German Shepherd Pitbull Mix: Origin, Traits & Care Guide

German Shepherd Pit Bull Mix

I remember a dog in our neighborhood that caught everyone’s eye — a mix of German Shepherd and Pitbull. This dog, let’s call him Rex, had a German Shepherd’s noble stance and a Pitbull’s muscular build. People were often unsure how to approach Rex, not knowing what to expect from this mix. But Rex was gentle.

I’m excited to take you through the world of the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix. This mix is a popular guard dog, as the parent breeds have strong protective instincts, though the breed can be moderately aggressive and requires training to ensure it doesn’t become overly aggressive and dangerous. That’s one of the areas we’ll discuss later in this article.

You’ll learn about their temperament, health, and needs, and why these dogs might be the perfect companion for you. If you’re considering adding a new furry member to your family or just love learning about different dog breeds, this is for you.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Quick Summary

Common Breed NamesGerman Shepherd Pitbull Mix, Pitbull German Shepherd Mix, German Sheppit, Shepherd Pit, German Pitbull, German Pit
Breed TypeMix
Suitable ForExperienced Dog Owners
Size18 to 26″ (male) and 17 to 24″ (female)
Weight40 to 90 pounds (male) and 30 to 70 pounds (female)
Lifespan10 to 12 years
Color VariationsTan, white, brown, gray, and black
TemperamentEnergetic, loyal, intelligent, and loving
Daily ExerciseHigh – 90 minutes of exercise per day
Activity LevelsModerate – Low physical activity and high mental activity
Daily Food Consumption1200 to 2700 calories per day (male) 900 to 2,100 calories per day (female)
Known Health issuesSkin allergies (Atopic Dermatitis) and Canine Hip Dysplasia

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Parent Breeds

German Shepherd and Pit Bull puppy standing side-by-side

A German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is a cross between a German Shepherd and an American Pitbull Terrier and is also called the German Sheppit, Shepherd Pit, or German Pit. Here are facts about the parent breeds.

German Shepherd


The German Shepherd breed has a storied history, tracing back to late 19th century Germany. Originally bred for herding and guarding sheep, their intelligence, strength, and obedience quickly made them a favorite for many other roles, including police and military work. I’ve always been fascinated by their versatility and how they’ve adapted to various tasks beyond their initial breeding purpose.

Physical Characteristics

German Shepherds are known for their distinctive appearance. They have a muscular build, a dense double coat that can come in various colors, though most commonly in black and tan, and erect ears that give them a vigilant expression. They’re large dogs, with males standing up to 26 inches at the shoulder. Their physical prowess is matched by their agility, making them incredibly effective working dogs.

Temperament and Behavior

One thing I admire about German Shepherds is their temperament. They are incredibly loyal and protective of their families, which makes them excellent guard dogs. However, they’re not just about strength; they’re also highly intelligent and trainable, eager to learn and please. This combination of traits requires that they receive regular mental and physical stimulation to stay happy. It’s their balanced nature – being both affectionate with their family and reserved when facing strangers – that makes them stand out. Their behavior truly reflects their training and socialization, showcasing their adaptability in various environments.

American Pitbull Terrier


The American Pitbull Terrier comes from a lineage that is both intriguing and complex. Originating in the 19th Century from the United Kingdom, these dogs were initially bred from old English Bulldogs and Terriers to create a breed that was both strong and agile. They were used for various purposes, including farming, as they were adept at hunting and guarding. However, their history also includes being used in the cruel sport of bull-baiting. Despite this harsh beginning, the breed has evolved to become one of the most loyal and loving companions today.

Physical Characteristics

American Pitbull Terriers are medium-sized dogs known for their muscular and stocky build. They possess a broad head with strong jaws, and their ears can be either cropped or uncropped. I’ve noticed that their coat is short and smooth and comes in a wide range of colors. They exude strength yet are quite agile. Their physical appearance often leads to misconceptions about their nature, but in truth, they’re as gentle as any dog breed, provided they’re raised and trained with love and consistency.

Temperament and Behavior

The temperament of the American Pitbull Terrier is one of the most misunderstood aspects of the breed. They are incredibly affectionate with their family members and can be great with children, often showing a patient and playful side. Their eagerness to please their owners makes them highly trainable, but it also means they require consistent leadership and socialization from an early age. Despite their tough exterior, I find that they crave affection and attention and can become wonderful companions. Their behavior, much like that of any breed, is largely influenced by their upbringing, training, and the environment they’re raised in.

