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Pitbull German Shepherd Mix

Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
German Pit - Beagle and Pitbull Mix
The parents of German Pit. Left: Pitbull, Right: German Shepherd

Independent and Energetic

The German Shepherd Pit bull Mix is a large mixed breed dog blending the German Shepherd with the Pit bull. He can also be called a German Pit, German Sheppit and Shepherd Pit. He is a common hybrid and should live between 10 to 12 years. He is a powerful dog and is often used as a guard dog. However he does need firm handling and early socialization and training to get a handle on his aggression that usually is expressed towards other dogs. This can also help with the weak nerves he can have around people.

Here is the German Shepherd Pit bull Mix at a Glance
Average height 18 – 24 inches
Average weight 65 – 85 pounds
Coat type Short or medium, dense, thick
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Moderate
Shedding Moderate
Brushing Daily if he will let you
Touchiness High
Tolerant to Solitude? Low
Barking Frequent
Tolerance to Heat Moderate to good
Tolerance to Cold Moderate
Good Family Pet? Good to very good with early socialization
Good with Children? Good to very good with training and early socialization
Good with other Dogs? Moderate if trained and socialized – can be aggressive towards them
Good with other Pets? Good if raised with them
A roamer or Wanderer? Moderate
A Good Apartment Dweller? Not really needs room
Good Pet for new Owner? No, needs someone who can handle the training and deal with the nerves and dog aggression
Trainability Fairly good if you are experienced at it
Exercise Needs Fairly high
Tendency to get Fat Moderate
Major Health Concerns Bloat, DM, EPI, Hypothyroidism, heart problems
Other Health Concerns Joint dysplasia, allergies
Life Span 10 – 12 years
Average new Puppy Price $200 to $600
Average Annual Medical Expense $485 to $600
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $500 to $600

Where does the German Shepherd Pit bull Mix come from?

In the last 20 to 30 years there has been a huge increase in breeding mixed dogs or hybrids deliberately. Some call them designer dogs, and some results have been hugely popular and attract a hefty price, and some not so popular. In most cases too there is very little information on who first bred them and why they were bred. Sadly this trend has attracted the worst sort of people who do not care about what traits they are breeding together or the health of the puppies and are just making money from people who should not be buying from them. With the German Shepherd Pit bull Mix we can presume they wanted a dog with the loyalty and brains of the German Shepherd and the agility and power of the Pit bull. However there are no guarantees with these puppies. You can get different looks and personalities in the same little. Here is a look at the two parents to get an idea of where the offspring comes from.

The German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is not a very old breed, he has his beginnings in the very late 19th century to the start of the 20th century. He was bred in Germany to be a sheep herder, to drive them and protect them. The German cavalry officer who created him wanted an athletic, intelligent and skillful dog. He saw a wolfish looking dog on his observation trips of other dogs and liked that look. While he was successful in his breeding he realized very quickly that the need for herding dogs was now on the decline. He wanted his dog to thrive and be a working dog so using his connections he reached out to the military and the police. And the German Shepherd excelled in every filed he was put in. He took on many vital roles in the World Wars and still today is used with huge success in several areas.

This dog is intelligent, reserved with strangers but not aggressive and protective. With his family and owner he is completely loyal, affectionate and easy going. He is a good watch dog, trainable, but does need plenty of mental and physical activity or he can become bored and act out. He is also not good at being alone for a long time.

The American Pit bull

The terrier and bulls were created in England in the 1800s to take part if bear and bull baiting. This was a very popular spectator sport in those days. When it was banned dog fighting took its place. Since his purpose was to fight he was bred to be powerful, courageous, aggressive but only to other animals or later dogs. Human handlers needed to know they could approach these dogs or reach into the ring and not get hurt. When they were brought to America they were bred to be larger and were used as farm dogs. They would help hunt, guard and be a companion.

Today this is a confident, strong but gentle dog when bred responsibly. He does not care his size makes him inappropriate for your lap and will do what he can to at least get his head there when it is time to relax together! He is alert but is not aggressive unless he has to protect you from a real threat. He loves people and having company and wants to be at the center of it all as much as possible.


