What do you get if you mix a German Shepherd with a Pitbull?
Answer: A German Pit (or a German Sheppit)
The History OF The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
The German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is a large mixed-breed dog that you get when you cross a German Shepherd dog with an American Pitbull Terrier; it is often called a German Pit dog, or sometimes a German Sheppit, or even the Shepherd Pit.
It is often thought of as an aggressive and dangerous dog because of its looks and breeding history. But it’s not really!
It comes from crossing two powerful dogs that both like to be the ‘leader of the pack’. The Pitbull dog was originally bred in the United Kingdom as a fighting and baiting dog and the German Shepherd was specially bred for herding and working, in Germany.
Fact: In the wrong hands or if not treated with respect any dog could become aggressive.
Believe it or not, with the correct training and discipline, the German Pit can make a loyal family pet.
The parent mix
The German Pit is a cross-breed dog from two strong and intelligent parents:
The German Shepherd parent, is the most famous and popular breed in Germany with a strong bloodline dating back to 1899. They were bred to become the most powerful, obedient herding/ working dog: used as military/police dogs, guard dogs and skilled disability service dogs.
The American Pitbull Terrier parent – is part of the ‘bull-breed’ dogs that originated in the United Kingdom. They were bred as fighting dogs, often used for animal baiting and entertainment fighting and this earned them the reputation of being a fierce and dangerous dog; sometimes referred to as a ‘bully breed’.
In the US they became known by the name – American Pitbull Terrier dog and quickly realized that they actually had a good and caring nature around children. This earned them the nickname of ‘The Nanny’ dog.
The hybridization of the GSD and the Pitbull has produced a designer dog that is smart with a solid physique and needs to be kept very active.
What does a German Pit look like?
That depends on the parent mix.
The German Pit comes from a Pitbull father and a German Shepherd mother.
You won’t know exactly what a German Pit will look like until it’s born and it may slightly change as it grows. But, generally it will have a muscular and lean build. It usually has the solid body, broad face, and short coat of a Pitbull with the ears and color of a GSD.
Fact: Mixed breed dogs do not actually inherit exactly 50% of the genes from one parent and 50% of the other. Their characteristics can be more like one parent than the other.
As the German Pit is not a purebred dog it is not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC);
Hybrid dogs can be recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) and the Dog Registry of America (DRA). The German Pit dog is only recognized so far by the DRA in the US.
What are the main characteristics of a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?
The German Pit/German Sheppit is a large-breed dog that will have bits from both parents. It will normally be solid like the Pitbull parent, height up to 26”, and can weigh up to 90kg. It will be active and intelligent and can be friendly when trained properly, probably tan in color with some black, white, with possibly fawn or brown too.
But most of all it will be loyal, protective and very energetic.
Loyalty and companionship:
The crossbreed Sheppit can be very loyal and will like being around people and living with a family.
They are often unfairly thought of as an aggressive fighting dog that looks frightening. However with proper training and socialization they can be friendly and gentle. They like to keep active and will be very protective of their family.
They come from one of the most popular and respected dogs in the world – the GSD and a somewhat feared member of the bull breed dogs – all referred to as ‘Pitbull-like’. This mixed-breed designer dog is gaining in popularity as time is showing that it has many positive traits when trained and looked after properly.
A German Shepherd-Pitbull mix dog needs strict behavior and socialization training as a puppy. This hybrid dog has two easily trainable and intelligent, pack-dog parents, but can be bold and stubborn. It too will want to be the leader of the pack and may challenge during training. This must be dealt with immediately and shown who the boss is!
Training will take time and patience so it’s not a recommended dog breed for a first-time dog owner.
Power and intelligence:
It is strong, muscular and determined. It gets its intelligent from both parents and will have a strong mind and need challenges to stop it getting bored.
This is really important for this breed of dog! This dog looks scary and is thought to be dangerous. That’s not fair!
Therefore, early socialization and discipline training is strongly recommended for this dog breed, to teach it to mix with new people and other dogs. This will help show just how friendly and gentle it can be.
This dog still has a stigma and looks a bit fierce. When trained they can be approachable, friendly, playful and gentle too. They love company and a big space to run and play in.
It needs to keep busy and will enjoy having tasks to do and challenges to solve.
Intelligent, bold, energetic and loyal – but not for a dog for beginners!
It will become obedient with training and love freedom to play and run about.
Therefore they need to gets lots of exercise and not be left alone for long periods of time; otherwise they may bark, destroy things or dig.
|Size||Large-size breed||Large-size breed|
|Height||18-26” (46-66cm)||18-24”” (46-61cm)|
|Weight||40-90lb (18-41kg)||30-70lb (14-32kg)|
|Lifespan||10-12 years||10-12 years|
|Litter Size||5-8 puppies/litter|
Coat: Short – Medium length coat, thick and dense like a Pitbull and doesn’t shed too much
Coat Color: Depends on the parent mix – mainly tan with some black, white, fawn or brown bits.
It depends. A German Pit dog can be gentle, loving and protective of its family. It will like to be top dog and may challenge authority but with proper training it will learn who the master is.
It gets bored easily. They cannot be left alone for long periods of time, or they can become noisy and naughty.
Feelings and signals:
Dogs communicate in many ways from playing to barking. But most of all they will show you how they’re feeling with their tail.
A dog’s tail has muscles and bones that it uses for balance and communication.
