German Shepherd vs Pit Bull Terrier – Detailed Comparison of Both Breeds

What’s better than adding a dog to your home? To me, maybe adding two more dogs to my home. Regardless, finding the right breed for me was a big deal when I decided to adopt my dog.

Hi dog moms and dads! I’m Bri, and my adopted dog named Bruce is the love of my life. Bruce is a mix of American Bulldog and Pit Bull Terrier, and 100% perfect.

When I first started looking for a dog to adopt, I knew I wanted a large dog breed. I had the right size house, a dog park nearby, and made sure my home was dog-friendly.

Puppy dogThese are just some of the important considerations I had to keep in mind before I brought Bruce home. Once I found him, I also had to consider the type of food he would need as well as any medical needs.

Even though I really wanted a Pit Bull, there were a few German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) that I had my eye on too. So how did I choose between the two?

Honestly, I just fell in love with Bruce. But I’m sure there are plenty of German Shepherd’s that I can fall in love with… maybe a second dog is in my sights!

Let’s take a look at both of these beautiful breeds!

German Shepherd vs Pit Bull Terrier: Overview of German Shepherds

German ShepherdGerman Shepherd Dogs are incredibly famous for their hard work, intelligence and courage. The breed is descendent of German herding dogs dating back as far as the 1800’s.

Today, the breed is notorious for its uses as police and military K-9s. These pups fall under the Herding Group and can stand up to 26 inches high and weigh from 50 to 90 pounds.

Their intelligence, bravery and sharp senses of smell give them the edge that military and police forces value.

However, these dogs aren’t all badges and helmets! They also make extremely loyal house pets and are known to be excellent guard dogs.

German Shepherd vs Pit Bull Terrier: Overview of Pit Bull Terriers

PuppyOkay, so maybe I’m a little biased, but Pit Bull Terriers hold a special place in my heart. Even though Bruce is only part Pittie, he definitely has the look and personality of a Pit Bull Terrier.

Talk about snuggles. This dog is so loving and cuddly my heart just can’t get enough.

Pit Bull Terriers are actually a mix of different bulldog breeds, such as the American Bulldog (like Bruce) and the Staffordshire Bull Terrior.

Unfortunately, this breed has had a rough past which has put a negative look on their reputation. Pit Bulls were originally bred for fighting bulls, hence the name.

Luckily that was hundreds of years ago and has since been banned, but more recently, Pit Bull Terriers were bred and used for illegal dog fighting.

This creates a sense of fear of the breed, even though a dog is only as dangerous as his owner trains him to be.

Pit Bulls are actually quite the opposite and are even considered to be nanny dogs for their amazing behavior towards children and babies!

Most Pit Bulls max out around 60 pounds, but it all depends on what bully breed they’re mixed with.

For instance, American Bulldogs run a little heavier, so it makes sense that Bruce weighs in at 90 pounds (we’re working on shedding a few of those!).

Both dogs are obviously large breeds, so if it’s a big dog you want, both fit the bill on size!

German Shepherd vs Pit Bull Terrier: How do They Behave?

Brown dogThe German Shepherd breed is incredibly smart and easy to train. As extremely athletic dogs, they need lots of exercise. Some of the best exercises for a German Shepherd is swimming, tracking and agility courses!

German Shepherd’s are known for the loyalty and courage as well as their incredible ability to learn multiple commands. They make great guard dogs and are amazing with families and children.

As natural herding dogs, owners should recognize their instincts when taking them out for a stroll.

For instance, don’t be surprised when your German Shepherd tries to herd a flock of geese if you come across one!

Pit Bull Terriers are also known for their loyalty. They are even becoming more popular as police K-9s!

However, from experience I can say that Pit Bulls tend to be more depended on their humans and more attached to them than a German Shepherd.

German Shepherd’s are able to act independently, whereas Pits tend to suffer from separation anxiety when they’re separated from their owners.

Pit Bulls are definitely active and athletic with muscular builds and extremely high energy.

Both dogs are suitable for families, but only if you have a high energy home that can give both breeds the exercise they need to stay healthy!

German Shepherd vs Pit Bull Terrier Life Span & Health: What’s Their Life Expectancy?

German Shepherd’s have a typical lifespan for large dogs at 7 to 10 years. This is pretty common with large breeds, but Pits actually tend to outlive them with a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

As all large breed dogs, both German Shepherd’s and Pit Bulls should be regularly checked for hip and elbow evaluations as these are the common pressure points that injuries occur in.

German Shepherd’s are also more common to experience bloat, which can be life-threatening. Bloat can also happen in Pit Bulls or any large dog, but it is not as common.

