Despite being affectionate and friendly, the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix still has a stigma associated with its name. This breed is the first-generation offspring of an American Pitbull Terrier and German Shepherd — two of the most misunderstood dogs. So, that’s why this is such a fascinating crossbreed.
While these dogs are bold, fierce, strong, they’re also among the most loving and loyal pets. You’ll also find them referred to as German Sheppit, or German Pit.
Let’s learn more about this crossbreed and find out why they make such wonderful pets.
- What Is a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?
- Meet the Parents
- History and Origin of the Mixed Breed
- Breed Characteristics
- Shepherd Pit Appearance
- Breed Temperament
- Care and Grooming
- Feeding the German Shepherd Pit Bull
- Physical Activity
- Training Tips
- Lifespan & Common Health Issues
- Where to Get a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- Adoption Tips
What Is a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?
It’s a mixed breed between a German Shepherd and a Pitbull Terrier. But you already know that. Here are the key characteristics of this dog:
- Unpredictable appearance, leaning towards the Pitbull parent
- Sheds quite a bit
- High energy
- Loyal and protective
- Very intelligent and easy to train
- Needs a high-protein, high-quality diet
But to learn more about the breed, we should investigate the parents.
Let’s Meet the Parents
The parent breeds determine everything about a dog — from appearance and temperament to its physical and nutritional needs.
Let’s learn the most important details and make a German Shepherd vs Pitbull comparison:
The German Shepherd breed originated in Germany in the 1800s, and it’s of medium to large size. This is among the most popular breeds, recognizable by its pointy ears and long muzzle. The coat colors are usually black, sable, gray, blue, and brown, but you can also find rare representatives in brindle.
These dogs are incredibly smart and loyal, but they need early training if you want to keep them as pets. They’re naturally suspicious towards strangers and will guard your home with their lives. It’s a working and herding breed that’s an essential part of our police force for tasks like tracking criminals and detecting narcotics.
German Shepherds are easy to train and could be a good match for a first-time owner, but only if you’re prepared to dedicate a lot of time to training and socializing them. Similar to a Pitbull mixed with a German Shepherd, these dogs require 1–2 hours of daily exercise and a high-protein diet. If you want to learn more about the breed, read our guide on German Shepherds.
American Pitbull Terrier
The Pitbull history can also be traced back to the 1800s, but this time in the UK. Unfortunately, these dogs first gained popularity for “bull baiting” — a cruel practice in which they harassed a bull until they exchausted it entirely, often with injuries. Later, the breed received a much better reputation and became an invaluable part of American culture during WWI and WWII.
Today, these dogs still face a lot of stigma. But we’re of the opinion that it’s all in how you raise them, and they can make friendly and gentle family pets. While the breed has a bite force of 240–330 PSI, this is far from the most dangerous bite in the dog world. If you train and socialize an American Pit from puppyhood, you’ll gain a loyal companion that will obey you and play with your children.
History and Origin of the Pit German Shepherd Mix
Breeders in North America started mixing Pitbulls and German Shepherds during the 1990s to create guard dogs and companions.
But Pit Bulls aren’t famous for their great reputation, which influences the mixed breed dogs too. That’s why you might find this mix in a local shelter or rescue center, and we encourage you to look there before buying a dog. Thousands of puppies need someone to take them home and show them love.
Like any other mixed breed, we can’t determine its characteristics with certainty. Overall, we can say thse dogs have a few things in common:
High Energy Needs
While all dogs need daily exercise to stay in good shape, the Pit Shepherd mix requires a lot more. Its high energy calls for at least one hour walk every day and plenty of mental stimulation. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with problematic behavior, such as excessive barking, chewing slippers, or digging holes.
Affection & Loyalty
If you raise this mixed breed properly, you’ll have a highly affectionate furry friend. They make great family dogs as they’re not just loving but also very protective. Due to their loyalty and strong instincts, these dogs might be hostile towards strangers, but you can easily change this by introducing them to more people while they’re still puppies.
Both the German Shepherd and Pitbull are incredibly intelligent, and the German Shepherd Pit mix is no exception. They’re quick learners and respond well to training. You’ll have no trouble teaching them common dog commands. But more on that later.
What Does a Pitbull German Shepherd Mix Look Like?
It might resemble the Pit Bull, with its half-bent ears and a shorter muzzle, or the German Shepherd with its long snout. Usually, the mix takes after its Pitbull parent and inherits a short snout and a large head. That’s why the dog tends to be bigger than a German Shepherd, but it weighs more than a Pitbull.
