I had wanted to have another dog for many years. I wanted a dog which would be loyal, easy to train, intelligent, a watch dog not a guard dog, impressive in mind and body. One day I stumbled across a picture of a Shiloh Shepherd. I could not stop looking at the picture. It featured a group of shepherds who were eye popping to look at. Some of them were shorthaired or what I later learned is called smooth coated, and some of them were long haired, or plush if you will.
The plush Shepherds look so much like wolves, with their intense concentration and gracefulness, even though there is no wolf in their background. The smooth coats were impressive as the lack of the long fur gave way to the sight of their massive chests and thick bones legs. I began what would become a 6-year research project. I read everything I could on the ISSR Shiloh Shepherd. It seemed everything I could ever want in a dog was in the breed. Being me I also took the time to research other breeds as well, but they all fell short in one way or another to this majestic breed.
Some of you do not know I am physically disabled. I fell off a cliff 14 years ago and was told I would never walk again. I am strong willed and I do walk, not far, fast, or for long, but I walk. My love of the ISSR Shiloh gave me an idea of training my own mobility service dog; and so, began a new journey. I researched all the laws and requirements for service dogs and found I could with a little help pull this off. I could have the breed of dog I so dearly wanted and a service dog as well.
I found the site of Tina Barber or Ma Shiloh as she is fondly called. Ma is the founder of the breed. I think that is cool to have a breed developed right here in this country and during my lifetime. Ma wanted to develop a Shepherd which was much like the Shepherds she knew growing up. Which means the breed had all the qualities I wanted in a dog; as well as, they are much larger.
While I was researching, I discovered there were other Shiloh Shepherds out there. I want to call them fake Shilohs, as they are people who once were with Ma Shiloh but left and bred other breeds of dogs into their dogs, creating another breed altogether, but still call them a Shiloh Shepherd. They are not the same dog though as this inter breeding with just any dog has take away from the medical integrity of what Ma is trying to do; as well as the temperament integrity. ISSR Shiloh's are down to a .5 hip dysplasia. Can you imagine that compared to that of other shepherds, and she has the data and dogs to prove it. The Slivers as those of us call them in the ISSR broke away as they did not like the strict rules as to how and when dogs were and are to be bred. This is not a money making deal. This is the development of a better temperament, healthier breed of dog. The ISSR keeps amazing records of every puppy born. Here is a page with many links some of which talk about the fake Shilohs, http://www.shilohshepherds.info/shilohHistory.htm
I would urge anyone looking for a large breed dog to become part of your family to check out ISSR Shiloh Shepherds.
Now if you are wondering if I have purchased my own ISSR Shiloh Shepherd? The answer is yes. Her name is Mali and she just turned 2 years old. The first day Mali was in my house she learned to sit and fetch. By the end of the week, she was getting her leash and bringing it to use when she needed to go out. By the time Mali was 9 month old she earned her first mobility dog harness and has gone on to alert me to medical issues she was not trained to do.
Since Mali we have two other sweet girls become part of our family, Rani and Yuki; they are both 21 months old now. Rani is also a medical alert dog as well and Yuki has started training in search and rescue. All three girls are our foundation-breeding girls, and in the summer, we have our fingers crossed that we will be adding our last to our pack, a little boy. There is a littler, which if all goes right will have a male, which will have a genetic match for all three of our girls. If there is no breed quality male in this litter, we will just wait, as I will not just take a male to have a male, he has to be the right dog or not at all.
I am in high hopes this little boy will have the right temperament to train to be Mali's alternate for such times as when she is indisposed so to speak. He will be either a smooth coat like Mali or a plush coat like both Rani and Yuki. That is one of the other things about Shilohs; if you like, a dog with a longer coat with a wolfish look to them then a plush coat might work out for you. These dogs only shed twice a year, but do need to be brushed weekly. The smooth coated Shilohs; however, shed like any other dog, all through the year.
If you would like to check out my web site for tons of pictures and more information, here is the address: http://www.maddenshilohs.com/