Updated: May 19
Jessica and I have spent over 22 years each, developing from our Shiloh Shepherd lines, the dog that you are getting today. Our lives were spent whelping and caring for puppies, showing and promoting our dogs. Our children’s lives were not “normal”, but with us, they got to experience what it was like to bring new life into existence, and to care for these beautiful and sentient creatures.
The Shiloh Shepherd breed is continually under development, and we have a limited gene pool. As breeders, we spend countless hours studying pedigrees, talking with other experienced breeders about faults and virtues in their lines, in the possibility of using our lines together to produce the best dogs possible, but also not being “kennel” blind” and knowing when to retire a line not producing what we want, which does not benefit the Shiloh Breed as a whole. We choose to breed healthy, thoroughly tested, and well documented dogs in our breeding programs, in order to continue this breed. We also can’t ever “throw the baby out with the bathwater” in our breed.
Inexperienced breeders, and the “adopt, don’t shop” people, will never have a clue what we do to keep this breed healthy and viable. Our puppy people know we have given them a part of our heart, our souls, and our life’s work, and hopefully, their “best dog ever” as once upon a time, an EXPERIENCED Shiloh Shepherd Breeder gave to us.
Experienced Breeders like us, are those who breed dogs whose lines have all been health tested for the absence of breed specific abnormalities. Whose temperaments have been evaluated and have conformation which conforms to the breed standard. These Breeders also have knowledge of the dogs behind the parents, the dogs behind the grandparents, the dogs behind the great grandparents, down to the dogs that began the Breed! They know how to look at a pedigree, how to look back many generations and know what they are bringing together. They know what the risks are and how to mitigate those risks, or which risks are not worth taking. They know how to breed healthy dogs!
We are experts at Temperament Testing and conducting Litter Evaluations. We were originally taught how to conduct a proper litter evaluation by Tina Barber, the Breed Founder in 2002. We have taught other breeders how to conduct a litter evaluation as well.
We conduct the litter evaluations and puppy placement very thoroughly and thoughtfully. We still follow the format of the original LER process that the Breed Founder taught us and used herself. We place the puppies with clients, they do not choose their puppy. We match puppies with clients based on whether they hope to breed, on the activities they hope to enjoy with their Shiloh, their requirements for gender, and/or coat and/or color, their previous experience with dogs, their lifestyle and living environment.
Jessica and I have extensive knowledge in the veterinary sciences and canine health issues, we have taken courses in Theriogenology, canine genetics, and canine behavior. We mentor new Breeders, passing on knowledge and information so that the new breeders have a solid launching pad into breeding healthy and happy puppies. We have worked to develop lines that are solid in temperament, structure, and health. The following is a sampling of what we teach clients to become breeders:
The history of Shilohs
The breed standard
What we are breeding for and why
Health issues and health testing for the breed
How to prepare your male or female for breeding
How to determine peak time for breeding
How to breed your female, methods of insemination
What to expect during her pregnancy
How to set up a proper whelping area
Prenatal and postnatal care
How to whelp a litter and raise puppies properly regarding nutrition and socialization
How to properly vet clients for your puppies
We take placing a puppy with people who wish to breed, even one litter of puppies, very seriously. We select the puppy that is the best representative for the continuance of the breed. We understand the importance of how to continue and maintain a healthy breed. We know our lines and what is behind them and a new breeder doesn’t understand yet, the genetics, or the reasons behind a particular pairing for their future breeding dog. We will only do this on a co-ownership basis – one litter of puppies, half the litter, minimum of four back to us, so that we may continue our lines. In return they will get the benefit of our combined 44 years of experience, and a healthy and hearty litter. We will also whelp the litter for you and you will receive a puppy from the litter. If you would like to learn of what it takes to keep a breed healthy, click here: Keeping a Breed Healthy (shilohshepherd.co)
We don’t just sell you a dog, because you have cash on hand, we sell you a dog so that you will provide a forever home, for these beautiful, majestic creatures that Jessica and I are responsible for, from the moment we help their dam bring them into the world, till the moment that you call us and tell us that they have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. We cry with you, we mourn the passing of the magnificent being that brought you love, affection, security and happiness into your life.
If you would like a firsthand account of the highs and lows of what it took to build a breeding program, click here: Memoirs of a Dog Breeder, by Laura Kathryn (shilohshepherd.co)