Pitbull German Shepherd Mix Physical Characteristics

German Shepherd Pit Bull Mix Appearance

This unique mix not only inherits the best qualities from its parent breeds but also presents a captivating array of shapes and colors that make each dog truly one-of-a-kind. Here’s a closer look at what makes these dogs so visually appealing and distinct.

Size and Weight

Whenever I encounter a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix, I’m immediately struck by its imposing stature. These dogs have a way of combining the best of both their parent breeds—larger and more imposing than a purebred German Shepherd, yet carrying a heft that surpasses the American Pitbull Terrier. It’s fascinating to observe how the mix tends to lean towards the Pitbull’s physique, albeit with a more streamlined, athletic build.

The range in weight, from 40 to 90 pounds for males and 30 to 70 pounds for females, really showcases the diversity within the breed. Their height, standing proud at 18 to 24 inches, draws directly from the German Shepherd lineage, giving them a tall, dignified presence. The slight difference in height between males and females is something I’ve noticed time and again, highlighting the subtle but distinct gender characteristics within the breed.


The coat of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is something to behold. Smooth, with short hairs, it often catches the eye with its sleekness. While a few might boast a slight double coat, reminiscent of the German Shepherd’s protective outerwear, the majority present a simpler, more streamlined coat that speaks to their Pitbull heritage. The variety of colors these dogs can exhibit is truly a canvas of their genetic background. From the striking black-and-tan markings that mirror the classic German Shepherd to the solid hues of black, gray, white, or tan reminiscent of the Pitbull’s varied palette. It’s not uncommon to see Shepherd Pits sporting a mix of two or more colors, adding to their individuality.


The shape of the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is a remarkable fusion that captures the imagination. Their body structure embodies a perfect blend of strength and agility, a testament to their dual heritage. I’m always struck by how their overall shape speaks to their versatile capabilities. The chest is broad and muscular, hinting at the Pitbull’s power, while the backline tapers elegantly, a nod to the German Shepherd’s graceful athleticism. Their limbs are sturdy, and designed for both speed and endurance, making them capable of impressive physical feats. The head shape is particularly fascinating—where the German Shepherd’s sharp, angular features meet the Pitbull’s rounded, robust skull, resulting in a visage that’s both alert and friendly.


The color palette of the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is as diverse as it is stunning. While some may inherit the iconic black-and-tan pattern with the distinctive saddle marking characteristic of the German Shepherd, others may exhibit the solid, bold colors typical of the Pitbull, such as black, gray, white, or tan. However, it’s the mixes that truly capture the eye—combinations of two or more colors that create unique and beautiful patterns. These can range from brindles that blend the colors into a tapestry-like appearance to patches of color that stand out against a primary coat color. Each Shepherd Pit I’ve come across has its distinctive color scheme, making them not just pets but living, breathing pieces of art.

Jaw and Bite Force

The German Shepherd parent has slightly more bite force per square inch than a Pitbull. A German Shepherd has 238 pounds per square inch (PSI) bite force as opposed to the Pitbull’s 235 PSI. The Shepherd Pit has a similar bite force, depending on the dog’s size and maturity. This combination gives the Shepherd Pit a strong biting ability.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Personality and Temperament

I’ve found that the personality and temperament of the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix are as unique as their appearance. These dogs combine the best traits of their parent breeds, resulting in a companion that is both loving and protective. From my observations, it’s clear that they thrive on strong bonds with their families, showing an immense capacity for loyalty and affection. It’s not uncommon for them to become deeply attached to their owners, often acting as vigilant protectors of their homes.

However, it’s crucial to understand that their energy and intelligence demand regular mental and physical stimulation. These are not dogs that will be content with being left alone for long periods; they crave interaction and challenges. This mix’s temperament can vary, but generally, they are eager to please and responsive to training. I’ve noticed that they respond best to positive reinforcement techniques, showcasing their adaptability and willingness to learn.

