German Shepherd Pitbull Mix – A Complete Owner’s Guide

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix

The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix comes from two breeds both concealed behind a negative stigma, making this breed highly interesting.

Staunch, robust, fierce and bold yet loyal and loving.

The debate continues, bad to the bone? Or soft and gooey on the inside?

A hybrid dog which reaches 26 inches in height, and 70 to 90 pounds in weight, they make a great guard dog for any family. A working dog by nature, but, with the right trainer, definitely a loyal dog at heart.

In this article we cover everything you need to know about the Pitbull German Shepherd Mix from their temperament, ease of care and their exercise and training requirements.

Could this breed be right for an experienced dog owner like you? Keep reading to find out.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Info Table
Breed Type Mixes and more
Purpose Working / Companion
Suitable For Experienced Dog Owners
Size 18 to 26″ (male) and 17 to 24″ (female)
Weight 40 to 90 lbs (male) and 30 to 70 lbs (female)
Lifespan 10 to 12 years
Color Variations Tan, black or fawn
Temperament Energetic, loyal, intelligent and loving
Daily Exercise High – 90 minutes of exercise per day
Activity Levels Moderate – Low physical activity and high mental activity
Daily Food Consumption 1200 to 2700 calories per day (male) 900 to 2,100 calories per day (female)
Known Health Issues Skin allergies (Atopic Dermatitis) and Canine Hip Dysplasia

What is a Shepherd Pit? Breed Overview

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix

The loyal and intelligent German Shepherd is crossed with a strong American Pitbull Terrier giving birth to a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix.

Being a mixed breed, the German Shepherd Pitbull puppy isn’t recognized by any major Kennel Club and there are very few recognized breeders.

This mixed breed dog is born when a German Shepherd (dam) is in heat and mates with an American Pitbull Terrier (sire).

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Puppies

The litter size of the German Pit is approximately five to eight puppies with the average puppy costs between $200 to $600 USD. This breed isn’t very common so a good breeder may be hard to find.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Puppy
This mixed breed dog takes well to water making them a great companion to any dog-friendly beach

Breed History and Origin

To better understand the history and even the German Shepherd Pitbull mix breed itself, it’s important to know where they came from.

The German Shepherd originated in 1899 as a herding dog in Germany. They are an intelligent and hard-working breed which makes them the perfect canine for military and police use around the globe. The Shepherd is noted as one of Germany’s most famous breeds.

The American Pitbull Terrier is also an intelligent breed, whom originated from bull breeds in the United Kingdom. Once this breed was introduced to America they soon gained the new name of the “American Pitbull Terrier”. They were bred to be solid fighting dogs but soon became “nanny dogs” due to their soft demeanor and fantastic repertoire around children.

The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix first appeared in the United States in the 2000s. As you can see from their parent breeds, this mix was bound to be both intelligent and loving, as well as hardworking.

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Temperament

Characteristic Rating
Friendliness 4 Star Rating for Friendliness
Ease of Care 3 Star Rating for Ease of Care
Trainability 3 Star Rating for Trainability
Exercise Requirements 1 Star Rating for Exercise Requirements
Social Tendencies 4 Star Rating for Social Tendencies

It is unfortunate that this breed is so often negatively associated with being too aggressive and too dangerous. This could not be further from the truth. It isn’t about the breed itself but more so, how well you care for and raise your pup.

With proper training, exercise and the correct socialization, this breed is extremely friendly and loving towards family members making them a terrific choice as a family pet.

They are even the perfect breed for children, especially as their parent (the pitbull) was known as a nanny dog.

Just ensure you not only introduce your puppy properly to small children and teach them the basic do’s and don’ts of how to treat your family pet; like you would any dog. Your child should love and respect all family members including your four-legged ones!

As long as this dog is provided with adequate daily exercise (upwards of 90 minutes), and a nice spacious backyard, then they will be fine in their living environments and shouldn’t take up undesirable behaviors such as chewing or barking.

This breed is not suited to small apartment living as they have a high energy level. Opt for a smaller breed if this is the case, such as a feisty Jack Russell Chihuahua Mix.

How to Care for a Pitbull German Shepherd Mix

German Shepherd and Pitbull Mix Care Guide
This mixed breed is best suited to an experienced dog owner.

With the correct owner, who understands the importance of correct and earlier socialization and consistent training, this can be a loving and easy to care for dog. However, it is important that you do your research before considering this breed.

How much should a Shepherd Pit eat?

A well-balanced diet covering the essential nutrients, as well as an appropriate calorie and protein intake, is important in an active breed like the German Pit.

On average, a large and active canine requires around 30 calories of energy per pound of body weight. However, this may be altered in response to their  age, size and activity level.

Daily Calories
Male 1,200 to 2,700 calories
Female 900 to 2,100 calories

As you can see, the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix has a high caloric requirement. The best option for this breed is to feed them a special formulated high quality dry-kibbled diet designed for a large and active breed.

The German Pit will quite obviously require a lot of kibble, so it is best to split up feedings. Whilst a pup, try splitting servings into two or three meals daily.

Exercise Requirements

Like other Shepherd Mixes, just by looking at this breed, it is clear to see that they have a strong and solid physique.

Exercise requirements for this breed are not just a “guideline” and it is important that they are met. Without proper exercise this breed may fall into a pattern of destructive behaviors such as excessive barking, digging or unwanted chewing.

