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My Shiloh Shepherd Breeding Program

by Tina Barber - ISSR / New Zion Shiloh Shepherds


PLUSH COATED SHILOH SHEPHERD My Shiloh Sheperd Breeding Program by Tina BarberI didn’t set out to develop a "breed".  I was just determined to develop the type of puppy I needed for my training program; great hips, highly intelligent, protective but inherently gentle.


My focus centered on producing sound hips because the other attributes were of no value in a dog that wasn’t able to serve its family. I was very diligent in researching breeds and bloodlines with good hips, talking with people such as GSD judge/author Fred Lanting, studying Dr. Barden's dysplasia theory, and before long I began to develop my littermate X-ray program. [1]


People tend to mistake Shiloh Shepherds for very large German Shepherds, especially if they are "plush" coated. That is an unfortunate misconception because my gene pool is so far removed from what is typical in the GSD bloodlines today.


KARA LOBO, My Shiloh Shepherd Breeding Program Foundation by Tina BarberGENTLE GIANT SHILOH SHEPHERDS are great with kids, My Shiloh Sheperd Breeding Program by Tina BarberGranted, I used to work with a variety of GSD lines back in the 60's & 70's but I was getting very discouraged with some of the temperament and hip problems I ran into. At one point, I almost gave up on the breed, but then Tammy recharged my batteries (you will have to read my Shiloh book for the full story) and that's when I made a pact with the Lord. You can read all about it in my testimony.


The only other dog that I owned that had the qualities I wanted to focus on was KariAnn. I bred her to Tammy's son Shep, the dog that saved my daughters life in 1977.   Picture (left) "Kari" and her sire Shep pictured (right).  Visit my website to view her son Shane.


I kept the pick female Kara Lobo (Kara after her dam, and Lobo because she looked "wolfish" like her sire) and to this day, the entire Shiloh Shepherd gene pool has been based on her amazing contribution.


*click to enlarge Shiloh Shepherd photos below - use back button to return to this page *


SHILOH SHEPHERD PUPPIES NEED SPACE and great facilities!  My Shiloh Sheperd Breeding Program by Tina BarberI bought a lovely farm and built facilities because to do this right, I had to produce dozens of Shiloh Shepherd litters from which to keep puppies and detailed records. The pups were housed in a special 10 run "puppy" unit. They all received the same food, water, air, exercise, etc. and had their hips x-rayed at the same time so that I could compare the results.


SHILOH SHEPHERDS ARE GREAT WITH KIDS, My Shiloh Sheperd Breeding Program by Tina BarberThe other important feature in my breeding program, their "GENTLE NATURE" was no accident. In 1974 when I named these dogs "Shiloh Shepherds" (from the Bible) I had two small boys who played in the kennels while I did my chores. As a trainer, I was focused on good hips and high intelligence but I also wanted to make sure that the Shiloh Shepherd would be absolutely safe with children.


SHILOH SHEPHERDS ARE PROTECTIVE GENTLE GIANTS, Shiloh Sheperd Breeding Program by Tina BarberI made a lot of money during those early decades because my oversized, child-safe protection dogs sold for top prices. The Shilohs I trained for personal protection were sold to families with children who wanted protection but they didn't want a .357 Magnum! They just wanted a (harmless) water pistol that looked like one and they were willing to pay many times the normal "trained import" price to get just what their family needed!!


I also designed a unique form of training that accomplished what I needed for my clients and for my own breeding program. By the end of the '80's I had made significant progress but realized I had to exercise more control over my breeding program and also that I needed to go computerized in order to really track and tabulate results.


SHILOH SHEPHERDS MUST BE SOUND WITH GOOD HIPS Shiloh Sheperd Breeding Program by Tina BarberOne of the breeders I was working with was Steve Betcher who SHILOHS HAVE GREAT HIPS - AND LOVE FOOD! Shiloh Sheperd Breeding Program by Tina Barberwas trying to produce larger White Shepherds with good hips. During our genetic talks I explained about my data research and how I would love to put all of it into a special dream software program! So enter the TCCP, a specialized program which enabled me to set up the International Shiloh Shepherd Registry. That also allowed us to track pedigrees and all of the hip data [2] and puppies produced by the ISSR Licensed Breeders!


In 1990 I wrote a formal ISSR Breed Standard [3] that was lavishly illustrated and is easy for anyone to understand. The correct Shiloh Shepherd is a dog no less than 28” and 120 pounds, with proud carriage, effortless movement, impeccable character that includes a “heart of gold”. Two clearly described coat types was defined. The emphasis was on size and soundness, both mental and physical.


SHILOH SHEPHERD BREED STANDARD REQUIRES SUPER SIZE, Shiloh Sheperd Breeding Program by Tina BarberBut my success in setting type, intelligence and sound hips had caught the attention of those who were mass producing puppies and representing them as 'Shiloh Shepherds' and the fake Shilohs were reflecting badly on my own breeding program. When I had first opened my registry to these folks I was only focused on gene pool expansion! I was willing to allow them to make all of the money on the puppies they produced and sold for thousands of dollars because of my name, reputation, and success. Knowing we could not risk everything we had accomplished and what had in fact become a “breed”, all I asked for was that they follow the ISSR Rules. [4]


SHILOH SHEPHERD WITH CHILD, Shiloh Sheperd Breeding Program by Tina BarberIf a Shiloh Shepherd breeder is working towards developing a bloodline or in my case, a breed, structure and movement must be carefully maintained. If a novice walks past a show ring full of dogs, they should be able to tell an Akita from a Husky!! That's why I worked so hard to write the Shiloh Shepherd breed standard, and then had to fight to protect it!


Every breeder has disappointments and setbacks and I’ve had my share but my dogs and my breeding goals have never let me down. People will be people but a well bred dog will always be true. Maybe that's why I feel that we must look into AKC recognition, to get protection for the Shiloh Shepherd and those who have worked so hard to hold true to a massive, intelligent, gentle but protective breed with a sound mind and body.


In order for this breed/these dogs to survive we have to ask, can AKC help? At one time the SV ruled the German Shepherd Dog’s future with an iron hand, but I just read about a long haired GSD that had so many genetic problems he had to be put down at 15 months! That is why the International Shiloh Shepherd Registry holds the key to correct type and temperament, but also to maintaining clear genetics.


SHILOH SHEPHERDS ARE MASIVE, SOUND, INTELLIGENT DOGS, Shiloh Sheperd Breeding Program by Tina BarberAs a breeder I’ve given nearly four decades to developing a type of dog that bred so true, it became a unique breed in far less time that it took for other AKC registered breeds to get recognition. Some would say it is a miracle and in a way that is true.


My Shiloh Shepherd breeding program began before there was a breed standard other than in my head. The Shiloh was and is so unique, it sold itself. Thanks to other dedicated Shiloh Shepherd breeders, it evolved into a magnificent BREED, today known around the world as the Shiloh Shepherd.


Reference Information:

[1]   ~   [2] Hip data and registry

[3] Shiloh Shepherd Breed Standard   ~   [4] International Shiloh Shepherd Registry, Inc


Go to New Zion Shiloh Shepherds to see Shiloh Shepherd puppies or upcoming litters. Tina passed away May 30th, 2011.  Her daughter, Lisa Barber continues the legacy in New York.  Email Lisa or she can be reached at (585) 567-8040

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