The German Shepherd is one of the most popular dogs in the world and so is the Pitbull. So, who wouldn’t love to get their hands on a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?
A combination of brains, beauty and devotion to boot, the German Shepherd Pitbull mix (aka the Shepherd Bull) is certainly a dog lover’s dream. But is this really the best dog for you?
That’s what we’re here to find out.
What Is A German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?
The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is a cross breed. His parents are the purebred German Shepherd and a purebred pitbull.
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix is a cross between the purebred German Shepherd and a purebred Pitbull. Because there are several types of Pitbulls, the characteristics and many traits of your German Shepherd Pitbull mix could vary more greatly than usual.
That said, there are a few traits we can pinpoint, thanks to this hybrid dog’s growing popularity over the past few years.
Let’s take a quick look at an overview of this dynamic dog below:
Other Names: Shepherd Bull, Sheppit, German Sheppit
Height: 17 to 26 Inches
Weight: 30 to 90 Pounds
Temperament: Intelligent, Devoted, Affectionate, Family-Oriented
Best Suited For: Experienced Dog Owners, Dog Owners With Lots Of Time And Commitment, Active Dog Owners
Lifespan: 10 to 12 Years
Health Issues: Allergies, Bloat, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, Patellar Luxation, Zinc-Responsive Dermatitis, Neuronal ceroid Lipofuscinosis, Bladder Stones, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Clubs That Recognize The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix: None
Breed Bans and Breed Discrimination – What You Should Know About Controversial Canines
The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix has some controversial obstacles to overcome. Crossbreeding is one of them.
Over the past few years, breed bans have been lifting throughout the United States. Both the German Shepherd and the Pitbull were considered controversial breeds, but the Pitbull was considered more controversial and perhaps even more dangerous than his German Shepherd counterpart.
That said, breed bans continue to still be a problem for dog lovers throughout the United States. So, what should you know if you’re considering investing in a dog that may be deemed as potentially “dangerous”?
Unfortunately, rules are rules. If there are certain breed bans in your region, it’s best not to invest in a dog like a German Shepherd Pitbull mix. Doing so could put both you and your dog at risk, and picking a dog that is banned in specific areas is a common reason many Pitbulls and Pit mixes are turned over to shelters.
But is there anything to these breed bans? The truth is, dogs like Pitbulls do have one of the strongest dog bites in the canine kingdom. So when they do bite, their bite can be devastating. That said, the rate at which Pitbulls and Pitbull mix dogs bite has been determined to be less than that of a number of other, much more common breeds.
So, basically, the dangers behind owning a Pitbull German Shepherd mix has less to do with the breed and much more to do with how your German Shepherd Pitbull mix is raised. We’ll talk more about this further down in temperament.
For now, let’s move on and discuss another controversial fact about the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix: crossbreeding.
Crossbreeding is the practice of breeding two specific purebred dogs to create an offspring with a combination of desired traits. This is an ancient practice that has been going on for centuries, though it has skyrocketed in popularity over the past two decades.
The reason it’s controversial is because newer generation crossbreed dogs like the German Shepherd Pitbull mix are considered unpredictable by way of health, appearance and temperament.
However, there are some benefits to crossbreeding, with many pointing to hybrid vigor, (the idea that crossbreed dogs are healthier than purebreds), as a reason to support the practice.
Whichever side of the fence you stand on, one thing is for sure – the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
With that noted, let’s talk about the origin of this fascinating crossbreed. Keep reading.
The Origin Of The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
Because he’s a newer mixed breed, the German Shepherd Pitbull mix dog’s history is still being written.
The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is a newer crossbreed, which means his origin is still a mystery to us. What we know about him we have gathered from the histories of his purebred parent breeds, and this gives us a great insight into what makes this dog tick.
Take a look.
The German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is a rugged working dog hailing from the rough mountains of Germany, where he worked as a guard dog, protection dog, and herding dog for livestock. Beloved for his loyalty and intelligence, it wasn’t long before the German Shepherd also became a popular war dog.
Today, he sits at number 2 out of 197 on the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dog breeds. He’s also one of the top dogs chosen for police work, military work, and service dog work.
