German Shepherd Pitbull Mix: Complete German Pit Guide

German Shepherd Pitbull mix is one amazing hybrid dog that results from crossing an American Pitbull Terrier and a German Shepherd. Both of these dogs are not well appreciated by people and are subject to stigma.

This mix is also known as the Shepherd Pitt or a German Pit. We are going to look at this mixed dog in-depth because there is more to him than what meets the eye. If you are considering buying, adopting, or already have one of these hybrids, you should have enough information on the dog by the end of this article.

We will also give you a summary of the two-parent breeds and tell you what other designer dogs are bred from them. This will help you chose other alternatives for you in case you realize that this dog is not for you.

Table of Contents

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Overview

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Overview

Despite the popularity of this mix’s German Shepherd parent dog (everyone from Tom Hanks to Reese Witherspoon has been spotted with this delightful breed!), the German Shepherd Pitbull mix is not a typical dog.

This is partly because Pitbulls are outlawed in certain countries or states. For example, in the United Kingdom, the Pitbull is a banned breed. The AKC does not appreciate the Pitbull in its registry, but the United Kennel Club formally recognized the breed in 1898.

Shepherd Pitbull Mix Characteristics

Height Male: 18 to 26 Female: 17 to 24
WeightMale:40 to 90 pounds Female: 30 to 70 pounds
Lifespan10 – 12 year
Breed typeMixes
PurposeThe family dog
Best forExperienced dog owners
Grooming needsNormal
Color variationBlack, white, grey, fawn, brown, tan
TemperamentIntelligent, loyal, bold, aggressive
Other namesShepherd Pitt, German Pit, or German Sheppit
Health issuesSkin allergies (Atopic Dermatitis) and Canine Hip Dysplasia

What Are The Controversies of Owning a Pit Bull Terrier Mix?

Although this article is not about Pit Bulls, it is claiming to mention Bully breeds without at least addressing what everyone immediately thinks. Additionally, getting a Pit Bull mix may significantly affect where you can live. Regardless of what side of the Pit Bull disagreement you are on, owning one is becoming increasingly difficult.

Restrictions have become so tight that the list of countries and US states which allow Pit Bulls is fast becoming shorter than the vast number of places that do not. If you think, “Oh, well, I have a Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier,” forget it.

Legislatures also ban Staffies as well as anything that looks like them. Some countries go as far as to say that if your dog even matches a Pit Bull Terrier, you must provide certified proof from an official body that she is not.

It is also becoming almost impossible to ship Pit Bulls by aircraft, carriers ordering reinforced crates, and assessing your pet’s temperament onsite. Where they are not banned, Pit Bulls often face stringent wants to go out in public, including double leashing and muzzles.

Anymore, consider carefully before acquiring a dog with Pit Bull heritage. We believe them to be sweet, docile, and loyal in the right hands, but it may not be worth the headache for you.

While you may get a little leeway for a dog you have owned for several years, public and government sentiment seems intent on destroying the breed, although we do not see that occurring either.

Mixed dogs are under the gun also. Some regulations prohibit dogs with as little as 10% of Pit Bull in their bloodlines. While the tide is shifting away from breed-specific enactment in some states, like Washington, change is slow and global attitudes are not likely to reverse anytime soon.

In a few locales in Canada, decreases in Pit Bull numbers from breed bans have compared with a rise in bite cases in other canid types such as Herding Dogs like the GSD or Working Dogs like the Siberian Husky or Rottweiler.

Doberman Pinschers appear on more dangerous dog lists than German Shepherds, but poor breeding, overwhelming demand, and insufficient training and socialization have begun to put negative attention on the GSD.

As German Shepherds join the evergrowing list of dangerous dogs, more countries will start to ban them. Mixed-breed dogs are an enigma for owners and governments.

People who intentionally breed hybrids often seek to improve characteristics, and many mixed dogs are more loyal than the breeds involved in their ancestry. The majority of countries deal with the problem by handling hybrids the same as the breeds that comprise their make-up.

Physical Appearance and Lifespan of Shepherd Pitt

German Pits have a life expectancy of between 10 to 12 years. In general, the German shepherd Pitbull mix relates more of the American Pitbull Terrier with a short muzzle and a broadhead.

Sometimes they may have a longer snout like that of a german shepherd. They also have well-defined muscles and slightly bent ears.

Where does the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix originate?

Although not widely sought, the GSD Pitbull mix is likely a typical cross. Accidental combinations would be frequent in two such popular breeds, and useful breeding of the German Shepherd and Pit Bull apparently has roots with performance-minded people.