Their protective nature doesn’t mean they are aggressive. Instead, it’s a testament to their loyalty and desire to keep their loved ones safe. I always advise potential owners to invest time in training and socialization, as this can significantly influence their temperament, making them wonderful companions for the right family.

German Pit Care Guide

Pit Bull German Shepherd Mix standing in bushes

As someone who’s dedicated a significant part of their life to understanding and educating others about dogs, I can attest to the fact that these remarkable animals require a tailored approach to ensure they lead happy, healthy lives.

This breed’s rarity adds a layer of responsibility on the shoulders of its caretakers, underscoring the importance of being well-informed and prepared for the journey ahead. Therefore, I aim to guide you through the essential steps to ensure your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix not only survives but thrives in its environment.


In this section, I’ll guide you through the essentials of feeding your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix, from the tender puppy months to their mature adult years.

Feeding Your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Puppy

When it comes to feeding a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix puppy, it’s important to get it right from the start. Young puppies, especially those as active and robust as this mix, have specific nutritional needs. I recommend feeding them 1 to 1 1/2 cups of dry food per day, divided into three meals. This ensures they have a steady supply of energy throughout their most formative months. Opting for balanced dry food formulated for large-breed puppies is crucial. These foods are designed to support the rapid growth and development of larger dogs, helping to prevent issues down the line.

Adult Dog Nutrition

As your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix grows into adulthood, its dietary needs will change. Adult dogs should be fed 3 to 3 1/2 cups of dry food per day, split between two meals. This helps manage their energy levels and keeps them satisfied throughout the day. Choosing a high-quality, low-calorie diet is key. You want to provide your dog with sustained energy without contributing to hyperactivity, especially during their highly active months.

Senior Dog Nutrition

As the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix enters its senior years, its nutritional needs shift significantly. This stage of life brings a slower metabolism and, often, a decrease in activity levels. It’s a time when I’ve noticed many pet owners face uncertainty about how to adjust their dog’s diet to maintain health and vitality.

It’s essential to switch to a diet that’s lower in calories but still rich in essential nutrients to support their aging bodies. On top of that, a high-quality senior dog food, specifically formulated for older dogs, can help manage weight and reduce the strain on their joints, which is crucial for breeds prone to hip dysplasia, like the German Shepherd.

Additionally, senior dogs may benefit from foods with increased fiber content to aid digestion, which can become sluggish with age. Regular veterinary check-ups can help you tailor their diet more precisely, ensuring they receive the nutrition they need without overfeeding.

Special Dietary Considerations

The unique blend of breeds in the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix brings with it specific health considerations. The Shepherd lineage, in particular, is known to be prone to bone disease. This makes the quality of nutrition even more important. A diet that supports healthy bone growth is essential. Ensuring your dog receives the right balance of nutrients, including calcium and phosphorus, can make a significant difference in their overall health and well-being.

Grooming Needs

Grooming is essential for their health, helping to prevent skin issues, and ensuring their coat stays in good condition. Let’s dive into the grooming needs of this unique mix, breaking it down into manageable tasks that will keep your furry friend feeling great.


The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix has a coat that benefits significantly from regular brushing. Depending on which parent’s coat your dog inherits more prominently, they might have a short coat like a Pitbull or a slightly longer one like a German Shepherd. Either way, brushing a few times a week helps remove dead hair and distribute natural oils throughout their coat, keeping it shiny and healthy. It’s also a great time to check for any bumps, parasites, or skin issues that might need attention.


Bathing your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix doesn’t need to be a frequent task; every few months or so is usually enough, unless they get particularly dirty. Over-bathing can strip their coat of natural oils, leading to dry skin. When you do bathe them, I recommend using a dog-specific shampoo that matches their skin type (whether it’s sensitive, dry, or normal) to prevent irritation and keep their coat looking its best.

Nail Trimming

Keeping an eye on your dog’s nails is crucial. Long nails can cause discomfort and even lead to problems with walking or joint pain. I recommend trimming their nails every few weeks to keep them at a comfortable length. If you can hear their nails clicking on the floor, it’s a good sign that it’s time for a trim. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, a vet or professional groomer can help.

Ear and Teeth Care

Don’t forget about their ears and teeth. Checking and cleaning their ears regularly can prevent infections, especially in dogs that love to swim or roll around in the dirt. As for dental care, brushing their teeth several times a week with dog-specific toothpaste can help prevent dental diseases, which are common and can lead to serious health issues if left untreated.

