The German Shepherd Chihuahua mix is a creature to behold.
But what happens when you combine small and sassy with big and tough?
And what kind of pet does this mix really make?
Because this animal is a mixed breed, the results are highly variable.
And the same can be said for their personality!
Where Does the German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix Come From?
This is a relatively new mixed breed.
But the German Shepherd and Chihuahua have distant origins that may bring insight into what traits these dogs could have after being bred together.
The modern German Shepherd breed dates all the way back to a single German dog by the name of Horand von Grafrath.
This was the first dog to be added to the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (Society for the German Shepherd Dog) breed registry in 1899.
After numerous failed attempts to standardize Shepherd breeds in Germany.
Horand was then selectively bred with three other dogs, whose offspring were inbred to preserve desirable and necessary traits within the breed.
The history of the Chihuahua breed is dodgy at best in contrast to the German Shepherd’s well-documented history.
It is clear that Chihuahuas have origins in Mexico.
Genetic testing has revealed that much of the pre-European genes are no longer present due to European colonization.
But there is still a great deal of speculation on the true origins of the Chihuahua.
Controversy On Crossbred Dogs
Crossbreeding dogs can become a touchy topic because there is some controversy around the quality of their offspring.
Some believe that a quality dog comes from a pedigree, while others think that crossbreeding is better for the offspring.
Purebred dogs typically have limited genes due to a genetic bottleneck created by extensive inbreeding.
After all, if you want a dog to have a particular set of traits, you are going to breed very similar dogs together.
This can lead to severe health problems typical for the specific breed.
Genetic disorders and vulnerabilities become more common.
Crossbred dogs are typically much healthier due to hybrid vigor, or heterosis, a much more diverse and less bottlenecked gene pool.
German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix Appearance
As a mixed breed, these dogs can vary in appearance.
Larger than a Chihuahua but smaller than a German Shepherd, this mix can be a small to medium dog.
German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix is likely to have a brown/black coat, resembling a German Shepherd.
But, of course, other patterns and fur colors are possible too.
These dogs will likely have short hair, which sheds lightly.
But they could also have slightly longer fur, depending on the coat of their Chihuahua parent.
They might have two layers to their coat or one, depending mostly on the Chihuahua parent.
Chihuahuas have a soft spot on their heads, like a human baby, that may or may not go away over time.
This dog will weigh between eight to 60 pounds.
The height of this mixed breed will likely be between seven to 45 inches at the shoulder.
German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix Temperament
German Shepherds are fiercely loyal and territorial.
They’re also commonly employed as law enforcement and military working dogs.
However, due to unpredictable genetics from mixed breeds, a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix temperament can vary widely.
At best, a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix can be loyal, attentive, intelligent and a wonderful family pet.
At worst, this dog might guard its territory, barking at and attacking anyone and anything nearby.
It can be extremely mistrusting with strangers and not very suitable for children.
What level of aggression a particular dog has depends on the traits it inherits.
Some breeds score higher than average for aggression directed toward humans and dogs (e.g., Chihuahuas and Dachshunds).
In 2014, Chihuahuas terrorized a town in Arizona by attacking children and larger dogs.
The local animal control received more than 6,000 calls.
The Chihuahua can also be stubborn, which this mixed breed can inherit.
It is essential to interact with both parents if possible to ensure that they are friendly before adopting a puppy.
Early socialization can also help curb this aggressive tendency.
This breed can be either independent or very cooperative.
Training Your German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix
It is important to begin training your German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix at an early age.
While they can be very cooperative, both breeds can also be stubborn.
Patience is vital to ensuring that training goes well.
Luckily though, a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix is also intelligent.
They can pick up on many commands and train easily—when they want to.
For the smaller dogs of this hybrid breed, potty training can be a problem.
They have tiny bladders, which means they have to go a lot. This can make training difficult.
You should also begin crate training early.
A German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix can be very attached to his owners.
Teaching them how to be alone at a young age is important.
Socialization is crucial for this breed. They can be very unsure of strangers.
Getting them around many types of people early on is important.
Exercise for Your German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix
A German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix will need quite a bit of exercise.
You should plan on at least a couple of medium-length walks a day and outdoor playtime if possible.
A fenced-in yard can be very helpful to help this breed get the exercise it needs.
These dogs can dislocate both their kneecaps and hips easier than others.
For this reason, it is always important to keep an eye on them, especially when they are exercising.
German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix Health
Because it is a crossbreed, a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix is healthier than many purebred dogs.
However, they are still prone to a few health problems, including obesity.
The Chihuahua is prone to a disorder known as floating kneecap or patellar luxation.
This disorder takes place when the kneecap becomes dislocated. Patellar luxation mainly affects older, smaller dogs.
