Shiloh Shepherd vs. German Shepherd



General Appearance

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

Size, Proportion, Substance
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. Height at withers to length of body: 10 to 9. The depth of chest is nearly 55% of the height at withers.

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:

  1. Self assurance and superior composure

  2. Willing to be submissive; adaptive to surroundings

  3. Good capacity to observe, learn and remember

  4. Inquisitive to noise without showing apprehension

  5. Friendly and amiable yet perceptive to menacing situations


In profile and viewed from the front, the skull is slightly domed. Width and length should appear to be equal. The stop is clearly recognizable, gently defined, with slight center furrow. 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: 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.

Neck, Topline and Body

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.

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.


FORELEGS: Heavy boned, straight, parallel and not too close. Dewclaws 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.


Broad and well muscled.

HIND LEGS: Not too close when viewed from the rear. Parallel to each other. Dewclaws 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.


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.


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.


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.

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.



  1. Dogs/bitches that do not meet minimum height requirements by 36 months of age

  2. Tail that curls forward past the vertical line of the croup

  3. Male dog with absent testicle(s)

  4. Ears that hang on an adult (over 15 months old)


  1. Any faults of gait/structure whether from front, rear or side

  2. Hook, ring or gay tail. Short, thin or ratty tail

  3. Ears that are out of proportion; too large and/or tall

  4. Ears that are low set; over set; or show signs of weakness

  5. Spooking at strange sights or sounds along with tucking of tail

  6. Undershot or overshot bite, wry mouth

  7. Washed out or pale colors, blues, livers; any lack of proper pigment


  1. White spotting with exception of chest (no bigger than palm of an adult hand) and feet (allowed on toes only)

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

  3. A back that does not remain firm but displays a roll, whip, roach or sway

  4. Any deviation from the proper topline when standing (sway, roach, low-stationed)

  5. Undue length between last rib and thigh

  6. Slab-sided or barrel shaped ribbing

  7. A long, narrow or snipey muzzle

  8. Weak under jaw


What’s the difference?

Shiloh Shepherds were originally bred from a select group of German Shepherds and as a result, the breeds still have many similarities. Both are intelligent, agile and versatile and adapt well to most environments. Careful attention to temperament and ability when selecting a Shiloh or GSD puppy remains critical for a good match. Realize your expectations and select a Shiloh or German Shepherd puppy based on those expectations.

The most obvious difference between a Shiloh and a GSD is size. Shiloh Shepherds are larger and typically heavier boned. The majority of Shiloh Shepherds are plush/long coated as opposed to the smooth or stock coat of the traditional GSD. Both breeds however have long and short coat varieties.

Temperament wise, Shiloh Shepherds are often better suited as companion animals, therapy dogs and for activities such as swimming, obedience, agility and rally to name a few. Because of their size and sometimes softer temperaments however, Shiloh Shepherds are not ideal for protection work or high-level working dog competition such as those created specifically for German Shepherd Dogs.

Another difference between Shiloh Shepherds and German Shepherds is the angulation of the hindquarters and the slope of the topline. Over the years, many show line variety GSDs have deviated from the standard and developed banana or roach backs. Here at Kokopelli House, we require all of our breeding dogs to have straight, strong toplines. Our GSDs have a slightly steeper slope and longer lower hind leg giving them greater rear strength and a longer stride. The ideal Shiloh Shepherd should also have a gently sloping topline but not a steep as a GSD and they have a shorter rear lower leg. Their stride is long and elegant but not typically as far reaching as a correctly structured GSD.

With proper training and socialization, both of these breeds make awesome family companions. But don’t be fooled by the myth that all Shiloh Shepherds are couch potatoes. They are often quite powerful and strong willed and an 80-120 lb Shiloh Shepherd can easily knock over a 200 lb. man with a simple tug of its leash. So when looking to purchase a Shiloh Shepherd, be sure you understand what you are getting...same for a GSD. They are not breeds for everyone. Shiloh Shepherds are elegant, agile, giant-breed dogs that require extensive socialization and training.

Below are the breed standards for both Shiloh Shepherds and German Shepherd Dogs followed by some candid photographs of our dogs for comparison. To learn more about Shiloh Shepherds, check out the Illustrated Shiloh Shepherd (ISS) tab in our site menu.

