German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix: All You Need to Know


German Shepherd and Chihuahua

For people that want a dog with the loyalty of a German Shepherd and the sass of a Chihuahua, the German Shepherd Chihuahua mix may be the perfect breed. 

German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes vary widely in their sizes, personalities, and temperaments since they are hybrids. This makes it difficult to know what to expect, but these dogs do typically share some traits, such as intelligence, attentiveness, and loyalty. They also have bold temperaments.

Although German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes typically require a lot of training, attention, and love, their devotion towards their owners makes them worth the challenge.

For pet owners looking for a fun new addition to their family, the German Shepherd Chihuahua mix will be the ideal pet. Read on to know all you need to know about this interesting breed. 

What Is a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix?

A German Shepherd Chihuahua mix is the offspring of a German Shepherd and a Chihuahua. German Shepherds and Chihuahuas are two of the most popular breeds in the world, so it’s no wonder that dog breeders decided to mate them together. 

German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes tend to be small to medium-sized dogs. Since they are a mixed breed, their physical characteristics can vary quite a bit.

Some of them look more like German Shepherds, while others look more like Chihuahuas. 

In order to get a German Shepherd Chihuahua mix, a male Chihuahua must mate with a female German Shepherd. This union doesn’t happen naturally, so humans have to give them a little help. 

While no two German Shepherd Chihuahuas look the same, here are some general physical characteristics they may possess: 

  • Black and/or tan-colored coat (this can vary) 
  • Short to medium-length coat with light shedding (depending on their Chihuahua parents coat)
  • Erect ears 
  • Soft spot on their head (Goes away with time, like a human baby) 

German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes vary in their heights and weights. They can weigh anywhere from 8 to 60 lbs (3.6 to 27.2 kg) and be from 7 to 45 inches (17.8 to 114.3 cm) tall. 

To see a German Shepherd Chihuahua puppy, check out the video below. This clip demonstrates some of the physical characteristics this mixed breed often displays.

Remember, no two German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes are alike. This simply gives potential German Shepherd Chihuahua owners a rough estimate of what their hybrid may look and act like: 

Is a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix the Right Breed for You? 

German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes are great dogs, but they require a lot of work. They need a significant amount of training and guidance to become well-mannered adults.

They can also be aggressive, so this breed is not recommended for families with small children. 

Do You Have Time to Train Them? 

German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes can be hostile if they are not properly socialized as puppies.

Both Chihuahuas and German Shepherds are known to be wary of strangers if they aren’t introduced to a variety of people, animals, and environments during puppyhood. 

This intelligent hybrid also requires extensive obedience training. This breed is known for being stubborn, so they need a lot of training to teach them how to follow the rules.

Training is also great because it challenges them mentally, which prevents them from becoming overly bored. 

Also, both German Shepherds and Chihuahuas love being around their owners and require a lot of attention. So, a hybrid of these breeds will likely need a lot of attention as well. 

Therefore, owners need a lot of time and energy to properly train these dogs and to give them all of the love and attention they desire.

This breed is not recommended for people with busy schedules who don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to their dogs. 

Do You Have Small Children? 

German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes are generally not recommended for families with small children. 

Chihuahuas’ small stature and kids’ tendency to roughhouse don’t work well together. Smaller German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes can be easily harmed by children who play too rough with them. 

Plus, this hybrid has a tendency to be aggressive, which is a bad trait to have when there are small children around. German Shepherds and crossbreeds, in general, are more likely to bite children than any other dog breeds. 

If children approach these dogs too quickly, touch them in a way they don’t like, or make unfamiliar noises, they may act aggressively. 

While socialization training may help reduce these aggressive tendencies, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so parents shouldn’t acquire this breed if they have small children. 

Parents need to make sure their kids are old enough to understand dog safety before bringing this breed into their home.

Kids should be aware of dogs’ signs of aggression, such as snarling or showing their teeth, to help prevent bites or other injuries from occurring.

Kids should also know how to properly interact, touch, and play with dogs before their parents acquire this breed. 