Training and Exercise

I’ve learned that these dogs thrive on challenge and consistency, making their training and exercise not just a responsibility, but a rewarding journey for both pet and owner. Let’s explore how to meet the training, exercise, and socialization needs of your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix.


German Shepherd Pit Bull Mix panting while lying in the grass

Training a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix should start early. I’ve found that they are eager learners, thanks to their intelligent and eager-to-please nature. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key. Rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, or playtime makes training sessions something they’ll look forward to. It’s also important to be patient and maintain a calm demeanor, as these dogs can be sensitive to their owner’s emotions. Setting aside time each day for training helps reinforce commands and strengthens your bond.


Exercise is crucial for this energetic mix. They require regular, vigorous exercise to stay healthy and avoid boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior. I recommend at least an hour of physical activity each day, which can include walks, runs, or play sessions in a securely fenced area. They particularly enjoy activities that engage their minds as well as their bodies, like agility courses or fetch games. It’s a great way for them to burn off energy and for you to spend quality time together.

Mental Needs

Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise for a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix. These intelligent dogs love to learn and be challenged. Puzzle toys, training sessions, and new tricks are excellent ways to keep their minds active. I’ve noticed that they show a noticeable increase in happiness and a decrease in anxiety when their mental needs are met. Engaging in activities that challenge them mentally can help prevent boredom and keep them mentally sharp.


Socialization is crucial for this breed mix, starting as early as possible. Exposing them to different people, animals, and environments helps them become well-adjusted adults. Positive experiences with a variety of situations can prevent fearfulness and aggression. From my experience, well-socialized dogs are more confident and comfortable in new situations. It’s important to approach socialization gradually, ensuring each new experience is positive and not overwhelming.

German Pitbull Health Issues

While crossbreed dogs are usually much healthier than their purebred parents, the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix may inherit some more serious conditions. Some common health conditions a Shepherd Pit may exhibit include:


In my experience, large breed dogs, including the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix, may often suffer from skin conditions like eczema and rashes. These issues are frequently triggered by environmental allergens or food sensitivities. One approach I’ve seen work well is transitioning to a grain-free diet, which may help alleviate the symptoms associated with allergies, including those pesky yeast infections.


Bloat is a critical condition that I’ve noticed large dogs are particularly prone to. It’s caused by a blockage or gas buildup in the gastrointestinal tract and can be life-threatening if not addressed promptly. Factors such as genetics, diet, and eating habits can contribute to the risk. To help prevent bloat, use a puzzle bowl to encourage your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix to eat more slowly and monitor their water intake to prevent over-drinking.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is when a dog’s hip joint doesn’t fit properly in its socket, causing pain and arthritis over time. It’s a condition I’ve seen affect many dogs, leading to decreased activity and quality of life. Early detection through x-rays and choosing a puppy from a reputable breeder who screens for this condition can significantly reduce the risk.

Heart Disease

Heart disease in dogs, particularly those with Pitbull heritage, can manifest in several ways, including weight gain, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Managing congenital heart disease requires a comprehensive approach, involving medication, heart-healthy diets, tailored exercise programs, and regular veterinary checkups.


Hyperthyroidism can present various symptoms in dogs, such as an insatiable appetite, skin rashes, discoloration, and unexpected weight gain. It’s a condition that requires careful management, and breeding dogs with hyperthyroidism is generally discouraged to prevent passing the condition to offspring.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Cost

A German Shepherd Pitbull Mix isn’t very expensive and the price of these dogs depends on age, bloodline, and where the dog is bought from. Since this mix can be difficult for those who have never had a dog, it’s one of the crossbreeds often found in shelters.

How Much Is a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?

A German Shepherd Pitbull Mix typically costs $400–$800 for a puppy. Puppies from registered breeders cost the most and may cost as much as $1,000. Adult dogs may cost less when up for adoption, unless they have been fully trained in a particular work such as farm work, showing, or law enforcement.

Adoption agencies may ask for an adoption fee of $50–$150 that may also cover the sterilization of the puppy or adult and their first few vaccinations.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise a German Pitbull?

