The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix: A Quick Overview

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A lot can be said about this crossbreed, but let’s start with the basics. A German Shepherd Pitbull mix is the first-generation offspring of a German Shepherd (GSD) and an American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT or Pittie).

Also known as the Shepherd Pit, German Pit, and German Sheppit, this crossbreed is not only strong, fierce, and bold. 

The German Pit is not only one of the bravest dogs you’ll meet, but it’s also a loyal and affectionate companion.

Why don’t we get to know the Shepherd Pit a little better?

Black German Shepherd Pitbull Mix lying on the ground
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The German Shepherd Pitbull mix’s origin

Among all the dog breeds in the world, the GSD and APBT are two of the most commonly misunderstood.

Both are concealed behind a negative stigma, which makes this crossbreed all the more interesting. But I believe there is more to the Shepherd Pitbull mix than its bad reputation.

We can have a better understanding of the GSD-Pitbull hybrid if we know where they came from.

The German Shepherd’s history

The German Shepherd has its origins in the late 19th century and the early 20th century, in 1899 to be exact. This dog was bred in Germany to herd sheep and safeguard them.

A German cavalry officer named Captain Max Von Stephanitz designed the breed. He wanted a dog with a wolf-like appearance and a strong work ethic, so he reached out to and collaborated with the police and military regarding the idea.

A German Shepherd running with a stick n its mouth
German Shepherd

German Shepherds are an smart, hardworking, and an exceptionally trainable breed, which makes them ideal for working with the military and the police.

They are also known to work as guard dogs and the handicapped use them as guide dogs. GSDs are adaptable to most conditions, making them great pets overall.

The American Pit Bull Terrier’s origins

American Pit Bull Terriers are an intelligent breed, as well, and their origins can be traced back in the UK during the 1800s. They were active in the bull and bear baiting sport of that era.

Pit Bulls can be found in England, Ireland, and Scotland and are a cross between Bulldogs and Terriers, which were crossbred to produce a courageous hunting dog.

They were an instant favorite with farmers and ranch owners when this breed was introduced in the US and soon after were given a new name as the “American Pit Bull Terrier.”

They have exceptional tracking and hunting skills and became staple guards for livestock.

Black and white American Pit Bull Terrier lying down and smiling
American Pit Bull Terrier

Originally bred to be stable fighting dogs, Pitbulls soon became “nanny dogs” because of their sweet demeanor and protectiveness of children.

The aggression some APBTs exhibit stems from improper and inadequate training. A Pitbull is a gentle pet and family member when sufficiently trained.

Today, Pitties are a strong but loving breed. He likes to cuddle up with his owner and relax, enjoys being the center of attention, and loves being around people.

Misconceptions about the GSD-Pitbull Mix and its parents

German Pit standing in the snow
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The Pitbull German Shepherd mix was first spotted in the US in the 2000s.

This hybrid inherits the intelligence, loyalty, and hardworking nature of its parents, but it suffers from the bad reputation of the GSD and APBT.

German Shepherds and Pit Bulls are both commonly associated with territorial aggression and biting, both with humans and other dogs.

The stigma that all German Shepherds are aggressive isn’t correct.

This breed has been utilized in the police force because of their high intelligence and trainability.

But it doesn’t necessarily mean that these canines are vicious.

Another Shepherd stereotype that needs to be addressed is that they attack anyone entering their home or territory.

This lovable breed has a characteristic of being territorial and may show aggression if he feels that he or his family is threatened.

Proper training and socialization during puppyhood will nip this potential problem in the bud.

What does a Shepherd Pit bull mix look like?

The German Pit is more likely to look like a Pitbull than a German Shepherd. This breed’s face usually has a large head, a short muzzle, and folded-over ears.

They may also have a longer snout like the German Shepherd; it depends on who is the more dominant parent.

How big does the Pitbull Shepherd Mix get?

A GSD-Pittie mix has a large and muscular build. When fully grown, a male German Pit is between 18 to 26 inches (46 to 66 cm) tall and can weigh anywhere from 40 to 90 lbs (18 to 40 kg).

On the other hand, a full grown female German Pit would stand between 17 to 24 inches (43 to 61 cm) and weighs around 30 to 70 lbs (14 to 32 kg).

What is the German Shepherd Pit Bull’s coat like?

Black Shepherd Pit puppy lying down on carpet
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This dog’s coat is usually short to medium in length and typically thick and dense.

You can expect moderate shedding from this crossbreed. (Be prepared to use a vacuum cleaner often.)

Most German Sheppits will come in a variety of colors like tan, black, white, fawn, and gray.

Some have beautiful multi-colored coats like the GSD, while others inherit the brindle coats of their Pittie parents.

Because of its moderate shedding, the German Pit is not the ideal dog for people who suffer from allergies to dander.

Is a Shepherd-Pitbull mix dangerous?

As we mentioned before, this breed is often negatively associated with being aggressive.

Your dog’s temperament and personality will ultimately be determined by how well he is raised as a puppy.

A Shepherd Pit Bull mix is a loyal, intelligent, protective, and bold dog that likes spending time with his family. This canine has a calm and loving personality toward its owner, but it can be an attention-grabber, too.

Check out this video of Lilith, a 6-year-old Pittie-GSD cross. She loves nothing more than to run, play Frisbee, and roll around all day.

Just make sure that your German Pitbull mix puppy is introduced correctly to small kids. Young children should be taught the basic do’s and don’ts of treating your pet as part of the family.

Proper socialization and training are crucial because these dogs tend to chase down smaller animals.

They may also have a dominant personality and may try to be the alpha to other dogs. Being raised with other pets will help this crossbreed co-exist with them.

