In this article, we’ll be talking about the German Shepherd Bulldog mix.
While the German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, the American Bulldog is less well-known than its English Bulldog cousin.
We’ll look at the history and characteristics of both breeds—and the mix—so you can make an informed decision about your next pet.
Could an American Bulldog x German Shepherd be the perfect mixed breed dog for you?
Let’s find out!
Bulldog Shepherd Mix
Before we look at the specific breeds that go into the German Shepherd American Bulldog mix, let’s see how mixed breed dogs compare to purebred dogs and good old-fashioned mutts!
A purebred dog is the offspring of two dogs of the same breed that have a known ancestry (pedigree).
A mixed breed dog like the German Shepherd Bulldog is born to purebred parents of two different breeds.
Mutts generally have an unknown ancestry and can be a mix of more than two different breeds.
Mixed breed dogs have been growing in popularity over the past few decades.
The goal of crossbreeding is to combine the best characteristics of both parent breeds in the mix, but of course, the outcome of cross breeding can be unpredictable.
Are Mixed Breed Dogs Healthier Than Purebred Dogs?
It’s true that some purebred dogs can have inherited health problems, and outcrossing to unrelated genetic lines can improve the health of mixed breed offspring.
This is called hybrid vigor.
However, when you’re looking for any mixed breed dog, it’s important to find a responsible breeder who tests both parent breeds for inherited health conditions to ensure that their dogs are as healthy as possible.
We’ll talk more about this later, but now, on to the German Shepherd Bulldog Mix!
American Bulldog Shepherd Mix
How is the American Bulldog different than the English Bulldog?
Breed experts note that the American is what the English used to look like hundreds of years ago, before its appearance got more extreme.
This is because the breed’s ancestors were brought to rural southern America by early immigrants who needed working dogs many years ago, and their appearance has not changed much.
The American Bulldog is a strong and athletic dog, often used for farm work, like rounding up livestock and guarding property.
There are two types of American Bulldog: the Scott (or standard) and the Johnson (or bully).
The Scott is sleeker, including the head shape, than the heavier Johnson, which has a larger head with a shorter muzzle.
German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd is a large, muscular working dog, originally bred to be a livestock herding dog.
Today’s German Shepherd is a beloved family pet, as well as a brave working dog, often serving alongside police or military handlers.
The German Shepherd Bulldog mix is a medium to large dog with a temperament that tends to be very loyal and protective towards its human family members.
Just how big will your German Shepherd cross Bulldog get?
Let’s look at the parent breeds and the mix.
American Bulldog Shepherd Description
An American Bulldog’s size can vary, depending on whether it is a Scott or Johnson type and what sex the dog is.
Generally, males stand between 22 and 27 inches tall at the shoulder, and females are 20 to 25 inches tall.
The weight range for males is between 66 and 130 pounds, and 60 to 90 pounds for females.
Johnson types are heavier than Scott types.
German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd breed standard calls for a male that is 24 to 26 inches tall and a female that is 22 to 24 inches in height.
While no weight is given in the breed standard, expect a male GSD to weigh between 66 and 88 pounds, and a female to weigh between 50 and 70 pounds.
The overall appearance of a GSD should be strong, muscular, and substantial.
What About a Bulldog Mixed with German Shepherd?
The German Shepherd Bulldog mix is a medium to larger sized dog, strong and powerful like both parent breeds.
Height and weight can vary quite a bit, depending on the sizes of the parents and the sex of the mix.
Generally, you can expect the height to be around the 24- to 26-inch range and the weight to range from 60 to 90 pounds.
American Bulldog Shepherd Coat and Grooming
While the Bulldog has a very short coat, the GSD has a medium-length double coat that sheds a fair amount.
Like all other traits, your Bulldog Shepherd mix can inherit the coat characteristics of either parent breed, in any combination.
While the coat should be relatively low maintenance, requiring not much more than a weekly brushing, those GSD genetics could mean that your dog will have a heavier coat that sheds seasonally, requiring more grooming during those times.
The American Bulldog’s coat comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, including the popular brindle.
White with patches of color such as brown or black is also common.
The German Shepherd also comes in a variety of coat colors, although the iconic black and tan coloring is the most well-known.
Many coat colors and patterns are possible in the German Shepherd Bulldog mix.
Frequently seen colors include brindle, black and tan, and white with patches of color.
German Shepherd and Bulldog Mix Temperament and Training
Temperament and trainability are always important factors to consider with large, strong dogs like the German Shepherd Bulldog mix.
