The WSSBA acknowledges the Shiloh Shepherd Breed Standard as written by the International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club.


Click HERE to download a PDF printable version of the Breed Standard


The official Shiloh Shepherd Breed Standard of the
International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club, Inc. (ISSDC, Inc.)
This breed standard may be used by all interested parties
 in its entirety and without alteration.



Brief Historical Summary: In the 1980’s, a German Shepherd breeder from western New York state began to visualize a specific type of shepherd dog; one that was larger, calmly tempered and possessed better hips than the norm. Through breeding a specific type, introducing a northern breed to the gene pool, and educating the public on the benefits of x-raying hips, the Shiloh Shepherd was “born” and formally recognized as a breed of dog by FIC in 1990 and ARBA in 1991.

General Appearance: The Shiloh Shepherd is large, strong and muscular, with noble expression. He is powerful, elegant and athletic; distinguished by a balanced build and possessing a confident calmness.

Important Proportions: Height at withers to length of body: 8.5 to 10. The depth of chest is 50% of the height at withers.

Behavior/Temperament: Of flock guardian descent, the Shiloh Shepherd is bred to be the ultimate companion dog. The Shiloh Shepherd is courageous, and self confident with an almost supernatural intelligence. It is an extremely versatile breed that should always be willing to work and play. They are calm, sweet and loving with children, elderly people and small animals, yet bold and brave enough to protect them from harms way.

The following are particular requirements of steady temperament:

  • Self assurance and superior composure
  • Willing to be submissive; adaptive to surroundings
  • Good capacity to observe, learn and remember
  • Inquisitive to noise without showing apprehension
  • Friendly and amiable yet perceptive to menacing situations


    • Spooking at strange sights or sounds along with tucking of tail is considered a very serious fault

Cranial Region: SKULL: In profile and viewed from the front, slightly domed. Width and length should appear to be equal STOP: Clearly recognizable, gently defined, with slight center furrow

Head & Facial Region: The head is to be wedge shaped, large, yet in proportion to the body. It is dry in its general appearance, and moderately broad between the ears, never clumsy or overly long. Secondary sexual characteristics should be evident.

  • NOSE: Black, set level with the muzzle, blunt rather than pointy.
  • MUZZLE: Smoothly set into the skull, never running to a point; nasal bridge is level and parallels the topline of the skull. Breadth is nearly even. Fur predominantly black in color
  • LIPS: Close fitting, black, corners of lips closed.
  • JAWS: Strong, well developed. Lower jaw is visible from the front and profile when mouth is closed.
  • TEETH: 42 total, 20 upper and 22 lower. Scissor bite with dentition aligned properly and enamel healthy.
  • CHEEKS: Only slightly developed.
  • EYES: All shades of brown accepted. Medium sized, almond shaped, obliquely set. Eye rims are black. Expression is of the utmost importance and should be keen, soulful, and reciprocative.
  • EARS: Erect, stiff, moderately pointed, triangular in shape. Well cupped, thick leathers that open toward the front. Height should be equal to width at base. Base of ears should set above the eyes.


    • A long, narrow or snipey muzzle
    • Undershot or overshot bite, wry mouth
    • Weak under jaw
    • **SERIOUS-Ears that are out of proportion; too large and/or tall
    • **SERIOUS-Ears that are low set; over set; or show signs of weakness
    • **DISQUALIFYING-Ears that hang on an adult (over 15 months old)

Neck: Proportioned to head and body. Slightly arched without break to the withers. Pleasingly long and muscular rather than stocky, without throatiness or dewlap.


  • WITHERS: Well defined, smoothly set into neck and back.
  • BACK: Firm, straight, broad. Length derived from well laid shoulder and correct croup length.
  • LOINS: Viewed from the top; broad, strong, well muscled without undue length.
  • CROUP: Broad, relatively long, gently rounded with ideal angle of 30-35 degrees.
  • CHEST: Broad, deep; reaching at least to the level of the elbows, carried well forward.
  • RIBS: Well sprung, relatively long, allowing unrestricted elbow movement.
  • ABDOMEN: Firmly held, slightly tucked.
  • TAIL: Set well into the croup. Extends at least to the hock joint. Full and bushy, especially on underside. Hangs like a saber when relaxed; is lifted more in excitement, and may rise above the horizontal plane of topline in high excitement if tail remains straight and the tip does not pass the vertical line of the croup.
  • TOPLINE: A smooth gradual slope from the head; to nearly level back; to tip of tail. The head, neck, wither, back, croup, and tail are distinctly and harmoniously represented.
  • TESTICLES: Males should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