German Shepherd and Chihuahua History and Facts 

German Shepherd and Chihuahua sitting

German Shepherds and Chihuahuas are very different in stature and demeanor. Yet, these two dogs do share some personality traits, such as their intense loyalty towards their owners.

Both breeds are highly intelligent and are quick learners. 

German Shepherd History and Facts

German Shepherds were originally used as sheep herders in the 1800’s. In Germany, breeders selectively mated German Shepherds that had the best traits for sheep herding, including those that were intelligent, fast, strong, and who had a great sense of smell.

While these dogs were great sheepherders, their physical characteristics differed from one to the next. 

Max von Stephanitz, an ex-calvary captain turned dog breeder, bought a German Shepherd from a dog show. He decided to standardize the breed and mated his dog with other dogs with similar physical characteristics and desirable attributes.

Max’s dog was the first official German Shepherd, making Max the father of all German Shepherd dogs. 

Today, German Shepherds are an incredibly loyal, courageous, and intelligent breed. They are fast learners that are easy to train, making them great working dogs for the police, military, or for the visually impaired.

For more on this, make sure that you read the 3 excellent posts that we’ve written for you linked below. They will show you just how well-suited German Shepherds are in many different roles:

Why Are German Shepherds Good Police Dogs?

Are German Shepherds Good Service Dogs?

Are German Shepherds Good Emotional Support Dogs?

German Shepherds are also great family dogs who will fearlessly defend the ones they love. 

As far as size goes, male German Shepherds are typically between 24-26 inches (61.0-66.0 cm) tall and weigh 65-90 lbs (29.5-40.8 kg). Females are 22-24 inches (55.9 -61.0 cm) tall and weigh 50-70 lbs (22.7-31.8 kg). 

German Shepherds have a classic look that is easily recognizable. This breed exhibits the following physical characteristics: 

  • Medium to large-sized frame
  • Black and tan medium-length coat (color of their coats can vary)
  • Upright ears 
  • Muscular back
  • Bushy tail with a downward curve

German Shepherds need to be socialized as puppies. If they aren’t, they can become aggressive and develop guarding issues.

For more on this, be sure to read: How To Socialize Your German Shepherd and German Shepherd Aggression: Why and What to Do About It.

This breed also benefits from obedience classes. They are incredibly smart, so they need frequent mental stimulation.

If they aren’t challenged on a regular basis, they may become bored or even depressed, which can lead to undesirable or destructive behaviors. 

Do German Shepherds Get Depressed?

German Shepherds are very active and require a lot of exercise. It is recommended that shepherds receive at least 2 hours of exercise per day. Some of their favorite activities include fetch, dock diving, agility, herding, tracking, and even playing frisbee!

That’s right, German Shepherds can be excellent frisbee dogs! Just take a look at the article linked below – it’s full of useful information about playing frisbee with your German Shepherd, and it has some really cool pictures in it too!

Can German Shepherds Play Frisbee?

Chihuahua History and Facts

Chihuahuas are the tiniest dog breed in the world. They are 5-6 inches (12.7-15.2 cm) tall and weigh under 6 lbs (2.7 kg).

These little pups are very popular and are even considered to be a national symbol in Mexico.

The origin of the Chihuahua is still unclear, but DNA analysis has revealed that they have been around since pre-Columbian times

Although Chihuahuas are small, they pack a lot of personality into their tiny frames. These dogs are incredibly sassy and exude self-importance.

They can be aggressive and do not do well with small children since they are too small to handle any roughhousing. 

Chihuahuas are also very smart. With their intelligence, however, comes stubbornness.

Owners need to be firm with their Chihuahuas and train them to be obedient. If they don’t, their Chihuahuas may think that they rule the household, not the other way around.

Chihuahuas have the following physical characteristics: 

  • Terrier like appearance 
  • Rounded “apple-shaped” head 
  • Short or long coats of any color 
  • Soft fur
  • Lean shoulders
  • Large ears that stand upright when they are alert
  • Round eyes that don’t protrude 

This breed is able to survive in small spaces, so they are perfect for condo or apartment dwellers. They are even small enough to fit inside a purse, so they are very easy to travel with! 

