At a glance, the German Shepherd and Pit Bull can seem incredibly different but is this always the case? Find out the traits of each breed and determine just how much they vary below.
Table of Contents Hide
- German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed is Bigger?
- German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed Has More Variation in Their Coat
- German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed is Healthier?
- German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed is Better with Families?
- German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed Requires a Special Diet?
- German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed Needs More Exercise?
- German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed Can Live in an Apartment?
- German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed is Easier to Groom?
- German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed is Simpler to Train?
- German Shepherds vs. Pit Bulls: Which One is Best for First-Time Owners?
- Which Breed is Right for You?
Here is a quick introduction to these dogs main traits:
|Average Height||22 – 26 inches||17 – 19 inches|
|Average Weight||50 – 90lbs||30 – 85lbs|
|Life Span||7 – 10 years||12 – 16 years|
|Coat||Double coat, medium-length||Single coat, short length|
|Dog Friendly||Potentially, with proper socialization||Yes, with proper socialization|
|Preferred Climate||Moderate to cool||Moderate|
German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed is Bigger?
When it comes to weight, though, the answer isn’t as straightforward. This is because the term Pit Bull is a bit of a broad category. It can be used to identify an American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
As such, you will have to compare each subcategory of the breed to determine which one is closest in weight to German Shepherds. More often than not, however, German Shepherds will outweigh Pit Bulls.
German Shepherds are known for their lean and angular physique. It is what allows them to be such physical and agile creatures. With Pit Bulls, the focus is on how well-balanced their physique is. Their height and width often have to balance each other out.
In the case of both breeds, the females tend to be smaller than the males.
German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed Has More Variation in Their Coat
In terms of texture and length, German Shepherds have more variation. This breed can either have medium-length hair or a long coat. Medium length is most desired for show dogs, though. Pit Bulls, on the other hand almost exclusively have a short, wiry coat.
As for colors, these dogs are pretty evenly matched when it comes to variety. German Shepherd coats can present as black and tan, black and cream, black and red, as well as black and silver. While it isn’t as common, you will also find black, gray, sable, silver, and white German Shepherds.
Pit Bulls come in all colors as well. This includes white, brown, red, blue, grey, and black. They may also have a brindle pattern.
With the pattern, there is more uniformity with German Shepherds. They have that tell-tale black mask on their face and there is an even dispersion of two or more colors throughout their coat. This isn’t always the case with Pit Bulls and they can have a variety of patterns.
German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed is Healthier?
On average, German Shepherds and Pit Bulls are rather healthy breeds, although they do suffer from a few specific issues. Both German Shepherds and Pit Bulls can be prone to hip dysplasia and allergies.
German Shepherds may have the potential to develop:
- Elbow dysplasia
- Degenerative myelopathy
Pit Bulls may be likely to suffer from:
- Heart disease
The one benefit that Pit Bulls do appear to have over German Shepherds is longevity. These dogs can live a couple or several more years longer than German Shepherds. The exact lifespan will depend on the category of Pit Bulls.
With both breeds, the key to a good quality of life and a longer life span is selecting a pup from a good breeder. Reputable breeders make the effort to do genetic testing and to ensure that ancestors from both parents are healthy. This results in the healthier litter.
German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed is Better with Families?
If you imagine that German Shepherd would be better for families, think again. Pit Bulls have gotten a bad reputation in the media but it is almost wholly unwarranted. As long as these dogs are raised in a loving home and are trained properly, there is nothing to fear from them.
Pit Bulls are incredibly loving animals. They will often fancy themselves lap dogs and try to climb into yours the moment that you sit down. They get along with most people quite well, including strangers.
German Shepherds are quite loyal and loving to their families as well. It can take them a while to warm up to people, though. These dogs can be wary around strangers and will need to be socialized properly before they feel at ease around others.
If you are looking for a guard dog, then a German Shepherd would be a better fit. Pit Bulls love people too much and are only interested in attention.
Here’s another question: which breed is better with kids?
Well, these dogs would tie again. Pit Bulls are excellent playmates for little ones as they can match the energy and excitement of children. They are also quite gentle around children. German Shepherds, on the other hand, are a bit more careful around the children and will watch out for them.
You should keep in mind that both these dogs are pretty big and can accidentally knock over children. This is why you should never leave small kids alone and unsupervised with either breed.
Both these breeds can be good with other dogs as long as they have been socialized properly. It is best to raise German Shepherds and Pit Bulls with other dogs in the household from a young age. This will allow them to adapt to their presence more easily.
German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed Requires a Special Diet?
