The German Shepherd Pit Bull is a mixed breed dog–a cross between the German Shepherd Dog and American Pit Bull Terrier breeds. Medium to large in size, energetic, and loyal, these pups inherited some of the best traits from both of their parents.
The German Shepherd Pit Bull is also sometimes called the German Sheppit, German Pit, and Shepherd Pit. Despite their unfortunate status as a designer breed, you may find these pups in shelters and breed specific rescues, so remember to adopt! Don’t shop!
These pups are friendly in nature when they have proper socialization training, and they’re loyal to a fault. Both parent breeds are hard working dogs. Due to their superior intelligence and athletic build they are often tasked with guarding and police work.
An apartment probably wouldn’t do for these pups. German Shepherd Pit Bulls need large homes with yards to run around. If given rigorous duties, you’ll have one happy dog. When under-stimulated, these pups can become destructive and develop behavioral problems.
FunkyPaw recommends a dog bed to give a good night’s sleep to your medium-sized German Shepherd Pit Bull. You should also pick up a dog water bottle for any outdoor adventures you have with your pup!
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks. You can find a great jacket for your dog here!
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash like this one in public!
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Mixed Breed DogsHeight:17 to 26 inches Weight:30 to 90 pounds Life Span:10 to 12 years
More About This Breed
- The German Shepherd Pit Bull is a mixed breed dog. They are not purebreds like their German Shepherd Dog or American Pit Bull Terrier parents.
- The main colors of German Shepherd Pit Bulls coats are brown, black, white, grey, tan, and fawn. Almost never solid, their coats are generally a mixture of two or more colors.
- German Shepherd Pit Bulls are not good at being alone for long periods of time. When under-exercised or ignored, they’re likely to express destructive behavior, such as chewing and howling.
- These dogs have high energy levels. About three hours a day of activity is recommended.
- When properly socialized during puppyhood, German Shepherd Pit Bulls are not aggressive at all. They are highly intelligent and trainable. Use positive reinforcement and a reward system.
- This mixed breed is not recommended for people with allergies. They tend to shed quite a bit.
- When well-trained and having had plenty of exposure to kids, a German Shepherd Pit Bull is a great companion for a large family with kids.
- German Shepherd Pit Bulls can get along well other dogs, especially if raised with them. Socialization early on is a must for this mixed breed.
The German Shepherd Pit Bull dog breed may have existed naturally over the years, but designer breeders started intentionally mixing German Shepherd Dogs and American Pit Bull Terriers in the 1990s, likely in North America.
Breeders began to mix the two parent breeds to create a companion, guard dog. The popularity of this particular mixed breed is in decline due to Pit Bull bans in some countries and cities across the US.
German Shepherd Pit Bulls got their start as a designer breed, yet some have ended up in shelters or in the care of rescue groups. Consider adoption if you decide this is the breed for you.
Check your local shelters, look up German Shepherd Pit Bull rescues, or check with breed specific German Shepherd and American Pit Bull Terrier rescues, as they often will help to re-home mixed breed dogs.
The German Shepherd Pit Bull is currently recognized by the Dog Registry of America (DRA).
As the German Shepherd Pit Bull is a relatively new breed, there are few standards when it comes to size. That said, as a mix between German Shepherd and American Pit Bull Terrier parents, you can expect German Shepherd Pit Bulls to be medium to large in size.
Most weigh in at 30 to 90 pounds and range in height from 17 to 26 inches at the shoulder. However, many can be smaller or larger. The males tend to run slightly larger than females.
Above all else, German Shepherd Pit Bull’s are protective and loyal to those they love. They like big families. The bigger they are, the more people to love.
German Shepherd Pit Bulls will need a big house with a big yard to run around in. Lots of exercise will be a requirement for keeping this dog happy.
When properly socialized during puppyhood, German Shepherd Pit Bulls are not aggressive at all and incredibly friendly to people they don’t know, as well as other dogs. Get these puppies socialized early on!
They are highly intelligent and trainable. Use positive reinforcement and a reward system.
One thing German Shepherd Pit Bulls are not good at is being alone for long periods of time. Without the companionship they need—as well as exercise—they become bored and frustrated. A German Shepherd Pit Bull who’s under-exercised and ignored by their family is likely to express destructive behavior, such as chewing and howling.