The term “Pitbull” is an umbrella term used to describe several bully type dogs that fall under this category. As of now, there is only one official Pitbull type recognized by the American Kennel Club, and this is the American Staffordshire Terrier.
For the most part, Pitbulls are known for their stocky, muscular build, their boxy muzzles, and their loyal temperaments. Devoted, affectionate, and people oriented, Pitbulls are loyal to a fault. They were bred for bull baiting and blood sports in the 1800’s, but once these practices were outlawed Pitbulls found new roles for themselves.
Today, they serve not only as family companions, but also as service dogs, police dogs, military dogs, war dogs, search and rescue dogs and even therapy dogs.
The Average German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Temperament
Though German Shepherd Pitbull mix dogs are intelligent and people oriented, they are not ideal for first time dog owners.
Despite having somewhat of a controversial past, both the Pitbull and the German Shepherd are rising stars. This is greatly due to their personalities and temperaments. Combined, the German Shepherd Pitbull mix makes a loving, devoted, and family-oriented dog that can do well with children and other pets so long as he is properly raised and socialized.
Some types of Pitbull dogs may struggle to get along with other dogs, so this should be taken into consideration when investing in a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix. However, for the most part, these dogs do great in the right hands.
Bred protection dogs, the German Shepherd Pitbull mix can be prone to resource guarding and protective instincts if not properly trained. He may also be wary of strangers if he is not socialized at an early age.
The ideal owner for a German Shepherd Pitbull mix is going to be an experienced dog owner with an understanding of working breeds and who realizes the importance of early socialization, consistent training, and who is committed to providing their dog with plenty of nurturing and time.
When it comes to raising a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix with children, you’ll be happy to know that this is a mix who can become very bonded with his young human siblings.
For the most part, these dogs are considered to be gentle and protective playmates for youngsters, though it’s still imperative that you monitor young children around your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix to ensure everyone is getting along safely.
It’s also important not to leave very young children alone with any dog and to take the time to teach older children basic canine body language so they can better read when their dog is stressed, anxious or fearful.
The Importance of Training And Socializing A German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
Socialization and training are important for all dogs, but especially for large breed dogs like the German Shepherd Pitbull mix.
As we touched on briefly above, training and socialization are going to be key to ensuring your German Shepherd Pitbull mix lives a happy and healthy life. Without proper training and socialization, the German Shepherd Pitbull mix can be prone to a variety of serious behavioral issues including fear-based aggressive tendencies and destructive behaviors like barking, marking and chewing.
Training your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix should begin as early as possible, ideally during puppyhood, and continue on throughout his entire life. German Shepherd Pitbull mix dogs are highly intelligent and typically eager to please, and they do best with positive reinforcement training techniques like treats and praise.
Part of any good training regimen is ensuring you have quality training treats to help hold your dog’s focus. The best training treats are going to be small, soft, and super smelly.
These types of training treats help to hold your dog’s interest by tapping into all his senses, and their smaller size allows for more rapid feeding during training sessions when needed without loading your dog up on calories.
Pupford Freeze Dried Training Treats
Some of our favorite doggy training treats are the Pupford Freeze Dried Training Treats above. These treats are freeze dried and made with natural ingredients and real meat chicken. They are only 1 calorie a treat and are perfect for dogs like German Shepherd Pitbull mixes who might be prone to food sensitivities or allergies.
However, we should note that chicken can exacerbate allergies in some dogs. If your dog is sensitive to chicken, choose training treats that are made with beef, lamb, salmon, duck, or even peanut butter.
You should also avoid punishment during training, as this can lead to a breakdown in communication with your German Shepherd Pitbull mix and may even harm the bond built between the two of you.
Along with training, we suggest you begin socializing your German Shepherd Pitbull mix as early as possible. If you’re raising your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix with children, we recommend making sure your dog is used to being handled and played with by youngsters.
It’s also imperative to introduce your dog to as many new experiences, people, other animals, sights, sounds and places as possible while he is young so that he can grow up with confidence in the world around him.
Of course, making sure these first impressions are positive for your German Shepherd Pitbull mix is key during the socialization phase. Avoid forcing your dog into situations that frighten him, and instead allow him to explore the world at his own pace.
