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German Shepherd Pitbull Mix: Breed Information, Traits & Facts

Are you thinking the German Shepherd Pitbull mix is the right mixed breed for your family? Find out all you need to know about this unique breed, including puppy prices, traits from each parent, nutrition needs, and more!

Shannon Maguire

Last Updated: August 25, 2021 | 11 min read

Pitbull German Shepherd Mix

The beautiful and agile Pitbull German Shepherd mix can be a marvelous best friend to the right person! Known for being exceptionally loving, this new breed of designer dog is highly intelligent, affectionate, eager to please, and tremendously loyal. Also known as The German Shepherd Pitbull, German Pit, or German Sheppit, she is a crossbreed between the American Pitbull Terrier and the German Shepherd.

Misunderstood because of the stigma of aggression often placed on both Pit Bulls and German Shepherds, the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is frequently mischaracterized as a highly aggressive breed. This is not surprising when both her parent breeds having a similarly negative reputation. However, when this aggression is present, it is typically due to a lack of proper training and a history of abuse or neglect.

It is true this mix tends to have a strong and dominant personality. In spite of that, with the right environment, training, and socialization, these pups flourish. If you are an experienced dog owner who is comfortable taking on the role of a pack leader, the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix might be the perfect addition to your family!

Breed Overview
    • weight iconWeight40-90 pounds
    • height iconHeight18-24 inches
    • lifespan iconLifespan10-14 years
    • color iconColorsBlack, Brown, Black & Tan, Red, White
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Training Difficulty
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Exercise Needs
  • Puppy Costs

Parent Breeds

Designer dogs are the byproduct of breeding two different purebred dogs. The result is a hybrid breed or a “designer dog.” In the case of the Pitbull German Shepherd mix…well the name says it all! This designer pup is the offspring of a purebred American Pitbull Terrier and a purebred German Shepherd.

There are many benefits to designer dogs including health improvements and nearly endless possibilities of cuteness! But perhaps most importantly, destigmatizing the idea of mixed breeds as “less-than” their purebred counterparts increases the probability of these hybrid dogs getting adopted.

Knowing what to expect from a designer dog requires looking into the characteristics of their individual parent breeds. So, let’s learn a little bit more about Pitbulls and German Shepherds!

American Pitbull Terrier

American Pitbull Terrier Sitting
Pitbulls originate from the Molosser dog and are an American favorite.

The American Pitbull Terrier originated in the United States, hence the name, but her ancestral roots begin in England and Ireland. She is characterized as a medium-sized canine from the Molosser breed group with short coats of diverse colorations. Adult Pitbulls range from 35 to 90 pounds and 14 to 24 inches in height. There are a few dogs that get recognized as American Pitbull Terrier type breeds, but only one dog is the APBT.

Despite her intimidating appearance, due to her muscular build and a reputation of aggression, Pitbulls are actually a well-tempered and generally friendly breed. She does especially well with children and makes a wonderful family dog. She has an average lifespan of about 14 years. Pitbulls are commonly mixed with other breeds and can have a variety of different coat colors including brindle.

German Shepherd

Mature German Shepherd Dog Looking at Camera
German Shepherd Dogs are the second most popular breed in the US.

The modern-day German Shepherd is descended from German herding dogs. She became popular in the United States in the early 1900s and has since become a breed commonly used by the military and police forces due to her intelligence, loyalty, and trainability. She is also a popular breed choice for Service Animals.

German Shepherds are both strong and agile, making her quite the athletic specimen. Fully grown, German Shepherds are commonly between 22 to 26 inches tall and between 50 to 90 pounds, with females running a bit smaller than males. She has a protective nature and develops a close bond with her owner.

The AKC describes her as “confident, courageous and smart.” German Shepherds have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years and can have many different lengths of coat. There are many common GSD mixes, including the German Shepherd Chow Chow Mix and the German Shepherd Lab Mix.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix

German Shepherd Pitbull mix with golden fur
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix crossbreeds two strong-willed and adaptive working breeds.

The GSD Pitbull Mix is what you get when you try to get the best of both breeds. With this designer dog, you’ll get the loyalty of the American Pitbull Terrier (otherwise known as the “Nanny Dog“) with the mix of the working ability and discipline of the German Shepherd.

Your pup will likely take more characteristics from one of its parent breeds over the other. Which traits it takes, is a completely random chance. These breeds are often compared against each other, so let’s look at some of the different characteristics of this mix, as well as what you might commonly expect.

Appearance

GSD Pitbull Mix with short hair
This crossbreed can have short hair or long hair, depending on their parents.