With early training and socialization, this naturally friendly and affectionate dog is an excellent choice for a family pet and the perfect companion for children.

How much activity does this crossbreed need?

A Pitbull German Shepherd hybrid has a strong and robust physique and he requires plenty of physical activity. He’ll need at least 90 minutes of exercise per day.

You can take your dog on a one-hour jog or run in the morning and a 30-minute walk in the evening to keep him in the excellent physical condition and as release excess energy.

Without a proper exercise regimen, he may exhibit unruly and destructive behaviors like excessive barking, hole-digging, or chewing on slippers.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix with its front paws crossed
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If you have no love of running (like me, LOL), hopping on your bicycle and holding on to your dog’s leash while letting him run beside you will do the trick.

Remember to keep it slow with a German Pit puppy because his legs are shorter. After that age, you can increase your speed as long as he can keep up.

He can also have some playtime, like romping in the dog park. Or maybe play some fetch and let him catch a frisbee so his brain gets a workout, too.

These crossbreeds require a high level of physical and mental activity to be in their best form.

How to train Pitbull German Shepherd mix puppies

The unfortunate truth is that this hybrid is not easy to train and is not suited for first-time dog owners. You need to be a firm and confident alpha, or he will try to control you. Be patient and try not to give in.

Positive reinforcement works well with the GSD-Pittie cross, and he’ll definitely learn more quickly with treats and praise than with punishment.

Socializing him at an early age helps him interact better with other animals and encourages a better sense of adaptability in the dog.

Socialization also fixes anxious and timid behavior and will help your pet get along with your family members.

GSD-APTB mix standing and looking up
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Socialization can be time-consuming, so you’ll need to patient. You’ll have to introduce your puppy to plenty of people and bring it to places you’ll frequently visit so your dog will be desensitized to new faces and environments.

This breed may be intelligent, but he has a certain level of stubbornness when it comes to training.

It’s best to consistently follow a training plan so your German Pit puppy will learn good behavior.

This hybrid tends to bark quite frequently, too, so you may want to include a routine that will help you control excessive barking. Try including crate training and leash training in your sessions.

Starting it young is the best way to train a German Sheppit. The best age to start would be at seven weeks old. An adult dog can still receive training, although it will be more difficult.

The German Shepherd Pitbull mix’s health problems

It is essential to know the medical history of your pup’s parents to ensure you’re getting the healthiest dog possible. These are the most common health concerns to watch out for in your German Sheppit:

German Pits wearing jackets in the snow
Many German Pits need protection when outside in cold weather because of their short coats. (source)

Make sure to buy your Shepherd Pit puppies only from a responsible breeder and ask to see the health clearances of both parents and the pup himself.

The average lifespan of German Shepherd Pitbull mix is around 10 to 12 years, barring any genetic conditions.

How much grooming does a German Shepherd Pit Bull need?

You will need to establish a consistent grooming routine with your dog from a young age.

The routine should include brushing its coat and teeth; this helps your German Pit become more comfortable with being handled.

Groom your pet’s coat once a week with a hard bristle brush to remove falling hair and keep his coat shiny and healthy.

Shepherd Pit lying in the sun
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Bathe your puppy weekly during shedding season or at least once a month to prevent irritation. Use a mild dog shampoo and make sure to rinse the coat thoroughly to get rid of the shampoo’s residue.

Brush his teeth three times a week to prevent dental problems.

Check his ears for infections and wipe them once a week. Nail trimming should be done by a groomer if you’re not used to doing it yourself.

Don’t forget to bring your dog to the vet for monthly check-ups.

The right diet for the GSD-Pittie mix

German Sheppit sitting in the car's passenger seat
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A balanced diet is vital for all breeds, but it’s especially important in an active dog like the German Sheppit.

A large canine requires approximately 30 calories of energy per pound of his body weight.

Male German Pits need 1,200 to 2,700 calories daily, while females need 900 to 2,100 calories daily.

This may be adjusted depending on their age, activity level and size.

This hybrid needs to eat 3 to 4 cups of high-quality dry dog food daily. Divide your dog’s food into two or three meals a day to reduce the likelihood of bloat.

Feed your dog dry kibble designed for large and active breeds. Human food must be served sparingly since a lot of them are not safe for canines.

How much will it cost to own this crossbreed?

Once you’ve decided to get a German Shepherd Pitbull mix puppy, choose a reputable breeder that has done health screening on their puppies.

They would also insist that you meet the pup to give you a better idea of the puppy and its unique characteristics.

A German Sheppit puppy costs around $200 to $600 with other expenses for a crate, chipping, neutering, collar, leash, and blood tests totaling to about $450 to $500.

The German Pit isn’t a very breed so a good breeder may not be easy to find. Puppies for sale can be found at Greenfield Puppies, Lancaster Puppies, Puppy Find, Next Day Pets, and Mittelwest. 

If you want to adopt an adult GSD-Pittie mix instead, you can visit Adopt-A-Pet, East TN Pitbull Rescue, Petfinder, and ASPCA Adoption Center.

Are you ready for the Pitbull German Shepherd mix?

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix puppy lying on a blue towel
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A German Shepherd Pit Bull mix is loyal and protective.

With the right socialization, a German Pit will get along with all members of the family.

Whether you live in an apartment or in a house with a fenced yard, this lovely hybrid is an excellent addition to any home because of its adaptability.

However, these hybrids tend to develop separation anxiety when left alone for long periods. They also need a confident owner who is familiar with being a gentle yet firm alpha leader, as these dogs tend to be stubborn.

Do you have stories to tell about these courageous furballs? Share them with us in the comments below.

Further reading: Pitbull mixes and German Shepherd crossbreeds

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