The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix (also known as the German Pit or German Sheppit), is a mixed breed between the German Shepherd and the American Pitbull Terrier. These two breeds have a bad reputation for being aggressive, and it goes without question that this hybrid does too.
However, that is just not the case. While they may be more powerful than other breeds, with the right training and environment, they can be very loving, playful pets.
I always emphasize the importance of checking that a breed is the right match for you and your family, so read on to see if the Pitbull German Shepherd mix is the dog for you.
1. What does a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix look like?
It is impossible to tell with certainty what the dog will look like when it is a mixed breed. What we do know is that this breed is more likely to have the face of the Pitbull, with a broad head and a short muzzle. As for coloring, this breed comes in a variety of colors: black, white, brown, tan, gray and fawn.
Given that both the Pitbull and German Shepherd have strong physiques, it is not surprising that this mixed breed does too. Fully grown, these dogs are large, weighing between 65-85 lbs (29 - 38 kgs), so it is important that you have her under control. You can do this by properly training and socializing her.
2. What characteristics can I expect?
As with all crossbreeds, it is not easy to say precisely what temperament this dog will have, as it will always be a different combination. In my experience, however, they tend to have the following traits:
All dogs need regular exercise to stay fit, and this large breed usually needs a whole lot. Both its parents are working dog breeds, so it's no wonder! I recommend at least a one-hour walk a day, providing you have an outdoor space where she can release excess energy for the rest of the day. If you don't have a yard, she will need a second walk of at least 30 minutes in the evening.
By giving her the exercise she needs, you will avoid undesired behaviors such as slipper-chewing, hole-digging or nuisance barking. As long as she gets her exercise needs met, she will be happy to settle down and relax with you.
Loyal and loving
Pitbull German Shepherd mixes are very affectionate dogs when raised right. While they are good at entertaining themselves, they still love to be around you and make a good family dog. For this reason, it is not a good idea to leave them alone for extended periods of time - I wouldn't recommend leaving her for more than 3 hours at a time.
This dog can have a very protective nature. This is due to its German Shepherd relatives, who were bred to herd and guard livestock. So while from her point of view she may be protecting her ‘pack’ from a potential threat, this may manifest as growling at strangers or hostility towards people entering your home. To prevent this from the outset, you should socialize her with people as much as possible from an early age.
Both the Pitbull and the German Shepherd are incredibly intelligent breeds. It is no surprise, then, that this mix is no exception. These dogs learn quickly and respond incredibly well to training and commands.
Just as you exercise her body, it is important to keep her mind stimulated, too. You should start training at the earliest possible stage. From as young as 7 weeks old puppies are able to understand basic commands like "sit" and "stay," so you can start training as soon as you bring her home!
Just look at this adorable and obedient little 9 week-old:
Due to their German Shepherd relatives (who, being the herders of the ‘pack’, therefore quickly assume the role of pack leader), these dogs tend to exhibit pronounced leadership qualities and a desire to dominate.
It is important to keep a close eye on this type of behavior because, if it gets out of control, it can turn into aggression. You can easily avoid this by properly socializing your dog: take her out to meet other dogs when she's a puppy, whether it's at the park or puppy training. This way, she'll quickly learn the etiquette when it comes to doggy greeting dos and don’ts.
While I can't say that every dog of this breed is the same; they do have a tendency to be high energy, powerful and in need of lots of training. That's why I tend to be of the opinion that these dogs are better suited to an experienced dog owner.
3. What are common health problems?
Providing that she has a healthy lifestyle, this breed can live for up to 12 years. Every dog breed is susceptible to certain health difficulties, however, and it is good to be aware of these so that you can treat your dog accordingly. If you buy from a reputable breeder, you should be able to request the medical history of the dogs' parents. In the meantime, it is worth knowing that this breed can suffer from following diseases:
The Pitbull German Shepherd mix can be prone to skin irritation, which they inherit from the Pitbull side of its family. They tend to have more sensitive skin, which can react strongly to insect bites as well as to fleas and ticks.
To prevent this reaction, make sure you use a high-quality tick and flea treatment. Diet also plays an important part in maintaining the health of the skin. According to the Nutro Company, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can help improve the health of your dog's skin and coat while reducing inflammation.
Hip dysplasia is a condition that can begin in dogs as they grow and results in an unstable or loose hip joint. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals shows that both German Shepherds and Pitbulls are prone to this condition. While weight management is essential for any dog breed, it is highly important that this breed maintains a healthy weight to avoid stressing the hip joint.
4. How much will I need to groom her?
This mix has a coat that can range from short to medium in length. While it won't require much maintenance, to avoid any shedding and keep her looking trim, I would advise brushing at least once a week with a hard bristle brush. I recommend starting your grooming regime when she is a puppy so that she can get used to the routine.
I do not advise over-bathing these dogs (no more than once a month) due to their tendency to skin irritation. It may also be worth buying a shampoo specifically designed for dogs with sensitive skin.
German Pits are usually floppy-eared, which means they get less air circulation and are therefore more prone to earwax build-up and ear infections. I advise that you get her ears checked at least monthly, either at the vet or with a reputable groomer.
5. So is the German Pit the right fit for me?
After all the information you have read, it is now important to put this question to yourself. As you can see, these dogs have the potential to be lovely, loyal dogs that are ideal for a family.
Yet they require a lot of attention, walking and training, so they need a dedicated, and preferably experienced, dog owner. You should ask yourself if you think you are able to meet this dog’s needs before making a decision.
Here are the main points to consider before committing to owning one of these dogs:
- Are you an experienced dog owner?
- Are you dedicated to walking your dog at least an hour a day?
- Do you have a spacious house with a yard, or can you walk her twice daily?
- Are you able to provide a rigorous and dedicated training routine?
If the answers are all yes, then you’re probably more than ready! If not, it might be time to reconsider getting a different breed of dog.
Do you own a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix? Think you've got what it takes to raise one? Leave a comment below and tell me all about it!