What do you get if you cross a Great Dane with an American Pitbull Terrier? A large (in some cases very large) muscular, adoring, loveable, and playful pup that's loyal to its family and protective of its owners – otherwise known as the Great Danebull.
Both parent breeds are easily recognizable by their different physiques and specific temperaments – and this mixed breed is no different. So, what do you need to know before getting a Great Dane Pitbull mix?
Origin and history of the Great Dane Pitbull mix
These dogs are pretty rare (trust us, you'd know if you'd ever seen one) and as with many mixed breed dogs, not much is known about their specific origin. It's difficult to pinpoint whether they were specifically bred or if they're the result of natural mating. The best way to understand the Great Danebull a little better is to look at the history of the parent breeds.
History of Great Danes
Great Danes are considered to be an ancient breed. In fact, dogs that look distinctly like Great Danes have been found on Egyptian monuments from 3000 BC! They were also mentioned in Chinese literature from 3000 years ago. So they're definitely an old breed.
Because they're such ancient canines, it's unclear exactly which other dogs contributed to the development of the breed. It's thought, however, that the modern Great Dane is an English Mastiff descendent with the Irish Greyhound– amongst other pups – having been involved.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Great Danes were bred to hunt boars. Their sheer size made them formidable hunters and they could easily trap animals whilst they waited for their owners to arrive.
Over time, humans started to appreciate how unique these dogs were and they were used less and less for hunting and more for accompanying nobility. As a result, Great Danes became less aggressive and more the loveable, goofy animals we know today.
Experts are unsure when they first came to America but the Great Dane Club was first founded in 1889 – so definitely before that!
History of Pitbulls (or Pit Bull)
As their name would suggest, Pitbulls were originally bred as fighting dogs.
They're descendants of the Old English Bulldog which was commonly used to fight bulls in an arena (or pit). After the Cruelty to Animals Act was passed in 1835, fighting against bulls and bears was forbidden and Pitbull owners turned their attention to rats.
The dogs were forced to try and kill as many as possible in as little time as possible. Of course, rats are considerably smaller than bulls which meant owners needed to breed a new dog that was more agile. They bred Bulldogs with Terriers to create the new Pitbull Terrier.
In the early 1800s, this British breed was first brought to America which is when it gained its American name. They were gradually bred to be less aggressive and they became loved pets in many families. They were strong working dogs that could help herd cattle and hunt, as well as being loving and avid protectors of their families and property.
In the late 1900s, Pitbulls became hugely popular pets right across America. As a result, many were irresponsibly bred and traits such as aggression weren't thought about. With the increase in popularity of underground dogfighting, these pups started to get a really bad name for themselves. A name, which often, isn't at all true.
Temperament and personality of the Great Dane Pitbull mix
Both the Great Dane and Pitbull make excellent family dogs.
They're loyal and very protective of their family and the ones they love – so it's no wonder that the Great Danebull will keep all its family members safe too.
As well as being protective, they're exceptionally loving and will enjoy playing and spending time with their owners.
This large dog is known for being very sweet-natured and caring. In fact, Pitbulls often get the nickname ‘nanny dog' because they're so good around children. Great Danes too, are known for being gentle giants (regardless of what their appearance might make you think).
Great Danebulls love attention and will constantly be looking for your praise. They're intelligent and will excel in all kinds of training. With these dogs, obedience training is a must.
Their size and strength can sometimes make them a hazard to themselves and it's important they know who is in charge. Generally speaking (because of their size and potential Pitbull tenacity) Great Danebulls don't make good pets for novice dog owners.
Because they're so loving, this mixed breed forms strong bonds with the humans around them and doesn't do well when left alone for long periods of time. They're a family dog at heart and could suffer from separation anxiety if they're not around their loved ones.
As with many other dog breeds, it's really important that you get your Great Danebull from a reputable breeder who cares about the welfare of Great Danes, Pitbulls, and mixed breeds. Aggressive dogs shouldn't be bred and it's really important you socialize your pup from a young age.
Are Great Danebulls good around other pets and children?
Yes! Although you may not imagine it, Great Danebulls can be the best of friends with other family pets.
They need early socialization and a good amount of training but they're naturally caring and playful creatures that should get along with other animals! They also don't have a strong prey drive which always helps!
The Great Dane Pitbull mix also gets along well with small children. They're naturally caring and will love the extra attention. Their size can be an issue though and to avoid any clumsy accidents, kids should be supervised.
How much exercise does a Pitbull Great Dane mix need?
