The best of both worlds: the German Shepherd Chihuahua mix

Last Updated on April 26, 2023

The German Shepherd Chihuahua mix is a loyal and curious companion. Although not suited for first-time owners or families with children, these dogs make excellent family companions in the right environment.

Yes, this is anatomically possible! A male Chihuahua is paired with a female German Shepherd. Otherwise, it is possible to use artificial insemination. 

A German Shepherd Chihuahua mix laying down
Source: @meng1010 / IG

Curious if this crossbreed is right for you? Read on and find out!

Where did the German Shepherd Chihuahua mix come from?

The German Shepherd Chihuahua mix is a new breed, and its exact timing of origin is unknown. Its name, of course, comes from the parent breeds: German Shepherds and Chihuahuas.

Loyal and obedient: a bit about German Shepherds

German Shepherd on the grass
A purebred German Shepherd laying on the grass

The German Shepherd dog (GSD) originated in 1895, bred by Captain von Stephanitz in Germany. This big dog breed is known for being extremely loyal and obedient

A purebred German Shepherd is athletic, intelligent, and used in a variety of tasks. You can find these working dogs in the police force, in people’s homes, in the army, as guide dogs, and so on.

Small but mighty: a bit about Chihuahuas

The other half of this mixed breed comes from Chihuahuas, one of the most popular breeds out there.

A tiny Chihuahua laying with white background
A purebred Chihuahua laying down

Their exact origins are unknown, but they are thought to come from Mexico. This small dog played a vital role in the breeding of other small dogs.

Despite their small size, these dogs are brave and highly curious. The chihuahua breed is beloved by many, making it a great crossbreed parent.

Recognized by the AKC?

The American Kennel Club (AKC) does not recognize the German Shepherd and Chihuahua mix. This is common for a mixed breed, especially those of very recent origin.

How to spot a German Shepherd Chihuahua mix

A brown Chihuahua GSD mix standing under the sun
Source: @bmt.alexx / IG

What your German Shepherd Chihuahua mix puppy looks like is a complete gamble, but it will be something in between the German Shepherd breed and Chihuahua.

This dog has large, straight ears with a sturdy body that’s proportional to its height. The head is not too large and is an apple shape. The eyes are small but apparent, and they are always darkly colored. 

The legs will be long and strong. The tail will be medium-sized, curving upwards slightly towards the end.

How large will my German Shepherd Chihuahua get?

These doggies are typically small-to-medium in size. A Chihuahua and German Shepherd mix can be anywhere from 8-60 pounds and stand 7-45 inches at the shoulder.

Like most dogs, males will be larger than females. These dogs can make great apartment dogs, like their Chihuahua parents, but make sure you provide plenty of exercises if this is the case.

Pick an individual dog who seems less active and is okay being in smaller spaces.

What is the German Shepherd Chihuahua mix’s coat like?

The coat of your dog will vary depending on its parents. Usually, this dog has black/brown short hair like that of the GSD.

That said, the length of the coat depends on the Chihuahua parent. If he or she has longer fur and a double coat, your puppy may also have a double coat.

A GSD Chihuahua mix sitting on the ground
Source: @stay.relentlessss / IG

What’s this dog’s personality like?

This breed is not suitable for families with young children. Given the parent breeds’ tendency to be excessively protective, your dog may be wary of strangers.

That said, with proper socialization, any dog can be a friendly, social family pet.

When it comes to other dogs, cats, or pets more generally, proper introductions are a must. Begin socializing your German Shepherd Chihuahua mix regularly and at a young age. 

Remember, both parent breeds have a prey drive, so closely monitor any interactions with small animals.

Chihuahuas and German Shepherds are known for being vocal dogs, alerting you of a stranger’s presence. Expect your mix to be vocal. 

Like other companion dogs, dog training from an early age is essential. Unless you work to combat it, these dogs can suffer from separation anxiety, as they are family dogs who like to be by their people. 

These dogs are incredibly smart and obedient. That said, they can also be stubborn. Incentivize your dog with a reward and be patient and persistent. 

There are special potty training considerations with this breed. Given their small stature, these dogs have tiny bladders and need to go out frequently.

This can present potty training issues. Stick to a regular schedule and never give your dog the opportunity to potty in your home.

Here is a brief informational video: 

How do I best take care of this breed?

This mixed breed dog is not for those with limited time, as they require extensive and consistent training.

If your dog has shorter hair, a warmer climate will suit him fine, but if he has longer hair, a colder climate works just as well.

Exercising your German Shepherd Chihuahua mix

Regular exercise is vital for this medium-to-high energy crossbreed. At least 30 minutes per day of activity is ideal, but these doggies won’t complain about long walks.

These companion dogs enjoy walks, hikes, and playtime with their owners.

That said, hip and elbow dysplasia are common health problems, so be wary of intense exercise. Save longer walks for after the dog has fully matured, typically after it turns two years of age.

What about grooming?

These dogs are certainly not hypoallergenic and can shed year-round, or at least while the seasons change.

Brush your mixed breed at least once per week. Luckily, since their fur tends to be shorter, grooming isn’t super tricky. 

Bathe your German Shepherd Chihuahua mix whenever he gets smelly or dirty, but not so frequently that it dries out his skin.

As with any dog, grinding the nails frequently is important, as well.

Here are some products you may need:

  • Deshedding tool
  • Slicker brush
  • Nail grinder
  • Shampoo + conditioner for either long or short hair dogs, depending on your pup’s coat length

What do I feed my dog?