Taking Chihuahuas on short walks around the neighborhood is enough to keep them in shape.

It is, however, important to keep in mind that it is easy to over-exert these dogs, so owners need to make sure they are not pushing them too hard. 

What to Expect from a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix

German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes are wonderful pets that vary from one dog to the next. They may get more Shepherd, more Chihuahua, or an even mix of the two breeds.

It is difficult to know exactly what a German Shepherd Chihuahua mix will look like since their physical characteristics vary so much from dog to dog. 

These dogs also vary widely in personality. At their best, this breed is incredibly loyal, intelligent, and energetic. Many German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes adore their owners and love to be by their sides. 

At their worst, this breed is overprotective, aggressive, and wary of strangers.

In fact, German Shepherds are the breed that are most likely to bite people if they don’t receive proper training, so hybrids can inherit this aggressive characteristic. 

Luckily, these negative traits can often be managed during puppyhood through socialization and obedience training. 

Health Concerns 

The good thing about mixed breeds dogs is they tend to be healthier than purebreds due to their genetic diversity. In fact, mixed breeds have a lower risk of developing a number of hereditary diseases than purebreds. 

However, just because they may be healthier than full-breeds does not mean hybrid dogs will not have any health issues.

German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes are unfortunately prone to several health conditions.

They may inherit hip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, and bloat from their German Shepherd parent and luxating patella or hydrocephalus from their Chihuahua parent. 

To learn more about what health issues this mix may bring to the table , here are a few informative articles for you to better educate yourself:

German Shepherd Joint Problems: All You Need to Know

Chihuahua Health Problems

The Pros and Cons of Owning a German Shepherd

Hip Dysplasia 

Hip dysplasia is prevalent in larger breeds, especially German Shepherds. It is mainly a genetic condition, but it can be influenced by other factors, such as diet and exercise

During growth, the bones that make up the hip joint, including the head of the femur and the socket of the pelvis, are supposed to grow at the same rate. 

However, when dogs have hip dysplasia, these bones grow at different rates, making their hip joint incredibly loose.

Their bodies try to correct for this looseness by stabilizing the joint. This often leads to osteoarthritis, which is a condition in which the joint stiffens up and becomes painful. 

Degenerative Myelopathy 

Degenerative myelopathy is a debilitating disease that affects the spinal cord. This disease causes the white matter in dogs’ spinal cords to degenerate.

This leads to weakness in the limbs, especially in the hind legs, and paralysis. 

This condition often affects middle-aged or older dogs who are between the ages of 4-14 years old. In rare cases, it can also affect puppies. 

The cause of degenerative myelopathy is unknown, and there is no treatment for it.

The best way to slow down its progression in dogs is through exercise therapy or by giving them various vitamins and supplements, including epsilon-aminocaproic acid, prednisone, N-acetylcysteine, and vitamins B, C, and E. 

Luxating Patella

Chihuahuas and other small breeds often suffer from luxating patella, which basically means a dislocated kneecap.

This occurs when their patella’s pop out of the groove at the end of their femurs. This causes the dogs to walk abnormally, and many experience lameness. 

Typically, dogs with this condition do not feel pain while their kneecap is dislocated. They only feel pain when the patella and femur initially separate. 

This condition is 1 ½ times more likely to occur in female dogs, so owners with female German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes need to be especially aware of this ailment. 

While treatment options vary depending on the severity of the problem, surgery is often required. Dogs who receive surgery make a full recovery in 90% of cases

Hydrocephalus

Hydrocephalus is a relatively rare condition sometimes experienced by smaller dogs.

Dogs with this condition have cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inside their heads that is unable to drain. This creates a lot of pressure on the brain, which can lead to: 

  • Bad vision or blindness
  • Seizures
  • Spastic walking or restlessness 
  • Trouble learning commands 
  • Coma

This condition is either congenital, meaning the dogs have it from birth, or it is acquired through a brain tumor, infections, or inflammation.

Congenital hydrocephalus cannot be cured. Acquired hydrocephalus can be cured if the vet is able to find the tumor or another problem that is causing the hydrocephalus to occur. 

