A courageous dog with a heart of gold, the Pit Bull-German Shepherd mix is an endearing dog indeed. This story provides some information about this mix breed and lists the things you need to consider before getting this dog as a pet.
What's In A Name?
The Pit Bull-German Shepherd is known as the Shepherd Pit and also as the German Sheppit.
A cross between the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and the German Shepherd (GSD) raises a lot of misunderstandings among many people. There have been many scathing attacks made towards both these breeds because of their apparent 'aggression'.
However, what most fail to see is that the dogs have become like that because of the way they have been raised. It is not the animal to blame, but the owner in reality. The Pit Bull-German Shepherd mix (Shepherd Pit) is a wonderful dog to have as a pet.
The only thing is that it is not exactly an ideal breed for inexperienced dog owners. Keeping a dog like this requires constant and consistent efforts on the part of the owners. For instance, proper and timely socialization is extremely important for this breed. So is proper training and daily exercising.
No leeway can be taken with these aspects, otherwise the outcome would be unpleasant. However, if you are an owner who is willing to do what it takes to raise this amazing breed, then read on to know some more facts about the Shepherd Pit, and also what considerations need to be made before getting one home.
American Pit Bull Terrier
Shepherd Pit Puppy
The Shepherd Pit is taller than the APBT and shorter than the GSD. Its height can be anything between 18 to 25 inches, and its weight can range from 60 to 85 pounds. It usually has floppy ears, but some individual dogs will have erect ears as well.
The tail is long and will be slightly curved. Its overall appearance is lean and muscular. The muzzle is long, and the head is slightly broad. The eyes are almond-shaped and dark-colored. The Shepherd Pit's coat will be of medium length, between the coat lengths of its parents.
Commonly found colors are black, fawn, and black and tan. You can guess from these figures that this breed is large-sized. So be absolutely sure that you can occupy a dog this big in your house comfortably.
No dog is bad at heart. It is the irresponsible owners that turn their dogs into vicious, scary animals. Add to that unethical breeders, and you have got yourself a dangerous mix. Both the APBT and the GSD have been repeatedly subjected to Breed Specific Legislation, but remember that these breeds are not aggressive or vicious to begin with.
It is the owners who do not take important aspects like socializing and training seriously. The Shepherd Pit is an even-tempered, friendly breed that is good with people. It is inherently courageous and very protective. However, there may be some individual dogs who are more shy than others.
They will require more socializing. This mix breed is an excellent watchdog and is extremely loyal to its family. Guarding is another issue; it is too people-friendly to make a good guard dog. The only issue may be that it will not be very accepting of other dogs, a trait that is common to the APBT.
Coming from two breeds that are very intelligent and independent, the Shepherd Pit is bound to inherit both these characteristics in huge amounts. It is also prone to being stubborn. Therefore, be prepared to impart immense and consistent training to this dog.
If you are a first-time owner, consider either hiring a dog trainer or taking a course in the same to be prepared with various training methods. Another thing to keep in mind is that this dog needs an assertive and firm owner who let's it know that he/she is the boss. Gentle yet firm handling is the way to go with these dogs.
Training includes not only house breaking, but also biting issues and behavioral issues. Teething problems will take time to sort out, but find different ways to reduce them. When it comes to behavior, your dog must know that it needs to listen to you as you are the pack leader.
But whatever you do, NEVER PUNISH OR HIT your dog. It is cruel and wrong, and always unproductive. Training must be kind, firm, positively reinforcing, rewarding, and full of genuine praises.
Exercise and Living Conditions
A big dog and small apartment make for a bad combination. A dog this size needs a yard to run around in. You will need to install a fence because the Shepherd Pit is an impressive jumper, capable of leaping to quite a height. Your dog will easily jump a small fence and run out.
You will also have to ensure that the twice-a-day brisk walking routine is strictly followed. Mental stimulation in the form of games or puzzles is also required. Boredom can result in digging, chewing, barking, or similar destructive consequences. So be sure that you can spare that much time for your dog every day.
The lifespan of this breed is between 10 to 12 years. Common health issues that may affect it are skin allergies and hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia can be caused by overfeeding the dog, which leads to excessive weight gain. However, that is just a possibility, as the condition may also be inherited.
The misunderstanding that surrounds both the American Pit Bull Terrier and the German Shepherd must be cleared out. It is important to know that no dog is born bad; in fact, no dog is bad at all. It is those who are supposed to care for it that ultimately shapes it into who it is.
Some dogs are naturally aggressive, but most of the time, it is just because they are insecure or scared. Both the APBT and the GSD are wonderful breeds, and so is the Shepherd Pit. All these above-mentioned points must be taken into consideration before getting this dog home.
Socialization and training are the most important aspects, and if you follow these properly, you will be left with one gem of a dog.