Discussing the appearance of a hybrid breed is never a certainty. Every litter is different and the characteristic parent genes each pup will receive varies. Nevertheless, a Pitbull German Shepherd’s appearance is inclined to favor her Pitbull side. She is likely to resemble a larger Pitbull, sporting a broad head and short muzzle.

Both German Shepherds and Pitbulls have a lean and muscular physique, so you can expect a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix to be equally as powerful and agile. It’s not uncommon for her to have bent or flopped-over ears.

Temperament

Happy pitbull GSD mix
This pup is an active crossbreed that’s generally friendly with people and canines.

Just like appearance, it can be hard to predict the exact personalities of a designer dog, as she could inherit any configuration of her parents’ disposition. German Shepherds are known as loyal, intelligent, and protective while Pitbulls are devoted, faithful, and affectionate. You can expect a Pitbull German Shepherd mix to exhibit any number of these traits.

When raised correctly, a Pitbull German Shepherd mix is incredibly affectionate. She may try to dominate other dogs and has a propensity to want to be the pack leader. However, she is well-mannered in a home with proper exercise, training, and socialization. These positive influences are imperative to curbing her more domineering instincts.

Although she can entertain herself, she mostly enjoys being around her people and craves love and attention. As a result, German Shepherd Pitbull Mix mixes make great family dogs.

Training

GSD Pit mix resting
This mix listens eagerly and can be easily trained.

Proper training is particularly important for a German Shepherd Pitbull mix. As mentioned, she is a very dominant breed of dog, which can manifest into stubborn or aggressive behavior. She requires consistent efforts to train effectively so this behavior can be controlled and you are respected as her leader. The good news is, German Shepherds and Pitbulls are both breeds with high intelligence, so she’s bound to be a quick learner in comparison to other dogs!

If possible, training and socialization should begin when she is a puppy, usually beginning as early as seven weeks old. However, don’t let this discourage you from adopting an older dog. You can absolutely still train an adult dog, but you may face challenges that require extra dedication and commitment.

Always use positive reinforcement, even if she is exhibiting stubbornness. Positive reinforcement strengthens the bond you share with your dog and allows you to develop a relationship based on trust and respect.

Exercise & Living Conditions

PIt GSD mixed breed in Apartment
The Pitbull German Shepherd mix can live in an apartment but does best in a yard.

Pitbull German Shepherds are energetic by nature and have the potential to be destructive when bored. Her size and temperament make her not suited for apartment living. The ideal living situation would include a spacious backyard to run around freely with a fence to help curb her protective nature.

In general, she requires around 90 minutes of exercise daily, preferably at a brisk pace. Physical activity is not the only thing to consider with Pitbull German Shepherds. She is an incredibly smart breed who also requires a lot of mental stimulation. This can be achieved through daily training exercises and interactive toys.

As is common with most dogs, many naughty behaviors can be dramatically reduced with proper exercise. In the case of the German Shepherd Pitbull mix, tendencies towards aggression, destructive behavior, digging and excessive barking can all surface when she finds herself with too much pent-up energy. She may require more activity than other breeds, but once she is worn out, she has no problem settling down and cuddling up next to you.

Size

Medium sized German Shepherd American Pit mix
This crossbreed is a medium-sized dog and can grow up to 70-90 pounds.

Pitbulls are generally characterized as a medium-sized canine, whereas German Shepherds tend to be larger. The Pitbull German Shepherd Mix is typically classified as a large breed with males averaging between 40-90 pounds and females between 30-70 pounds. Fully grown, most Pitbull German Shepherd mixes stand between 18-24 inches tall.

 It’s important to be aware of the implications of owning a larger breed of dog, such as higher food and medical costs. With mixed breeds, their potential size is unpredictable. Be aware if you adopt a Pitbull German Shepherd, she may reach the higher end of the weight and height statistics listed above. Prepare for that possibility and make sure your life has room for a companion of that size!

Health

Pit German Shepherd cross staring up
This mix is typically healthier than either purebred parent breed.

The average lifespan of a well cared for German Shepherd Pitbull is about 12 years with proper exercise and a balanced diet. While she is a generally healthy and agile dog, it’s important to have regular check-ups with your vet and keep her up to date on all her vaccines and immunizations.

Hybrid designer dogs, although usually healthier than their purebred parents, can still inherit some of their parent breed’s medical predispositions. To know what to look out for in a Pitbull German Shepherd, it’s important to understand common health concerns for both Pitbulls and German Shepherds.

Two major concerns are hip dysplasia, from her German Shepherd side and skin irritation from her Pitbull side. Hip Dysplasia is a “disease of the hip in which the ball and socket joint is malformed, which causes the joints to rub and grind instead of sliding smoothly.” Demodex is a common skin condition suffered by Pitbulls. “Demodex are mites that live in hair follicles and affect dogs with a weak immune system.”

