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9 Things to Know about the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix (With Pictures)

The beloved German Shepherd Pitbull mix is a unique designer breed known as the German Pit, Shepherd Pit or German Sheppit. It is well-known for having the affectionate qualities found in both parents’ species and killer guarding and protective instincts.   

Don’t be mistaken; killer is not an adjective you would use for most German Pits. German shepherd pitbull mixes tend to be more loving and affectionate than cold-blooded. So, accurate information is critical if you’re looking for a good family guard dog that is also one of the most beautiful breeds.  

While there are many misconceptions about both breeds, people also misunderstand the mix. Many people forget that this designer dog takes on the traits that you feed them. So, knowledge is a good idea when equipping yourself with the proper training, feeding, and general pup care methods.  

Keep reading to learn more about this fascinating and lovable breed, whether you’re wondering about the temperament, size, coat, or common personality traits.

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The Pitbull

It goes without saying that not every dog was created equal. Like humans, there is a nature vs. nurture component to any dog breed. The Pitbull is by far the most misunderstood of all dog breeds. So, you need to understand how to care for and raise your mixed-breed pitbull properly.

Getting to Know the Pitbull

Uncommonly known as the American Pitbull Terrier, this breed has a gorgeous face with strong cheekbones and the sloppiest of kisses, so don’t be fooled by their notorious history.   

The American Pit bull terrier is originally a cross between the terrier and bulldog—this means that they have the strength and athleticism to match any valiant warrior. Pitbulls are best identified as courageous and versatile, which made them quite popular with farmers in the nineteenth century.   

Since then, they’ve become well-appreciated in various aspects like obedience training and the like, thanks to their stocky build, short tails, and broad flat skulls. Pitbulls are generally graceful and agile in nature.

These large dogs are a pretty unique breed, easily noticeable by their broad muzzle, scissor bite, and deep chests. Their smooth and glossy coats make them a joy as they tend not to shed too much and are a great foot warmer through winter nights.

Read more about why dogs have tails.

Pitbull Terrier

The Temperament of the Pitbull

Thanks to their power, unforgiving bite, and protective nature, many breeders and owners have given in to the worst of their personalities. Pitbulls are generally considered a vicious and excessively aggressive breed due to incorrect training and a negative stigma.  

In truth, Pitbulls are exceptionally friendly; they love a ton of cuddles and would literally lick your face clean at every opportunity. They do tend to drool quite a bit, so some face wipes lying around are a handy tool.

The German Shepherd

German Shepherd dogs have a much better rap than their Pitbull counterparts. They’re supposedly friendlier and one of the least aggressive breeds while also well-known for their guarding and protective instincts.       

A German Shepherd pup can stay with you for around seven to ten years and is extremely loving. They can be a great addition to any family, even one with a few established dogs.

Looking for more GSD mix breeds? Take a look at the German Shepherd Rottweiler mix and the German Shepherd Black Lab mix.

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Getting to Know the German Shepherd

Overall, German Shepherds can grow around 22 to 26 inches tall. They’re easy to train through positive reinforcement and love to please their owners. So, they will do exceptionally well with adequate training and reward systems.

Their double coat is usually a little shaggy around the tail and sleek when healthy. They can shed quite a bit, especially with irregular grooming. Above all, they’re high energy creatures and need to go on regular walks, mess around the yard with games, and enjoy stimulating dog toys and a good game of tug-o-war every once in a while.

Read more about dogs that don’t shed.

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The Temperament of the German Shepherd

These highly intelligent creatures need tons of mental stimulation in order to show off a sweeter temperament. An excited German Shepherd could push you off your bed or knock you right over. But don’t be startled or mistake this for aggressive behavior —they’re playful and approachable at their core.   

However, this large breed does have a “dark” side to them. German Shepherds can be fearless, alert, and self-confident. Depending on how well they’re trained and how much they’re loved, you can also find German Shepherds that are either nervous and anxious or hostile and aloof. They can be best for an experienced dog owner. 

Generally, though, you’ll find that these pups tend to be working dogs, and you’ll find them as guard dogs, in the police force, or as a surefire herding dog.

If you’re looking for more easily trainable GSD mixes, consider adopting a German Shepherd Beagle mix or a German Shepherd and Australian Shepherd mix.

