Pitbulls and German Shepherds are two distinct breeds with varying personalities.
They’re two sides of a single coin; Pitbulls are the life and soul of a party, while German Shepherds are responsible and independent.
However, they do share a number of similarities.
For instance, they’re both highly intelligent and intuitive.
They learn commands and tricks with ease.
Furthermore, they’re both incredibly loyal and devoted to their family, so much so that they’d even defend their companions to the death.
If you’re not sure which breed to get, read on.
In this German Shepherd vs Pitbull comparison guide, we’ll discuss the differences and similarities of each breed.
Table of Contents
Brief Overview of the Pitbull
- Average Height 18-21 inches
- Average Weight 35-60 pounds
- Lifespan 8-15 years
- Shedding Level Low
- Grooming Frequency Semi-regular
- Trainability Great
Pitbulls, also known as American Pitbull Terriers, Half and Half, or Staffordshire Fighting Dogs, are muscular, stocky dogs with well-defined necks, broad chests, and rectangular bodies.
They’re incredibly strong and hardy, and though muscular, still impressively agile.
Originally bred as “bait” dogs, Pitbulls have long since evolved to be an all-around dog.
They’re a Jack-of-all-trades sort of breed; they can be used as farm dogs, guard dogs, companion dogs, and even nanny dogs!
Even though their less-than-stellar reputation says otherwise, Pitbulls are actually gentle, loving, and obedient.
Their courage and strength make them popular competitors in dog sports, especially with those that test their power and agility.
Brief Overview of the German Shepherd
- Average Height 22-26 inches
- Average Weight 49-88 pounds
- Lifespan 10 -13 years
- Shedding Level High
- Grooming Frequency Regular
- Trainability Great
German Shepherds are the third most popular dog breed in the United States, just after Labrador Retrievers and French Bulldogs.
They’re also the third-smartest dog breed in the world!
Unlike Pitbulls, who are dubbed as “dangerous” and “aggressive” time and time again, German Shepherds remain a global favorite even after they’ve joined the police ranks.
As their name suggests, these dogs originated in Germany around the late 1800s.
They were originally bred as local shepherd dogs, where they gradually evolved into guard dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and companion dogs.
Despite their many new roles, German Shepherds are still used for herding to this day.
They’re tasked to patrol the farm’s boundaries to keep farm animals safe and prevent them from damaging crops.
German Shepherd vs Pitbull: Major Similarities and Differences
There are many ways to compare a Pitbull and a German Shepherd, from strength to friendliness.
We’re going to discuss how they stack up as family dogs to help you decide which breed to get.
Size and Weight
The obvious difference between the two breeds is, of course, their size and weight.
German Shepherds are bigger and weigh a few pounds more than Pitbulls.
German Shepherds stand at around 29 inches tall, while Pitbulls are only around 18 to 19 inches tall.
The same is said for their weight; German Shepherds weigh approximately 77 pounds whereas Pitbulls weigh 50 pounds.
Although German Shepherds are heavier and bigger, Pitbulls are more compact and powerful because their weight isn’t as evenly distributed as the former.
Pitbulls are more likely to challenge you to a tug-of-war than German Shepherds, especially if they’re untrained.
Thus, Pitbull owners need to train their Pitbulls at a very young age so they don’t have to worry about issues like leash-pulling.
German Shepherds and Pitbulls have just about the same energy levels, but they use them in different ways.
German Shepherds, for example, love to run and jump around.
They’re a bouncy breed and they love to have fun.
They’re known for being hyper, so they need more exercise than some other breeds.
Their active nature is the reason why they’re so good at their jobs as shepherd dogs and police dogs.
Pitbulls are slightly less hyper than German Shephards, but they’re just as high-energy.
In fact, challenging your Pitbull on a run can make your endurance feel weak in comparison, even if you’re a great athlete!
Pitbulls aren’t as bouncy as German Shephards.
They’re physically more grounded and straightforward, so they’re less likely to jump around.
But since they’re so muscular, they might overwhelm and even accidentally injure their playmates during rough games.
Generally, it’s difficult to measure the friendliness of a dog.
It really depends on how well the dog has been trained and socialized when they were pups.
That said, German Shepards and Pitbulls are both family-friendly dogs.
They’re friendly and affectionate with the people they love despite their bad-boy reputations.
Pitbulls are generally more sociable than the former.
Pitbull owners actually consider them lapdogs!
They love being everyone’s best friend, and won’t hesitate to steal a lick or two of your face when you’re chilling on the couch.
German Shepherds are less trustworthy than Pitbulls.
They don’t take kindly to strangers, which is one of the many reasons why they’re brilliant guard dogs.
Once they warm up to you, though, they become one of the friendliest dogs you’ll ever encounter.
German Shepherds aren’t as high-maintenance as Poodles, but they’re up there when it comes to grooming requirements.
They have thick, long coats that require regular brushing, lest you cover your entire home with dog fur.
The good news is that they don’t need to be bathed often.
On average, they should be bathed once every two to six months to maintain their skin health and hygiene.
However, since German Shephards are full of energy, they might end up rolling in dirt and mud more often than you want them to.
If they get dirty, you have no choice but to wash them—and washing them can be quite the hassle because of their double coats!
Pitbulls, as you might expect, require way less maintenance.
They have sleek, short fur that needs to be brushed only once a week instead of every other day.
They also don’t need to be bathed often.
Once every two to six months is more than plenty.
Pitbulls and German Shepherds both make great family dogs if trained and socialized at a young age.
German Shepherds are easier to train and control than Pitbulls, so they’re great for families with a lot of young children.
Pitbulls are more suited for small families and families with teens because their strength is unpredictable around young kids.