German Shepherd Pitbull Mix – Everything You Need to Know About These Incredible Dogs
Both the German Shepherd and the American Pitbull are two really popular purebred dogs, so it’s only natural that the German Shepherd Pitbull mix is becoming a sought after designer dog across America too. They’re pups that have the best traits of both their parent breeds – the devoted loyalty of the Pitbull and the intelligence and agility of the German Shepherd. What could be better!
By the end of this blog, you’ll be an expert in all things German Sheppit. Or German Pit. Or German Shepherd Pitbull (however you decide to name them)!
Quick Overview of The Pitbull German Shepherd Mix
This mixed breed is the beautiful result of crossing a German Shepherd with a Pitbull (you can find more beautiful German Shepherd mixes here). To fully understand the likely traits and attributes of your German Pit, it’s important to have a look at both parent breeds.
As their name suggests, these pups were first bred in Germany as herding dogs. As farming started to decline, these dogs were put to use in the army. During WWI they served as a Red Cross dog that delivered messages, rescued soldiers, guarded, and carried supplies.
Soldiers from around the world saw how intelligent, loyal, hard-working, and beautiful German Shepherds were and brought them back home with them.
Because it was wartime, in 1917 the American Kennel Club decided to rename these pups Shepherd Dogs. They wanted to cut any tie to their German heritage as they feared Americans wouldn’t want to own a German dog.
The same happened in England and they were renamed Alsatians – in fact it wasn’t until 1977 that British Kennel Clubs changed the name back to German Shepherd.
These confident, bold, and trainable dogs are still commonly used by police forces and military services all over the country. Their high intelligence, along with their loyalty and eagerness to please, makes them the perfect working dog.
But they’re also amazing family pets! The AKC lists them as the third most popular dog breed in America – which is hardly surprising when you think of how fun and loving they are. They also make great guard dogs and fit well into active families.
American Pitbull Terrier
American Pitbulls, despite their name, were first bred in England in the 19th century. But they were used as bait for bullfighting and trained to fight other dogs.
These early-day fighting dogs are the reason why American Pitbull Terriers have such a bad reputation. In fact, these dogs (and German Shepherds) are considered some of the scariest dog breeds in the world. Unfortunately, these dogs are still a favorite for underground dog fighting and it’s crucial that you get your Pitbull (or Pitbull mix) from a reputable breeder.
But the name they’ve got for themselves couldn’t be further away from the truth. Anyone who has ever owned a Bullie knows that they are incredibly caring, devoted, and sweet-natured dogs. They’re so good around children that they’ve actually been given the name of ‘Nanny Dog’.
They do, however, need an experienced dog owner who won’t let them get too confident or stubborn. Early socialization is a must for this dog breed, as is obedience training and lots of love and affection.
German Shepherd Pitbull Mix – What You Need To Know About This Hybrid Breed
Knowing the history of any hybrid pup isn’t straightforward. It’s difficult to know whether they existed naturally before designer dog breeders intentionally started breeding them or not.
German Shepherds and American Pitbull Terriers were first officially bred in the early 1990s in America. Breeders wanted to create the perfect companion pup that excelled in guarding too.
Even though they’re popular dogs, Pitbulls and Pitbull mixes are banned in some states, cities, and even entire countries in the world. Irresponsible breeding in the past made people wary of this dog breed so they weren’t initially a sought-after pup. As awareness and laws around breeding changed, more and more people wanted this devoted and affectionate breed in their homes.
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix is a really affectionate and loving dog. Like, really. Pitbulls are known for their affection (when people aren’t concentrating on their past) and this is definitely a trait that this mixed breed inherits.
They’ll be happiest playing and cuddling with their family and can even get on well with strangers and other dogs. They’re completely devoted to their family members and can be quite protective.
It’s really important you socialize your German Pit from a young age. If not socialized well, these dogs can have a tendency to try and dominate and be a bit stubborn. Both parent breeds make excellent guard dogs and if not socialized, this mixed breed’s guarding instincts may get the better of them.
The Pitbull German Shepherd mix also benefits from regular training. Luckily, these dogs normally inherit the German Shepherd’s incredible intelligence and they’re quite easy to train. They love to please their owners and respond well to positive reinforcement and plenty of treats!
Because these dogs love to be loved and have a brain that needs lots of stimulation, they’re not a breed that should be left alone for long periods. If they’ve got plenty of cute dog toys and a good amount of space to play in, they should be OK for a few hours.
Of course, with any mixed breed, it’s difficult to predict exactly what temperament they’ll inherit. These dogs tend to be really sweet-natured, intelligent, and require a lot of love.
Is This Pitbull Mix Dangerous?
Many people think that both Pitbulls and German Shepherds are aggressive and potentially dangerous. Aggression in these breeds usually comes from abuse or neglect – and it’s the same for the Shepherd Pit.
With love, early socialization, and proper training, there’s no reason why your German Shepherd Pit should be aggressive at all.
Training a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
As already mentioned, these dogs are smart. They excel in all kinds of training and will really enjoy it. You may want to think about enrolling your pup in specialized training classes for extra fun!
Even if a training session isn’t going quite according to plan, always use positive reinforcement with your German Pit. They respond well when they think they’re pleasing you and will be more eager to learn.
Training sessions shouldn’t go on for too long as they might get bored. Try to keep them short and do them a few times during the day. If you can, start training your puppy from a young age. Of course, an adult dog can (and should) be trained too.
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix needs at least 90 minutes of exercise a day. They’re very energetic pups and can become destructive and badly behaved if they don’t burn up enough energy.
They’ll love to go on jogs, exciting hikes, walks, play a good game of fetch, or have a run around the dog park with their friends. It’s important not to over-exercise German Sheppit puppies. These dogs have a tendency to grow very quickly and over-exercising them can lead to bone and joint problems later in life.