The German Shepherd Pit Bull Mix is a calm dog for the most part and can actually be timid sometimes with people and aggressive with other dogs, requiring early socialization to help him with his interactions. With a well rounded, trained and socialized dog you can expect him to still be more dominant with other dogs though less aggressive. While he enjoys time spent with you he is not always going to be demanding attention and is a dog you can leave to entertain himself or nap while you get on with something around the house without tripping on the dog all the time. However he does not do well being left alone in the house for long periods. He is energetic and his behavior will be a lot better if you give him the exercise he needs.

What does a German Shepherd Pit bull Mix look like

The German Shepherd Pit Bull Mix is a large dog weighing 65 to 85 pounds and measuring 18 to 24 inches tall. He can either look like the Pit bull with a short muzzle and ears that are half bent, or he can look more like the German Shepherd with a longer muzzle. His coat is usually short to medium in length and can be dense and thick. Common colors are tan, gray, white, black and fawn.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the German Shepherd Pit Bull Mix need to be?

He needs a lot of exercise each day as he has a lot of energy. He comes from two breeds where were bred to work so he needs mental as well as physical stimulation. A brisk walk twice a day, as well as play, access to a yard and a visit to the dog park sometimes is good. He would also enjoy joining his owner for a jog or run. He can get restless so living in an apartment is not ideal. Before the age of one because his legs are shorter keep the walks at a gentle pace, after that age he can handle a faster pace.

Does he train quickly?

He needs a strong leader in his trainer and owner otherwise he will try to dominate you. For that reason he is best suited to those with experience in training dogs. Use positive means to train him, he is intelligent and as long as he is not able to dominate you the training should go well. Experience and skill are key here. He will train fairly quickly if you have those two key things. If not training may be harder. Early socialization and training are important for him in managing any weak nerves and aggression to other dogs.

Living with a German Shepherd Pit bull Mix

How much grooming is needed?

He will need to be brushed regularly, ideally daily if you can get him used to it and enjoying it from a young age it is a lot easier to accomplish! He may try to avoid being brushed initially until he gets used to it. Be gentle and eventually he will learn it can actually be pleasant. Use a wide tooth comb and move from head towards his tail. He does shed and seasonally it will worsen especially if his coat is more like the German Shepherd’s. A bath can help during seasonal shedding times, otherwise bathe when he needs it. Check his ears once a week for infection and give them a wipe to clean them, and brush his teeth at least three times a week if possible. When it comes to his nails If his regular activity does not naturally wear them down either trim them carefully taking care not to go too short, or have a groomer do it for you.

What is he like with children and other animals?

As covered to get the best well rounded dog he needs early socialization and training. With those and when raised with children he is good with them. The children too should be taught how to play safely with dogs and what things they should not do. He is not a mixed breed that is great with other dogs though. He may be okay with other pets in general if he has been raised with them.

General information

He does tend to bark a fair amount so if you have neighbors who will be bothered by this you may need to re-think things. He will need to eat 3 to 4 cups of good quality dry dog food daily, split into two meals. He is better in moderate climates, nothing extreme.

Health Concerns

Health concerns to look out for are the ones he could inherit from his parents such as Bloat, DM, EPI, Hypothyroidism, heart problems, Joint dysplasia and allergies. To reduce the chances of having any of those crop up buy from a responsible breeder and ask to see health clearances. There are less breeders of mixed breeds who are willing to offer these but it is well worth holding it for one, and this is a great way to avoid giving puppy mills your money.

Costs involved in owning a German Shepherd Pit bull Mix

A Puppy should cost around $200 to $600 with other initial costs for crate, neutering, chipping, collar, leash and blood tests all coming to about $450 to $500. Average annual medical expenses for shots, pet insurance, flea prevention and check ups is $485 to $600. Average annual non-medical expenses for food, training, license, treats and toys are $500 to $600.


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This mixed breed does get some criticism for putting a strong aggressive breed with an intelligent dog who wants to lead. But the idea this dog is ferocious is really unfounded. Give him the socialization and training he needs and the exercise and mental stimulation and he will give you his loyalty, his love and his companionship.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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