Understanding these conditions and looking out for symptoms, along with regular checkups and preventative healthcare is the best way to stay on top of your pup’s health.

Nutrition

Hungry Pitbull GSD mix
This crossbreed is a medium-sized mix and will do best to eat food for a dog this size.

Most large, active breeds will require a high caloric intake and the German Shepherd Pitbull is no different. It is recommended to supply about 3-4 cups of quality, grain-free dry food daily providing between 1200-2700 calories for males and 900-2100 calories for females. Many brands will have a feeding guide listed on their product based on size and activity.

These are just guidelines, however, and it is important to speak with a vet to make sure you’re covering all essential nutrients with an appropriate amount of protein and calories.

Coat & Colors

Shepherd Pitbull mix sitting down
This crossbreed can have a coat or colors that take after either parent.

As mentioned above, a Pitbull German Shepherd mix is inclined to favor her Pitbull genetics in appearances. This remains true for her coat which is normally straight and short-to-medium in length. She does well in warmer climates due to her shorter coat.

While German Shepherds frequently sport identical coat coloring, Pitbulls come in many different colors, and so does this mix. Pitbull German Shepherd hybrids commonly have fawn, brown, tan, and black coats and more uncommonly, white and grey coats. She sheds a moderate amount throughout the year and is not considered to be hypoallergenic.

Grooming

Pit GSD cross looking at camera
Your Pup’s grooming needs will vary depending on which parent it takes after.

If you’re looking for a breed that has easier grooming requirements compared to other breeds, the German Shepherd Pitbull is a great option! She requires low-to-medium maintenance due to her short coat and moderate shedding.

Due to her propensity for sensitive skin, a German Shepherd Pitbull mix should only be given baths when needed and not more than once a month. Over bathing can strip natural oils and cause dry skin. It’s also helpful to use shampoos designed for sensitive skin types, as they will be less harsh on her skin.

Keeping her ears clean is important, especially if they are bent or flopped over, as this reduces air circulation and can increase the risk of ear infections. Her nails should be trimmed every few weeks to keep her paws hygienic and healthy. All of this should be started at a young age to avoid aggression or fear towards grooming routines later in life.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

Pitbull German Shepherd Staring
Expect to pay $500 and up for this mix as a puppy from a breeder.

Designer dog breeders are all over the internet and typically a simple search will put you in contact with one. However, with hybrid breeds growing in popularity, it’s very important that you find a reputable, trusted breeder that operates ethically and in the best interest of their dogs. Supporting breeders with questionable practices contributes to the maltreatment of animals.

Reading reviews, requesting health certificates, meeting the puppies in person, and seeing the parent dogs can all give you peace of mind that the breeder you are buying from is legitimate. Never purchase from puppy mills or puppy farms, which are not only inhumane, but the dogs bred from these places are often unhealthy.

A German Shepherd Pitbull Mix litter size is generally between 5 and 10 pups with a wide range of colorings and personalities. If you are purchasing from a breeder, it’s helpful to meet the puppies first. Keep in mind, prices from breeders can increase if the canine possesses unique or distinct characteristics, like an unusual coat or eye color. More importantly, you’ll want to meet your new pup first to make sure her personality meshes well with your life!

Pitbull German Shepherds cost $800 and up but can be much lower if you are rescuing from a local shelter. These organizations ordinarily only require a donation fee to cover a portion of the medical costs so your new pup can come home healthy!

Rescues & Shelters

Pittie GSD sitting near fence
Look for this mix at a rescue or through local breeder groups.

Hands down, adopting a German Shepherd Pitbull mix from a rescue organization is the best thing you can do. This is one of the most common hybrid breeds found in animal shelters today and they continue to have a low adoption rate, due to their stigma of aggression. Many are in desperate need of loving homes.

Rescuing a dog in need is not only saving a life but is an extremely rewarding experience for everyone involved. It’s also usually far cheaper than paying for a puppy. Yes, your German Shepherd Pitbull mix may have a little extra behavioral baggage you need to deal with. But the emotional reward will far outweigh the time you’ll spend retraining your new canine companion. Please consider adoption!

As Family Pets

Pitbull GSD on Porch
The Pitbull German Shepherd mix makes a great family pet.

