German Shepherd Pitbull Mix: Breed Information, Traits & Facts

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 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!

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!

Pitbull Overview

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.

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 Overview

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.

The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix

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.  Let’s look at some of the different characteristics of this mix, as well as what you might commonly expect.

Appearance

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

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.

Puppy Costs

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. Although looks aren’t everything, it certainly does not hurt to pick a puppy with your preferred coloring. 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 between 300 to 600 dollars 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!

Training

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 Requirements & Living Conditions

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

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

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 joint 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

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

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

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.

As Family Pets

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 and she is better suited for a house with a fenced backyard.
  • She loves attention and wants to be around her people.
  • This breed is not for people who travel a lot or who have extremely busy schedules because she is prone to separation anxiety.
  • She is best in a home that doesn’t have other pets as she can be territorial and dominant towards other animals.
  • This breed is extremely loyal, bonds well with children and is protective of her 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.

Finding a Pitbull German Shepherd Mix:

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.

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 it is an extremely rewarding experience for everyone involved. Please consider adoption!

Final Thoughts:

A Pitbull German Shepherd mix might not be a perfect fit for every family, but 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.

If you are an experienced dog owner with space and time to dedicate to this amazing dog, 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?

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