German Shepherds and American Pitbull Terriers—they are arguably two of the most misunderstood dog breeds out in the world. But what happens when these breeds are combined?
FeedFond presents you with a complete guide to German Shepherd Pitbull Mix, also lovingly known as “Shepherd Pitt”. We discuss the physical characteristics, temperament, health concerns and training potential of the dog.
This will give you a clear idea of what kind of dog a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is and whether or not it be suitable for you and your family.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- What is a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?
- German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Origins
- Physical Characteristics of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- Personality and Temperament of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- Trainability of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- Health Concerns of German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- Taking care of your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- Buying a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix puppies
What is a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?
A German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is a designer dog which comes from breeding two purebred dogs—a German Shepherd and an American Pitbull Terrier.
It’s not certain how a hybrid dog will turn out to be because of the mixed parentage, but it’s likely that it will be a mix of the two. It’s not uncommon to see some hybrids leaning more towards one parent than the other.
In case of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix, the breed is certain to develop a German Shepherd’s protectiveness and loyalty, and the Pitbull’s powerful build to form the ultimate working dog.
German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Origins
Where did this mix originate? It isn’t 100% sure. Why? Well, hybrid dogs have a mixed purebred parentage. If we look at both of the parents, we can get an idea how the dog will turn out.
German Shepherd Origins
Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908, German Shepherds are mainly herding dogs. The breed was perfected by Captain Max Von Stephanitz of the German Army.
German Shepherds are known for their intelligence, loyalty and exceptional trainability. They are the first pick for any law-enforcement or military canine units because of their precision in following commands.
Not only in the military, German Shepherds are also known to work as service dogs for the blind, deaf and handicapped. They love companionship and can adapt to most conditions.
American Pitbull Terrier Origins
Pitbulls are native to Europe—specifically from England, Ireland, and Scotland. Pitbulls were created as an offspring of bulldogs and terriers to create a bold and athletic dog—one that’s perfect for hunting.
These “Pitties” were used for bull baiting until the practice was banned in 1835. Once they crossed the ocean and came to America, they quickly became favorites of farmers and ranchers. With their hunting and tracking abilities, they could easily keep the livestock in check.
Pitbulls are agile dogs and can perform exceptionally well in gaming and fighting rings. Although they are known to be a little aggressive, the rumors about their aggressiveness come from a lack of training. A properly trained Pitbull can make an excellent companion.
The American Kennel Club does not recognize the breed; however, the United Kennel Club added the breed in 1898. Although there are many Pitbulls in the USA, it’s a banned breed in the UK.
Physical Characteristics of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
As both parents of the breed are large breed dogs, it’s natural that a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix will also be a big dog. Their physical appearance will depend on which parent they most resemble.
Size and Weight
If a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix takes after the German Shepherd parent, the dog will be somewhere between 80-90 lbs; on the other hand, if it’s more similar to a Pitbull parent, it’ll weigh between 30-60 lbs.
A balanced mix of both parentages will result in the dog’s weight anywhere between 30-90 lbs. At shoulder height, a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix will grow to be 17-24 inches.
Color and Coat
With hybrids, guessing the color and coat is tough. The genetics sometimes work in funny ways and it can be a roll of the dice.
It’s safe to say that a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix can be any combination of a solid coat with black points. The color? There’s too many to list here!
A German Shepherd Pitbull’s coat can inherit a German Shepherd’s medium length double coat or a Pitbull’s stiff short coat.
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Personality and Temperament of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
There are a number of negative stigmas when it comes to German Shepherds and Pitbulls. Both have been commonly blamed for being overly aggressive, mainly for biting both humans and dogs.
Pitbulls are hunting dogs, so there’s a good chance your dog will inherit the urge to chase or hunt other animals. Pitbulls are very territorial in nature. Did you know that a 2008 canine study showed that more Dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Jack Russell Terriers have been found to attack humans?
Although Germans Shepherds are also seen as aggressive dogs, they are actually very intelligent and trainable. They will only attack if given the proper command. But as herding dogs, there are very loyal towards their owners and protective of their home territory. They are cautious towards strange animals and humans.
Depending on the parents, your dog also may inherit some aggressiveness. It’s important that you meet both parents to ensure they are relaxed around humans and other dogs.
Trainability of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
While German Shepherds are both easily trainable and excellent at following orders, Pitbulls can be a little headstrong and independent.
That’s why proper training is essential for a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix. There are a few pieces of training that will help your dog to attain the proper skills and discipline to function in society. Obedience and socialization training can be an excellent start.
At puppy stages, try to include crate training and leash training to maintain order at home and outdoors.
Health Concerns of German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
With a healthy lifestyle, a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix can live up to 12 years. Hybrid dogs are commonly healthier than other purebred dogs. Still, they have a few health problems you need to be aware of.
It’s best to understand the health of the parent breeds so that you can get an idea of what your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix may face in the future. It’s not uncommon for a mixed breed dog to inherit health problems from its parents.
German Shepherd health problems
German Shepherds are most prone to –
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
- Von Willebrand’s Disease
- Food Allergies
American Pitbull Terrier health problems
Pitbulls are generally prone to –
- Patellar luxation
- Zinc-responsive dermatitis
- Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
- Bladder stones
A dog that’s well taken cared of will live a healthy for a long time. In addition to proper nutrition, regular visits to a vet are highly recommended.
Taking care of your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
For your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix to have a healthy and active life, you need to keep your dog healthy. That means proper exercise, proper food, and proper grooming.
Let’s start with exercise.
Exercise requirements of your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
With Pitbulls and German Shepherds both being working class dogs, they have a lot of energy. It’s only natural that your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix will also be a very energetic dog.
What this means is you have to take your dog out for daily walks, running and lots of off-leash exercises (provided you gave him leash training beforehand).
An active dog such as this needs space to move around and play. So, a house with a yard is highly recommended, otherwise, they might develop passive aggressiveness and other negative temperaments.
Grooming your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
If your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix has inherited his German Shepherd parent’s double coat then you will need to brush your dog at least twice weekly.
However, if he has inherited the short and smooth coat form his Pitbull parent then an occasional brushing is enough.
However, the dog will need more grooming during shedding season.
Buying a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix puppies
If by now you’ve already decided to get a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix puppy, there are a few things you should know:
Always get your puppy from a reputable breeder. This will ensure that you get the proper history of the parents. They will also insist you meeting the dog as spending time with the parents will help you understand the puppy and its temperament in the future.
There are many breeders who will try to make a quick buck simply by selling you an unhealthy pup. Trust your gut, if you feel like you’re being duped, then walk away and start your search anew.
A German Shepherd Pitbull Mix might be a great dog for people who are used to mixed breed dogs. Although they can be a little rough around the edges, with proper training, they can transform into the ideal family dog you’ve always dreamed about.
Still, we think it would be best if they aren’t around children as they can get a little possessive.
Here’s a question for you – What would you name your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix dog?
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