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The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix

With many mixes, the dog’s personality you’ll get comes down to the luck of the draw. While some traits are easy to guess, the prevalence of a few others is based on whether or not they’ve been appropriately trained and acclimatized to their environment.

The playfulness of a German Shepherd, combined with the loving nature of a Pitbull and the sheer beauty of their gait, body, and head, make German Shepherd Pitbulls a rewarding companion.

Read more about the German Shepherd Poodle mix and why dogs shake their heads.

1. The History of the German Shepherd Pitbull

The German Shepherd Pitbull mix is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) but has probably been in existence since somewhere around the 1990s.   

They’re considered designer dogs, and most breeders consider them to assume the best possible traits from both their parent breeds. Since the Pitbull bans and negative stigma around the breed flared up, many German Pit mixes have either wound up euthanized, in shelters, or with rescue groups.     

There isn’t much information on the breed as their popularity took a rapid decline, and thus, not much attention was paid to them.

2. The Nature of the Pitbull and German Shepherd Mix

The first thing you’ll notice about a German Pit is that this breed can be pretty loyal. As a puppy, they’ll love to be around the person that cares for them and may follow you everywhere. They’ll try to sneak into your bed to sleep on you at every opportunity but will eventually develop some independence.   

Their excitable nature and seemingly unlimited energy make them great companions for an afternoon run or any kind of game in the yard. They’ll need a bit of space to run around and companions to keep them active.   

They’re exceptionally intelligent, so the German Pit can be easily trained to use the bathroom where you want and to stop chewing your shoes. But be sure to replace any destructive behaviors like excessive chewing and howling at night so that they have an outlet for their energy.     

german shep pitbull mix

If you get home to see they have completely destroyed their bed (or your favorite dress shoes), it’s most likely an indication that they’ve been alone and unstimulated for a bit too long. So, it’s always best to try and avoid keeping them alone in your home for long hours.  

As they grow up, your German Pit could display some more aggressive traits. This is determined by how you’ve socialized them, so be cautious of tug-o-war games and the like for the purpose of getting them worked up.   

Overall, these pups need consistent love and attention with a positive and effective outlet for their boredom and frustration. To ensure that they’re the sweetest they can be, you’ll have to train them from a young age and ensure that they’ve been introduced to other pets and younger family members appropriately.

3. Socialization

Introducing new people to your pup is quite an important aspect of their training and early socialization. Since they’re going to be protective of you, you’ll want to ensure that people do not come in, lift you up and grab you, especially if the pup doesn’t know them.   

Whether this is your brother, father, or new best friend, a German Pit will instinctively feel the need to bite and pull that person off of you. In order to introduce someone new to your puppy, you’ll have to calm them down and allow them to sniff out the new person. This will show them that the person does not mean harm and is not going to hurt you.

You’ll notice that your German Pit will either hover around them, hold constant eye contact or find a space to cozy up on your lap. Either way, this is your pup showing them who’s boss and allowing them to find their place within the hierarchy.   

The process of discovery is quite important to your German Pit as part of proper socialization, so be sure to give them enough time to sniff out the new person or pet first before making any sudden moves. You may find your mixed breed dog on your lap with a heavy tail whacking your face, as they can get carried away with the excitement—especially as puppies.   

As German Pit puppies get older, you’ll find that they’re less excitable around new additions. Instead, they’ll hover and sniff out the new person. In an older dog, their barking usually symbolizes a lack of trust and can make you second guess your choice of friends.

But, overall, this isn’t necessarily a sign that your dog will attack. It just suggests that your dog may be a bit more alert and wary of that person.    

Introducing kids to your puppy is a little bit more nuanced since you may not be able to control either side’s actions. The dog will want to smell the child and may lick them depending on proximity. However, children usually react negatively to this, so be sure to keep a careful eye on their interaction and make sure they’re meeting in a controlled environment.

Read more about smells dogs hate and blue-eyed dog breeds

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4. Is the Pitbull German Shepherd Mix A Good Family Dog?

Yes, this breed is protective and loyal. They may run around a pool incessantly, trying to save you from drowning or feel the need to growl at new people upon arrival. These are positive traits that need to be honed, and the pup needs to be trained. 

With early training and a proper positive reward system (they love treats), you’ll find that your German Pit can be exceptionally obedient with a whopping tail offering accidental backhands.