Our 8-year-old Shiloh Shepherd, Karly, playing tug with our 6-month-old GSD, Falon


General Appearance

The first impression of a good German Shepherd Dog is that of a strong, agile, well muscled animal, alert and full of life. It is well balanced, with harmonious development of the forequarter and hindquarter. It looks substantial and not spindly, giving the impression, both at rest and in motion, of muscular fitness and nimbleness without any look of clumsiness or soft living. The ideal dog is stamped with a look of quality and nobility—difficult to define, but unmistakable when present. Secondary sex characteristics are strongly marked, and every animal gives a definite impression of masculinity or femininity, according to its sex.

Size, Proportion, Substance

The German Shepherd Dog is longer than tall, with the most desirable proportion as 10 to 8½. The desirable long proportion is not derived from a long back, but from overall length with relation to height, which is achieved by length of forequarter and length of withers and hindquarter, viewed from the side.

DOGS:           Height 24 - 26 inches
BITCHES:     Height 22 - 24 inches


The breed has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression, self-confidence and a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them. It is poised, but when the occasion demands, eager and alert; both fit and willing to serve in its capacity as companion, watchdog, blind leader, herding dog, or guardian, whichever the circumstances may demand. The dog must not be timid, shrinking behind its master or handler; it should not be nervous, looking about or upward with anxious expression or showing nervous reactions, such as tucking of tail, to strange sounds or sights. Lack of confidence under any surroundings is not typical of good character. Any of the above deficiencies in character which indicate shyness must be penalized as very serious faults and any dog exhibiting pronounced indications of these must be excused from the ring. It must be possible for the judge to observe the teeth and to determine that both testicles are descended. Any dog that attempts to bite the judge must be disqualified. The ideal dog is a working animal with an incorruptible character combined with body and gait suitable for the arduous work that constitutes its primary purpose.


The head is noble, cleanly chiseled, strong without coarseness, but above all not fine, and in proportion to the body. The head of the male is distinctly masculine, and that of the bitch distinctly feminine.

Seen from the front the forehead is only moderately arched, and the skull slopes into the long, wedge-shaped muzzle without abrupt stop. The expression keen, intelligent and composed.

NOSE: black. A dog with a nose that is not predominantly black must be disqualified.

MUZZLE: Long and strong, and its topline is parallel to the topline of the skull.

LIPS: Firmly fitted.

JAWS: Strongly developed.

TEETH: 42 in number; 20 upper and 22 lower and are strongly developed and meet in a scissors bite in which part of the inner surface of the upper incisors meet and engage part of the outer surface of the lower incisors. An overshot jaw or a level bite is undesirable. An undershot jaw is a disqualifying fault. Complete dentition is to be preferred. Any missing teeth other than first premolars is a serious fault.

EYES: Medium size, almond shaped, set a little obliquely and not protruding. The color is as dark as possible.

EARS: Moderately pointed, in proportion to the skull, open toward the front, and carried erect when at attention, the ideal carriage being one in which the center lines of the ears, viewed from the front, are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. A dog with cropped or hanging ears must be disqualified.

Neck, Topline and Body
NECK: Strong and muscular, clean-cut and relatively long, proportionate in size to the head and without loose folds of skin. When the dog is at attention or excited, the head is raised and the neck carried high; otherwise typical carriage of the head is forward rather than up and but little higher than the top of the shoulders, particularly in motion.

TOPLINE: The withers are higher than and sloping into the level back. The back is straight, very strongly developed without sag or roach, and relatively short. The whole structure of the body gives an impression of depth and solidity without bulkiness.

CHEST: Commencing at the prosternum, it is well filled and carried well down between the legs. It is deep and capacious, never shallow, with ample room for lungs and heart, carried well forward, with the prosternum showing ahead of the shoulder in profile.

RIBS: Well sprung and long, neither barrel-shaped nor too flat, and carried down to a sternum which reaches to the elbows. Correct ribbing allows the elbows to move back freely when the dog is at a trot. Too round causes interference and throws the elbows out; too flat or short causes pinched elbows. Ribbing is carried well back so that the loin is relatively short. Abdomen firmly held and not paunchy. The bottomline is only moderately tucked up in the loin.

