About our breed founder Tina Barber


Tina Barber has been involved with German Shepherd Dogs all of her life. After working with her family’s dogs in Germany as a child (shortly after World War II) and continuing as a teenager in the US, she decided in 1962 at the age of 14 to form her own kennel, naming it Konigan Kennel.  During the early 1960's, Tina was very active training (Schutzhund) and showing her dogs. She trained and degreed 14  dogs for NASA (North American Schutzhund Association), the first Schutzhund organization in the US, where she served on the Board as the membership coordinator for over a decade. 

For over thirty years Tina has conducted training and genetic seminars sponsored by breed and training clubs all over the United States and Canada. Her Practical Genetics seminar was condensed into an article that was published in the prestigious German Shepherd Quarterly in 1982.  She has led weeklong workshops on such topics as proper imprinting and socialization, as well as basic principles of the Shiloh Training Method from coast to coast across North America, from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia and the South from Orlando , FL to California. She has also written articles for many breed newsletters as well as major publications, including the German Shepherd Quarterly, Good Dog, Off Lead, and NASA News.

During those early decades, Tina focused her energies on gleaning all the knowledge possible, from the top breeders of that time; however, her early attempts at breeding met with discouraging results. Beginning in 1972, she put much more emphasis on her breeding program. Working with other breeders, she intensely researched Canine Hip Dysplasia. Her desire was to develop the best genetically sound German Shepherd Dog and eliminate the heartbreak of CHD.  

In 1974, she spearheaded the Litter Mate X-ray Program and shared her vision with a significant number of AKC dog clubs, especially large breed working dog organizations that specialized in breeds such as the Danes, Dobermans and Rottweilers.  Born again in February 1974, she changed her kennel name to “ Shiloh Shepherds” and dedicated her dogs as a tool to glorify her Savior.  Incorporating the basics of her LMX (littermate x-ray program), she embarked upon a large-scale breeding program.  This time her breedings were more successful and her lines became more stabilized; by the late '70's this new "super breed" was gaining a great deal of recognition.

Many test litters were bred in order to choose lines that would produce sound hips and temperament, while maintaining giant size. The most promising offspring were retained and then inbred to determine more genetic depth. Those coming closest to the ideal were then linebred, and occasionally outcrossed in order to set type. Many litters were bred and entirely raised at Shiloh Kennels as a means to collect and compare genetic versus environmental data on hips and temperament.
Tina later used this information to formulate a "genetic blueprint" on the various lines she would select. From these studies, which  took over two decades to complete,  four lines were chosen to establish the foundation for the future "Shiloh Shepherds".

Intense inbreeding and linebreeding continued to eliminate and/or enhance desired traits. All pedigrees (dating back 9-14 generations) listed hip ratings, faults, virtues, size, weight, temperament, and color of each dog. Progeny reports and littermate reports were documented for the future database.  [The International Shiloh Shepherd Registry, Inc continues to maintain these records, as well as documenting the same information on all Shiloh Shepherds produced. Its database currently contains over 4,000 dogs with over 45,000 of their ancestors.] Tina Barber still insists on these rigid breeding controls, both for her own kennel, as well as any approved breeders. These controls insure the soundness of the Shiloh Shepherd, both in mind and body, for all future owners.

For over two decades, prior to 1991 when Tina started publishing Shiloh Shepherd Newsletters under the banner of the Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc., she provided Shiloh Shepherd Newsletters to all of her customers and anyone else that requested them.  These newsletters included educational articles as well as information about her breeding and training programs.   Many of them have now become collector’s items that are occasionally offered on some internet auctions.

 

During the '80's, Tina intensified her breeding program. With over 100 dogs in her kennel, plus dozens of co-ownerships and "satellite kennels", her efforts were now producing remarkable results.

 

Her only goals had been to stabilize Size, Hips, and Temperament, but a very distinctive type was also emerging. As of the late 80’s,  her dogs were still registered as AKC German Shepherds, but the reputation of the "Shiloh Shepherd" kennel was gaining a strong following and many people were already starting to refer to their dogs as “Shiloh Shepherds” because of their unique “type” even while they were still AKC registered.  At that time, Tina wrote the official Breed Standard that defines the specific type towards which she was striving.  

 

In 1990, Tina chose to separate her breed from the AKC mainstream in order to maintain the strict breeding policies she had used to stabilize the soundness of mind and body now in these dogs. The International Shiloh Shepherd Registry, Inc was created as the only registry to maintain data on all of her stock. With this registry in place, Tina allowed other approved licensed breeders to start their own kennels, and work with her to continue producing the magnificent creatures that are still known today as Shiloh Shepherds.

Shortly thereafter, she organized the Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club of America, Inc in order to keep all Shiloh Shepherd owners and fanciers informed. She traveled to dozens of shows yearly to assist new exhibitors, as well as answer questions for anyone wishing knowledge about the Shiloh Shepherd.

Over the years, Tina has been working very closely with breeders. As a means to continue educating the future breeders of the Shiloh Shepherd, she developed the VIB (Very Important Breeder) program, which included education, study material, as well as homework.  This tradition continues today with the Original Shiloh Shepherd Academy, a mandatory forum that has helped educate ISSR Licensed Breeders since 2000. 

Tina has worked very closely with all Shiloh Shepherd enthusiasts via private and public lectures, club newsletters, and the various forums, answering hundreds of questions, and writing detailed articles, many of which are now available via the Shiloh Shepherd Learning Center. Since the New Millennium, Tina has had to overcome many new hurdles along the road she has taken for her beloved dogs. Aside from the continuous torments spewed at her by the various dissidents that have rudely continued to steal and tarnish her good (Shiloh Shepherd) name, she also had to endure the unspeakable tragedy of the fire that destroyed her home and all of her earthly possessions.  During the turmoil that followed, she was forced to re-home 43 of her beloved dogs, while focusing all of her energy on locating a suitable new place to rebuild their lives. Tina, her daughter and her grandchildren had only one thing left to hold on to, and that was their faith that God had promised to never leave her or forsake her. In April 2000, only 3 months after the fire, her family located their present home and dubbed it “New Zion Shilohs”! Since that time, the breed has continued to prosper, as it grows ever more popular!

However, the story did not end there.  Over the past five years, Tina and her family have had to overcome nearly insurmountable obstacles that have continuously been thrown at them, instigated by a small group of dissidents that desperately want to destroy her so they can profit from the reputation that her dogs have earned.

 

Yet, with the tenacity of a bulldog, Tina and her family have continued to overcome the obstacles and walk through the fire practically unscathed. Their faith has never faltered; instead, they have only grown stronger through each trial.

 

For more personal details spanning Tina’s entire life, be sure to order your copy of her newest book, The Shiloh Shepherd Story: Against the Wind—A Breed Is Born!


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Last modified: Sunday July 20, 2014.