Pits are also more likely to suffer from allergies and sensitive skin and stomachs. Bruce is allergic to chicken, so I have to be careful when buying him treats and food.

Speaking of food, both of these dog breeds depend on a high-quality diet to stay healthy. These athletic dogs both need plenty of vitamins and protein to help their bodies keep up with their high energy levels!

German Shepherd’s especially benefit from a no people food diet. Some veggies and eggs can be an exception but should be given in moderation because table scraps can upset their digestion.

Pits have been known to be pickier eaters, but I have yet to see that with Bruce!

Otherwise, these breeds are both relatively healthy!

German Shepherd vs Pit Bull Terrier Appearance and Grooming: What do They Look Like?

Smiling dogAlthough these dogs are similar in size, their appearances are very different.

German Shepherd’s have medium to long length fur, which varies from black and tan to completely black.

They have very distinct, pointed ears (which make for the cutest puppy head tilts ever) and a very graceful and majestic stature.

The shedding from a German Shepherd is pretty moderate, but they do shed an undercoat a couple times a year.

A couple good brushings every week will definitely help keep the shedding to a minimum between heavy shedding periods.

German Shepherds also don’t need frequent baths unless they get into something particularly dirty.

The Pit Bull Terrier has short length fur that sheds like crazy if they aren’t brushed regularly (trust me – I have black and white dog hair everywhere!).

I’ve noticed that using a good shedding brush on Bruce’s coat a couple times a week makes a huge difference!

Baths are also important for Pit Bulls as they tend to have skin allergies, and bathing can really help control itchy, irritated skin.

Pit Bulls have very distinct, muscular bodies that come in gray, tan, black, white, and mixes of all the colors or even brindle patterns. Bruce highly resembles a cow with his black and white spots!

For both breeds, keeping their nails trimmed is crucial.

Both breeds have fast-growing nails that should be trimmed at least once a month, especially if they don’t spend a lot of time outside where their nails can be worn down naturally!

German Shepherd vs Pit Bull Terrier : Can They be Trained Easily?

Old grey dogThere’s no contest here – German Shepherd’s will win a training competition all day. This breed is built for taking commands and can learn multiple ones at once.

They are extremely diligent and rarely don’t follow given commands if taught correctly. This is what makes them so appealing to police and military!

German Shepherd’s can be trained to attack a perpetrator without causing physical harm and are often used to track down criminals because of their speed and intelligence.

Although they’re tough in the field, German Shepherd’s are also great to train at home to be a loving house pet or a great guard dog, or both!

Pit Bulls may not hit the same bar as German Shepherd’s, but that doesn’t mean they can’t follow orders! Pits are very smart and treat driven (especially Bruce), so they can learn all sorts of tricks and commands.

They are a little more stubborn when it comes to commands though, so prepare to be patient!

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German Shepherd vs Pit Bull Terrier Popularity and Cost: Are They a Rare or Expensive Dog Breed?

German ShepherdPit Bulls and German Shepherds are two of the most popular dog breeds out there, so you’ll have no problem finding them.

However, because of the desire for their purebred genes, German Shepherd’s are more likely to be found from a breeder while Pits are common in animal shelters.

Some Pits can be found from breeders too, but German Shepherd’s are much more common.

Neither dog is relatively expensive to own, but you will probably pay much more up front for a purebred German Shepherd than you will for a Pit Bull.

Both dogs will need standard medical care, but a Pit might need a little extra love because of their sensitive skin and tummies.

Medications for dogs with allergies can be pricey, so make sure you’re ready to give them the care they need before you bring one home!

German Shepherd vs Pit Bull Terrier Environment: Where Are They Best Suited?

Old grey dogBoth breeds are well acclimated to both city and rural or suburban life. As long as they have space to go on a good walk, or better yet a fenced in area to run freely, they will be happy!

Both dogs are also built for different climates and do just fine in both warm and cold climates, within reason.

You obviously don’t want to have either dog outside in feet of snow or in blistering heat, but you get the idea!

Bruce, however, tends to not want to take a single step outside if there’s even just a little snow on the ground. He’s quite a princess.

Final Thoughts: German Shepherd vs Pit Bull Terrier

German shepherdSo, which dog is the better choice? As a Pit Bull Terrier mom myself, I can say that I’ve never had a better dog. However, German Shepherd’s are definitely on my list of future dogs.

Each have loving personalities and high energy, so as long as you have the time to commit to giving them the exercise they need, neither is a bad choice.

If you’re looking for more of a guard dog, a German Shepherd might be what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a cuddly, spunky companion, maybe go for a Pit. Or just get both!

Hope this helps you decide which breed is best for you! Happy Pet Parenting!

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