German Shepherds vs. Pitbulls: Battle of the Guardians
Anything German Shepherd Team
Author: Anything German Shepherd Team
Published date: August 24, 2021
Updated date: June 15, 2022
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German Shepherds vs. Pitbulls: Battle of the Guardians

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for the battle between two infamous breeds: German Shepherds vs Pitbulls.

Honestly, I would prefer a pageant to a battle, because these two dogs are beautiful and have amazing characteristics.

Responsible Pitbull and German Shepherd owners typically have nothing but good things to say about these amazing dogs.

Unfortunately, both breeds are horribly misunderstood in society, as most people consider them both to be hyper-aggressive and vicious.

Do Pitbulls or German Shepherds make good family pets? The short answer is ‘Yes.’

The longer answer is that there are some factors that you have to consider before making one of these awesome animals your family pet.


German Shepherds vs Pitbulls: Things Worth Considering

While there have been incidents of violence with these breeds, dog incidents are not exclusive to these two dogs. In fact, in most cases, these sorts of incidents can be attributed to an irresponsible owner.

There’s also the issue of people not taking the time to learn about specific breeds and the training they require.

Both of these breeds respond well to early and consistent training, and typically have fewer issues once they are trained.

With German Shepherds and Pitbulls, it is important to understand the breed you are investing in and to plan accordingly.

These are both high energy dogs that require a lot of energy-burning exercises, as well as tons of love and care.

Breed Histories

According to AKC, German Shepherds are considered to be dogkind’s finest all-purpose workers. They were originally bred for taking care of sheep herds. They were meant to guide and protect the herds from danger.

The bloodline has been well preserved through the years and now these dogs are more suited for additional work.

Pitbulls are members of the bulldog family. Their official name is the American Pitbull Terrier.

They are commonly known as Pitbulls for short since sayin American Pitbull Terrier is quite a mouthful for casual conversation. For time within this article, we will refer to them as just Pitbulls.

Pitbulls are thought to be a cross between the bulldog and the terrier. They were thought to be originally bred as dogfighters.

That purpose is unfortunately still a practice that still goes on even though it is considered to be illegal.


Both Breeds Have Historically Been Used As Service Dogs

Historically, German Shepherds were mainly known for being guard dogs. Then, later they were recruited by the military and the police for K-9 units.

They were known for their knack for seeking out and capturing accused that were an evading arrest. They also were able to help with narcotics searches and protecting officers.

According to love-a-bull, Pitbulls were bred to fight other dogs. Their ancestors, the English bulldogs, were actually bred for bull-baiting and dog-baiting.

None of these practices are in any way legal now.

Nevertheless, due to the genetics that are still present and the lack of education within society, there are still some inaccurate perceptions of the breed.

Today, Pitbulls are actually a banned breed in some apartment complexes, dog daycares, and even some states.

It is quite a sad practice, but it is due to not only the ignorance of society but majorly due to the fact that dogfights are still happening illegally.

Due to this, there are still Pitbulls that are raised for dogfighting.

It is an unfortunate and illegal practice that perpetuates a bad name for the breed and puts more pressure on actual good owners to outperform other breeds.

German Shepherds & Pitbulls: Character Traits 

Pitbulls are particularly lovable dogs. In spite of their original purpose for being bred, they are actually people-pleasers.

They enjoy playing and having fun. They are high-energy dogs that require daily exercise.

They can often forget their size and feel as if they are lap dogs, so do not be surprised if one likes to jump into your arms and lick all over your face.

They are typically very responsive to training. It is advised that training begins fairly soon after maturation.

They have great mental and physical characteristics. They are also statistically known for achieving excellent temperament scores.


The Importance Of Training & Socialization

The best thing you can do for a Pitbull is to start obedience training as soon as possible and provide a positive outlet for their energy.

German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs. They are considered to be of noble character.

They are very loyal and confident dogs.

They are also very courageous and value consistency in everything. They are natural protectors so they will very seldom leave their owners alone if possible.

Due to their intelligence, they are able to learn commands and perform tasks very quickly. However, they can be very stubborn when it comes to training.

They require firm training and consistency throughout the process. They also require a decent reward system.

German Shepherds vs Pitbulls both have a protective nature toward their owners. They are both willing to defend their loved ones aggressively if necessary.

German Shepherds tend to be more aloof around new people and animals. They proceed with caution and suspicion before actually greeting.

German Shepherds are not normally the first to approach. They tend to watch and wait to be approached.

For this reason, they are normally selected more for guard dog purposes.

They will stick with their owner and if anyone approaches in an aggressive-appearing way, the German Shepherd will respond in a protective way.

Aggression vs Protection

If a German Shepherd watches long enough and determines that there is no threat, they will become a little more relaxed but still maintain a certain state of suspicion that will be maintained until the stranger or new party leaves the area.

According to Villalobos Rescue Center, Pitbulls are typically highly social upon meeting new people and animals upon meeting.