The police force would have an interest in introducing more dispatch from the Pit Bull and more working intelligence from the German Shepherd. Illicit uses might involve people keen on a giant fighting dog or a more protective guard dog and would add GSD to their Pit Bulls for both qualities.

What Will Your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Look Like?

Your Shepherd Pit Bull mix can look mostly like a German Shepherd or a Pit Bull Terrier or any variation between the two. Still, many look strikingly distinct from either parent with recognizable traits of both.

The German Shepherd brings to the gene pool a characteristic silhouette with a rather dome-shaped forehead, long but broad snout, upright pointed ears, a long strong neck, sloping shoulders, a slight slant to the topline, a bushy tail, and well-angulated strong hindlimbs. Show lines have a more exaggerated slope to their backs, and working dogs are more level.

  • Black
  • Bicolor – Black with minor points of tan
  • Blue – Dilute black and a fault; blue and tan, solid blue, blue bicolor
  • Liver and Isabella – Dilutes all-black color resulting in a brown or lilac dog with brown nose and light-colored eyes; Carried on a separate color gene and a fault; liver and tan, solid liver, liver bicolor
  • Red

Some colors are unacceptable according to the AKC.

  • White – White Shepherds have a separate registry.
  • Panda – Black and tan dog with over 30% white. A separate KIT gene was classified in 1916, and Pandas are purebred German Shepherds.

German Shepherds range in size from 22 to 26 inches tall and weigh from 50 to 95 pounds. In most lines, females are noticeably smaller and less muscular than males.

A GSD should give a bold and focused impression with a certain degree of aloofness allowable in the show ring. The German Shepherd is noble and elegant with a ground-covering elastic stride that is most efficient at the trot.

Pit Bull Terriers are notably square with full broadheads and large jowls, deep muzzle, powerful thick neck, a body length only lightly longer than height, and broad and muscular stance both in front and rear. They have either rose or semi-prick ears folded over in the centre. Many Americans crop their Pittie’s ears.

Pit Bull Terrier

Pit Bull Terrier

Pit Bull Terriers evolved in England from the now-extinct Bull and Terrier cross. The Bull and Terrier developed probably shortly after the Bulldog but came to prominence with the Animal Cruelty Act of 1835 that targeted bear- and bull-baiting.

Designed for more dramatic flair in the dogfighting pits than purebred Bulldogs, Bull, and Terriers, and their descendants would fly under the radar of law enforcement battling in the holes for decades. Bull and Terrier cross produced several strains, emphasising heavily in the creation of the Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Miniature Bull Terrier as well as the Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier.

The Walsall type, which outcrossed to Whippets to add speed and agility, represented the Pit Bull Terriers that appeared in the US in the late 1800s. Walsall Pit Bulls led to the Colby strain of Pit Bulls which became the foundation for show and performance dogs with well-defined musculature and bulk, agility and strength, and intelligence and charm.

Early Pit Bulls became generalized farm dogs, and America began a longstanding love affair with the canines in the early 1900s, affectionately renaming the breed the American Pit Bull Terrier. However, dogfighting prevailed pervasive in Pit Bull culture.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

Deriving most likely from generic shepherd dogs that had migrated north from Italy and east from France, the German Shepherd had its regular beginnings with a separate breed standard in 1899.

The first GSD was one Max von Stephanitz hand-picked among show dogs and who originated from the Thuringian region of Germany. Stephanitz would improve the breed with dogs who also came from the Swabia and Wurttemberg regions, all in the southern part of Germany.

Horand von Grafrath, the Original GSD, contributed the classic wolf-like look of the Shepherd as well as strength, while dogs from the other two regions introduced stability, focus, drive, discretion, and steady temperament.

German Sheppit Coat Appearance and Shedding

German Sheppit Coat Appearance and Shedding

It sometimes hard to know exactly what type of coat a German shepherd pitbull mix will have. They may appear like one fo the two dogs or maybe a classic blend of the two.

You cannot know exactly. The coat can be short to medium in length. If the hybrid leans more towards the German shepherd’s side the coat the dog will have a double coat of medium length. This coat has a soft undercoat and a rough upper coat.

If the Pitbull shepherd inherits the Pitbull’s genes, then the cot will be short and stiff. The dogs may prefer warmer climates if they have a short coat. None the less the coat may have various color variations like tan, black, white, fawn, and grey.

Some of the hybrids may inherit the German Shepherd’s coat that is usually multi-colored of the Pitbull’s coat that is generally bridle. You should, however, note that this dog is a moderate shedder.

