Introduction of German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix are not purebred dogs. They are a hybrid cross between the German Shepherd dog and the American Pit Bull Terrier. Because they are mixed, there is not a lot of history about them, therefore, the best way to learn about this type of breed is to look at their parents’ ancestry.
As the name suggests, the German Shepherd breed originated in Germany. Captain Max von Stephanitz wanted a dog that could be used for military and police work. In 1899, he visited a dog show in Germany, where he met a dog called Hektor Linksrhein. Hektor was the result of numerous generations of very selective cross breeding. He was exactly what von Stephanitz felt was the perfect working dog. The dog’s strength, intelligence, loyalty and striking good looks, convinced him to purchase the dog. He changed the dog’s name to Horand von Grafrath, who was later declared to be the first German Shepherd.
The first Pit Bull Terriers were created in the early 1800s, by breeding Old English Terriers and Old English Bulldogs together, to produce a dog that combined the courage of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the bulldog. They were bred as fighting dogs and were used for the sport of bear and bull baiting. Being that their sole purpose was to fight, they were bred to be powerful, courageous, and aggressive towards other animals, especially towards other dogs.
Later in the century, they were brought to America, where they were used as farm dogs. They would help hunt, guard and be a companion to their human caretakers. These dogs became the direct ancestors of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix is a result of breeders wanting to design a dog with the loyalty and intelligence of the German Shepherd and the agility and power of the Pit Bull.
It is important to realize that these designer hybrid dogs, which are being bred are not always fifty percent purebred American Pit Bull Terrier and fifty percent purebred German Shepherd. It is very common for breeders to breed multi-generation crosses. There is no guarantee of the outcome with this breed. A litter of puppies can consist of many different looking dogs with a wide range of personalities.
Other Names for the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- German Pit
- Shepherd Pit
- German Sheppit
Appearance and Characteristics
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix are generally large dogs, however, as previously noted, the breeding is unpredictable and there are no guarantees.The appearance and characteristics of the dogs mostly depends on the dominant gene pool of the parent breeds.
The puppies of a cross between a German Shepherd and a American Pit Bull Terrier may adopt an appearance that looks like a German Shepherd, or a Pit Bull, or any combination of the two. They may inherit the total appearance of a single parent, or some part of each side.
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix is more likely to have a broad face and short muzzle like a Pit Bull, rather than have the facial appearance of a German Shepherd.
Their coat can either be short like the Pit Bull, or they may have medium length, thick and dense fur like the German Shepherd. Common colours include gray, white, tan, fawn, or black.
Height, Weight and Lifespan
- American Pitbull Terrier
Height: 19 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 35 to 65 pounds for an adult dog
Average Life Expectancy: 8 to 15 years
- German Shepherd
Height: 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 66 to 95 pounds for an adult dog
Average Life Expectancy: 10 to 14 years
- German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
Height: 17 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight: 60 to 90 pounds for an adult dog
Average Life Expectancy: 10 to 12 years
Temperament and Personality
Because the German Shepherd Pitbull mix is the offspring of two highly intelligent breeds, whose ancestors were trained for either military work, or for fighting purposes, their character can be stubborn and independent.
If they are trained from the time they are puppies, they can be the most loyal and sweetest dogs that you could ever meet. If a German Shepherd Pitbull dog is raised in a healthy environment, and properly trained and socialized, they can make a wonderful pet for the whole family to enjoy.
Just remember that although ethical breeders have bred out the aggressive fighting nature of the Pit Bull dog, the German Shepherd Pitbull mix still possesses the protective instincts of that half of their bloodline. Also, the German Shepherd half are also guard dogs, therefore the combination makes them very defensive of their family and property. If any family member, or any property that the family owns is under threat, the German Shepherd Pitbull dog will defend them with their life.
These are not dogs for novice owners. Because they are highly intelligent, as well as, very powerful dogs, they can easily try to dominate a less experienced individual.
If you have leadership qualities, knowledgeable about the breed and start training them as puppies, you will have a gentle, obedient and loving companion. However, if you do not take the time to train and exercise them properly, as well as, socialize them with other individuals from an early age, you can just as easily have a very aggressive and badly behaved dog.
Activity and Exercise
German Shepherd Pitbull dogs need plenty of exercise due to their high energy levels. They need at least an hour of rigourous excerise, as well as, a couple of long walks each day. Agility lessons would also benefit their health and temperament.
The German Shepherd Pit Bull mix is generally a good natured dog and friendly towards people.
Although they enjoy spending time with their guardians, they do not demand constant attention. They can easily entertain themselves, however, they do not like being left alone for extended lengths of time.
Behaviour With Children
German Shepherd Pitbulls crave attention and enjoy being around young children, therefore, they are an ideal family dog.
Behaviour With Other Pets
German Shepherd Pitbulls cannot be trusted around other animals, especially dogs. If you socialize them with other animals from a early age, they can become less aggressive, however, they are prone to try and dominate other animals. This can lead to dangerous situations, therefore, it is strongly advised never to leave them alone and unsupervised with other animals.
It is also advisable, that if you want to get a companion for your dog, that you adopt another pup of the same breed.
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix needs frequent exercise, therefore, apartment living is definitely not recommended. They need a large fenced backyard to run and play, in order to release their high energy level and not become restless and aggressive.
Because they are protective of their environment, they have a tendency to bark a lot when they see strangers and other dogs. They are also considered to be high jumpers. It is advisable to have a high fence, where they can frolic safely and in privacy.
Care and Grooming
It is beneficial to frequently brush your dog’s fur. It not only prevents shedding, but also gets your dog used to being handled and promotes bonding between you and your four-legged companion.
Because they usually have floppy ears that does not permit a lot of air circulation, their ears should be regularly checked for infections and debris.
The German Shepherd Pitbull mix is prone to skin irritation that is sometimes inherited from the Pit Bull side of the family. In order to help to prevent this problem, make sure their diet is low in grain and high in Omega fatty acids.
They are also prone to zinc-responsive dermatitis. It is important to make sure they are getting an adequate amount of zinc in their diet.
Also, always give them access to plenty of fresh clean water.
In order to make sure that your dog is receiving the proper nutrition, it is strongly advised to visit your dog’s veterinarian, who can recommend an adequate diet for their size, health and breed.
Possible Health Issues
Common ailments found in the German Shepherds Pitbull mix are:
- Skin disease
- Hip Dysplasia
- Heart disease
Make sure that you adopt your new family member from a reputable breeder, who will tell you if the dog’s parents have a clean bill of health.
Some Important Things You Should Know about a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix
- Because these dogs are stubborn, independent, powerful and highly intelligent, you need to be an experienced owner to handle this breed.
- They need a rigorous and dedicated trainer.
- They need a large high fenced backyard and plenty of exercise.
- They suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for extended periods of time.
In conclusion, a German Shepherd Pitbull mix is quite an unpredictable breed. Although this breed can be very sweet and good-natured, you need to remember that they are also very protective dogs, therefore, they should always be approached with caution.
They are known to be loyal and gentle dogs when bred responsibly and trained from an early age. They also require a lot of exercise if they are to maintain a happy disposition.
If you adopt a puppy from a reputable breeder and raise your German Shepherd Pitbull mix well, they will become your faithful companion and your most fearless protector.