Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

German Shepherd Pit Mix (Sheppit): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

German Shepherd Pit Mix (Sheppit)

Height: 17–26 inches
Weight: 30–90 pounds
Lifespan: 10–13 years
Colors: Fawn, brown, black, white, gray, tan
Suitable for: Protection purposes, active companions
Temperament: Intelligent, receptive, protective, alert, loyal

The German Shepherd Pit mix, or Sheppit, is a hybrid of the German Shepherd and American Pit Bull Terrier. These impressive, substantial dogs are full of personality. There’s no question this is a brave, fearless canine companion with insurmountable loyalty. This beautiful specimen is a sight to behold and can bring much joy into the right home.

These dogs are not for the faint of heart, so if you’re a novice dog owner—this dog probably isn’t for you. But in the right circumstances, they make amazingly loving, protective companions.

divider 9

German Shepherd Pit Mix Puppies


The cost of a Sheppit puppy is relatively low. This dog is a mix of two moderately common breeds, which means they will be easier to find. You must be selective about how the puppy has been raised. Without fully knowing about the genetics of your puppy, it gives a bit of room for unwanted behavioral traits or inherited health concerns. You must know about each parent’s lineage, and the breeder should provide this information.

Backyard breeding is a significant concern with the Sheppit. Pit Bulls and German Shepherds are both prevalent dog breeds. Since it’s easy for just any John Doe to get their hands on a pair, you may find people irresponsibly breeding to make a fast buck.

It’s crucial to make sure the breeder you select is reputable, preferably with a proven list of successful litters. Ensure they are correctly vet-checked, healthy, and sound. Seeing both parents—and even meeting them—can give light to the temperament and overall well-being of your puppy.

3 Little-Known Facts About the German Shepherd Pit Mix

1. Early Socialization Prevents Bad Behavior

These breeds can exhibit bad behavior from an early age if they aren’t appropriately stimulated and socialized. Both dogs do best when they grow up being used to interactions with strangers and new situations. Isolated Sheppits can become more aloof or aggressive than one who has had lots of time away from home.

2. Pit Bulls Were Once Known As “Nanny Dogs”

Pit Bulls were thought to be nanny dogs, which doesn’t mean they were safe alone around children. It simply means that they are incredibly gentle, doting, and protective toward them. Because of this, many households wanted a Pit as a family dog.

3. German Shepherds Are Masterfully Skilled in a Variety of Job Roles

German Shepherds are agile, nimble, and trainable. They are incredibly quick thinkers and are intuitively inclined. These traits make them perfect in many areas of need, such as police work, service or support animals, military dogs, and bomb detection.

The parent breeds of the Sheppit
Image Credit: Left – Caroline Ziemkiewicz, Unsplash | Right – Osetrik, Shutterstock

Divider 2

Temperament & Intelligence of the German Shepherd Pit Mix 🧠

Both the German Shepherd and Pit Bull benefit greatly from mental stimulation. Shepherds are the third smartest of all canines, so a Sheppit is definitely going to require thought-related tasks. Keeping their minds occupied is just as crucial to the breed as physical activity itself.

Pit bulls thrive on pleasing owners with unwavering loyalty, too. So, this combination ensures puppies will be very likely to listen to their owners. Everyday tasks like potty time and basic commands should practically be second nature to these dogs. Bigger concepts will come just as easily with patient, firm teachings.

The Sheppit may be territorial, aloof, and even aggressive toward anyone or anything outside of your home. They’re highly protective, guard-oriented, and take house-watching duties very seriously. If you want an ultimate protector of your homestead, you’re definitely looking in the right place.

They can also be goofy, friendly, and fun-loving. How your dog’s temperament ends up has much to do with early socialization, daily stimulation, and exposure to the outside world. Even well-socialized Sheppits might still exhibit reservations about unfamiliar things.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Sheppits can make ideal companion animals for several different lifestyles. However, because Shepherds and Pit Bulls are both considered dangerous dogs, many apartments, condos, and rentals will not allow either breed. You must know these terms in your area before opting for a pup.

Naturally, both individual breeds are highly protective of their household. So, it’s only right to conclude this cross will make an excellent watch or guard dog. They will not disappoint when it comes to keeping those in your home safe from intruders. These dogs will likely be very loving and gentle with children. However, it would be best if you supervised any interactions between your dog and kids. Because of their size, they may work best in households with older children.

If you are gone most of the day, the Sheppit does not do well alone for long periods. They thrive on companionship and entertainment. They are likely to develop bad habits if they are secluded for too long. You won’t be able to leave them in a kennel all day and expect good results.

However, since this dog is highly trainable, they will likely be one you can trust roaming free at home with no mishaps while you’re away. Of course, until they are adults, they won’t be the most outstanding candidates for roaming. Puppies can be very destructive and prone to chewing.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

If you live near other people, you’ll need to have a fence or keep them on a leash rather than running free. Both dogs have an exceptionally high prey drive and can be very territorial. They can also jump quite high, so ensure that all enclosures are secure if they are unattended.

