Broken Hearted Breed Founder
Update – 2004
Written by Tina M. Barber
We all know it only takes
3-4 generations in order to set “type” as far as breed development is
concerned. Once “set” it is imperative that proper selection is continued in
order to “lock in” the desired qualities. That’s when good Hobby Breeders
step in to help the founder properly expand the gene pool!
In my kennel it took me
nearly 2 decades before I knew enough about the various genes in the
particular lines I was using, before I even ventured out to
for the “breed” that would later be known as the Shiloh Shepherd™.
Good breeders use a variety
of techniques (tools) in order to attain the desired results, although each
program should properly combine each of the options at various intervals in
order to maintain a solid balance of homozygosity.
Back Yard Breeders (BYB’s)
and Puppy Millers are not concerned with the genetics involved, and just
breed for phenotype (2 dogs that look similar) in order to produce others
somewhat like them. In old well established breeds this type of “mentality”
is not as dangerous as it would be in a young “Rare” breed with a limited
gene pool—or worse yet—a breed still under development like my Shiloh
moons ago, a friend of mine had a Golden/Sheltie mix female. Lady
looked like a small Golden Retriever with some white on her chest.
That Christmas season she gave my friend an interesting surprise ... 5
pups!! Since she had not been with any "male" that he could think
of (they lived in a wilderness cabin in Canada, doing some scientific
research) the only conclusion was that she must have bred to the lone
coyote that had been hanging around!!
As the pups grew, it was clear to see that 2 of them looked a lot like
little coyotes, by 5-6 weeks of age they both had small erect ears!
The other 3 were very different, almost resembling longer haired Beagle
mixes!! One of those, as he grew had some severe temperament
problems & was put down, the other 2 males were neutered and placed with
friends .. but Peter could not resist keeping the "coyote" pair!!
He was interested in seeing if he could produce a litter that would
resemble the coyote, but still retain Lady's wonderful (gentle)
personality! We call this "type"
breeding, focusing only on the phenotype (what the "dogs" looked like)
instead of what they had mixed in their genetic (genotype) recipe.
His first few tries did not produce anything, but finally when "girl"
was 3 years old "boy" managed to impregnate her. This resulted in
4 pups, 3 that looked a LOT like Beagles, but the smallest one
almost looked like an Aussie, with a heavy plumed tail!! None of
the pups had erect ears, except for Bingo (the last one) whose ears were
smaller & partially erect, like a Sheltie. Two of the pups were
females, and he chose to try breeding both of them back to their sire,
for one last try. Bingo never conceived, but Snoopy did manage to
have 2 pups. Neither one resembled a coyote, yet both had terrible
temperaments and Peter ended up putting them both down! By the
time they reached 4 months of age they were destroying his cabin, and it
was time for him to move back to "society" so he had no choice but to
send them over to the rainbow bridge. His study proved that such
mixes just don't work!! He also proved that breeding just
for phenotype is a lot more complicated then folks may realize!!
Puppies often resemble their grandparents more then they do their actual
parents, and when you drastically mix extremes in "type" & temperament,
you could be asking for some major heartbreaks!!
I used to have pictures of all of these pups, but unfortunately they
were lost in the fire, and I have not been able to contact him with a
request for replacements (he could be off on some other project) but I
am sure that once I can reach him, you will find the pictures quite
In the meantime, if you would like to know more about genetics, please
be sure to read all of the articles we have listed for you in our
As you can see by the story
I shared, breeding is a much more complex endeavor than people tend to
assume it to be. Much thoughtful consideration has to be properly utilized
in order for the final “product” to be all that it was meant to be! After
all, we are dealing with living creatures that need to be cared for, even if
they are born genetically inferior! A conscientious breeder understands the
potential hazards that must be overcome each time any two dogs are selected
for a specific mating. Decades of experience should be applied to each
selection. If the specific Hobby Breeder has not been involved with a
particular breed for several decades, he/she should certainly seek the
advice of a REB mentor that has!! Self appointed “experts” (without proper
credentials) will never be able to produce litters of quality pups
They may occasionally “luck
out” with a few good specimens—but over all the gene pool will not
benefit—instead it will only continue to deteriorate.
Please take a few minutes to
Puppy Producers: What Are They?
For example, let’s take a look
at what has happened to my Shiloh Shepherds™ since the splinters, aka
oxymorons started to mess with my dogs!
