Sunday, December 30, 2007
The litter we originally wanted bred late, so we had to be flexible! We were instead placed on the Holly/Acer litter, born on October 12th, 2007. Follow these links and you can see Leo's ancestors and his brothers and sisters. Originally we wanted a BIG male (Shiloh adult males can top out at around 160 pounds!!), preferably a plush (longer-haired) sable. Unfortunately there were a lot of people waiting for males, and we realized as we talked that, much as we would like a particular look or sex, what was really important was our new pup's temperament. So we did what many an applicant has done in the past and put ourselves in Tina's capable hands!
The great irony was that after all of our being flexible and being willing to take a girl pup instead, the one which ended up being the best fit for us was exactly what we had originally wanted: a big, sable, plush pup, Blue Boy! We were ecstatic at the news, and the new pupster was dubbed Leonidas (because you just can't go wrong with Spartans, you know)! He arrived late, late at night on December 14th. The picture above is from that first night--we were all VERY tired!!
Both Zak and I had been longtime fans of the German shepherd dog, but we had decided that the health and temperament problems we were always hearing about these days meant that the GSD was not an option for us. Now here was the Shiloh Shepherd, which sounded like a big GSD without those problems! Intrigued, we started digging up information on the Shiloh...or trying to. There was a lot of different information because the Shiloh is a breed still in development, so a lot of different people have their own ideas of what it should be. In the end, though, the largest registry and the most unified vision for the breed was the one endorsed by the breed founder, Tina Barber.
Tina's kennel, New Zion Shilohs in New York state, is where we finally decided to get our puppy. We first did a LOT of reading on the ISSR Shiloh Shepherd information site, which has amazing amounts of information on the history, development, and characteristics of the breed, as well as discussion boards full of friendly and helpful people! We read everything we could get our paws on and perused Tina's page on upcoming litters to see the ancestors of the future puppies and to find one that would fit our timing--we wanted our new pup to be ready to come home on the first day of Zak's five weeks of working from home over the holidays!
First, a brief introduction! We're Anne and Zak, Leo's owners. Neither one of us had owned a dog since our high school/college years, and both of us are in our thirties now--so it had been a while! After we bought our new house early in 2007, the talk turned to a possible puppy in our future. And here we are, with the little rogue up above now sharing our home!
So where did we find out about this breed, and why did we decide to go with an ISSR Shiloh Shepherd?
It turned out that Zak and I both had some pretty definite ideas on which breeds were our favorites! We knew that we would like a dog that was good with other pets, because I have two cats. We wanted a breed that was very good with kids, as Zak's and my siblings both had little ones. I wanted an intelligent, easy-to-train dog, because after years off I wanted to get back into Obedience and maybe Dog Agility events.
Zak and I took to looking through big dog books, talking together about what we did and didn't like about breeds and which ones fit our lifestyle best. Some of the books had bunches of breeds not recognized by the AKC yet. It was while looking through The New Encyclopedia of the Dog by Bruce Fogle that we came upon the entry for the Shiloh Shepherd!