Hip dysplasia is also a concern. German Shepherds are very prone to the latter disease.
A German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix can inherit this vulnerability from his German Shepherd parent.
Ethical breeders should test all German Shepherds before breeding them to ensure that they do not pass on hip problems to their offspring.
These dogs are also prone to a few heart problems, including congenital heart defect.
This is a severe, genetic disease that puppies are born with.
These dogs can live anywhere from nine to 20 years.
It just depends on the traits they inherit and if they are prone to any severe diseases.
German Shepherd Chihuahua Mixes should not have any extreme grooming requirements.
Brushing a few times a week and clipping their nails regularly is all that is required.
Do German Shepherd Chihuahua Mixes Make Good Family Dogs?
As a small- to medium-sized dog, a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix is ideal for families living in smaller homes.
But it is also vital that they have enough room outside to meet their exercise requirements.
German Shepherds make decent family dogs due to their loyalty and territorial tendencies.
But they have been known to become hostile to young children.
Chihuahuas can be aggressive toward children as well, but it’s due to their small size and guarding nature.
Children have been known to accidentally injuring Chihuahuas due to their size.
As a result, this mixed breed can obtain any or all of these qualities.
These dogs are not recommended for families with small children.
But if you don’t have small children, German Shepherd Chihuahua Mixes are a good pet, as long as you can commit the time for exercise and training.
Rescuing a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix
Rescuing a dog of this particular breed is mostly a game of luck.
If you’re dead set on finding this particular breed, you may have to search far and wide to find one because animal shelters are constantly changing what animals they have.
If you do happen to find one, all of the dog’s needs have to be covered, including food, water, a place to sleep and a safe home.
Because a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix is generally unsure of strangers, it will take them awhile to warm up to you and your home.
Patience is key.
Finding a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix Puppy
As stated before, finding this particular breed is going to involve a bit of luck.
Locating a breeder dedicated to these dogs will be very difficult.
It is vital to avoid puppy mills because of unethical breeding standards.
Additionally, avoid getting puppies from a pet store because they will most likely have sourced the puppies from a puppy mill.
Because these dogs must be bred through artificial insemination, they don’t just “happen.”
Finding a qualified and ethical breeder is the best way to find a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix puppy.
For a complete guide on finding the right puppy for you, see our complete puppy search guide.
Raising a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix Puppy
Training and socialization should begin early with these dogs. They can be aggressive toward strangers and can have guarding tendencies.
But, with proper socialization and training, they can be taught to accept strangers into their areas.
On top of this, you should keep basic puppy care advice in mind.
German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix Products and Accessories
Because these dogs can vary so widely in size, buying products can be complicated.
We recommend looking at our guide on Chihuahua toys to get some ideas for your puppy.
You should also invest in an excellent leash to make walking less of a chore.
Pros and Cons of Getting a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix
As stated earlier, mixed breed dogs can inherit any genes from their parents in a random array.
This means that they could inherit the best qualities of both parents or the worst.
German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix dogs can be very aggressive.
They are known to guard territory with ferocity, and can generally be hostile animals if not trained or socialized correctly.
However, at their best, they can be intelligent, loyal, independent animals that have the sense to serve.
Similar Breed Mixes and Breeds
Other dogs you may be interested in include German Shepherds, Chihuahuas, Swedish and Norwegian Elkhounds, Huskies, and other dogs in the working dog or toy dog groups.
German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix Rescues
There are no nationally listed rescues dedicated specifically to this mixed breed.
However, there are plenty of German Shepherd and Chihuahua rescues all over the U.S.
- Chihuahua Rescue & Transport
- Chihuahua & Small Dog Rescue
- German Shepherd Rescue and Adoptions
- Mid-Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue
If you want to be added to this list, leave a comment below.
Is a German Shepherd Chihuahua Mix Right for Me?
If you have plenty of time for exercise and training, this dog can be a good pet.
You should be particularly cautious if you have small children, however. It is vital to remember to socialize your puppy regularly.
References and Further Reading:
Campbell et al. 2010. “Severity of Patellar Luxation and Frequency of Concomitant Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture in Dogs: 162 Cases.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Leppanen et al. 2008. “Factors Affecting Hip Dysplasia in German Shepherd Dogs in Finland: Efficacy of the Current Improvement Programme.” Journal of Small Animal Practice
Nicholas et al. 2016. “Hybrid Vigour in Dogs?” The Veterinary Journal.
Saetre et al., 2005. “The Genetic Contribution to Canine Personality.” Genes, Brain and Behavior.
Tidholm, A.,2008. “Retrospective Study of Congenital Heart Defects in 151 Dogs.” Journal of Small Animal Practice.
Wright, J.C. “Canine Aggression: Dog Bites to People.” Readings in Companion Animal Behavior.