Can a German Shepherd Beat a Pitbull? Know the Odds


german shepherd and pit bull side by side

Are you wondering whether a German Shepherd could beat a pitbull?

If you are worried about whether your German Shepherd could protect you or your children from an aggressive pitbull next door, this article is for you. 

A German Shepherd can beat a pitbull. In fact, German Shepherds have a size and weight advantage, as well as a stronger bite force. However, pitbulls are bred to be fighting dogs, so a well-trained, well-fed, and aggressive pitbull can also beat a German Shepherd. 

To learn more about whether a German Shepherd would beat a pitbull, continue reading. 

Why a German Shepherd Can Beat a Pitbull

There are a number of advantages going for a German Shepherd in a hypothetical fight against a pitbull. Let’s go through them now. 

They Are Larger

Size is a major factor in any clash between two dogs, and German Shepherds are simply bigger than pitbulls.

Of course, size varies, as you can have small German Shepherds and large pitbulls.

However, in general, since German Shepherds are larger than pitbulls, that already gives them an advantage. 

They Are Heavier

In addition to their larger size, German Shepherds tend to be heavier than pitbulls. This gives them yet another advantage.

As with any fight between two mammals, not only does size matter, weight matters too. 

They Have a Stronger Bite Force

German Shepherds actually have stronger bites than most pitbulls. Dog bite strength is measured in PSI.

While the pitbull has a bite forceOpens in a new tab. of 235 PSI, German Shepherds have a bite force of 238 PSI. 

However, this advantage is very small. For example, the Rottweiler has a bite force of 328 PSI. The Bandog has a bite force of 730 PSI.

Compared to those differences, the advantage a German Shepherd has over a pitbull is very minimal. Since the difference is so small, a larger pitbull may have a stronger bite force than a weak German Shepherd. 

They Have More Fur

German Shepherds also have more fur around their neck. Pitbulls, on the other hand, do not really have a lot of fur.

The fur around a German Shepherd’s neck can serve as a protective barrier and protect the German Shepherd from getting bitten by the pitbull’s teeth. 

They Are Very Loyal

German Shepherds are extremely loyal dogs. If they are fighting against a pitbull because the pitbull only attacked them, they may be more likely to give up sooner than the pitbull.

However, if they are fighting because the pitbull attacked you or your children, they will likely protect you until the end. This loyalty gives them a great advantage. 

Why a Pitbull Would Beat a German Shepherd

pitbull staring at you

Even though German Shepherds tend to be larger and stronger than pitbulls, that does not automatically make them more likely to win a fight. 

If both a German Shepherd and a pitbull were not trained to fight, you could assume that the German Shepherd will be able to beat the pitbull due to the German Shepherd’s height and weight advantages.

However, not all real-life clashes between the two breeds will be ideal for the German Shepherd. 

They Were Trained to Fight

If a pitbull was trained to fight and a German Shepherd was not, the pitbull will almost always beat the German Shepherd.

Yes, German Shepherds are larger and heavier, but they don’t stand much of a chance against a trained fighting dog. Most pitbulls, however, are not trained to fight. 

Both Pitbulls and German Shepherds Were Trained to Fight

If both were trained to fight, a pitbull might still beat a German Shepherd, despite the German Shepherd’s advantages. This is because pitbulls have historically been bred to be fighting dogs. 

German Shepherds, on the other hand, are generally not fighting dogs.

Even though you can train them to fight, if a pitbull was also trained to, the pitbull might be more aggressive, while the German Shepherd might give up much quicker. 

However, a lot will depend on the level of training each dog received, all factors considered. 

Purebred or Not?

Until now, we have been assuming that both the hypothetical German Shepherd and pitbull are purebred.

However, the reality is that many dogs will actually be a mix of a few breeds and not pure.

This can make a big difference in the outcome of a fight between a German Shepherd and a pitbull.

A pitbull that has more pure genes might win against a German Shepherd that has diluted genes. 

The German Shepherd Is Old

If your German Shepherd is old and weak, then the dog probably won’t be able to hold up against a young, strong, aggressive pitbull.

In addition, if a pitbull is particularly large, this would give the dog an even bigger advantage.

All of these factors must be taken into account when assessing the chances of either dog winning a fight. 

Another factor to consider is the diet. If the pitbull is fed a poor diet and is weak and emaciated, the pitbull may not be able to beat a German Shepherd.

On the other hand, if the pitbull is fed a fatty diet and is weighed down by a lot of extra fat, the pitbull is also more likely to lose.

A strong dog is one that is fed a healthy diet that is rich in protein, iron, and nutrients but is still mostly muscle, with a low body fat percentage. 

The same goes for your German Shepherd. If your dog receives a much better diet than the pitbull, your dog can beat the pitbull.

But if a weak and emaciated or a fat German Shepherd faces off a strong and well-fed pitbull, the pitbull will probably win. 

How to Avoid Dog Battles

If you are afraid of your German Shepherd being beaten by the pitbull down the road, the best way to help your German Shepherd is by preventing a fight from happening in the first place.

This means that you should pay attention to where your German Shepherd is at all times and make sure that your dog is not running around loose. 

You can keep a fence around your property to prevent your German Shepherd from getting out.

Electric fences work well to keep dogs in/out while not blocking your view of the road. You should also have open communication with your neighbor so that they can keep a leash on their pitbull as well. 

It is important to note, however, that when using any type of electric fence or collarOpens in a new tab., that you take the time to train your dog to respond only to a “tone only” mode.

Doing so will accomplish the same results as a shock collar without harming or traumatizing your dog in any way.

It is also worth knowing what kind of owner the pitbull has. Often, aggressive pitbulls are owned by aggressive people.

Dogs are not aggressive by nature; they learn their traits from their owners.

A pitbull that is owned by a gentle person and is trained well is not likely to pick a fight with your German Shepherd.

What to Do if Your Dog Is Fighting

If your German Shepherd did get into a fight with a pitbull, try to break up the fight – but make sure that you exercise appropriate caution.

Keep in mind that breaking up any dog fight, especially one involving a pitbull, can be very dangerous. 

However, if you must do so, consider pulling back on the collar with enough force so that the dog must open its jaw to breathe.

You can also use the wheelbarrow methodOpens in a new tab., in which two people pull back on their dogs and then turn in a circle to prevent the dogs from turning on them. 

Here is a great video on how to break up a dog fight:

Final Thoughts 

A German Shepherd can definitely beat a pitbull. However, the German Shepherd must be strong, well-fed, and young. 

If your German Shepherd is trained to fight, your dog is more likely to beat the pitbull.

However, there are too many factors that come into account to say that all German Shepherds will beat all pitbulls or vice versa. 

The best advice here is to do all that you can to ensure that a fight never occurs in the first place. Alternatively, if a fight does break out, use extreme caution when breaking it up to avoid injury to yourself and your dog.

Hunter Reed

I've owned and trained German Shepherds for over 18 years now. I'm originally from Indiana, though I've lived in many different states and traveled extensively. The places change, my dogs don't. German Shepherds have been my constant companions. I love every aspect of training them and simply just having them around. I also enjoy sharing my knowledge about German Shepherds with the world, and I encourage all future dog owners to consider one as a companion as well. Read my story here.

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