These dogs can do well with other dogs if they are raised together. However, same-sex aggression is common among both breeds. Spaying or neutering may work to solve some of this behavior, but it’s not guaranteed. They will do best in pairs of opposite genders. Some may never do well with other dogs at all. They might also never work with smaller pets, even cats. Each parent of this breed has an intense prey drive that makes them incompatible with smaller animals. These factors may vary from dog to dog.

Pit Bulls don’t herd livestock, nor were they ever used for that purpose. Shepherds over the years helped out with farm work, so their lineage is familiar. Whether these dogs are compatible with livestock is dependent on which end of the spectrum they land.

For safety, you shouldn’t leave any dog alone with a smaller animal unsupervised. No matter how well-trained, accidents can happen—even unintentionally during play.

Divider 5

Things to Know When Owning a German Shepherd Pit Mix:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Both German Shepherds and Pit Bulls exert a lot of physical energy. To replenish their bodies, they benefit from high protein, calorie-dense diets—especially during puppyhood. Having a diet with healthy carbs, whole protein, and plenty of vitamins and minerals is essential.

Dry kibble is the best main source of food for your Sheppit. It cleans their teeth to prevent dental issues while providing a well-rounded diet. Adult Sheppits should have between 3 to 4 cups of high-quality kibble per day, depending on weight. You can add wet food as a topper to their meals occasionally. You can also offer wholesome snacks like carrots, apples, cucumber, and other fruits or veggies.

Both breeds are food-motivated, so they’ll never turn down a quick treat. But be careful not to overfeed them, as these dogs are prone to bloat. Bloat is caused by eating too quickly, which can be detrimental—especially in larger breeds.

Exercise 🐕

Both breeds need plenty of physical activity in a day—at minimum, 90 minutes.

Specific amounts will depend on your particular puppy. However, they need to exert themselves to be their happiest and healthiest.  This is not a dog you can lock in a kennel all day. If they aren’t able to run off excess steam, they can exhibit aggression or destructive behaviors.

These dogs will enjoy going on walks, runs, and other adventures. You won’t have an issue persuading them to take a jaunt around the block. They will also enjoy games of fetch and hide-and-seek with their masters. Make sure to offer lots of different types of toys. You can keep them entertained for hours chasing around the latest plaything. Different textures, styles, and colors of the toy will stimulate different parts of the brain and keep them occupied.

Training 🦮

German Shepherds are one of the most receptive breeds for training. There is a reason they are handpicked for jobs in service, police training, and obedience. While Pit Bulls generally aren’t seen in these roles, they are also intelligent and receptive to command cues.

These dogs require an alpha, so it’s essential to healthily assert your dominance in the relationship as early as possible. For training to be successful, the dog must respect you and know their place. A dog who doesn’t understand the hierarchy may be unruly or resistant to your orders.

A firm, patient, and dominant demeanor is the best attitude to have while teaching these dogs. If you are consistent and persistent, they will learn quickly and impressively. They can even undergo agility training and more comprehensive tasks due to their physical and mental capabilities. Because this breed can be hard to handle in some circumstances, undergoing obedience training with a professional may be worth consideration.

Grooming ✂️

German Shepherds have a double coat, which means they have a dense under-layer of fur with a longer overcoat. Pit Bulls have a sleek, singular layer of fur. This combination can create a few different outcomes. They may have the thicker coat of the Shepherd, or the thin, short coat of the Pit Bull—or a coat somewhere in the middle.

Coat colors can vary between any possibilities of the Pit or Shepherd. Black and tan, as well as fawn, can be dominant colors. There can also be a mixture of colors and textures. They should be relatively to care for—a few passes of a brush every few days should get the job done. Sometimes, a slicker brush can get the dense undercoat to reduce shedding and clean dead hair. A Sheppit doesn’t benefit from being shaved.

Even if you live in a hot climate, shaving a Sheppit won’t keep them any cooler—as they sweat through their paw pads.

Health and Conditions ❤️

While the German Shepherd Pit mix is generally healthy, they can suffer from a few conditions. Keep a particularly keen eye out for those listed below, and be sure to maintain regular checkups with your local vet.

Minor Conditions
  • Bladder stones
  • Skin allergies
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Heart disease

Divider 8

Male vs. Female

Each dog will have an individual personality that comes with perks and downfalls. However, some behavioral traits are typically more often seen in males or females.

Male Sheppits tend to mature slower, so they may be harder to train initially. Males can be a bit more rambunctious and less receptive to acknowledging lousy behavior. They are also generally more territorial or suspicious of newcomers, whereas females tend to be warier of other dogs.

Females tend to be more intuitive with your expectations from an earlier age. However, they can be more selective about who they like and can be moodier than males.

Both males and females can exhibit extreme alpha behavior with other pets. In most circumstances, same-sex pairs aren’t compatible.

Divider 3

Final Thoughts

If you’re up for the task, the physically attractive, remarkably smart German Shepherd Pit Bull mix may be what makes your world complete. They will be highly trainable, ultra-receptive, and loving toward their owner. You will need to be firm and patient, creating a beautiful relationship with mutual respect.

Always remember to buy responsibly. And if you can—adopt a dog in need.

Featured Image: Left – German Shepherd (Capri23auto, Pixabay), Right – American Pit Bull Terrier (Katrin B., Pixabay)

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database