The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is a first-generation offspring of the German shepherd and the American Pit Bull. The mix arose from the need to reproduce unique traits like the high intelligence of its German Shepherd parent and the intense energy of the American Bulldog parent.
The German Shepherd Pitbull is indeed a surprise package. They are also called Shepherd Pit, German Sheppit, or even the German Pit.
Briefly Meet the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix’s Parents
The German Shepherd has been around since the 19th century. Quite common in Germany then, they were used to herd sheep because of their intelligence and swift decision making.
These features also interested the police and they began making use of them as well.
Their ease of training appealed to the military that used them for scout work in battle.
Did I forget to mention their adaptability made them prime candidates for use as guard dogs for the handicapped?
Its iconic wolf look can’t be mistaken for any other breed.
The American Pitbull has been around for way longer time since the early 1800s to be precise.
Its origin is British, initially used for hunting, their epic ability to track appealed to American farmers who imported them in numbers while their looks appealed to young kids, and it soon became a family dog.
Its no surprise the cross between these two yielded the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix.
Status: Designer Breed vs Purebred
Despite having purebred parents of 2 different breeds, the Shepherd Pit is a designer breed. (Designer breeds are intentionally created by combining existing breeds to form new ones)
The Dog Registry of America (DRA) recognizes the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix as a designer dog in its records.
How Do You Recognized a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
I find features like size, face & head description, coat, personality & temperament helpful in recognizing the Shepherd Pit.
Most full-grown Shepherd Pits have sizes ranging from medium to large. Unlike some other dog breeds, they are never small in size and always have a heavy build and sturdy appearance. On average males weigh 39-90 pounds (18-41kg) Females weigh between 30-75 pounds(14-34kg)
From ground to wither (highest point of its shoulder blades while standing on all fours), most Shepherd Pits are 17-25 inches (43-64cm) tall. That’s like 1 foot shorter than Frodo Baggins in The Hobbit movie.
Face & Head Recognition
Most German Pits take after their American Pitbull parent facially. With its signature large head, folded ears, and short muzzle, you just can’t miss it. Few have long snouts like the other German Shepherd parent.
While it’s not easy predicting the color of your puppy’s coat, its parents’ coat color can give a hint. Multicolored coats are still a possibility. The German Sheppit comes in diverse colors like Light Brown, Tan, Grey, White, Fawn, and Black.
In terms of coat length, they usually have short or medium coats with a thick texture. German Sheppits ‘rarely’ come with long coats.
Dog enthusiasts always talk about coat length and texture because they are indicators for the extent of shedding and work needed to groom the dog. More on this in the latter part of this article.
Personality And Temperament
The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is an embodiment of its German Shepherd and American Pitbull parents’ personalities.
Though predicting their exact temperament can be tricky, you know you’re dealing with the Shepherd Pit when you see a high energy, trainable, super intelligent and really protective dog.
Many misunderstand this degree of protection & loyalty to be Aggression (More on this later)
They can be very territorial, especially amongst strangers (& other dogs or other pets) however, this can be corrected when they are trained with proper socialization skills as puppies.
There’s a reason we say, ‘Catch them young.’ Right?
About being energetic, these lads love running around, playing Frisbee catch and all.
Little activity can bring out their mischievous sides.
Staying without action can make them gnaw at your leather boots, crocs, or carpet.
They could bark excessively or dig holes to make their point. Having a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is a call for more activity. Homes with children and activity spaces will love this dog breed.
The German Sheppit is super intelligent. During training, they learn quickly and even start responding to simple commands like ‘Sit’ as early as 7 weeks.
Their sense of judgment is rather keen. Talk of a puppy savant if you may.
Misunderstandings About The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
They are a nuisance if kept in an apartment without activity or exercise
While there might be a form of truth in it, German Sheppits always love activity. A look at their parents reveals a lot. You just can’t have these adorable bags of energy in your apartment without periodic exercise. This is why they are better suited for experienced dog owners and prefer large play spaces.
They Are Too Dominating & Aggressive Towards Other Strangers And Other Dogs.
The fact is German Sheppits are super smart. While this could be an issue if not monitored, it’s advisable to teach them as young puppies how to socialize.
Introducing them to other dogs and people in the neighborhood while they are puppies helps.
Shepherd Pits Are Too Mouthy
From experience, I can say early training solves this issue. Using a reward system at the puppy stage helps but be careful when these smart lads become adults can put anything in their mouth just to make you give them free treats.
So what do you expect from keeping a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?
Well, you stand to gain a loyal buddy who is super smart, energetic, trainable, playful, kid-friendly, and subtly reminds you of the need to keep fit.
How To Train Your Shepherd Pit
While this dog breed is not suited for first-time dog owners, it takes patience and experience to see your effort yield results.
Start obedience/command training immediately your puppy is home. Let the breed know you’re in control. Use the reward system at the puppy stage. Praises and dog treats make learning faster. This is also helpful in potty training.
Taking your Shepherd Pit on puppy interaction routines with other dogs and people makes it easier for them to get along with other dogs and humans later on.
Crate training and leash training help address barking in puppyhood.