The German Shepherd breed is loved for its loyal, self-assured, and intelligent nature.
They are famously dedicated to their human family members.
The GSD is a highly trainable dog, known for its eagerness to please and strong work ethic.
The American Bulldog is a brave guardian dog that is devoted to its family.
The breed can sometimes be aloof with strangers but should never be shy or aggressive.
As a confident working dog, the breed is smart and trainable.
Those guarding instincts make early socialization especially important.
What About the Mix?
An American Bulldog cross German Shepherd can inherit the personality traits of either parent breed, in any combination.
Since the parent breeds share some similar traits, you can expect your German Shepherd Bulldog mix to be brave, confident, loyal, and trainable.
The protective nature of both breeds means that owners of the mix should take special care to train and socialize their dogs from puppyhood to avoid unwanted behaviors with unfamiliar people.
They do best with confident and experienced owners.
While both are gentle and loving towards children in the family, always supervise their interactions with unfamiliar children.
German Shepherd Bulldog Mix Health
Both the GSD and the American Bulldog can inherit some health problems common to the breeds.
Here are the most important to know about.
German Shepherd Dogs
The painful, degenerative joint conditions known as hip and elbow dysplasia are often seen in German Shepherds.
German Shepherds can also be prone to a potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal condition commonly called bloat.
Another genetic health problem common to German Shepherds is a neurological condition called degenerative myelopathy that affects the spinal cord.
What About the American Bulldog?
A deadly neurological condition called NCL (neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis) is known to occur in the breed.
NCL causes toxins to build up in the nervous system, leading to serious symptoms and death at a young age.
Other common inherited health problems in the breed include hip and elbow dysplasia, skin conditions (ichthyosis and mange), and eye problems (cataracts and inward-turning eyelids).
Like other Bulldog types and other short muzzled breeds, the American Bulldog can suffer from chronic breathing problems known as brachycephalic syndrome.
As a mixed breed dog, the German Shepherd Bulldog mix can inherit genetic health issues from either parent breed.
Potential owners should be especially aware of the joint and neurological problems that the parent breeds can pass on to their offspring.
How can you ensure that your German Shepherd Bulldog mix puppy is as healthy as possible?
Here’s what you should know.
American Bulldog German Shepherd Mix Puppies
Choose a reputable breeder who health tests their GSD and Bulldog breeding stock for genetic health conditions.
Health tests can be either DNA testing or orthopedic exams done by a veterinarian and registered with the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.
Responsible breeders will not breed affected dogs, and they will share all test results with buyers.
Avoid buying a puppy from a pet store or online ad.
Choose a small-scale breeder who welcomes client visits.
Meet your puppy’s parents and littermates.
Look for alert, active puppies that are free from nose and eye discharge and diarrhea.
Be sure to carefully review paperwork, like contracts and health guarantees.
Is a German Shepherd Bulldog Mix the Right Breed for You?
An American Bulldog and German Shepherd mix can be an excellent dog for experienced owners looking for a larger dog that is smart, loyal, protective, and brave.
Training and socialization are a must for this dog.
Always use positive reinforcement training techniques.
The Bulldog Shepherd can be a good choice for active families with children, but be sure to monitor your dog around strangers, especially children.
If it isn’t the breed for you, you can always check out other breeds like the American Bully!
Already sharing your life with this loving and devoted companion?
Tell us about your dog in the comments below!
References and Further Reading
Beuchat, C. The Myth of Hybrid Vigor in Dogs…Is a Myth. The Institute of Canine Biology, 2014.
American Bulldog. United Kennel Club.
German Shepherd Dog. American Kennel Club.
Stock, K.F., et al. Genetic Analyses of Elbow and Hip Dysplasia in the German Shepherd Dog. Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, 2011.
Brockman, D.J., et al. Canine Gastric Dilatation/Volvulus Syndrome in a Veterinary Critical Care Unit: 295 Cases (1986-1992). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1995.
Fechner, H., et al. Molecular Genetic and Expression Analysis of Alpha-Tocopherol Transfer Protein mRNA in German Shepherd Dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy. Berliner und Munchener Tierarztliche Wochenschrift, 2003.
Awano, T., et al. A Mutation in the Cathepsin D Gene (CTSD) in American Bulldogs with Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism, 2006.
American Bulldog. Aubrey Animal Medical Center.
Blaeser, L.L. Bulldogs and Brachycephalic Syndrome. IVG Hospitals, 2013.