In 1998, the ISSDCr (now
defunct) set out on a “new” path that convinced a few inexperienced BYB's to
ignore my advice. Did they manage to “improve” the “breed”? You be the
judge, just click on my special reports showing pictures of their “best”
dogs in competition.
Cherry Blossom 1999 |
Brookville 2000 |
| Sportsman Show 2004|
Now let’s take just one
point—in the report I wrote in 2001 I put a lot of emphasis on the
From the ISSR Breed Standard:
"TAIL: Bushy with
the last vertebra extending past the hock joint. It is set smoothly
into the croup and should appear to hang as a plume. At rest the tail hangs
in a slight curve like a saber. When the dog is excited or in motion, the
curve is accentuated and the tail is raised, but it should never curl
forward beyond the vertical line nor above the level of the back. The tail
should never be carried straight out or rolled up over the back.
A tail that is raised above the vertical line and/or past the horizontal
line of the croup is a DISQUALIFYING FAULT.
Tails that are too short, thin, or ratty should be severely penalized."
The following quote from pages 223-226
of McDowell Lyon's book The Dog in Action
should prove illuminating.
tail is also a barometer to the set of the pelvis and the value of the
muscles attached to the pelvis and croup. Furthermore a normal tail or
any part of it will tell us several important things about the dog in
front of that tail.
"Examine a normal tail and you will find that the vertebrae are
progressive in size but that the members taper from one juncture to the
next and that each one observed will give you a good idea as to what to
expect of the next closest one. Just as one bone in the leg will give
you a good mental picture of the adjacent one and from there on to the
full structure of the dog, the base vertebrae of the tail will tell you
volumes about the spinal column. One or two bones taken at random from
any animal will enable you to construct a full skeleton of a normal
old-timers picked their dogs by the size of the tail at its base. 'A dog
is no better than his tail,' has been said often. Another old time
comment was, 'A dog thinks with his tail.' Certainly its carriage and
action indicates the dog's mental attitude.
muscles activate the top side of the tail and one the bottom. If the
tail is curled, 'sickle,' or 'squirreled' continuously when this is not
characteristic, it is not that the top muscles have become more tense
but that the one on the bottom has lost or did not have sufficient
tension. The tail that takes a corkscrew turn has normal tension on only
one of the lateralis
muscles on top.
lateralis muscles are the continuation of muscles which start at the
back of the rib structure and play an important part in tensing the
loins. You will note that a dog at play, throwing a gay tail will have
slightly more than the usual arch to his loins. The wry or twisted tail
indicates that one of the
lateralis muscles is weak. Unless these conditions have become
characteristic over generations, it is safe to conclude that muscles
which are not functioning correctly at their terminals are not doing any
better along the spinal column.
length and cross section of all the vertebrae in the spinal column are
quite important and should be considered in any dog, particularly those
used in breeding. The diameter of the body of the dorsal vertebrae
decreases from the first to the eighth, the longest vertical spire
coming on the second or third. From the eighth the cross section
increases. The lumbar or loin vertebrae decrease in vertical diameter
and increase in transverse diameter progressively from the back to the
ruggedness of these bones provide substantial anchorage for the attached
muscles and indicate the size and length of the ribs that spring from
number of breeds have altered the tails by mutation and developed the
drop, hook, kink, rabbit, screw, and spike. One has to watch for one
trouble in these: mutation does not always stop where it is visible but
tends to cast an influence to bones beyond this point.
vertebrae of the croup and the pelvis bones are apt to reflect the
mutation of the tail and manifest this at whelping and other times.
Whatever condition you have in one vertebra will be extended to the next
in milder degree. So, if mutation is to be the fashion it is more
safely practiced if it is not permitted to enter the last visible
vertebra at the base of the tail.
"Even as the dog
begins with his head, he ends with his tail, and by it many a story is
told for it expresses health, mental attitude and what may be expected
in the rest of the spinal column. Beware of any type tail that is not
normally characteristic of the specific breed."
Yet have any of these
oxymorons been paying attention? I think not!
Here’s what the latest
version of their “Show Dogs” (the best they can produce) looks like:
Seeing is believing—just
compare them to some of the ISSR dogs being shown at our last shows:
years--standing or moving, the Real ISSR Shiloh Shepherd™
are an awesome sight to behold!
|(Photos courtesy of Rich Lewis,
taken at Shiloh Shepherd™ Homecomings between 1995 and 2003)
Now be sure to compare
these Shilohs to what the
oxymorons have been
Although conformation shows
were designed as a venue for selecting specific dogs that came closest to
the ideal represented by the Breed Standard—blueprint of what a particular
“breed” should look and act like. Rare Breed shows often don’t adhere
closely to such idealistic goals. I have often seen dogs that look more like
bat eared coyotes or needle nosed GSD's being selected by some
After all, if the breed
becomes popular, it may be accepted by the AKC, where the dogs would have an
opportunity to compete under accredited judges. However, if the
“breed” is unable to succeed at expanding its gene pool—sufficiently enough
in order to circumvent forced extinction—inbreeding depression will
eventually set in and the “breed” will fade away into oblivion.
