large dogs, Shiloh Shepherds could cost upwards of £200 a month to care for (including expenses such as food, and insurance). Before you purchase a dog of this size, make sure you’ll have the budget to care for them properly.

Shiloh Shepherd Breeders

Unfortunately, Shiloh Shepherds are not very widespread in the UK. If you’re dead-set on owning one, you may have to turn to our neighbours across the pond. Or, you could simply be patient! The breed is gaining popularity, and in the next decade, breeders should start popping up in the UK as well. 

In the meantime, if you’re interested in the Shiloh Shepherd, why not look at other, similar breeds, such as the German Shepherd, White Swiss Shepherd, or Alaskan Malamute? And as always, we recommend visiting your local shelter to see whether you could find a perfect match there! 

If you’re thinking of adopting, please check out our adoption platform.

Shiloh Shepherd vs German Shepherd: Which is best?

Shiloh Shepherds are about 30% larger than the average well-bred German Shepherd. This means you’re more likely to turn heads with a Shiloh, but it also means you need the space and experience to deal with an animal of their size. Shilohs also have “wolfier” characteristics - their face and ears are more pointed than those of the German Shepherd. 

Shiloh Shepherds have more laid-back and friendly temperaments than German Shepherds. While German Shepherds tend to be skittish with strangers, and may become overly protective of their pack, Shiloh Shepherds are friendly with everyone and are more likely to greet strangers with a friendly tail wag. 

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Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a Shiloh Shepherd and a King Shepherd?

Do Shiloh Shepherds have wolf in them?

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