As a forewarning, Chihuahuas are prone to obesity, so be careful with treat frequency; choose treats that are leaner.

Feed these mixed dogs high-quality dog food depending on their age. There are a puppy, junior, adult, and senior formulas with all the nutrients the dog needs. When in doubt, consult your vet.

Do not feed your dog chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, apple seeds, and anything you’re uncertain of. Here’s a list of poisonous foods for dogs.

A one-eyed Chihuahua GSD mix laying on a blanket
Source: @stay.relentlessss / IG

Common health problems

Hip Dysplasia

This is a common disease in German Shepherds, so be on the lookout for it in your mixed breed. 

Hip dysplasia occurs when your dog’s hip bone isn’t fitting correctly into the socket, and this is partly why you should avoid any intense exercise, especially while your dog is developing.

If your dog starts showing signs of pain or limping, take him to the vet.

Elbow Dysplasia

Similar to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia is common and occurs when the elbow joint isn’t fitting into the socket, causing pain and soreness. At any sign of this, take your dog to the vet for x-rays.

Patellar Luxation

Common in Chihuahuas, patellar luxation occurs when the kneecap becomes dislocated. This is more prevalent in older, smaller dogs. For any signs of discomfort or problems walking, consult your vet.


As mentioned previously, Chihuahuas and thus these mixed breeds are prone to obesity, which also exacerbates hip and elbow dysplasia.

Do not overfeed your dog, including treats, and limit feeding to twice per day; never free-feed. 

Choose healthy, low-fat treats.

Congenital Heart Defect

A congenital heart defect is a severe disease that puppies are born with. Any good breeder will screen their parent dogs thoroughly to breed out issues like this.


Prevalent in small breeds, this refers to cerebral fluid buildup in the brain. This is serious and can result in brain damage or even death. This can be treated if it’s mild. 

Symptoms of hydrocephalus include a domed skull, difficulty learning, dementia, loss of coordination, blindness, seizures, slow growth, comas, and more. As these signs are pretty severe, make sure never to ignore them.


This is the most common neurological disorder seen in dogs, and treatment depends on diagnosis and severity. Like humans, dogs having epileptic seizures will start convulsing.

If you think your dog is seizing, record the affected body parts, when it occurred, how often, and how long it lasted. This will aid your vet in a diagnosis.


Similarly to humans, strokes are caused by a blood clot restricting blood flow to the brain. Signs of a stroke appear suddenly but differ widely.

They include howling in pain, dragging legs, loss of housetraining, a head tilt, and so on. 

Always consult your vet if you notice abnormal behavior.

Chihuahua and German Shepherd mixes tend to live anywhere from 9-20 years. GSDs live shorter lifespans, whereas Chihuahuas are known for their longevity.

Regular checkups at the vet are crucial for staying on top of your dog’s health and preventing any severe issues. 

When purchasing a puppy, buy from a reputable breeder who conducts health screenings on all parent dogs. Make sure they provide proof of any medical examinations and show you the breeding dogs’ clean bills of health.

Chihuahuas most commonly die of heart failure, whereas German Shepherds often die of cancer. Be extra proactive in preventing these diseases.

A cute GSD Chihuahua mix puppy on the grass
Source: @mixedbreeddogs / IG

So, you love this breed! Where can you get one?

You can either purchase or rescue your mix. Given how nuanced this breed is, finding one will be difficult.

If you choose to purchase, the dog will likely cost anywhere from $800 – $3000, depending on the reputability of the breeder and location.

When purchasing these dogs, be extra careful not to buy from puppy mills. Unfortunately, this includes pet stores, as most get their dogs from puppy mills. 

Puppy mills are horrendous breeding farms where dogs are kept in cages like livestock. Puppies from here have severe health and behavioral issues and often die prematurely.

What about a breeder?

A quick Google search will produce no viable results for a breeder, given the nicheness of this breed. Your best bet is to contact local German Shepherd or Chihuahua organizations and ask around.

Since the AKC recognizes both parent breeds, that is an excellent place to start. Alternatively, you can hand-select local professionals and breeders and ask them.

When choosing a breeder, make sure they breed healthy dogs with no congenital defects. Inspect their facilities and ensure they are spacious, ventilated, and clean.

Adopting a Chihuahua and German Shepherd mix

Again, given how niche the breed is, it won’t be easy to find a rescue solely dedicated to this crossbreed.

Your best bet is to find local German Shepherd or Chihuahua rescue organizations. You can also peruse your local shelter, keeping in mind the appearance of this mix, to locate one yourself.

Here are some rescues to start with:

  1. German Shepherd Rescue of NorCal
  2. Bay Area German Shepherd Rescue
  3. Chihuahua Rescue and Transport
  4. Power of Chi Chihuahua Rescue

Is this dog right for you?

A Chihuahua German Shepherd mix sitting adorably and wearing a lime collar
Source: @sstricklandphoto / IG

These dogs are not suitable for first-time dog owners, as they need a lot of training and can be stubborn. They need a firm, experienced handler to get the best out of the crossbreed.

These dogs can be, as previously mentioned, stubborn, and there are often issues with potty training. They are also wary of strangers and are not suited for young children.

That said, this breed is obedient with the right handler. They are fiercely loyal, curious, and smart. If you live in an apartment or smaller space, these are a great hybrid for you.

What’s next? Further reading if you liked this breed

Check out articles on:

  • German Shepherd Husky mix
  • German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix
  • German Shepherd Doberman mix
  • German Shepherd Mixes

Are you going to get one of these mixed breeds? Let us know!


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