    • Any deviation from the proper topline when standing (sway, roach, low stationed)
    • Undue length between last rib and thigh
    • Slab-sided or barrel shaped ribbing
    • **SERIOUS-Hook, ring or gay tail. Short, thin or ratty tail
    • **DISQUALIFYING-Tail that curls forward past the vertical line of the croup
    • **DISQUALIFYING-male dog with absent testicle(s)


  • FORELEGS: Heavy boned; straight; parallel and not too close, dew-claws are present
  • SHOULDER/UPPER ARM: Near to equal in length, well muscled, ideal angle being 110 degree; scapula are long, obliquely set, laid back at about 30 degrees
  • ELBOWS: Close to the body, never pinched or turned out
  • PASTERN: Strong, firm; straight when seen from the front, approximate 25 degree angle from side
  • FORE FEET: Straight, rounded, compact; toes well arched; pads are thick and black

Hindquarters: Broad and well muscled

  • HIND LEGS: Not too close when viewed from the rear. Parallel to each other. Dew-claws are absent
  • HOCKS: Sturdily built, firm, turned neither in nor out
  • PELVIS: Slanting at an ideal 30-35 degree angle from the horizontal
  • THIGH: Rather long, full, strongly muscled. When stacked, femur and metatarsus are vertical; pelvis and lower leg are parallel
  • HIND FEET: Straight, toes arched, tight; pads are thick and black

Gait/Movement: The gait is considered a critical aspect of the breed. The Shiloh Shepherd is built for a ground-covering, extended, suspended trot. The limbs must be harmonious in length and angulation thereby creating a firm and level back. The hindquarters should push the torso forward in such a manner that the rear stride perfectly matches that of the forequarters. The feet should remain close to the ground; single tracking is evident. With the head thrust forward and the tail slightly lifted, the impression is level, balanced, animated, and uninterrupted; a gently flowing overline from the tips of the ears over the nape and back, through to the end of the tail.

Form follows function to produce balance, strength, coordination, and endurance to allow for many hours of play, service, or work.

The Shiloh Shepherd must be observed on a loose lead so the natural gait is evident.


    • A back that does not remain firm but displays a roll, whip, roach or sway
    • **SERIOUS–any faults of gait/structure whether from front, rear or side

Coat: Shiloh Shepherds should be shown in their natural state. Trimming is only required between the pads and toes and the excessive “tufts” of hair inside and around the ears.

There are two acceptable coat varieties, smooth and plush. In both varieties, the length should be shorter along the sides of the body, forelegs, foreface, and feet; with the length of the coat increasing around the shoulders and neck, down the back, over the croup and in the breeches and underside of the tail.

SMOOTH COAT: A thick, coarse, harsh double coat. The outer coat should be straight and dense and lie reasonably close to the body. The undercoat is dense, from 1 to 2 inches in depth. The back of the forelegs and hind legs has somewhat longer hair.

PLUSH COAT: The plush coat may lack coarseness while still remaining somewhat harsh. It should have a softer undercoat, longer mane and chest hairs, and more pronounced feathering around head, underline, back of legs and tail. Overall length of coat should not exceed 3” in torso area, 6” on legs.


    • Any coat that is open, wooly, curly, too close or too long

Color: Dual colored coats should always be black in the saddle/blanket. Black with shades of tan, golden tan, reddish tan, silver, beige, and cream are as desirable as various shades of richly pigmented golden, red, dark brown, or dark grey. Sables are equally acceptable in the same colors with guard hairs tipped in black and a lighter undercoat, usually fawn or grey. Shiloh Shepherds can also be solid black or solid white.

A small white patch on the chest and white hairs on the toes are tolerated. Pads, toenails, lips, nose and eye rims should be black. Lighter and darker facial masks and eye spectacles are acceptable and desirable.


    • White spotting with exception of chest (no bigger than palm of an adult hand) and feet (allowed on toes only)
    • Washed out or pale colors, blues, livers; any lack of proper pigment

Height & Weight: Structural perfection should never be sacrificed for height. Dogs should be evaluated for this parameter at maturity (36 months of age).

DOGS: Height 28 - 32 inches

BITCHES: Height 26 - 30 inches

Weight of a Shiloh Shepherd is what represents optimal condition for the individual dog/bitch.


    • *DISQUALIFYING - Dogs/bitches that do not meet minimum height requirements by 36 months of age

Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault, and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

Scale of Points for Judging the Shiloh Shepherd
(100 point total)

Gait, Movement 25 points
General Appearance: strength, size, balance 15 points
Head and Ears 15 points
Topline, Tail, Hindquarters 15 points
Forequarters 10 points
Proportions, body, chest, ribbing, abdomen 10 points
Character: alertness and attitude 5 points
Color, Coat 5 points
Total 100 points

©2008 International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club, Inc. All rights reserved


Page Updated 17 August 2019

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