The German Pit Mix is definitely the “gym-junkie” human equivalent in dog form. They love exercise and require a lot of it. It is recommended that this breed is provided with at least 90 minutes of exercise per day.

Not big on running? Then try cycling. Simply jump on your bike and hold on to your pup’s leash and let them run beside you.

Any left-over exercise time should be used as play time for you and your pup. This will also give you and your four-legged friend bonus bonding time and is another great source of mental stimulation which will be entertaining for both you and your pup.

You can try a game of Flip the Cup!

  1. Line at least three cups up in a row
  2. In front of your pup, hide a treat under one cup
  3. Switch them around
  4. Ask your dog to put his paw on a certain cup
  5. Watch as your dog guesses which cup has the treat
  6. Give your dog a reward (food or praise)

This game may take some time to learn so be patient! Luckily, the German Pit is an intelligent breed who adores food so they should have this game figured out in no time!

German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Training

It is true that this breed is known for their intelligence, however it should be warned that this breed may be a little stubborn when it comes to proper training exercises.

The German Pit is definitely a breed which should be reserved for more experienced dog owners, and may not be the best fit for first timers.

Originating from two very independent breeds, this dog loves to take on position as pack leader. Therefore, it is essential that a proper training plan is set in place.

Time, patience and positive reinforcement are three key components which a Pitbull German Shepherd Mix owner must abide by. It may be tempting to give up on a stubborn puppy; but don’t. Negative reinforcement and dominance training has proven to be ineffective and may impact a dog’s welfare so get plenty of treats and praise ready (perhaps even some shrimp).

Socialization Requirements
Proper socialization in the German Shepherd Pitbull mix should be a part of any responsible dog lover’s training plan.

It is no secret that dogs such as the German Shepherd and the Pitbull have been stigmatized by the label of an aggressive breed. Therefore, this too is expected in their mixed offspring.

It has been proven that puppy socialization reduces aggressive behaviors in adulthood as well as anxiety and fearfulness. So be sure to socialize your pup so that they have a higher chance of developing into a well-mannered family member.

Socialization in your dog is easy, but, time consuming. All you need to do is introduce and desensitize your puppy to a range of people, species and of course, environments. You can try:

  • Neighbourhood walks
  • Dog friendly parks
  • Puppy classes
  • Doggy day care

All of these places ensure that your canine friend interacts with a range of fellow canines and people as well as different environments which may include on and off leash interactions.

Known Health Problems

Here, we will familiarize you with the two known health problems of the Pitbull German Shepherd Mix.

Canine Hip Dysplasia
The German Shepherd is genetically susceptible to Hip Dysplasia, and may pass it down to your pup. This disease is characterized by a malformation in the joints of the canine hip. This may cause lameness and ongoing pain.

Atopic Dermatitis
The American Pitbull Terrier is known to have an increased susceptibility to allergic reactions such as Atopic Dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition which may be induced due to environmental factors such as grass, and mold spores.

In order to prevent its prevalence in your pup make sure to keep your house clean and to watch out for increased pesticide use at dog parks!

German Shepherd Appearance: Coat, Color and Grooming

German Shepherd Mix Panting
As you can see, some of their puppies are a good mix of both purebred parents.

Bold in their stature, this breed is solid and stands tall with the male reaching 26 inches in height and 90 pounds in weight.

Their face regularly resembles their Pitbull parent with a large head, short muzzle and slightly bent down ears. Sometimes, they may have a longer snout like the German Shepherd, it really depends on a puppy-by-puppy basis.

The German Pit has a very muscly body which is covered in a short to medium and thick coat (depending on their genetic makeup). Their coat may be dominated by their German Shepherd parent or their Pitbull parent. Nonetheless, their fur is typically tan with a black saddle. Other coat colors include black and even fawn.

Quite evidently, the appearance of the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix may vary greatly and each litter may have a vast range of different looking puppies. But don’t worry they are all solid, muscular and large.

Grooming Requirements
The grooming requirements of this breed may vary largely based on which breed is more dominant in the appearance of the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix puppy.

For example, the German Shepherd has a thick double coat which sheds often. If your puppy’s coat resembles their German Shepherd parent then regular brushing is essential. However, if your pup’s coat takes after their Pitbull parent then regular brushing isn’t a huge necessity as it is unlikely your dog’s short coat will shed often.

In terms of regular puppy maintenance, this German Shepherd Mix doesn’t have any excessive requirements. Nail trimming and bathing should all be attended to as needed.

Don’t forget regular dental checks to decrease the likelihood of unwanted dental treatment, try brushing your pup’s teeth regularly.


A loyal, intelligent, protective and bold breed. Perfect for an experienced dog owner with an active lifestyle.

With high energy and training requirements, accompanied by an athletic and strong build, this dog is suited to an adventurous family or individual.

With a consistent and positive training regime, this breed can adapt to become an excellent four-legged addition to a loving home.

As long as you are aware of their high energy level and you are able to accommodate this breed, then you should have no problem in welcoming them into your heart.

Let go of the negative stigma, this breed is as loving as you make it. A German Shepherd Pitbull Mix will always have a place in their bold heart for you. Share your experiences with this breed below.

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 Pitbull Terrier Mixes

About John Woods 291 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.

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