This really depends on which of the parent dog breeds your pet takes after. Pitbulls are highly energetic, fun-loving dogs that need a good amount of exercise.
Great Danes, on the other hand, are a little more chilled and some even go as far as to call them couch potatoes. It's likely that your Great Danebull will be happy with a 40-minute walk or a play in the dog park. It's important you don't let your dog get bored as a pup that size can get up to a lot of mischief if they put their mind to it!
Appearance of the Great Danebull
You'll be getting a large dog if you adopt a Great Dane Pitbull mix.
Great Danes are usually at least 30 inches tall and Pitbulls 18 inches, so it's likely their hybrid dog will be somewhere in the middle. This mixed breed will also weigh anywhere between 60 and 90 pounds!
They'll have a strong, stocky body and probably the longer legs of the Great Dane parent breed. They have rectangular, chiseled faces and triangular ears which flop down.
Great Danebull coat and color
These dogs have short, sleek coats that come in many different colors. They can be anything from black to fawn, white to merle, and (nearly) anything in between. Their eyes are usually dark, although not always, and they have a black nose.
Grooming a Great Dane Pitbull mix
Does this mixed breed dog shed?
All dogs shed to some degree and this breed is no different. They're not huge shedders but will lose hair all year round. A weekly brush should be enough to keep the shedding under control.
Because they're moderate to light shedders, these pups are not considered hypoallergenic dogs and those who suffer from allergies should consider adopting another breed.
Other grooming requirements
These dogs should naturally be able to wear down their nails through daily life, but if you notice they're getting a bit long you may need to have them clipped.
If you feel like your dog needs a wash it may be easier to take them to a groomer to have it professionally done. The size of your bath, amongst other things, may make it too tricky to do at home!
Great Danebull health problems
Great Danebull Life expectancy
Great Danes have a relatively short lifespan compared to other dog breeds. With such giant frames, it's hardly surprising that these dogs end up suffering from bone problems that can become debilitating.
On average they live between 7 and 10 years. Pitbulls, however, live between 10 and 13 years.
On average a Great Dane Pitbull mix should live 8 to 12 years. Of course, lifestyle and genetics play a role, and regular check-ups at the vet can help to diagnose anything early on.
It's normally the case that mixed breeds are slightly healthier than their purebred parents. The correct amount of exercise, high-quality food, and lots of affection from you can help to keep them healthier for longer!
That being said, Great Danebulls can suffer from some of the diseases common in Great Danes and Pitbulls. Conditions can be:
- Hip dysplasia. This is a common condition in many dog breeds and especially Great Danes. It's a problem in which bones don't correctly fit into the joint, causing pain and discomfort for your dog.
- Bloat. This is another common condition in which the stomach twists in on itself and fills up with liquid and gas. It can be fatal and if you suspect your Great Dane Pit mix is suffering from bloat, you should take them to the vet immediately for treatment.
- Heart problems. Both Pitbulls and Great Danes can suffer from an array of heart conditions. This can include heart disease and cardiomyopathy.
- Thyroid issues. Both Pitbulls and Great Danes suffer from different thyroid diseases. It's important to have your canine friend regularly checked.
- Wobbler syndrome. This is common in very large dogs as they have to grow so quickly. It can cause spinal problems and leg weakness.
Ensuring you get your Pitbull Great Dane mix from a responsible breeder can help to minimize any possible health issues and ensure that they are ethically bred.
How much does a Great Danebull cost?
On average, a Great Danebull can cost between $600 and $1000. It depends on the breeder you get them from. Don't forget that it's always worth looking in dog shelters for this mixed breed and you should always avoid puppy mills that don't ethically breed this hybrid.
How much do these huge dogs eat?
As you probably expect, the Great Dane Pitbull mix likes to eat a lot of dog food.
They'll need around four cups of good-quality, nutritious food each day. Because bloat can be a problem for this crossbreed, it's best to feed them little and often throughout the day.
You can expect to pay around $90 per month to feed these hybrid dogs.
Many dog owners (and actually, just people) are wary of adopting a Great Dane, Pitbull, or a hybrid of the two – mainly because of their size and appearance. But they make amazing family dogs!
Great Danebulls are caring, loving, protective, and a fun breed to make part of your family. They need early socialization and a firm training hand, but with that, you'll have an amazing dog!
Would you consider adopting a Great Danebull? Why?
I’m Charlotte, a content and copywriter from the North of England and currently living in Berlin. Animals have always been a huge part of my life, so writing about dogs is a total pleasure! I love all kinds of dogs and their cheeky personalities, but I’d have to say Weimaraners are my favourite!