How To Ensure Your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Is Properly Exercised
These are active and intelligent dogs, and they need exercise and mental stimulation every day.
If you’re investing in a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix, you better be ready to get active! These dogs are high energy dogs that require at least two walks a day and at least an hour or longer devoted to routine exercise.
They make wonderful jogging buddies and will also enjoy good hikes and adventures like camping and road trips. Keeping your German Shepherd Pitbull mix active and engaged daily is the best way to help reduce behavioral issues in the mix, especially when it comes to destructive behaviors or aggressive tendencies stemming from depression, boredom and anxiety.
When you do exercise your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix, we would recommend investing in the right equipment. Because these dogs are strong and athletic, some owners are tempted to buy choke chains or prong collars to reduce pulling on walks.
Not only are these types of equipment potentially dangerous to your dog’s health, but they’ve also been proven to work less effectively than many other no-pull harnesses that are safe and comfortable for your dog.
2 Hounds No Pull Freedom Dog Harness
The Freedom Harness above by 2 Hounds is a very popular no pull dog harness that is ideal for large, athletic dogs like the German Shepherd mix. It works by clipping both in the front and the back, which offers much more control for you during walks and outings.
The front clip also makes it so that your dog feels less inclined to pull, and if he does he will be gently redirected back to you. When you use treats and praise along with the right walking equipment, you can help teach your dog great walking manners.
Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise, especially when it comes to an intelligent, work-oriented dog like the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix. Because the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix enjoys learning and is so devoted to his human family, he will enjoy learning new tricks and cues throughout his lifetime. He can even be trained to help out with routine daily chores like loading the dishwasher or bringing in the mail.
Other forms of mental stimulation for a German Shepherd Pitbull mix could include investing in puzzle toys that challenge your dog to think in order to get to treats. He might also enjoy KONGS for large breed dogs that are stuffed with tasty treats or dog safe peanut butter to help keep him busy while you are away.
You can even implement mental stimulation into daily exercise routines by setting up canine agility courses in your backyard or inside your home if you have the space.
Grooming A German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
German Shepherd Pitbull Mix dogs are shedding dogs, and they shed year round.
Grooming is an important part of helping your dog not only look his best, but feel his best. Grooming also gives you a hands-on look at your dog to ensure you aren’t missing any subtle changes that might need to be seen by a vet.
Best of all, grooming is an opportunity for you to build on your bond with your dog.
Luckily, grooming a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is relatively simple and low maintenance. Like all dogs, the German Shepherd Pitbull mix will need his ears checked and cleaned regularly to keep them from building up debris that could cause ear infections. Their teeth should be brushed daily with dog-safe toothpaste and their nails should be ground down often to keep them from cracking or breaking.
While German Shepherd Pits are shedders, they don’t shed too heavily and only require brushing about two or three times a week to remove loose hair.
Pet Neat Grooming Brush
The Pet Neat Grooming Brush is ideal for short-coated dogs like the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix because it helps to gently and effectively remove loose hair that builds up on the body.
The teeth are also grooved to make brushing more comfortable for your dog. When used correctly, this deshedding brush can help remove up to 95% of shed hair, which will not only help reduce hair on your clothing and furniture, but it can also help reduce doggy odor and skin issues in your dog.
It’s important to make sure you bathe your German Shepherd Pitbull mix about once every six weeks. He shouldn’t need more baths than this unless he gets into something particular dirty in between.
Over-bathing your German Shepherd Pitbull mix can exasperate skin issues and even strip your dog’s skin of the natural oils it produces that help to keep his coat healthy.
Because the German Shepherd Pitbull mix can be prone to some skin issues, it’s important to use a quality dog shampoo that is free of parabens, alcohols, and other additives that might worsen skin sensitivities.
And speaking of skin issues, let’s talk a bit more about the German Shepherd Pitbull’s most common health issues.
What Is The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix’s Lifespan And Are There Any Health Issues?
It’s important to have a good idea of what your German Shepherd Pitbull Mix could be prone to so you can keep on top of preventative care.
All dogs can be prone to genetic health issues, regardless of their breed or mix. That said, there are a few ways you can work to combat health issues by being proactive and having a good idea of what your particular dog might be susceptible to.