So is the Pitbull German Shepherd right for your family? Let’s summarize what we’ve learned:

  • The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is highly intelligent, loyal, and affectionate.
  • She requires lots of exercise and mental stimulation.
  • She has an assertive personality and requires consistent training.
  • Apartment dwelling is not ideal, as this mix does best with a yard.
  • She loves attention and wants to be around her people.
  • This breed is not for people who travel a lot.
  • This mix is prone to separation anxiety.
  • She is best in a home that doesn’t have other pets.
  • This mix can be territorial and dominant towards other animals.
  • This breed is extremely loyal, and bonds well with children.
  • This mix is very protective of their family.
  • She is very athletic and would do well with an active family.

If this sounds like your family, the next step would be finding a reputable breeder or researching adoption organizations.

Final Thoughts

A Pitbull German Shepherd mix might not be a perfect fit for every family. For the right family, this dog is bound to entertain and surprise! Don’t let sensationalized media reports or unfair stigmas deter you from this incredibly intelligent and affectionate breed.

Are you an experienced dog owner with space and time to dedicate to this amazing dog? If so, you should consider adopting a German Shepherd Pitbull mix! She will reward you with unwavering devotion and love. What more could you ask for in a best friend?

Leave a Comment

30 Comments

Dawit Mersha

September 9, 2021 at 3:29 am

I have a German Shepherd and Pit bull mix. His name is Spike. He is very friendly to family. He loves playing with my kids but he is very aggressive when he sees another animal and infant kids.

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Apiffany Gaither Billings

September 9, 2021 at 1:32 pm

Have you reached out to a trainer to work on this reactivity?

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Lisa

September 6, 2021 at 11:12 am

We adopted our Bella from a foster. We've always had Pitbulls so this is different for my family. We're enjoying her very much, however, she has major separation anxiety to the point we feel like prisoners in our own home. She needs a sitter or we can't go. Any suggestions or recommendations on how to help her? I love her but I want to be able to leave the house and her be ok by herself.

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Apiffany Gaither Billings

September 6, 2021 at 1:46 pm

Separation anxiety can be challenging. Can you have a sitter or dog walker? Also, working with her to increase her comfort without having you guys home. You can consult a trainer as well.

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Averil

July 21, 2021 at 10:30 pm

Thank you for confirming a lot of information about "My Foundling", Tawney who is now 3 yrs old! This little shivering, scared, thing came crawling out from under my car on of all days, "National Dog Day" and found me in the early morning when I was going to feed my horses! I have had many other dogs throughout my life and have an older "Kelpie" who was a rescue as well.

Vet determined that my pup was 8wks old at the time found and I am so glad that I kept him!! Never have I encountered a more amazing and intelligent animal!! And Loyal Love along with incredible energy, I have to play some sort of "Fetch" with him every day - at least 1 or 2 throws before leaving for work! He is an outside dog and very hardy! Look forward to many years with my "Bud!"

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Kelly Wilson

July 22, 2021 at 2:20 am

Sounds like an amazing dog, Averil! Thank you for stopping by to share your experience with this lovely mix!

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Michael

June 10, 2021 at 2:45 pm

12 years ago we found a little puppy left behind in a trash bin at the park. I have to be honest, I did not want a dog at that time, but now she is a central part of our lives. She is loyal and had a bias preference for me over my partner (I am the spoiler). Now she sleeps a lot, she seems depressed, rests under the hot sun for hours. We are not ready to miss our lovely Brownie.

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Kelly Wilson

June 10, 2021 at 5:58 pm

Hi Michael! Unfortunately, our dog's behavior can change with time, especially as they get up there in years. Our last dog enjoyed her time in the sun as well in her golden years. Prayers for your pup, and appreciate you stopping by to share your experience with this mix.

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Rashaad Woods

May 5, 2021 at 3:30 pm

My wife recently brought one home for my birthday. He’s 1/4 German 3/4 pit and right now he’s 7 weeks old. I started crate training him to housebreak him when he first entered our home at 6 weeks old not expecting very much because he is such a young pup but to my surprise, he’s only pooped in his crate once (the first night) and I guess he saw he did not like it.

So now to my surprise I have a semi-house trained 7 1/2 week-old pup!!! After I saw how fast he caught on to this and how well he holds it until he gets outside I started sit commands with treats and he’s fabulous. I LOVE this dog !!!

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Kelly Wilson

May 11, 2021 at 7:56 pm

Sounds like an awesome dog, Rashaad! Thanks for stopping by to share your experience!

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Katy Hong

April 20, 2021 at 1:06 pm

Kelly,

Thank you for this incredibly helpful information on German Shepherd Pitbull mixes. We are meeting with a three-month-old puppy of this breed this morning. However, we already have a two-year-old Labrabull (adopted). We didn't know about the background of Sheppits and we were planning to hire a local trainer if we are for sure to take the puppy.