The German Shepherd Pit Bull needs early socialization. During puppyhood, take them for walks and introduce them to new people, new dogs, new places, and new experiences.
The German Shepherd Pit Bull breed is predisposed to some of the same conditions that the German Shepherd and American Pit Bull Terrier also face. While most are generally healthy, some may be prone to a few health issues, which is why it is important to maintain good care and regular veterinary checkups.
Some of the more common health problems German Shepherd Pit Bulls suffer from include:
- Skin Irritation
- Hip Dysplasia
- Heart Disease
As with all dogs, you should keep up with your German Shepherd Pit Bull’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your dog healthy.
German Shepherd Pit Bulls are prone to weight gain. It’s best to stick to a meal schedule. They also have high energy levels. About three hours a day of activity is recommended. Agility training, hiking, walking, running, or playing around a yard will keep them happy.
Check their ears for debris and pests daily and clean them as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog’s nails before they get too long–usually once or twice per month. They should not be clicking against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.
One of the toughest jobs when caring for a German Shepherd Pit Bull is maintaining their oral health. You should brush their teeth daily, as many breeds are prone to dental issues. Your veterinarian can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly.
If you find your dog dragging their bottom or “scooting” they may need their anal glands expressed. It’s worth it to have this done professionally. Vets or groomers are good at performing this messy task.
A German Shepherd Pit Bull, diet should be formulated for a medium- to large-sized breed with high energy and exercise needs. You should consult your veterinarian or professional pet nutritionist for advice on what to feed your German Shepherd Pit Bull and the correct portion sizes.
Their dietary needs will change as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood and into their senior years. Stay on top of these nutritional requirements.
You’ll need to take special care with feeding and exercising a German Shepherd Pit Bull puppy. Their German Shepherd parents grow very rapidly between the ages of four and seven months, making them susceptible to bone disorders. They do well on a high-quality, low-calorie diet that keeps them from growing too fast.
It’s recommended to not allow your puppy to run, jump, or play on hard surfaces like pavement until they’re at least two years old and their joints are fully formed. It’s fine for puppies to play on grass or carpet, and inch high jumps are okay.
Overfeeding your German Shepherd Pit Bull and letting them pack on the pounds can cause joint problems, as well as other health conditions. Limit treats, keep them active, and serve them regular meals rather than leaving food available at all times.
Coat Color And Grooming
German Shepherd Pit Bull coats are often a mix of their German Shepherd and Pit Bull parents’ coats and colors. The main colors of German Shepherd Pit Bulls coats are brown, black, white, grey, tan, and fawn. Almost never solid, their coats are generally a mixture of two or more colors.
They usually have short thick coats, and this mixed breed is not recommended for people with allergies. They tend to shed quite a bit and you may need to pick up a RoboVac. These pups will require at least three good brushes per week. Only bathe as needed so you don’t strip the coat of it’s natural oils. Brushing will also help to spread the oils throughout the coat.
German Shepherd Pit Bulls may be able to handle some extreme weather conditions for short periods of time. It really depends on which parents’ genes are more dominant. These dogs must live indoors with their families.
Children And Other Pets
When well-trained and having had plenty of exposure to kids, a German Shepherd Pit Bull is a great companion for a large family with kids. However their size could put them at a disadvantage around smaller children. They could easily accidentally knock over a toddler.
It’s important to teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children. Teach your child never to approach any dog while they’re eating or to try to take the dog’s food away. No matter how friendly, no dog should ever be left unsupervised with a small child.
German Shepherd Pit Bulls can get along well other dogs, especially if raised with them. Socialization early on is a must for this mixed breed. If you’re dealing with an adult dog who has not been socialized, they will probably require a physically strong handler when in public settings to manage them.
For a better understanding of this breed read more about their parent breeds, the German Shepherd and American Pit Bull Terrier.
It may be hard to find a breed-specific rescue for German Shepherd Pit Bulls because they are a mixed breed. However, you may want to try German Shepherd Dog or American Pit Bull Terrier breed specific rescues, as they often care for mixes, as well. Here are some rescues you can try:
- German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County
- Save-A-Bull Rescue