5. The Appearance of the Pitbull Shepherd Mix

These purebred dogs can get relatively big, and while they’re not Great Dane-sized, they can grow up to around 26 inches tall and weigh anywhere up to 90+ pounds.  

You’ll find that they’re typically two-toned and can be anywhere from black and tan to brown and white. Their short and thick coats can shed quite a bit, so they’ll need regular grooming, or you’ll have sections of slightly matted hair around their extremities.     

Imagine the German Shepherd muzzle with a Pitbull-shaped head, a stocky build with long limbs and long tails.  

Read more about tall dog breeds and black dog breeds.

German Shepherd Pitbull Coat

The coat of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is usually as it sounds. In most cases, you’ll find that your pup has the coat of a German Shepherd. This means that they’ll have a thick coat with short hair.   

Their coat is relatively indicative of health and happiness, so regular grooming is required. Brush your pup around two to three times a week, and consider washing them every few weeks at most or preferably once a week to avoid any stench.     

Regular brushing can help even out their natural oils and will help with a shiny coat. If they are looking a bit lackluster, even after a wash, you’ll want to check their diet or change up their dog food for more nutrients.

If you’re looking for a super fluffy friend, adopt a German Shepherd Husky mix or a German Shepherd Akita mix.

6. Health Problems of the German Shepherd Pitbull

While the debate on mixed breed health vs purebred health still lingers, it is best to remember that there is no guarantee of genetics with any mixed breed. Since the dog can easily assume traits from either parent, it’s also best to check that you understand what issues are possible.

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Pitbull Health Issues

Much of the general Pitbull issues surround their bones and improper growth. Since this is in itself a mixed breed, you’ll find they are prone to diseases like hip dysplasia, kneecap dislocation, and degenerative myelopathy.   

They tend to live for around 12 to 14 years, and other than their natural genetic conditions listed above, they should live long and healthy lives.  

On rare occasions, your Pitbull can also suffer from mange or skin irritation if not properly cared for. Their short coat does wonders to protect them against the elements but doesn’t help protect them from parasitic ticks and fleas. For this reason, besides a regular wash, you should also coat this large-sized dog with a flea-repelling dip or add chewable tablets to their healthcare regime.

There have also been reports of Pitbulls suffering from congenital heart defects or thyroid conditions. Despite regular exercise, you may notice your pitbull picking up a bit more weight than you’d like. So, be sure to take your dog for regular check-ups at the vet.

German Shepherd Health Issues

German Shepherds also have problems of their own. You can expect things like arthritis, hip or elbow dysplasia, bloating, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. There are some more common ailments like cataracts, nose infections, cancer, and so much more. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have a happy and healthy dog.

Many of these illnesses are manageable with things like CBD oil or a healthier diet, but they will still impact your dog’s quality of life. Watching your dog go through chronic illnesses can be time-consuming, expensive, and definitely pulls on your heartstrings. It’s best to speak to your vet about supplements, go for regular check-ups and maintain a consistent diet and exercise regimen to alleviate any symptoms.   

Your German Shepherd will most likely be around for seven to ten years, so you can count on spending those last few years helping your pup heal and cope with whatever issues they may face. 

In order to properly care for your pup, you’ll have to be conscious of your dog’s weight, keep an eye out for any signs and symptoms of illness and choose a food brand that will nourish your dog with the appropriate nutrients.

More on the Health of the Pitbull German Shepherd Mix Puppy

As a child of both German Shepherds and Pitbulls, your German Pit is prone to any of the ailments listed above. Commonly, your dog will suffer from bone diseases as their bodies are literally set up that way. Other common ailments to expect are:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies
  • Heart disease
  • Hip or elbow dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Degenerative myelopathy

 As with any breed of dog, you’ll have to do your research beforehand and learn to spot the signs and symptoms. With most of their ailments, you can help manage what your dog goes through, but there is hardly ever a true cure.     

These genetic diseases are part and parcel of owning a creature that will devote their lives to you. So, be sure that you are capable and responsible enough to devote whatever resources you need to give them a comfortable end of life. 

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7. Life Expectancy of the German Pitbull  

You can expect your beautiful buddy to live with you for around 10 to 12 years. This is considered average but does not genuinely indicate how long your fellow canine companion will be around.

