Our Start at Victory Shilohs
We had just bought our first home and were ready to add a furry companion. While searching for an extra large breed of dog (that does not drool excessively) we stumbled across the Shiloh Shepherd! We were immediately attracted by the beauty of the dogs and began to research every bit of information we could find about the breed. We were very impressed with the health and breeding program of the ISSR Shilohs. We emailed back and forth with Tina Barber, the Breed Founder, with a number of questions and then joined the Shiloh Forums to soak up even more information about these magnificent dogs.
Late September of 2008 we attended a get together of the SSDCA’s Ontario Chapter at Vision Kennels. We were so impressed by the temperaments of all the dogs in attendance - most especially that of Vision’s Buckshot. Here was this HUGE stud dog walking around calmly greeting other unaltered males and females on his property and not a single lip was curled. We were SOLD! That week we sent an email to Tina describing the dog we were looking for...confident, mellow, independent and preferably plush and grey sable.
We continued to stay involved in the Shiloh community online and then in early spring of 2009, when Piston was 9 months old we decided to join some of the other Shiloh enthusiasts at a Conformation Show in Pittsburgh, PA. When Tina said she’d be attending, we knew we had to be there to show her how much her puppy had grown. After seeing Piston in the ring, we asked Tina’s thoughts about him and she told us that “he’ll be Grand Victor.” Needless to say, we were pretty amazed and honored! The judges of the show seemed to agree with Tina as Piston did very well in the shows. He placed as “Best of Breed” in 2 shows, placed 1st in “Herding Group” in two shows and competed in two “Best in Show” classes.
With each show we attended we had the opportunity to meet so many great Shiloh owners and fanciers that we are always excited for the next event. Of course we are always so thrilled and so proud when we are able to bring home ribbons or trophies, but our favourite part of the show that we bring home is the cherished memories of great fun had with great friends.
When we brought Piston home we had no intention of adding more Shilohs to our pack, nor did we have any aspirations to join the breeding program. However as we became more involved on the forums, more involved with our Chapter, more involved with the show world and all of the fantastic people involved with the breed…we knew we wanted to do more to help the Breed Founder reach her goals for the Shiloh Shepherd.
In early 2010 when the Mira & Buckshot litter was announced, we sent Tina an email asking if a female from that litter might match with Piston. Both Mira and Buckshot had left such an impression on us from our very first introduction, that a puppy from their pairing was too hard to pass up! Tina spent some time and investigated the match and then came back with an excited and emphatic “YES”! So in August of 2010 we attended our first Litter Evaluation for the Mira/Buckshot puppies.
After bringing Hemi home we jumped head first into even more research about not only the Shilohs and their history but as much information as we could about breeding and raising dogs. We studied basic genetic theory, pedigree analysis, disease mode of inheritance, canine structure, neonatal health, early socialization and upbringing and the list goes on. If it was related to dogs, we read it! We had a wonderful group of mentors that helped expand our knowledge by sharing their experiences, good and bad. We began working closer with Tina Barber and her daughter, learning as much as we could from their years of experience. Being as we were only a few hours drive from Tina we started to apprentice with her and her daughter on how to perform Litter Evaluations to her standards. We gained an immeasurable amount of hands on experience which lead to our recognition as Certified LER Testers.
A few short months later, Tina’s prediction about Piston came true - he was awarded Grand Victor (GV) for 2011! Hemi was also awarded Top Smooth Puppy Female for the year at the same time. These titles are awarded based on the most number of show points (most dogs defeated) for the year. Having both of our dogs, our planned breeding pair, be granted such high honours was a real testament to Tina’s vision.
We wish she’d had a chance to see the results of the Hemi/Piston breeding that she was so excited about, but we think she’d be pleased and proud of the results. We definitely are! It was a great experience and we couldn’t wait to repeat it. Since then, we have continued our studies digging deeper into the science behind dogs in general and the success of the Shiloh Shepherd. We’ve built close relationships with other Shiloh breeders across the world; regularly sharing information and experiences.