LOIN: Viewed from the top, broad and strong. Undue length between the last rib and the thigh, when viewed from the side, is undesirable. Croup long and gradually sloping.


FOREQUARTERS: The shoulder blades are long and obliquely angled, laid on flat and not placed forward. The upper arm joins the shoulder blade at about a right angle. Both the upper arm and the shoulder blade are well muscled. The forelegs, viewed from all sides, are straight and the bone oval rather than round. The pasterns are strong and springy and angulated at approximately a 25-degree angle from the vertical. Dewclaws on the forelegs may be removed, but are normally left on. The feet are short, compact with toes well arched, pads thick and firm, nails short and dark.


HINDQUARTERS: The whole assembly of the thigh, viewed from the side, is broad, with both upper and lower thigh well muscled, forming as nearly as possible a right angle. The upper thigh bone parallels the shoulder blade while the lower thigh bone parallels the upper arm. The metatarsus (the unit between the hock joint and the foot) is short, strong and tightly articulated. The dewclaws, if any, should be removed from the hind legs.


Bushy, with the last vertebra extended at least to the hock joint. It is set smoothly into the croup and low rather than high. At rest, the tail hangs in a slight curve like a saber. A slight hook- sometimes carried to one side-is faulty only to the extent that it mars general appearance. When the dog is excited or in motion, the curve is accentuated and the tail raised, but it should never be curled forward beyond a vertical line. Tails too short, or with clumpy ends due to ankylosis, are serious faults. A dog with a docked tail must be disqualified.

The ideal dog has a double coat of medium length. The outer coat should be as dense as possible, hair straight, harsh and lying close to the body. A slightly wavy outer coat, often of wiry texture, is permissible. The head, including the inner ear and foreface, and the legs and paws are covered with short hair, and the neck with longer and thicker hair. The rear of the forelegs and hind legs has somewhat longer hair extending to the pastern and hock, respectively. Faults in coat include soft, silky, too long outer coat, woolly, curly, and open coat.


The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog must be disqualified.


A German Shepherd Dog is a trotting dog, and its structure has been developed to meet the requirements of its work. General Impression-- The gait is outreaching, elastic, seemingly without effort, smooth and rhythmic, covering the maximum amount of ground with the minimum number of steps. At a walk it covers a great deal of ground, with long stride of both hind legs and forelegs. At a trot the dog covers still more ground with even longer stride, and moves powerfully but easily, with coordination and balance so that the gait appears to be the steady motion of a well-lubricated machine. The feet travel close to the ground on both forward reach and backward push. In order to achieve ideal movement of this kind, there must be good muscular development and ligamentation. The hindquarters deliver, through the back, a powerful forward thrust which slightly lifts the whole animal and drives the body forward. Reaching far under, and passing the imprint left by the front foot, the hind foot takes hold of the ground; then hock, stifle and upper thigh come into play and sweep back, the stroke of the hind leg finishing with the foot still close to the ground in a smooth follow-through. The overreach of the hindquarter usually necessitates one hind foot passing outside and the other hind foot passing inside the track of the forefeet, and such action is not faulty unless the locomotion is crabwise with the dog’s body sideways out of the normal straight line.


The typical smooth, flowing gait is maintained with great strength and firmness of back. The whole effort of the hindquarter is transmitted to the forequarter through the loin, back and withers. At full trot, the back must remain firm and level without sway, roll, whip or roach. Unlevel topline with withers lower than the hip is a fault. To compensate for the forward motion imparted by the hindquarters, the shoulder should open to its full extent. The forelegs should reach out close to the ground in a long stride in harmony with that of the hindquarters. The dog does not track on widely separated parallel lines, but brings the feet inward toward the middle line of the body when trotting, in order to maintain balance. The feet track closely but do not strike or cross over. Viewed from the front, the front legs function from the shoulder joint to the pad in a straight line. Viewed from the rear, the hind legs function from the hip joint to the pad in a straight line. Faults of gait, whether from front, rear or side, are to be considered very serious faults.


•    Cropped or hanging ears
•    Dogs with noses not predominantly black
•    Undershot jaw
•    Docked tail
•    White dogs
•    Any dog that attempts to bite the judge