Neither breed requires a special diet. As they are popular breeds, however, you may find dog foods that are specially tailored to them.
For German Shepherds and Pit Bulls, it is important to feed them a high-quality diet made from high-quality food sources. You can ask your vet for recommendations on which dog food brand would work best.
It is important to calculate how much your dog should be eating at each meal. The exact portion size will depend on your dog’s age, size, and energy level. If you want to avoid weight gain you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed Needs More Exercise?
German Shepherds can be the more exercise-intensive breed of the two. They will require at least two hours of exercise each day. Most Pit Bulls need at least one hour of exercise a day, although certain subcategories may need more than this.
For Pit Bulls, a vigorous walk and playing catch are often enough for them to burn off excess energy. German Shepherds can require more variation in their workouts. This is because they need to be mentally stimulated as well.
This means that in addition to walks and playing fetch and Frisbee, you should also engage in dog sports, dock diving, herding activities, and more.
As these are both high-energy breeds it is important to exercise them on a daily basis. Failure to do that can result in destructive or disobedient behavior.
German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed Can Live in an Apartment?
Technically, both German Shepherds and Pit Bulls can live in apartments if they need to. If they do live in an apartment, both these dogs will need a vigorous amount of exercise each day. You will have to take them for exercise in the morning as well as in the evening.
Ideally, German Shepherds and Pit Bulls work best in mid-sized homes with a yard. This allows them to go outside and run around on their own. They will still require walks or playtime, regardless.
It should also be noted that not all apartment complexes will allow Pit Bulls. As mentioned, these dogs have gained an unfortunate reputation. You may face certain restrictions when looking for a home.
German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed is Easier to Groom?
Without a doubt, Pit Bulls are the easiest breed to groom. They have a short, single coat that sheds moderately. It is fairly easy to keep your Pit Bull’s coat clean and shiny. Brush it a few times a week with a stiff brush. Wiping the fur down with a damp brush is also a great way to maintain shine.
German Shepherds aren’t as easy to groom. These dogs shed heavily and all year round. To add to this, they also have two shedding periods – their shedding increases exponentially during this period.
During regular months, German Shepherds will need to be brushed at least three times a day. When the shedding season begins, you will need to brush them every day. You will also need to use an undercoat rake and de-shedding brush to get rid of all loose fur.
German Shepherd vs. Pit Bull: Which Breed is Simpler to Train?
What many people don’t realize is that Pit Bulls are pretty easy to train. When it comes to trainability, however, German Shepherds are unbeatable. These intelligent dogs were bred to learn numerous commands.
As such, they take a lot of pleasure in their training. Training also serves as mental stimulation from German Shepherds, helping them become calmer and happier dogs. There is no end to what you can teach this breed.
Pit Bulls aren’t too far behind. These dogs love to please their owners and using positive reinforcement will ensure that your dog thrives at their training.
Some Pit Bulls can have a dominant or Alpha dog mentality. With these pups, it is important to show that you are the leader of the group from the moment that you bring the puppy home. This will make training go a lot smoother.
With both breeds, starting socialization and training as early as possible is key. It will help your pup to avoid bad habits and ensure that the good ones sink in at an early stage.
German Shepherds vs. Pit Bulls: Which One is Best for First-Time Owners?
German Shepherds are certainly better for first-time owners than Pit Bulls. Despite their high energy drives, these dogs are obedient and easy to handle. The fact that they are so simple to train also works in their favor.
Pit Bulls aren’t necessarily difficult to deal with but these dogs have lots of drive and can be quite tenacious. This means that they can be a bit more work to handle. First-time owners may not have the right skills and experience and may not train this pup as it requires.
In turn, this can lead to poor or bad behaviors later down the line. This can be especially dangerous if you get a Pit Bull with a more aggressive personality.
Although German Shepherds are easier to raise, you do need to make sure that you give them enough exercise each day. Not doing so can leave your German Shepherd bored and even resistant to training. They may not listen to you as readily, either.
Which Breed is Right for You?
There is no straightforward answer. Instead, it is all about what you are looking for in a dog and which breed meets these requirements.
German Shepherds are good for first-time owners and great to train and teach lots of skills. They can require some socialization, though, as they are wary around strangers. When it comes to family, they are loving and loyal. They make great guard dogs. These dogs can require copious amounts of exercise every day.
Pit Bulls are a great breed for anyone looking for a loving and affectionate breed. They are even friendly with strangers, and with the right training, are great to have around other dogs too. Pit Bulls aren’t always the easiest dogs to handle and may not be ideal for first-time owners.
Now that you know all the differences between German Shepherds and Pit Bulls, you can decide which pup is just right for you and your family.