Seven weeks is an ideal age to start physical training. Give them dog toys and puzzle feeders to keep them occupied. Playing with them helps them in recognition and lowers stress.
With time, outdoor activities like chase, hide and seek can be introduced. While walking them as puppies are ideal, it is important to consider your walking pace as these little doggies have relatively small legs when young.
As they grow into bigger dogs, introduce Frisbee catch to them. From experience, the bulk of training you can give to a German Shepherd is best given during puppyhood. As adult dogs, there’s little you can do for them.
How To Care For Your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix.
This is better discussed from the standpoint of
- Exercise needs,
- Average lifespan,
- Grooming & shedding,
- Feeding & diet
- And lastly dog challenges to expect.
Shepherd pits need a daily exercise routine of at least 3 hours (90 mins). Whether you split it into morning and evening routine is not important. Ensure you stick to the 3-hour rule. It helps keep your Mix’s weight in check.
On whether you should put them on leashes while jogging or cycling, it totally depends on your neighborhood. A leash is preferable though. In the absence of jogging paths, let them run in the yard. The kids will love them.
With regular veterinary checkups and care, your German Shepherd PitBull can live for 10-12 years. That’s more than enough time to create some beautiful memories.
Grooming and Shedding
As earlier stated, the coat they inherit from their parents determines the extent of grooming required. Establishing a grooming routine in puppyhood helps in monitoring aggressive tendencies to strangers.
For Shepherd Pits with ‘medium‘ coat lengths (inherited from their German Shepherd ancestors), this is how you take care of their grooming and shedding needs.
- Have a regular fur brush routine (Once a week is okay). It helps spread the natural oils throughout the coat. While Slicker brushes are sometimes helpful in brushing Shepherd Pits with medium coat lengths, Bristle brushes and medium-sized rakes are very useful. During shedding season, use a robotic suction vacuum (RoboVac is a good option ) for the excess hair. People with allergies are discouraged from handling the vacuuming task.
- Bathe weekly with mild doggy shampoo at least once a month in the non-shedding season to prevent irritation. In shedding season, bathe weekly.
- Brush dog teeth three times a week to avoid dental problems.
- For Ear hygiene, check and wipe them once a week. Check for nails regularly and if overgrown cut. Groomers are better with this task.
- Always go for periodic veterinarian visits.
For German Shepherd Pitbull Mix with ‘short’ coat lengths(inherited from their American Pitbull ancestors), grooming is easier and they shed less. Here is what you do.
- Fur brushing can be done occasionally. The Bristle brush is enough for this.
- As with medium coated Shepherd Pits, bathe with dog shampoo monthly to prevent skin irritation.
- Brush teeth three times a week.
- Clean ear and cut overgrown nails.
- Maintain periodic veterinarian visits.
Feeding And Dieting
German Sheppits have dietary needs that change as they grow from puppies into adults. A balanced pet meal is essential. On average, the adult breed requires 900-2700 calories daily.
Feeding the German Sheppit is done with unique intentions.
Well, since they are susceptible to bone issues because they rapidly grow between ages 4-7 months, it is advisable to give them high-quality low-calorie diets. Overfeeding worsens this challenge.
3-4 cups of nutritious dry dog food can carry them throughout the day. You can break them into 2-3 meals for convenience. Another reason for this is to reduces the chances of bloating.
Human food may be given to them sparingly. This shouldn’t replace their dry dog food (kibble).
Dog Health Challenges To Expect
The 2 most prevalent health challenges facing the German Sheppit are Skin Irritation and Hip Dysplasia.
Shepherd pits are prone to irritation/inflammation due to their sensitive skin – a trait they inherited from the American Pitbull arm of the family. Bites from insects, ticks, and fleas cause strong reactions.
Periodic use of quality tick and flea treatment and the inclusion of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids in diet improve coat quality and reduce inflammation.
In dogs, it is noticeable when they grow. In German Shepherd Pitbull Mix , hip dysplasia results in a loose hip joint. You may notice an abnormal change in gait as they walk. It is even more obvious in overweight ones.
Physical Exercise and Diet control to maintain a healthy dog weight is key to addressing this issue.
Besides complications associated with hip dysplasia, controlled dieting reduces the incidences of bloating. Whenever you notice any deviation from normal in your Pitbull Mix, consult your Veterinarian.
How Can I Get a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?
I always recommend answering these questions below before getting a Shepherd Pit.
- Do you have play space/ yard in your home?
- Have you made up your mind to exercise daily?
- Can you/your family devote quality time to your pet
- Do you have any experience in handling any dog breed?
- Do you have $200-$600 for a Shepherd Pit puppy?
- Do you have $400-$500 for accompanying starter expenses?
If your answer is Yes to all these questions, then you are good to go. You can buy them at Greenfield Puppies, Lancaster Puppies, Next Day Pets, or Puppy Find. You can also adopt from PetFinder, Adopt-A-Pet, or the ASPCA Adoption Center.
Just like Bungee Jumping always generates many reactions, the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is indeed a storybook with pages to be flipped every day. Do I recommend them? Well, if you value loyalty with the right blend of Intelligence & Energy, the German Sheppit is one for you.