Their medium-length coat could be thick and dense, but it’s more suitable for a warmer climate. The most common colors include black, fawn, white, gray, and tan. You can expect normal amount of shedding, but note that it’ll continue throughout the year.
German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Size and Types
Since this is a relatively new breed, there aren’t many standards when it comes to size. These dogs are large, typically weighing between 65 to 85 pounds and measuring 18 to 24 inches. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a smaller representative.
German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Temperament
If you get one of these dogs, you can rest assured that you’ll have a loyal and protective pet.
These dogs are happier living with big families. But it’s better if you have a house with a big yard since they need plenty of exercise. If you encourage them to interact with others from an early age, they can grow up friendly. Socializing with other dogs is also a great idea.
The Bull Shepherd inherited its ancestry’s intelligence, so you can train them efficiently with positive reinforcement. The breed enjoys its owners’ company, and we don’t recommend leaving it alone for long periods. If they’re under-exercised and neglected, you’ll face the extent of their destructive behavior, and you might have to deal with typical dog behavior issues.
German Shepherd Pitbull Mix — Care and Grooming
Regular vet checkups could prove beneficial for early disease detection and prevention. Besides, a specialist could help you learn the care and grooming routine your pet needs.
Since these dogs gain weight quickly, we highly recommend you to stick to a meal schedule and tire them out daily. You can find more nutrition guidelines in the next section.
As for grooming, you must check their ears every day to get pests and clean them following your vet’s instructions. Also, remember to trim the nails once a month.
Maintaining the oral health of your German Sheppit could prove a challenging task. Most dog breeds are vulnerable to dental issues, so brushing their teeth daily is essential. Be sure to follow the vet’s instructions closely to do it properly.
If you notice the dog dragging or scooting their bottom, it might be time to get their anal glands expressed. We recommended you get this done professionally, either from experienced and trained groomers or vets.
As a result of their thick coats, these dogs are prone to pests. They also shed a lot, which is why you should brush them three times a week. Be careful not to bathe your furry pal too often, as that could remove the natural oils of their coat.
The German Shepherd Pit mix could handle extreme weather as long as it’s for a short duration. But that depends on which parent’s genes are more dominant. To be on the safe side, don’t let your four-legged friend stay in the sun too long.
Feeding the German Shepherd Pitbull
The Pitbull German Shepherd Mix should follow a diet suitable for a large-sized dog with high energy and exercise needs. Always consult a veterinarian for advice on the right portion size and foods for your dog.
As your pet grows older and enters adulthood, its dietary needs will change. Make sure to check and follow the nutritional requirements at each stage to maintain its good health.
It’s vital to be extra careful with food and exercise regimens. A German Shepherd Pitbull mix puppy grows a lot between four and seven months, making it vulnerable to bone disorders. It’s best to keep them on a low-calorie, high-quality diet that prevents too much rapid growth.
Overfeeding your pet can result in health conditions, including joint problems. So, be sure to keep them active, follow the meal schedule, and limit the treats.
Avoid letting the puppies play, jump, or run on hard surfaces until they’re about two years old, which is when they’ll have fully formed joints. The little furballs should play on carpet or grass.
The Pitbull German Shepherd Mix boasts a robust and muscular physique, which you need to maintain with a fair amount of physical activity. Go out for a one-hour walk daily and add in another 30 minutes to help your pet stay in tip-top shape. Plus, it’s good for you, too.
Remember that puppies have shorter legs and might not be able to keep up with your pace. As your little furry friend gets bigger, you can go faster and even run together. Some great playtime ideas include hiking, agility training, a game of fetch, or catching a frisbee.
German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Training Tips
Usually, it’s not that easy to train hybrids. That’s why we don’t recommend this breed for first-time dog owners. The bull shepherd needs a confident parent who’ll keep it under control. It’s not going to be a breeze, but you’ll achieve great results with a bit of patience.
Here are our best tips:
- Make a schedule for your pet, and don’t miss a session. Practice makes perfect.
- Keep it positive. Praises and treats are the best way to teach your dog how to follow every command.
- Start introducing your four-legged friend to other people and canines as soon as you get them. Socializing can help with your pet’s anxious behavior.
- It also helps to take your dog with you to different places to help it get used to unfamiliar environments.
- Incorporate leash and crate training to manage the excessive barking specific for this breed.
- Stay calm and don’t rush the training. The Shepherd Pit is usually easily trained, but you might have picked a stubborn dog, which requires more time to achieve results.
Training should start when they’re still puppies, ideally seven weeks old. Adults dogs are a bit more challenging to train.