Pitbull Shepherd Temperament and Personality

Just like any other designer dog, it is hard to predict the exact temperament of the German Pitbull. The German Shepherd Pitbull mix is mostly connected with being too aggressive, something miserable.

How your dog behaves depends on how you raise him and the environment that you raise him in. With the correct training and socialization, this dog turns out to be a loyal, loving, and friendly member of the family, making him the right choice as a family pet.

German Pitbulls are smart dogs. This is because both the Pitbull and the German Shepherd are known to be brilliant dogs, something that is inherited by this hybrid.

This dog is good at entertaining himself, but he still loves to be around the family and share his happiness with them. The Shepherd Pitbull can be a very protective dog due to the traits of the German Shepherd which are known to be guard dogs in nature.

So, while he may have the intention of protecting his family, this may manifest itself with hostility towards strangers. To prevent him from showing this kind of hatred, you should socialize her at an early age as much as possible.

Make sure that your pooch is introduced to little children in the right manner so that they can learn the dos and don’ts of how a dog should be treated.

German Pitbull mix dogs Leadership Qualities.

This is a trait that is gotten from the German Shepherd line who herding dogs tend to want to lead the pack. You may need to keep an eye on this way as it could get out of hand and turn to the offensive. The high energy and training needs are why this dog is best suited for owners that have experience with dogs.

German Pitbull Mix Health Issues?

The German Shepherd can live 9 to 13 years and the Pit Bull Terrier 12 to 14 years. Your mix will likely enjoy 11 to 14 years.

Both breeds suffer a troubling high incidence of hip dysplasia, and German Shepherds have special problems as herding dogs with elbow dysplasia. Also, your dog may receive the following health issues.

Skin allergies (GSD and APBT)

Demodectic mange (APBT)

 Proliferation of a naturally-occurring skin mite that causes baldness and possible skin infections in immune-compromised puppies.

Cranial cruciate ligament (ACL in people) tears (APBT) – Hereditary in certain lines is the tendency of the CCL to fray, resulting in an eventual breakdown, usually needing surgical repair. The fragile ligament is vulnerable to rupture in overweight or unconditioned dogs who quickly engage in an athletic endeavor like catching a frisbee.

Low thyroid (GSD and APBT)

Affected dogs are prone to gain weight and develop skin problems.

Degenerative myelopathy (GSD and APBT)

A neurologic disorder that appears at about seven or eight years of age and progresses slowly until the dog is completely deadened in the hind end.

Gastric dilatation and volvulus or GDV (GSD and APBT) – The stomach swells and can turn on its access, cutting off blood supply to stomach, spleen, and liver, and disturbing the heart. GDV is not hereditary, but it is common in deep-chested dogs, unusually large breeds.

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (GSD)

The pancreas does not produce enough enzymes to digest food, so affected puppies fail to gain weight and may experience diarrhea.

Congenital cataracts (GSD and APBT)

 A recessive trait that puppies inherit from both parents.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Puppy

Getting a crossbreed puppy is more complicated than getting a purebred. Therefore, you have to be suspicious of the breeder that you are getting this hybrid from and make sure that he or she is responsible and reliable.

You have to do your research before starting your search for this pooch. A qualified breeder should have the most crucial information about the breed. Apart from getting a reputable breeder, you should also spend time with the parent breeds and get to know their traits.

And if you are lucky enough and get a puppy or adult dog to adopt, then also paying time with his is also crucial. A Shepherd Pitbull usually has a litter size of about eight puppies with the German shepherd being the dam and the Pitbull being the sire. The average price of getting one of these puppies is anywhere from $500 to $1200.

Grooming a Pitbull and German Shepherd Mix

Maintaining a German shepherd and Pitbull is more comfortable as compared to other dog breeds. However, the grooming requirements will largely depend on the dominant breed between a German shepherd and a Pitbull. An example is that if the puppy inherits the German shepherd’s coat, the coat will be much thicker and will require regular brushing.

If the pooch inherits the Pitbull’s coat, not much brushing will be needed as the dog will have a short coat. You should bath this hybrid only when it is needed. During winter, you must lather the coat using cod liver oil to prevent the skin from getting dry as temperatures drop.

The ears should also be cleaned to reduce the risk of infections and clip the nails to keep them short. Dip a cotton bud into an ear cleaning solution after which you will use it to clean the German Shepherd Pitbull’s ears. Make sure that you are cleaning the outer area as you do not want to damage the dog’s ears. Dental hygiene should also be a priority for you as you take care of this dog.

How to Feed A Pitbull Shepherd?