Bloat 

Bloat occurs when dogs’ stomachs fill with gas and then twist, which stops blood from flowing through their stomachs to their other organs. 

Bloat is very common in large breeds with deep chests, such as German Shepherds, Weimaraners, St. Bernards, and Gordon Setters. However, even small dogs like Chihuahuas can experience bloat. 

Dogs with anxiety, fast eaters, and those that are only fed one meal per day are also more likely to experience bloat.

Bloat is more common in some of the colder months, including November, December, and January, but it can occur at any time of the year. 

To help prevent bloat, dogs shouldn’t be overfed and should receive regular exercise. Dogs who are fast eaters should be fed small meals in special bowls with protrusions to help prevent them from gobbling down their food.

A great bowl which is specialized for slow feeding, and that will go a long way towards preventing bloat is the Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo Bowl.

This bowl comes in a few different shapes, and they all work to improve digestion by forcing your dog to eat up to 10 times slower.

Plus – these bowls are just plain fun for your dog to eat out of! Check it out for yourself on Amazon and see what all of the fuss is about.

Dogs can also receive prophylactic gastropexy surgery. This surgery pins the stomach to the body’s wall, which helps prevent it from twisting. 

Trainability 

German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes are generally very intelligent, but stubborn.

German Shepherds are considered to be highly trainable, while Chihuahuas are considered to be fairly trainable. Both breeds, and therefore a mix between these two breeds require firm and decisive leaders to train them.

If their owners are passive, these dogs may become unruly. 

The best way to train German Shepherds Chihuahuas mixes is through positive reinforcement training techniques. With this technique, which we strongly advocate for, a dog is praised whenever they listen to their owner’s commands.

This mixed breed typically loves their owners, so they learn quickly when they receive positive feedback. 

Also, with positive reinforcement training, is is important that the owner never yell at their dog when they do something bad. Acting aggressively or angrily towards these dogs may exacerbate their aggressive tendencies.

Instead, owners should calmly get them to stop what they are doing and redirect their behavior. 

Socialization training is also very important for this breed. Socializing these dogs as puppies makes them feel more comfortable in various situations as adults.

When dogs feel comfortable, they are less likely to act aggressively than when they are fearful. 

To socialize German Shepherds Chihuahuas mixes, owners should take them outside and introduce them to different people, animals, places, and things.

When introducing them to people, owners need to make sure they see people of different ages, ethnicities, and heights.

They should also introduce them to people wearing or holding unfamiliar objects, such as people with hats, sunglasses, canes, and those in wheelchairs. 

German Shepherds Chihuahua puppies should also be exposed to dogs of different sizes and ages.

Puppies act differently than older dogs, so introducing them to several different types of dogs with different energy levels will make them respond better towards them in future encounters. 

Allow these puppies to explore their environment. Every encounter they have with their surroundings should be as positive as possible.

If these dogs are trained using positive reinforcement techniques and are socialized as puppies, they will be less likely to struggle with aggression as adults. 

A great example of positive reinforcement training with this mix can be seen in the video below. In this video, a dog owner is training her puppy, “Prince.”

Prince demonstrates the intelligence of this breed and how quickly they can learn new tricks if they receive the proper training.

Prince’s owner talks to him in a firm yet gentle tone, providing him with positive reinforcement every time he follows her command. When he doesn’t follow her command, she corrects him in a calm way instead of angrily: 

Temperament 

Both German Shepherds and Chihuahuas are loyal and intelligent dogs. They are dedicated to their owners and make wonderful companions. 

Since they are so intelligent, they require a lot of training. Their cleverness often makes them strong-willed.

These dogs require strong leaders who are firm and consistent. If they don’t receive this type of leadership, they will act as though they are in charge, not the other way around. 

Both breeds also have a tendency to be aggressive. Chihuahuas are known for being feisty and German Shepherds can be overly protective.

Owners need to use the training techniques mentioned above to help minimize their hybrid’s aggressive tendencies. 

Additionally, this breed can be extremely high-strung if they are left at home all day, which can lead to undesirable behaviors.

To remedy this, take this breed outside frequently and give them lots of attention. As long as their owners give them enough attention and exercise, they should make wonderful indoor companions. 