The average yearly cost to raise a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is $300–$1,500. The lower cost is for a puppy with minimal vaccinations and a cheaper, large-breed dry dog food. If owners pay for medical procedures like fixing hip dysplasia, fractures, and dental issues, yearly costs can be much higher. More expensive quality food will also result in a higher care cost.

Aside from the usual puppy vaccinations, your Shepherd Pit shouldn’t have any excessive vet costs.

Should You Get a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?

The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is a large, energetic, loyal, intelligent, and fun dog for those who have active lifestyles involving the great outdoors. These dogs love to run, fetch, play, and be part of the family. When correctly socialized, this breed can be a great nanny dog for kids, but it can also become unpredictable when it’s confused or poorly trained.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mixes are Suitable for:

If you love to run, enjoy hanging out at your local park, and adore spending time outdoors, you may well be suited to owning a Shepherd Pit. When correctly socialized, Pitbulls are often called “nanny dogs” due to their nurturing and protective nature. The Shepherd Pit makes a great companion dog for older children, though you must teach your children not to tease or aggravate the dog. The German Shepherd Pitbull makes a great guard, family, friend, and show dog.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mixes are NOT Suitable for:

The Shepherd Pit is an amazing mix, full of love and energy, but honestly, these dogs aren’t the perfect fit for everyone. They need lots of hands-on training and a firm hand if they start getting a bit too lively. They’re not the best choice if you’re often homebound, away for work a lot, or if you’re living in a place that doesn’t have enough room for a big, active dog. If a Shepherd Pit doesn’t get enough space to move around, they can start acting out and might even start chewing on things they shouldn’t.

Like with any big dog, there’s always a chance they might nip, especially around smaller pets or kids. Hence, it’s all about giving them the right training and socialization from the start.

FAQs on the Pitbull German Shepherd Mix

What is the temperament of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix like?

It can vary depending on factors such as socialization, training, and individual personality. However, they are often described as loyal, intelligent, energetic, and affectionate companions.

How much exercise does a Pitbull German Shepherd Mix need?

This breed requires plenty of exercise to stay happy and healthy. Daily walks, runs, playtime, and activities such as fetch or agility training are recommended to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

Are German Sheppits good with children?

When properly socialized and trained, German Sheppits can be excellent family dogs and are often good with children. However, as with any breed, supervision and teaching children how to interact respectfully with dogs are essential to prevent any potential accidents.

Do German Pits shed a lot?

Both German Shepherds and Pitbulls are moderate to heavy shedders, so the German Pitbull mix is likely to shed as well. Regular grooming, including brushing their coat a few times a week, can help minimize shedding and keep their coat healthy.

Are German Pitbulls aggressive?

German Pitbulls are not inherently aggressive, but like any dog, their behavior is influenced by factors such as genetics, socialization, training, and environment. Proper training, socialization, and responsible ownership are essential in preventing aggressive behavior.

How big do Shepherd Pits get?

German Pitbulls are typically large dogs, with males ranging from 18 to 24 inches in height and females ranging from 17 to 22 inches. Their weight can vary widely depending on factors such as genetics, diet, and exercise, but they generally weigh between 40 and 90 pounds.

An Energetic, Intelligent, and Loyal Companion

I’ve found that Shepherd Pits can make wonderful companions for those with active lifestyles and plenty of love to give. Their playful nature and unwavering loyalty have a way of brightening even the dreariest of days.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that Shepherd Pits aren’t the right fit for every household. They thrive in environments where they have room to roam and plenty of opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation. It’s something I’ve seen firsthand in my interactions with these incredible dogs.

In terms of care needs, Shepherd Pits require consistent training, proper socialization, and regular grooming to keep them happy and healthy. From grooming sessions to outdoor adventures, caring for a Shepherd Pit is a rewarding journey.

Other German Shepherd and American Pitbull Terrier Mixes

If you’re interested in learning about other German Shepherd mixes or American Pitbull Terrier mixes, check out the hybrid dog breeds below.

German Shepherd Mixes

American Pit Bull Terrier Mixes

About John Woods 299 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.

1 Comment

  1. I believe we have a shepherd pit mix, we found her in a box outside in a patking lot. Her coat and look makes us believe she is this breed. We fell in live with her and all this information describes her.

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