Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

American Bull Dane (American Bulldog & Great Dane Mix): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

American Bull Dane (American Bulldog & Great Dane Mix)

Height: 27-37 inches
Weight: 100-190 pounds
Lifespan: 10-13 years
Colors: Black, cream, white, brown
Suitable for: Families wanting a low-maintenance guard dog, those who enjoy giant dogs
Temperament: Easygoing, affectionate, alert, fearless

A relatively new “designer” breed, the American Bull Dane — a mix of the American Bulldog and Great Dane — has quickly become one the top 20 most popular dogs in the US. These gentle giants have an affectionate demeanor that betrays their enormous size and strength.

Like with many other large breeds, these dogs can often be misunderstood, so if you want to educate yourself on these wonderful dogs, simply check out the guide below.

Divider 1

American Bull Dane Puppies

american bull dane puppy
Image credit: Guy J. Sagi, Shutterstock

American Bull Danes may seem too massive for anything but a mansion, but these laidback dogs make surprisingly good apartment dwellers. They don’t need a ton of exercise, and they believe in conserving energy as much as possible.

However, when they get rambunctious, they can knock over every bit of furniture in your house, so make sure anything breakable is put away. Also, their barks are loud enough to wake the dead, which may not go over so well with the downstairs neighbors.

They’re huge even when they’re puppies, and while they never quite master the art of knowing where their feet are located, it’s even worse when they’re (relatively) little. These dogs are klutzes, which is adorable — until they take out your entire bedroom set.

3 Little-Known Facts About the American Bull Dane

1. They Have No Idea How Big They Are

While you might think that an American Bull Dane is gigantic, all they can think about is crawling into your lap.

These dogs don’t understand that they’re bigger than Chihuahuas, nor do they realize that many people aren’t prepared to have 100 pounds of dog curled up in their laps. They’ll try to get as close to you as possible, as often as possible.

It’s truly adorable but it can also be painful. They have a knack for finding the most uncomfortable place to put their paws and elbows.

2. American Bull Danes Are Often Used by the Police and Military

Their great size and constant vigilance make them natural guard dogs, and that fact isn’t lost on the police and military.

However, don’t let their armed forces background fool you into thinking these dogs are stern jocks. They’re friendly and sociable, and they usually have a gentle nature that belies their massive stature.

3. The Size of Their Bodies Varies From Dog to Dog

These dogs don’t have a uniform size, and their appearance ultimately depends on which parent breed’s genes are more dominant. Some are as massive as Great Danes, while others are stockier, like American Bulldogs.

Regardless of their body size, it’s likely that their head shape will favor the American Bulldog, while their tails will be long and skinny like a Great Dane’s.

Parent Breeds of the American Bull Dane
Image Credit: (L) Mary Swift, Shutterstock | (R) Slavica Stajic, Shutterstock

Divider 2

Temperament & Intelligence of the American Bull Dane 🧠

Bull Danes are patient, sweet, and loving, but if pushed too far, they can become quite terrifying. That’s why they’re often used as guard or patrol dogs, but it also makes them suitable for protecting your home and family.

Left to their own devices, all they want to do is curl up next to you and soak up affection, as well as play tug-of-war now and then. However, if anyone messes with their family, they will make that person immediately regret their decision.

The addition of American Bulldog DNA makes them smarter than the average Great Dane, but no one will mistake them for Rhodes Scholars. However, they’re extremely adept at security tasks like standing guard and sniffing out trouble.

Along with the intelligence boost, the American Bulldog genes can make them extremely stubborn too. They can pick up commands and obedience training quickly, but it may be a struggle to convince them to actually apply what they’ve learned.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

American Bull Danes can make great family pets, but they need to be professionally trained and socialized. Also, if you have small children at home, you should teach them how to behave around dogs in order to minimize the risk of a negative incident.

While these dogs are gentle giants, they’re also generally clueless about where their bodies are at any particular time. This can lead to little kids getting trampled during playtime, stomped on while crawling on the floor, or just whapped in the face with a stiff tail.

However, if your primary concern is keeping your family safe from outside threats, the American Bull Dane is the best home security system you can buy. All it takes is a single bark from one of these dogs to make even the most hardened criminal change their mind.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The Bull Dane’s suitability with other pets depends on how well they’re socialized as puppies.

If you do a good job of introducing them to a wide variety of situations, there’s a good chance that they’ll be accepting of dogs and other pets. If not, they may exhibit unfortunate aggression issues.

It’s also worth noting that they can do a great deal of damage to smaller animals without intending to do so. The cat will need to be on alert to avoid being sat on or trampled.

Divider 4

Things to Know When Owning an American Bull Dane:

American Bull Danes are great dogs, but they’re not for everyone. Novice owners can struggle when trying to control them, and many people underestimate how stubborn these pooches can be.

If you’re thinking about bringing one home, there are a few things you should take into consideration first.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

It should come as no surprise that these dogs can put away groceries. They’ll go through at least a bag of food a month, if not more.