In the German Shepherd Pitbull’s case, this dog could be prone to any of the same health issues as his parent breeds.
With a lifespan of between 10 to 12 years, the German Shepherd Pitbull mix is most prone to:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Patellar Luxation
- Zinc-Responsive Dermatitis
- Neuronal ceroid Lipofuscinosis
- Bladder Stones
- And Progressive Retinal Atrophy
How To Combat Health Issues With Diet:
As you probably noticed, many of the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix dog’s health issues can be compounded by diet. These health issues include Bloat and allergies. To help reduce your dog’s chances of developing these issues, it’s important to have him on a quality dog food specified for his age, weight and activity level.
Because German Shepherd Pitbull Mix dogs have such sensitivities, you might also consider a hypoallergenic dog food or a limited ingredient diet dog food.
Exercise, Mental Stimulation and Grooming
We did talk about the importance of exercise, mental stimulation, and grooming, but it’s not only imperative to your dog’s mental and physical well being, but also his health as a whole. Ensuring your dog is exercised, mentally stimulated, and well groomed helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression, all of which can weaken the immune system in the long run.
The Importance Of Routine Vet Visits:
While diet and exercise are important, it’s just as important to keep up with routine vet visits. Most veterinarians recommend that large breed dogs under the age of seven be seen at least once a year.
Dogs over the age of seven are recommended to be seen twice a year to combat health issues brought on by aging.
If you have concerns about medical expenses or annual vet wellness exams for your German Shepherd Pitbull mix, you do have the option of investing in pet health insurance.
Deciding If The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Is Right For You
Like all dogs, there are pros and cons to owning a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix.
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix is an affectionate, intelligent dog with wonderful qualities for the right owner or family. Are you considering a German Shepherd Pitbull mix? Here are some pros and cons of the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix you should consider first.
Pros to the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is highly intelligent
- This dog can do great with children and other pets when properly socialized and trained
- They are active and make great jogging and hiking buddies
- German Shepherd Pitbull mix dogs are family-oriented
- They are devoted companions who also make great watch dogs
- The German Shepherd Pitbull mix may be healthier than purebred dogs
- German Shepherd Pitbull mix dogs are easy to groom
Cons to the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- German Shepherd Pitbull Mix dogs can be prone to a combination of unique health issues
- They sometimes struggle with food sensitivities and allergies
- German Shepherd Pitbull Mix dogs are controversial and may be banned in your region
- The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix requires lots of extensive exercise
- German Shepherd Pitbull Mix dogs are not ideal apartment dogs
- Without proper training, socialization and exercise, these dogs can develop serious behavioral issues
Picking A Breeder Or Rescue – Tips On Finding Reputable Sources
Picking the right dog for you begins with going through a reputable source you can trust.
If you’ve decided that the German Shepherd Pitbull mix is right for you, there are a few ways you can go about obtaining your future dog.
When it comes to dogs like the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix, there are several shelters and organizations that specialize in these breeds or mixes, which means you will likely be able to find the dog of your dreams through a rescue.
On average, adoption fees through a shelter range from between $250 to $500. This price can vary depending on your region and the shelter you go through. Some shelters offer behavioral testing and basic training as well as a free initial vet exam before sending their dog home with you.
Another benefit of going through a rescue to adopt a German Shepherd Pitbull mix is that if you get a dog over the age of two, you might get a dog that has already been spayed or neutered and may have even been microchipped. Count that as extra savings!
On the other hand, if you would prefer to get your German Shepherd Pitbull mix through a breeder, prepare to spend between $800 and $1,000 depending on the breeder and the quality of your Pitbull German Shepherd mix dog’s parent breeds.
When you are going through a breeder, be careful to avoid backyard breeders, uncertified online sellers, and anyone selling puppies for practically nothing or for far too much.
Going through irresponsible sources puts you more at risk of winding up with a dog that is sick and your dog may even be more prone to behavioral issues down the road.
And remember, there is nothing wrong with asking plenty of questions and requesting a certificate of health to prove your puppy has been screened and cleared of any serious health issues.
We hope this has been a helpful guide on the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix! What do you think about this unique crossbreed? Is this your dream dog?
Tell us what you think about the German Shepherd Pitbull mix in the comment section below.