Lifespan & Common Health Issues
The Pitbull German Shepherd mix has a lifespan of 10–12 years, and it inherits the health conditions typical for the parent breeds. And since German Shepherds have been selectively bred for specific characteristics, they’re very prone to genetic diseases.
All in all, mixed dogs stay in good health, but it’s still best to get regular checkups and care for them properly.
This crossbreed commonly faces the following health issues:
- Hypothyroidism — That means the dog’s body can’t produce enough thyroid hormones, which slows down the metabolism. It requires your dog to stay on a prescription for life.
- Bloating — That’s when gas or food stretches the stomach, and it can be painful for your pet. Depending on the type, it might need immediate vet attention.
- Heart Disease — Heart problems usually arrive with age, but they can also be cause by an injury. The condition isn’t curable, but it can be managed with medication.
- Allergies — A half Pitbull half German Shepherd is susceptible to many allergens, be it food, insect bites, or seasonal. While unpleasant, it’s usually not a cause for concern, but you’ll need to change your dog’s diet or daily routine to avoid allergens.
- Hip Dysplasia — It’s a common condition for larger dogs, and it’s hereditary for breeds like the German Shepherd. Hip dysplasia is an incredibly painful condition that can develop into arthritis and muscle atrophy. If you want to prevent it or ease your pet’s pain, you can try joint vitamins for dogs.
- Skin Irritation — There are many causes for skin irritation, so if you notice your dog scratching excessively, you should check in with your vet.
Getting a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
Rescue centers are a great idea, but you should still do thorough research. Numerous shady websites give false information or even the wrong breed. Make sure you visit legitimate websites and organizations for your future Pitbull Shepherd mix.
How Much Does a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Cost?
A puppy of this breed costs between $200 and $600. You should also add extra expenses to that, such as neutering, blood tests, and general pet safety items. That said, we encourage you to adopt one from a local shelter or rescue center.
On average, the dog’s medical cost ranges from $485 to $600 annually, including checkups, flea prevention, pet insurance, and shots. What’s more, expect to spend around $500 to $600 more every year on food, treats, toys, and license.
Animal Shelters or Rescue Centers
These are the go-to for people looking to adopt animals. Shelters and centers are usually managed by people who love animals and want to provide the best home for them. A decent place will have the dog’s health history and details — stray dogs typically don’t have any.
While many people might be against breeders, many of them are incredibly responsible pet owners. They often breed German Pit and other dogs for competitions and shows. In some cases, they sell the offspring of their furry friends to compete. But in others, the dog doesn’t meet the standard of excellence and can’t participate. Any reputable breeder would find better homes for these canines or give them to shelters for adoption.
Reputed sources online offer plenty of information about the American Pitbull Terrier German Shepherd mix and guide you on how to rescue and adopt one.
An adopted German Shepherd Pitbull Mix needs a few weeks to adjust. This period is critical for your dog to feel secure and happy in its new home. You or other people in the household would also need time to get used to the pet.
As soon as your furry pal enters your house, you should let it know how things will work. You’re setting the basics for your relationship. Here are some tips to help you with that process:
- Make sure that your Pit Shepard mix has a secure and comfortable ride home. That’s a very stressful journey for any adopted dog, so make sure the crate is secure.
- Pick a catchy and ideally short name for your new pup. If you need ideas, we’ve prepared a whole list of unique german shepherd names.
- Start the meal and exercise schedule as soon as you arrive. Your dog needs to adjust quickly, and consistency lets it know it’s time to go to the bathroom, sleep, play, and eat.
- Keep calm around the German Shepherd mix with Pitbull. Excessive excitement might be stressful during the first few weeks. If you’re relaxed, your pet will have less trouble adjusting.
- If you have children, explain to them how to treat the dog. Try to prevent them from tackling it without any warning, which might cause issues in the long run.
- In case you’re not the first owner of the dog, it might have a different understanding of some words. Arm yourself with patience and set aside time to train your pet properly.
Note that you mustn’t neuter or spay your dog before its first year of age as that increases the risk of joint issues.
Don’t worry if the furry pal misbehaves in the first few months. A new home is a massive change, and the adjustment takes more than a day. For instance, there’s no need to panic if your dog stays quiet initially and one day suddenly jumps to play. It means they’re now used to the way things are and are ready to get into the action.
If you want an intelligent dog that can keep up with running and hiking, the Pit Shepard mix might just be the dog for you. Before looking for a reputable breeder, check the local shelters and rescue centers, as they’re great places to adopt this breed.
The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is without a doubt a protective and loyal dog. Given proper training, mental stimulation, and socialization, it can make an ideal pet for your family.