Nutritional Requirements

German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes need to be fed high-quality dog food. They should be fed puppy, junior, adult, or senior pet food depending on their age.

Each type of food is specifically formulated to provide dogs with all of the nutrients and minerals they need depending on their stage in life.

The nutritional requirements for this mixed breed vary depending on the size of each dog. Some dogs will be larger like a German Shepherd, while others will be smaller like a Chihuahua.

Every dog should be fed according to their weight. 

Be warned, Chihuahuas are prone to obesity. Owners need to be cognizant of the amount of food they feed their hybrids, as they may have inherited their Chihuahua parents’ tendency to overeat! 

Obesity is a serious problem that dog parents need to prevent at all costs. It has an array of negative health effects, including joint problems, a shortened lifespan, trouble breathing, heart disease, cancer, and more. 

Obesity can also worsen certain conditions this breed is predisposed to, such as hip dysplasia. I

n one study, two groups of puppies were analyzed. One group was able to eat as much as they wanted, while the other group was fed measured amounts of food each day.

Two-thirds of the group that ate whatever they wanted eventually developed hip dysplasia, while only one-third of the group that ate measured amounts developed the condition. 

So, owners need to make sure this breed does not eat more than what they need to help prevent hip dysplasia and other health problems from arising.

Therefore, German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes should not be fed high-fat foods, and they shouldn’t be given too many treats. 

If owners choose to give them treats, they need to count the treat as part of their dog’s daily calorie allotment and reduce the amount of food their dogs receive for the rest of the day.

For more detailed information on what we’ve just covered, here are a few really informative articles for you to look over:

3 Signs Your Chihuahua Is Overweight

Is My German Shepherd Overweight? Here’s How to Tell

Exercise Requirements

German Shepherds require a lot of exercise, whereas Chihuahuas usually just need a short trot around the neighborhood to stay in shape.

Most German Shepherd Chihuahua mixes require regular exercise, but their energy levels will vary depending on the dog. 

This breed enjoys going for walks, playing with other dogs, playing fetch, and going on moderate hikes.

They are typically not as energetic or athletic as full-bred German Shepherds, so strenuous exercise is not advised. 

Owners need to be cautious and keep a close eye on this breed while they are exercising since they are predisposed to having knee and hip issues. 

Cost

Typically, full-bred German Shepherds cost $800-$2,500, and full-bred chihuahuas cost $500 – $3,000  if they are purchased from a breeder.

The exact price of these dogs varies depending on their overall quality and features. However, in some states, Chihuahuas are prevalent in animal shelters, so they may cost less if they are adopted instead of purchased from a breeder. 

The exact price of a German Shepherd Chihuahua mix is difficult to determine because so few breeders produce this hybrid.

It’s also very unusual for animal shelters to have this breed since mating these two dogs requires human assistance. 

The best way to determine how much a German Shepherd Chihuahua mix costs is to contact a breeder who sells this hybrid. Always make sure the breeder is reputable for the best results.  

For a detailed breakdown of the true cost of getting a puppy of these 2 breeds individually, be sure to check out the 2 informative posts linked below:

The Cost of Chihuahua Puppies & Adult Dogs (with Calculator)

How Much Does a German Shepherd Puppy Cost?

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds Chihuahua mixes are a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to their physical appearance and personalities.

Since they are hybrids, owners never really know what they are going to get. In general, though, these are great dogs with a lot of personality. Their loyalty and attentiveness to their owners make them wonderful pets. 

Both Chihuahuas and German Shepherds are prone to aggressiveness, so socialization training and obedience training is advised. They learn best when they are trained using positive reinforcement techniques. 

These dogs should be fed according to their weight to avoid obesity from arising.

They require moderate amounts of exercise, such as walking or jogging. Intense exercise should be avoided to prevent harming their joints. 

Overall, the German Shepherds Chihuahua hybrid is an amazing dog with a lot of positive characteristics. With the proper training, these dogs will make a great addition to any home!

Hunter Reed

I've owned and trained German Shepherds for over 20 years now. While I've lived in many different places 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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