As with any mixed breed, their genetics are random, and you may find that this duration can be shorter or longer based on whatever diseases they may inherit and the environment that they find themselves in.

8. Exercise Regime for a German Shepherd Mixed With Pitbull

Start by walking your puppy for 5 minutes at a time. You can increase this by another 5 minutes every month until you’re walking them for about 45 minutes at a time twice a day. While this sounds hard, it’s a simple walk to the park and back.    

Your pup should be fine if you happen to skip a day but try to keep their regimen the same while they’re training. Since walking in public and walking on a leash will feel strange to them at first, you have to try to do this regularly so that they become accustomed to commands like stay and sit.

9. Dietary Requirements of the German Shepherd Pitbull

In most cases, these mixed-breed dogs will be okay eating just about anything. Although as they age, you may want to consider creating a diet that is suitable for their current stage of life.  

As puppies, you’ll want to give them wet food that is easy to digest and nourishes them sufficiently while growing. Since they’re prone to bloating, you’ll want to train your pup to eat only what is necessary without eating too quickly or stuffing themselves.

As they go through various stages of development, you’ll want to ensure that their diet is balanced and healthy. They’ll have to take just the right amount of calories, protein, and sufficient nutrients. This will usually be indicated on the food packet and should be double-checked with your vet to ensure optimal growth.   

You can consider supplementing their diet with extra nutrients and specifically calcium, as they age. Since they’re prone to bone problems, you’ll want to give them the best possible chance of postponing things like arthritis and dysplasia.   

During their senior years, a senior diet will do wonders for them. So, be sure to constantly refer back to a vet before changing or supplementing your diet.

How Much Is a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Puppy?

The price of the German Shepherd mix with Pitbull can start anywhere from $800 onwards in the United States. Depending on the breeder you find and the health of the dog, this price can vary significantly.  

In some exceptional cases, you may find a pup for $200 or even $600. Although, buying a pup can come with some significant challenges. Be sure to only source new puppies from reputable breeders. Check out any reviews you can find, go and see the puppy before depositing any money in accounts and always check if you can adopt first.

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Adopting a German Shepherd and Pitbull Mix

Adoption is key. Since many breeders can continue breeding unregulated, especially since Pitbulls were banned in some countries and stigmatized in others, it is best to adopt them.     

You may find that adopting a Pitbull mixed with German Shepherd means more time training and a little bit more patience. So, this means that you may be able to adopt from your local shelter or rescue groups, which means you’ll have adequate support welcoming them into your home. If you are not able to adopt do make sure you only deal with a reputable breeder. 

Pros and Cons of Becoming a German Shepherd Pitbull Owner

If you’re still not sure whether this is the right breed for you, here’s a quick pros and cons list to help you decide.

Cons of owning a German Shepherd Pitbull

  • They tend to shed quite a bit
  • You’ll be adopting a full-time job
  • They require lots of space
  • Needs lots of attention, consistency, and stability

Pros of Owning a German Shepherd Pitbull

  • They’ve got lots of love to give
  • Exceptional guard dogs
  • Easy to train
  • You’ll look great at the beach
  • You won’t need a doorbell

Can My German Shepherd Pitbull Live in My Apartment?

Preferably not. Since this hybrid dog can grow to be quite big, with a horde of energy, you’ll want to ensure that there is enough space for them to blow off some steam. An apartment may be too small for long periods, especially if you’re unable to take them for regular walks or sessions of catch in the park.

Suppose you are living in an apartment and would like to call a German Pit your new companion. In that case, you’ll most probably want to consider getting a smaller pup suitable for apartments. Or, find yourself a bigger home with ample yard space so that your buddy can run free all day long while you’re out at work.

Final Thoughts on the German Shepherd Pitbull

So, there you have it. Honestly, German Pits are exceptionally great dogs to have. They’ll eat just about anything, play with anyone they trust, and always have your back.  

They’re good breeds to bring home to your family and will protect each individual at all costs. This does not make them vicious or evil—it allows you to see their caring and loving side, and understanding this will help you develop a stronger bond with your pup.    

The only concession is that you’ll have to be sure you have what it takes to care for this beautiful breed, especially since you’ll most likely find your forever friend at a shelter or rescue center. They are not the easiest breed to maintain, especially if you give in to the stigma, but they are definitely so worth it.

german shep pitbull mix

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