Note: just because a dog (any dog) may show aggression toward other dogs, it does not mean that they will show aggression toward people and vice versa.

There is no evidence that states that these types of aggression are linked.

Because Pitbulls do not typically give a warning before fighting with another dog, it is important to monitor them when playing with other dogs.

Like all dogs, there are not always valid reasons for dogfights, so any time your dog or dogs are socializing with other animals, they must be observed.

Even with all of these warnings, Pitbulls and German Shepherds can still thrive well in multi-dog and multi-pet homes. They are not solitary animals.

They are just animals with quirks that have to be attended too, very similar to people, so don’t worry. Your cuddly selection will fit in right at home in a loving environment.


Health Concerns For Pitbulls and German Shepherds 

German Shepherds are known for struggling with health issues such as canine hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cataracts, seizures, and bloat.

Many of these issues develop with an increase in age. The lifespan of a German Shepherd is seven to ten years.

Pitbulls can suffer from canine hip dysplasia as well as kneecap dislocation and degenerative myelopathy.

They are also known for suffering from skin conditions and allergies. Also, be mindful of the thyroid and congenital heart disease.

Grooming Requirements

Grooming for both breeds is essential but definitely looks different.

For German Shepherds, because of the extensive shedding, consistent brushing is necessary to prevent tangling and matting of the fur.

They should also be shampooed once per month at the minimum to keep the skin and hair clean.

Pitbulls are typically short-haired and don’t require extensive brushing. There are some Pitbull mixes that have longer hair that may need to be brushed for shedding purposes.

However, most people typically try to use de-shedding brushes on them to remove shed hair during grooming services. This is okay to do in moderation.

Too much could aggravate other skin problems.

Because Pitbulls are prone to skin conditions, it is important to bath them at a minimum once per month and to ensure that they are completely dry between baths.

This also includes the skin between their toes and other areas that could be neglected like around the genital area.

Bacteria enjoys building up in moist warm places. This could be the cause of a lot of itching and irritation that dogs tend to suffer from.

That is why proper grooming is very important and should not be skipped.

Nutritional Concerns

Pitbulls are considered to be large breed dogs, and German Shepherds are considered to be medium-large breed dogs.

Because of this, these dogs tend to grow quickly. Space and food are a large consideration when selecting either of these breeds for a family pet.

You have to prepare your budget to accommodate the diet of a medium to large-breed dog.

It is then important to assess the amount of space you have access to. Your dog will have to receive an exercise every day.

A restless Pitbull or German Shepherd will start expending all of that pent up energy on your furniture, your door jambs, and possibly your shoes.

While it is easy to call them bad for this behavior, in reality, they are just bored. It is up to you to find ways to keep them occupied.


German Shepherds vs Pitbulls: Which Is The Right Dog For You?

All in all, both of these dogs are amazing dogs to have. They are both amazing pets to have if trained and socialized properly and at an early age.

They are both intelligent and able to not only be great family friends but have a protective streak that makes them decent guard dogs as well.

In spite of their unjustified perspective in society, they are in fact ranked very low in the list of known hyper-aggressive dogs.

Pitbulls, in general, are basically overgrown lapdogs if raised in a loving home, trained, and socialized properly.

German Shepherds are amazing guard dogs. They are highly intelligent and have proven this through their service as Shepherd dogs and service dogs with the military and police.

They are extremely protective and have no problem asserting themselves to defend their owners.

Of the two, the German Shepherd is known for being more intelligent. The Pitbull has been known to have a shorter attention span.

Regardless, both dogs are incredibly smart and have amazing skills with regard to performing multiple tasks.

Of the health concerns, most of them are displayed as these dogs advance in age.

A lot of the genetic disorders come with the fact that the bloodlines have been very well maintained throughout the years which has thoroughly concentrated the genetic pool to provide little variation.

When Considering These Breeds, Begin By Assessing Your Lifestyle

It is important before getting a dog like this to analyze your lifestyle to see which type of dog will be best for you.

While it is great to get a dog because they look appealing to you, personality and genetics are something to strongly consider.

If you are the type that enjoys socializing with others and planning playdates, you may want to consider a Pitbull.

Pitbulls are typically people friendly and enjoy playing with other dogs. As with any puppy play date, attention is required to prevent and head off any fights or tense moments.

If you are the type that enjoys a highly intelligent dog that may be a bit more on the protective side, you may be more inclined to get a German Shepherd.

This dog will look out for you in every way possible. There will be very few occasions when you will be left alone in your home while living with a German Shepherd.

German Shepherds will keep an eye on you and keep watch on anyone or anything that approaches you.

They will watch you as a furry guardian angel and will respond immediately if they feel that you are threatened in any way.

Regardless of the dog you choose, you definitely will not be disappointed with your new fur baby. These two breeds yield some of the best dogs you will ever raise and love.

A loving home with a family and fun will bring out the best in your new pup.

If you want to know about the mix of these breeds, check out the German Shepherd Pitbull Mix Complete Guide.

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