Generally the position of a dog’s tail tells you how it’s feeling.
Fact: When its tail is up – it’s happy or excited, but when its tail is down it can be in pain, insecure or frightened. Never approach a dog with its tail way down!
How should you train a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix?
There are several types of training required: obedience, discipline, agility and socialization.
Each is important to help this type of puppy learn to socialize and behave. This looks like a dangerous dog so it is important to train it to challenge perceptions and show people the best of this breed instead.
How do you begin puppy training?
It will take time, patience, with positive reinforcement, using praise and small treats as a reward for success.
So, if you are not going to use a professional dog trainer – Here are some tips to begin:
1) Develop your basic command words: Find the keywords you think you will use most like Sit, Stop, and Fetch etc. and be consistent each time you use them.
2) Crate – Get a crate and get puppy used to going into it. It will become its nest and it will feel safe and sleep there. Lock the cage in the early days so it knows it has to sleep there, plus it’s useful experience if transporting your pet.
3) Potty training – May be hit and miss for a new puppy who gets easily excited and lacks control, however products are available, such as mats and odour sprays to attract puppy go to the same spot each time.
4) Walking on a leash -Voice commands and road awareness is very important for your puppy’s safety.
Health and Risks
Any mix from purebred dogs, could have congenital health problems.
A German Shepherd and an American Pitbull Terrier cross breed could develop:
Hip dysplasia is a mal-formation of the hip joint, where the ball at the top of the leg does not fit properly into the socket and the ligaments attaching it are weak. This allows excess movement of the fitting which can eventually lead to stiffness and pain for the dog.
This active dog could have hip problems, causing pain when moving.
Early warning signs are – stiffness when getting up or walking, reluctance to get up when prompted and its usual walking style can change. It can occur early or later in life. The only way to check is to trace the health history of the birth parents.
There is no cure but a Vet will help with medication to manage the pain. Don’t allow the dog to jump too much if it appears to be suffering.
Skin problems (Atopic dermatitis)
They can develop allergies causing skin conditions and itching – from grass, mold, pollen etc.
Bloat (Gastric Dilatation-volvulus)
Affects many deep-chested, larger dog breeds that like to eat large volumes quickly, drink too much water after eating or even eat too close to exercising.
Early signs are: restlessness after eating, a bloated stomach and an inability to reject excess air or food through ineffective retching.
In each case it is important to seek medical help!
Caring for your German pit from puppyhood into old age – what’s needed?
This will be a very active dog, with lots of energy and need lots of exercise. They like to play chase and fetch.
A puppy needs 1-2 hours of exercise every day and more when older otherwise it will get bored. It will love running around and adventures but not adapt to small spaces. Therefore not suited to apartment living.
Remember: Puppies should not be exercised too much on hard ground as their paws are still delicate so a mix of hard and softer ground is recommended until they are at least 2 years of age.
Leash training is strongly recommended for discipline, safety and control in the early years.
Feed as an active large-sized dog with a recommended type of specially-formulated dry food. A Vet will advise the food type, exact amount, how often and if they need extra mineral and vitamins. Puppies should have their daily amount split into 3 daily feeds.
Be careful not to over-feed them as weight gain can put pressure on their hips.
This dog has a short to medium length coat of hair that does shed but not too much so it only needs to be brushed 2-3 times a week. A good brush is recommended.
This dog has short hair like the Pitbull so bathing is only recommended when needed, but not too often as their coats contain natural oil; which can be stripped with over-bathing. Certain shampoos have the double effect of cleaning the coat and protecting it against fleas and insect bites.
Cleaning teeth, nails and ears: Check their teeth so they don’t develop a build-up of plaque in their back molars. Chewing helps, so use doggie chew toys, bare bones, soft tooth brushes and toothpaste.
Nails grow quickly and need to be trimmed regularly, say once a month, and checked for infection. Their floppy ears need to be regularly checked for dirt build-up or infection.
Anything unusual should be checked by a Vet.
What is life like for a GSPM?
They’re easy to care for as they like to keep themselves active and have fun, with lots of tasks and play; and at their best when doing something energetic and not alone.
Otherwise, with their high energy levels they may show their boredom through destroying or chewing things and barking.
They’re not suited to small living spaces and need lots of outdoor space to run around, with or without company.
They can make a great family dog. However, if you are not able to match their energy levels or be there for them then they’re not the dog for you!
Remember just how active this dog is before choosing one.
A Quick guide to the Positives and Negatives
- Loving, protective and easy to look after
- Fiercely loyal to Master and family
- Very intelligent
- Easy to train and groom
- Very energetic and active
- Sociable, gentle and likes to play
- Good with children and other dogs, when trained
- Looks like a dangerous dog
- Can be stubborn and challenge for dominance
- Can get unsettled if not occupied
- They Can destroy things and bark if left alone or bored
- Not suited to living in a small space, or inside
- Shouldn’t be left alone with small children
- Can easily gain weight which is not good for their hips
Commonly asked Questions:
Q: What is its proper name?
Is it a German Shepherd Pitbull, or a Pitbull German Shepherd mix, a German Pit, a Sheppit, a Shepherd Pit or what?
A. It is registered as the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix, but is often given shortened names too
Q. How much does it cost?
A. Approx. $200 – $600 from a reputable breeder. Always best to adopt rather than buy if you can. Food will cost around $50 per month.