. By T.V. Antony Raj
The Shiloh Shepherd is the most awesome rare breed of dog on earth, first developed in the 1970s by Tina M. Barber, who has been involved with German Shepherd dogs all of her life. She breeds American Kennel Club German Shepherd Dogs (AKC), trains and titles dogs for NASA Schutzhund and personal protection, lectures across the country, writes many articles for major publications such as the GSQ, publishes Shiloh Shepherd newsletter.
She started her own training kennel and breeding program in 1962. Thus began her quest to develop the ultimate companion.
The Shiloh Shepherds are meant to resemble the German Shepherds but their coats can be a variety of colors and color mixes. Shiloh Shepherds are larger and have a straighter back than most modern Alsatians and German Shepherds.
They are bred for their intelligence, size, and stable temperaments. Very gentle with little children, they compete in obedience and agility. They can baby-sit children, lead a blind person safely across the streets and do a lot of other chores. They work as therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, livestock guardians and service assistance. They are often reared as family protectors.
In 1962 Tina had a dream. She was obsessed with producing the “perfect” dog. With no degree in genetics, she developed efficient genetic research methods. She went beyond research and theory. Here are her own words:
“I knew in my heart what I wanted to produce….. SUPER INTELLIGENCE…HUGE SIZE… GREAT HIPS!!! Those where my 3 “biggies” but I also wanted a specific “TYPE”– a “look” that would stop traffic!!! I worked very hard during those first 12 years, but I just couldn’t get the “package” I dreamt of! I would get HUGE size, but the hips would fall apart! I would get super intelligence, with good hips, but they would be small “bitchy headed” ugly (foxy looking) dogs! I would get looks, with no brains! A few nice ones would raise my hopes, but then they would produce absolute nightmares!! I was actually about to give up the whole “dream” as a totally unattainable fantasy! The money, time and energy I expended, didn’t reap any kind of reward, only heartbreak! There was no such thing as a “perfect” Shepherd type!!! After 12 YEARS of disappointments, I realized that without a “miracle” my dream was about to die!
“… Nevertheless, I finally gave up my pride & invited Jesus as my personal saviour on 2/26/74. Being a rebellious child, the first thing I did was to start “fleecing” my Saviour! Then one day while I was reading the story of Hannah, how she desperately wanted a child (she was barren) and how she went to SHILOH, to the house of the Lord to petition him for a son…promising that if he granted her desire, she would dedicate her son back to the Lord, etc… I realized that this was what I had to do too! So I went out to my kennel, and sat among my dogs, and grabbed a hold of the throne room, petitioning the Lord to grant MY DREAM!! Promising him that I would ALWAYS acknowledge him as my partner in life, as well as in the creation of these magnificent animals, and that FOREVER they would carry his name, and the symbol of his provision (the Fish) as a testimony to him! It was on that day that I changed my Kennel name to Shiloh Shepherds™.
“The word “Shiloh” appears in the Bible 33 times. Thirty-three is the number of PROMISE!!”
Plush Coat Shiloh Shepherd Dog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In 1990s Tina’s dogs entered the rare breed world as Shilohs Shepherds, named for the kennel of origin. She wrote the Shiloh Shepherd Breed Standard. You can view it by clicking on this link
“Illustrated Shiloh Shepherd Breed Standard“
The Shiloh Shepherd is still under development but stands as a model of what pure breeding is all about.
On March 31, 2012 my wife Assuntha and I with our son Subas, daughter-in-law Ligia and grandson Rohan were lucky to be at the The Blossom Kite Festival on National Mall in Washington, DC. There, we saw a group of Shiloh Shepherds with their owners. They were huge and burly but looked benignly gentle, calm, and not a bark.
We were very much fascinated by these gentle dogs because this was the first time we have seen such fine specimens. In fact we have not seen such a handsome breed in India.
One dog named Ender owned by a young man Kevin was the only one active among the 6 shepherds that were there; others were lying serenely besides their owners who caressed them ever so lovingly.
My grandson Rohan was exuberant when he saw those gracious, amiable and gentle super intelligent Shiloh Shepherds and from the way he got all agitated we understood that he wanted to pet them.
The owners of the Shiloh Shepherds were glad when I asked them permission to photograph them with their pets. Kevin the owner of Ender was happy and eager to allow my grandson Rohan to pet his Ender.
Here is a video of my grandson and the group of gentle Shiloh shepherds.