Mix the world’s most loved and adored family dog with its most feared and fierce guard dog and you’ll get the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix, also referred to as the German Pit and the German Sheppit. Because of the alleged bloodthirsty demeanour of the Pitbull, many fear that the German Sheppit would be too scary for their household, but this form of thinking only comes from ignorance. German Pits make many families happy. But in order to understand the characteristics of this hybrid, you must first understand both the background and history of its parents.
Pitbulls were originally bred for use as fighting dogs, and were put against each other as a sport in Britain in the mid 19th century. They were also used as catch and hunting dogs to both catch prey and herd livestock when they came to America in the 20th century, and were a vital part of the ideal hunting family. Fast forward nearly 2 centuries later, and Pitbulls are still viewed as bloodthirsty fighting dogs that will rip your head off if they get the chance, but there is nothing further from the truth. Underneath that tough exterior is a warm and compassionate dog that desires to please his master.
German Shepherds on the other hand had a bit of a different upbringing. They were also bred as working dogs to herd sheep and protect flock in the late 19th century. They were treasured for their intelligence, sense of smell, strength and speed, and became a household name pretty soon. Nowadays, they tend to have life a little easier, and have made the transition from working dog to the ideal family pet. They love to play and have a warm and fun personality, which makes them popular members of many families worldwide.
These two are pretty big dogs, which makes their hybrid just as large, and a mix in personality of these two is unpredictable, but fun to watch and train. Despite what you’ve heard, the German Sheppit may be the best pet you never had, just take a look at these features.
German Shepherd Pitbull Appearance and Physical Attributes
While it is possible that your German Pit may get many characteristics from the German Shepherd, it is highly likely that they will have the strong facial features of a pitbull such as its short muzzle and wide head. They can either have a more fluffy coat, like the German Shepherd’s, or a more dense short haired coat like the Pitbull’s, which comes in a variety of colours. These include white, black, tan, brown, grey and fawn.
They are generally medium to large dogs, and weigh on average 65 to 85 pounds when fully grown. Their height also ranges from 18 – 25 in inches tall when fully grown, but it is said that the females are normally smaller in height and weight, in comparison to males. Both the German Shepherd and the Pitbull have strong and sturdy bodies, and so German Sheppits normally grow to be agile and muscular with long athletic legs.
Character and Personality
German Pits are generally very loving and affectionate to their owners. They enjoy being a part of families, and while they enjoy entertaining themselves, they also love to play. A big backyard would be ideal for them to get their ideal amount of physical exercise per day. While they enjoy having fun, both the German Shepherd and the Pitbull come from a background of protecting their families, and so they can get a bit defensive when intruders and other animals get too close. Signs of their rapid change in attitude will be growling at strangers or being unfriendly to other animals, and in this case they just need a little socialisation and training to fix their behaviour.
They are also very brilliant and intelligent dogs, which makes training relatively easy compared to many other purebreds and hybrids alike. They learn very quickly, and respond well to commands because of their eager to please demeanour, but it is best to train them at an early age when it comes to behavioral modification and getting along with strangers. Another strong personality trait is that these dogs display strong leadership qualities, most likely inherited from the German Shepherd’s ability to herd cattle as a working dog in the past. They quickly assume a leadership position and tend to want to dominate every pack.
Grooming and Maintenance
One of the best things about adopting a German Shepherd Pitbull Mix is that they require very little grooming. Their fur varies in length, and some can be fluffier and denser than others, but a weekly brush will get rid of any excessive dirt or build up. Try not to over bath them despite their love for the outdoors, and when you do bathe them, make sure you use a dog shampoo that is gentle on their skin, so irritation or inflammation does not occur. Lastly, German Sheppits are naturally more prone to ear wax buildup and other ear infections, so be sure to make cleaning their ears a part of the grooming process. A monthly trip to the dog groomer’s will take care of all these needs if you do not have enough time to dedicate to their care.
German Sheppit Health and Lifespan
German Pits live up to 12 years once they are healthy, and get enough physical exercise, but there are a number of health conditions that you need to watch out for if you intend on getting this dog. While none of these conditions are attributed directly to the German Pit, there parental breeds may pass these down as congenital defects, or they could develop them in the near future. These include:
- Joint and Hip Dysplasia – (make sure they get enough physical exercise to prevent this condition from developing)
- Heart Conditions
- Allergic Reactions
- Skin Irritations
Despite the careless whispers about the cons associated with getting any dog with a Pitbull mix, the German Sheppit defies these rumours by being one of the most affectionate and loving dogs anyone could have. Don’t miss out on happiness by listening to the rumours, who knows, this might be the best decision of your life.