As with many other dogs, it’s not just their bodies that need exercising. These dogs need to use their brains to keep themselves occupied. They’ll also really enjoy having a job to do. If you make sure your pup gets enough exercise, they’ll be calm-natured and won’t mind cuddling up with you in the evenings.
This energetic dog breed is not the one for you if you live in a small apartment. These dogs can get frustrated if they don’t have enough space to play in and could be destructive. They do best in homes with an outdoor space that they can have access to so that they can entertain themselves.
Are These Dogs Good Around Children and Other Dogs?
Like many dog breeds, the German Sheppit is good around other pets they’ve been raised with. If you have a German Shepherd Pitbull mix puppy, make sure you introduce them to the other animals in the house early on.
German Shepherd Pitbull mixes can be initially a bit reserved around new dogs. Make sure you introduce them slowly and train them well around other pups. They should get over their initial shyness and be best friends with everyone!
Likewise, these pups do well with children they’re used to. With all dog breeds, it is important to teach children how to behave around them and how to play with them. You should keep an eye on children playing with a German Shepherd Pitbull mix, even if they’ve been well socialized.
Appearance of a German Shepherd Pitbull
You can never be 100% certain about what a hybrid pup will look like – and the same goes for a Pitbull German Shepherd mix. Some dogs may take more after either parent breeds.
Normally, however, these dogs look more like Pitbulls than they do German Shepherds. They usually have large, boxier heads, a short muzzle, and ears that fold over like a Pitbull’s. They’re a very beautiful dog breed.
Size of Pitbull German Shepherd Mix
This mixed breed is relatively new, so there’s not much of a standard when it comes to size. Pitbulls are usually considered medium-sized dogs and German Shepherds large, so their mix can be either.
Most German Shepherd Pitbull mixes weigh between 30 and 90 pounds and grow to be between 17 and 26 inches tall. As with many dog breeds, males tend to be a bit bigger.
Coat of a German Pit
These dogs usually inherit their Pitbull parent’s short to medium-length coats. They’re thick and dense and shed moderately. It’s not common for them to inherit the German Shepherd’s longer and slightly fluffier coat (you’ll also be pleased to know they don’t shed anywhere near as much as German Shepherds)!
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix can be any of the colors common in the parent dogs. They’re usually brown, white, black, gray, tan, and fawn. They can inherit the brindle coat possible in Pitbulls and be a mix of colors common in German Shepherds. If they have a black Pitbull parent, it’s likely they’ll be mainly black.
It’s unusual for these dogs to be one single color but it can happen.
Grooming a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
This dog breed needs moderate grooming. Brushing them two or three times a week should keep most of the shedding to a minimum. German Shepherd Pitbulls only need bathing every so often but when you do it, it’s best to use a sensitive shampoo that will protect their skin (Pitbulls are known for having sensitive skin).
This designer dog will also need its ears cleaned every week. Gently wipe and dry them to reduce the chance of infections. If their nails don’t naturally wear down you should clip them every so often too.
Health of a Pitbull German Shepherd Mix
Hybrid breeds, such as the Shepherd Pit, are usually healthier than their parent dogs because there’s a bigger mix of genetics. They can, of course, suffer from some conditions common in the American Pitbull Terrier and the German Shepherd dog.
As well as genetics, lifestyle will play a big role in the health of your German Pit. It’s important you feed them good, nutritious food and give them plenty of exercise. Regular trips to the vet as well as a lot of love and attention from you should help to keep them as healthy as can be!
Two main concerns for these dogs are skin irritations which Pitbulls commonly suffer from and hip dysplasia which can be a problem for German Shepherds.
Hip dysplasia is a disease of the joint in which the bone doesn’t fit correctly into the socket. It can be painful for your dog and, unfortunately, doesn’t have a cure.
Pitbulls can suffer from a few skin conditions and allergies. One such one is Demodex, which is an infestation of mites that live in the hair follicles and which attack your dog’s weakened immune system. This can also affect Pitbull mixes.
Other conditions that your German Shepherd Pitbull mix may suffer from include: heart disease, progressive retinal atrophy, bloat, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, Von Willebrand’s Disease, and patellar luxation.
Something which can really improve your dog’s health is the food you give them. It’s always important to consult your vet or pet nutritionist before changing your dog’s diet to a new one.
These dogs are medium to large-sized animals which means they need a good amount of food per day. They’ll need between 3-4 cups of nutritious food per day to sustain their energy levels and fitness.
It’s important not to overfeed your Shepherd Pitbull mix. No dogs should be overweight, but piling on the pounds can be especially bad for those dogs prone to hip dysplasia. Rather than treating them with shop-bought processed treats, try yummy snacks like watermelon!
If you can, get your German Sheppit high-quality dog food that’s specifically balanced so they get all the protein and nutrients they need. Fresh dog food could be a good choice!
How Expensive Is a Pitbull German Shepherd Mix?
These dogs are usually around $600-$800 depending on where you get them. It’s really important to do your research and only ever get a German Sheppit puppy from a reputable breeder. Never buy a dog from puppy farms or puppy mills as those dogs are maltreated and are often unhealthy.
Especially with breeds such as Pitbulls, you want to make sure you’re not contributing to dogfighting and that the breeder is aware of the problems this breed faces. Even though they’re very affectionate dogs, years of miss breeding make it necessary for you to know the Pitbull parent.
These dogs are popular designer dogs but you may find a German Pit in your local animal shelter and it’s always worth looking there. Adopting a dog makes it much cheaper. It also makes a dog much happier!
Would you consider adopting a Shepherd Pit mix? Let us know your tips if you have one!