In your summary, you said the puppy won't do well with other animals in the house. Should I be worried? We do intend to do training with the new puppy and we are relatively active (30-60 minutes per day with a backyard). But we are not 90-minute-a-day active.

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Kelly Wilson

April 20, 2021 at 4:27 pm

Hi Katy!

It's always exciting to add a new addition to your household! Please keep in mind, that our overviews are generalizations. The behavioral traits of both breeds will play into their genetic makeup. With that being said, every single dog is different. It's far more important to meet both parents if you have the opportunity, and see what kind of environment the puppy is currently growing up in. Those factors will play a bigger role in your puppy's genetics. Good luck!

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mary Scheel

September 29, 2021 at 12:42 pm

My 2 y/o male Sheppit gets along very well with my Bichon and Maine Coon cat but goes nuts if any animal enters our yard. He has broken through a few windows. I had to have extra-strength glass with privacy screens installed.

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Apiffany Gaither Billings

September 30, 2021 at 8:38 am

Wow! Has that fixed the issue?

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Dylesiya Jackson

March 17, 2021 at 8:41 pm

I love this I just got my baby and I wanted to know more about her. I finally found something that was helpful. Thank you!

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Kelly Wilson

March 17, 2021 at 10:45 pm

Glad you found it helpful Dylesiya! Thanks for commenting!

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Patrick Jackson

February 10, 2021 at 1:01 am

I live in the country so every dog I've had was abandoned. A couple of months ago a puppy came on the property. She looked like she had just had puppies and was dropped off by someone. It took about a week of doggy treats to get her to come to me.

The vet said she was about 9 months old and a German shepherd pit mix. I've had a few months now and she won't leave my side WONDERFUL. But she was so abused she won't socialize with other people. Can you recommend any solutions? She's the best dog I've ever had.

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Kelly Wilson

February 10, 2021 at 4:05 am

Hi Patrick! Sounds like you have a new best friend! Thanks for giving your new pup a warm and welcome home! Regarding socialization, take it slow. It takes a dog at least 3 months to get used to their surroundings after coming from a rescue situation.

We adopted a pup a few months ago, and she's also timid. The best thing you can do is have repetition in a controlled environment on her terms. Get her out for walks, and comfortable in new situations. She may never be a lively and outgoing pup (ours isn't yet) but in time, she will come out of her shell a bit when she's feeling more secure. Good luck!

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Shirley M Jack

November 25, 2020 at 3:08 pm

I have a 3 month GSP mix. I purchased him from an individual owner whose dog had puppies. He is busy and inquisitive. Loves the backyard, hasn’t met a leaf he doesn’t like. Loves me like a chew toy. Although he has changed my daily habits, he is good company.

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Kelly Wilson

November 25, 2020 at 11:17 pm

Thanks for sharing Shirley! Sounds like you've got a great puppy on your hands!

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Jamie Rice

October 24, 2020 at 2:54 am

We have had ours for 12 years he is the most loving & amazing dog. He is as gentle as can be. We raised him in a home with 7 children and would not leave their side. He is gentle to all other dogs as well and gets along sweetly with everyone. Extremely smart and only had one accident in the house in 12 years which was actually our fault. We would love to have another! We love him so much.

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Kelly Wilson

October 24, 2020 at 1:17 pm

Sounds like a great dog Jamie! Thanks for sharing your story!

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Jennifer Gardner

June 13, 2020 at 8:07 pm

We just adopted one. She is an angel and my family looks forward to our new adventures with Banshee.

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Kelly Wilson

June 14, 2020 at 12:11 am

Sounds like a great pup! Good luck Jennifer! Thanks for commenting!

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Krissy Waddell

May 9, 2020 at 6:41 am

My guy is almost two and he’s super sweet. He loves all other dogs big or small but prefers smaller dogs. He loves every person he meets. He’s such a good dog and my boyfriends best friend. :)

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Kelly Wilson

May 9, 2020 at 12:46 pm

Thanks for the comment Krissy! Sounds like a great pup, and that your boyfriend is lucky to have a new buddy!

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Michelle Thomas

May 6, 2020 at 5:29 am

My German Shepherd/ Pitbull mix was one of the best dogs I’ve ever had. I wish I could find another to adopt. Despite his size and strength, he was very gentle, friendly with people, kids, and good with other dogs, large and small!

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Kelly Wilson

May 6, 2020 at 12:08 pm

Sounds like a great pup Michelle! Thanks for commenting and keep looking! We always recommend to adopt before you shop! :)

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Baylie

October 10, 2019 at 10:37 pm

Soooooo cute!

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Kelly Wilson

October 11, 2019 at 4:38 am

We think so too Baylie!

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