That doesn’t mean you can skimp on the kibble, however. You should provide a high-quality food that’s packed with protein and doesn’t have cheap fillers or animal by-products.

These dogs are extremely food-motivated, so using treats during training will often be successful. However, be careful not to take that too far, as any extra weight will put a ton of strain on their already-beleaguered joints.

Also, it’s probably a good idea not to let your American Bull Dane free-feed, as that can be disastrous for both their waistlines and your pocketbook.

american bull dane
Image Credit: Pelle Zoltan, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

American Bull Danes are fairly laidback mutts, which is one of the reasons they’re suitable for apartment life. Still, you will need to provide them with exercise.

A walk every day is likely sufficient, provided it’s at least a half-hour long. These dogs are playful and will take advantage of every opportunity to goof around, but they won’t lose their minds if they have to go a day or two without a game of tug-of-war.

Mental stimulation is also important. Since these dogs are talented trackers, you can hide a few treats around the house and have them sniff them out. They’re also surprisingly good hunting dogs for that same reason.

Be careful pushing your American Bull Dane too hard. They’re so big that their joints are under a great deal of stress, so go easy on any activities that require running and jumping. They’re not ideal pups for agility training.

As long as you give them a minimal amount of exercise a day, you shouldn’t have many issues with destructiveness or other problematic behaviors. Just be careful about letting them get fat; you may have to ramp up their activity levels if you notice them start to get pudgy.

Training 🦮

Bull Danes have a well-deserved reputation for being gentle giants, but you shouldn’t trust in their good nature alone. It’s important that they be well-trained and socialized from a young age to ensure that they know how to behave politely.

It’s especially important to train your American Bull Dane as puppies because they’re so difficult to control when they’ve physically matured. Issues like pulling on the leash and jumping need to be curbed at a young age, or else you could find yourself getting dragged through the park by an unstoppable tank of a dog.

However, training can be problematic with these dogs. They’re extremely stubborn, and they’re smart enough to figure out ways around what you want them to do. Thus, it’s important to be firm and consistent with training because you don’t want these dogs to think that they’re the boss.

Positive reinforcement is the best method for getting through to an American Bull Dane, as they’ll get resentful and act out if harshly punished. They tend to be incredibly food-motivated, so it may just take a treat or two to get them to do what you want. Don’t let them extort cookies out of you, though, as this does little to improve their behavior (and can contribute to weight gain).

If you don’t think you’re up to the task of training your Bull Dane, don’t hesitate to consult a pro. It’s much better to pay an experienced trainer to show you what to do than it is to leave these gigantic pups to their own devices.

Grooming ✂️

These dogs have short, bristly coats and shed moderately. Their hair is so short that it can be hard to brush, and you may be better off smoothing over their coat with a rubber mitt than trying to attack them with a slicker brush.

Don’t bathe them too often, as this can strip their skin of natural oils. A few times a year is plenty unless they’re visibly filthy.

It’s important to stay on top of brushing your American Bull Dane’s teeth and trimming their nails, as these mutts can have issues with both areas. This is something you’ll want to introduce to them as puppies because trying to hold down a massive Bull Dane head long enough to brush their teeth is no easy feat.

Their ears should be cleaned regularly to prevent infection, about once a week. If your dog has a wrinkly face, wipe the wrinkles clean with a damp cloth once a week to prevent bacteria from building up.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Unfortunately, bigger dogs are usually prone to a variety of health problems, not to mention shorter lifespans. American Bull Danes are no exception, so while they’re fantastic companions, they may require you to set up a tab at your vet’s office.

Here are a few issues these dogs often struggle with:

Minor Conditions
  • Ear infections
  • Entropion
  • Eye issues


Serious Conditions
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Bloat
  • Back problems
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Osteochondritis
  • Heart disease
  • Back problems

Divider 5

Male vs. Female

Bull Danes can vary wildly in terms of size, but that’s often more a result of which parent breed’s genes are more dominant. Regardless, though, expect male American Bull Danes to be noticeably bigger than females.

They’re similar in terms of personality, although male American Bull Danes tend to be more playful while females are more clingy. Both will be protective of small children, although the females will probably be more so.

Divider 3

Final Thoughts

You may think that a tiny little lap dog is your best bet if you want a mutt for your small apartment, but don’t overlook the giant American Bull Dane. These dogs are massive, but they’re extremely laidback, preferring a night of popcorn and movies over a day hiking through the mountains.

While they have an extremely gentle disposition, they make fantastic guard dogs, if for no other reason than they’re likely bigger than any criminals they may encounter. They can be incredibly stubborn, though, so you may want to find a more manageable breed if you don’t have extensive experience with dogs.

If you can handle them, though, they’re affectionate, loyal pets who love nothing more than curling up in your lap to enjoy a “Law and Order” marathon. And no, they don’t care that you can’t see the TV.

Featured Image Credit: Pelle Zoltan, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database