It is for those reasons
that I encourage all Shiloh Shepherd™ fanciers to forge onward, aggressively
educating the public regarding our difficult plight.
Over the past decade I have
written dozens of articles explaining the importance of proper selection as
well as the importance of maintaining a carefully planned outcross program
that will protect these dogs from the pitfalls of inbreeding depression.
I have also continued to
encourage all of my LB's and VIB's to follow the strict
LER procedures for selecting
future breeding stock. All of these steps are critical, and must be
scrupulously adhered to if we hope to continue producing healthy
dogs for future generations to enjoy!
Nevertheless, they must also
be good "Breed" representatives as per the Shiloh Shepherd™ "blue print" aka
the Breed Standard.
If you take the time to study
the ISSR Breed Standard
carefully it should not be difficult for you to picture an extremely large
boned Giant Shepherd, somewhat resembling the old style GSD, yet very
different as well!!
Take a look at these young
plush coated males:
Or these beautiful older
smooth coated representatives:
Although you may recognize some GSD
similarities, you must also admit that they have many differences as well.
was bred for
- hips - temperament yet many of the dogs you now see at the
various Rare Breed shows have not followed the strict standards of the
Rules. The oxymoron BYBs producing these Fake "Shilohs" stopped focusing
on SIZE--just look at the small dogs that are now being shown. These
dogs are not any more "Shiloh" than any other long haired GSD.
Just take a few moments to compare "them" with
The only difference you may
find is in the price!
you don't care about HUGE SIZE, then I would like to suggest
that you research the Long Haired German Shepherd!!
Most LHGSD pups can be purchased for $250-$400, although a few (from long
time GSD breeders) may be priced a bit higher, the fact that they were not
produced via the dangerous
over inbreeding program used by the
oxymorons makes these pups a much safer choice!
The true Shiloh Shepherd™ has
been established as per the LMX program, and we still have the lowest
incidence of CHD among all Shepherds! Even Dr. Padgett noted that our
incidence of problem hips is much lower than what has been reported by the
GSDCA for the GSD! (Tina Barber/Dr. George A. Padgett "Fireside Chat"
September 2001) Although our Health Survey 2000 showed an incidence of 11%
that did not pass OFA Breeding requirements, most of this was due to
sublaxation (slight looseness due to our huge size at maturity) that can
often be corrected as the dog reaches three years of age, with many of these
dogs passing their second x-ray!
|Photo courtesy of
After examining every permanently registered
Shiloh Shepherd™ , our incidence
of crippling hip dysplasia has been rated at less than 1%. In other
words, less than 1 out of 100 dogs have been shown to exhibit serious hip
problems, and some of these may have been caused by environmental (injury)
or nutritional (over supplementation) factors.
Actual data collected for the ISSR since 1990 has been tabulated and
presented in these charts. Please note that it has ben been fully
documented that the combined data from the past decade. (1991-2002) data
indicates a 0.89% incidence rate for ISSR Shiloh Shepherds™ breeding quality
The most critical
characteristic of the TRUE Shiloh Shepherd™!
These dogs were designed to be the ultimate family
companion and a
Child's Best Friend.
They are extremely intelligent, loyal and
protective when needed--yet not unnecessarily aggressive like most "guard
The Shiloh Shepherd™
possesses a temperament that is closer to his Great Pyrenees and Tibetan
Mastiff ancestors (without the independence) as well as the "old
style" Newfoundland type of dogs without the drooling! Their greatest
attribute is to unconditionally love and protect young children!
There has never been a time in our history that a REAL Shiloh Shepherd™
has ever hurt a young child! Unfortunately, this reputation could easily be
tarnished by the dissidents that insist on crossing over inbred LHGSD's with
DDR (attack dogs) and then claiming the progeny from such breedings to be
Such "OTX" [sic] mixes could prove to be
If your dog is not ISSR
registered, he is not a Shiloh Shepherd™ and you
have been deceived.
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