Male German Pits need anywhere from 1200 to 2800 calories in a day while females will need about 900 to 2100 calories in a day. The best way to measure is by feeding the dog 1.5 cups of kibble for 30-40pounds and 2 cups of kibble for 50-60 pounds per meal.

Feeding your dog in this twice every day will meet his calorie demands. As a puppy, a Shepherd Pitbull has high energy requirements due to their fast growth; you will need to give him about four meals in a day to avoid overstretching the stomach.

As the puppy grows, reduce this to 2 meals in a day. Nutritional needs A healthy dog diet is mainly made up of meat-based proteins as the main components.

The more protein that is in your dog’s nutrition, the healthier he will become. Fatty acids help in keeping the coat healthy and shiny. Choose a diet with fewer grains and no fillers as they can upset the canine’s stomach and even cause allergic effects. Make sure that you always read the labels on any commercial foods.

German Shepherd and Pitbull Mix Exercise Requirements

The German shepherd Pitbull mix is a high energy dog that is happiest when he has something to keep him mentally and physically stimulated. This dog will need upwards of 60 minutes in daily exercise.

You may assume most dogs become badly behaved because their owners do not spend sufficient time with them, or they are the victims of abuse. Perhaps biting dogs are simply the results of careless backyard breeding or they remain chained to a stake all day.

However, one of the most common causes of dogs acting out is a lack of exercise and mental improvement. Working dogs, especially, require more exercise than you might even imagine, and 30-minute walks do not cut it.

Both German Shepherds and Pit bulls are working dogs and, in some cases, performance animals. Pit Bulls need 90 to 120 minutes of exercise daily, and some working Shepherds require over two hours of action every day.

Expect your mix to require at least an hour and a half of exercise each day. It would be best if you split his exercise into a pair of sessions. Ideally, half of his activities need to be strenuous.

Additionally, dedicate about 25% or more of your German Sheppit’s exercise to training and socialization.

Treat socialization as an ongoing process for at least the first couple of years of your dog’s life. Exercise requires commitment and imagination on your part for numerous reasons.

  • High activity level

 Your Shepherd mix will be high-energy and very active, even at the age of eight to 10 years.

  • Intelligence

 Your Pittie mix will need mental stimulation. Boredom can lead to destructive behaviour and a lack of obedience.

  • Two hours is an intense time commitment.

 Multiple sessions are better. Exercise is in addition to paying regard to your dog with high-quality interaction.

  • Taking him for two daily walks
  • Play sessions in the yard
  • Agility training sessions
  • Swimming in safe ponds and swimming pools

The Pros and Cons of Owning a German Shepherd Pitbull

German Shepherd pitbull pros

  • He is an intelligent crossbreed as both of his parents are known for their high intelligence.
  • They make loving and loyal friends contrary to the misconception that they are aggressive e dogs.
  • German Pitbulls are excellent guard dogs but can seldom be over-protective.

German shepherd Pitbull cons

  • They are not suited for apartment living due to their high energy requirements.
  • German shepherd and Pitbull mix dogs may not be ideal for homes that have tiny children.
  • He is not a dog for first-time dog owners that have no prior expertise with handling dogs.


While not for everyone, a German Shepherd Pit Bull mix can be a fun, loyal, and loving addition to your family. Due diligence is paramount, however, especially concerning temperament.

Some experts contend the current practice of breeding without regard for personality or selecting for individuals who are extremely aggressive towards people is disrupting how Pit Bulls react to humans compared to other dogs and domesticated animals.

Another side of the coin points out results from attempts to standardize canine temperament. One test, by the American Temperament Testing Society, found no statistical difference between Pit Bulls and Golden Retrievers in their abilities to react properly to various environmental stimuli.

Pit Bulls passed temperament tests that gauged fear and aggression with an 86% rate in close to 1000 dogs. Similar numbers of Golden Retrievers passed with 85% success. Even considering for breed misidentification and Pit Bull prevalence, Pit Bull Terriers continue to account for the majority of fatal dog attacks on both humans and domesticated animals.

However, most bites still occur due to unclean or criminal circumstances from whence the Pit Bulls originate. Behaviourists and scientists frequently attest environment has the most significant effect on a dog’s likelihood to bite, although you cannot wholly disregard genetics.

Once you account for Shepherd’s popularity, they rank No. 39 of dogs most likely to eat. Unfortunately, publications normally only show that Shepherds rank No. 4 in incidents behind Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and mixed-breed dogs.

All this to say, you will have a mixed breed with negative publicity and stigma that you will have to invest a lot of time socializing and training. Otherwise, Pitbull Shepherds are good-looking, friendly dogs, loyal and affectionate to their owners and fun-loving, like to please, and work-oriented.

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