The class 80 tank locomotives were part of the DRG's first standardization plan and were designed for switching work in large passenger stations. The DRG's plan was that weight would be reduced as much as possible in favor of a boiler with good performance. The driving wheels were reduced to 1,100 mm / 43-5/16" from the ones originally designed with a diameter of 1,250 mm / 49-3/16". Since a maximum speed of only 45 km/h / 28 mph was required, the driving wheel diameter selected appeared to be sufficient. Other savings in weight were done in the cylinders, wheel sets, and running gear. The suspension springing on the lower frame was a large problem, but eventually the suspension springs could be located below the wheel set bearings in order to ensure clearance even with worn out wheel tires.
The standardized type program enabled four different firms (Hohenzollern, Union, Hagans/Wolf, and Jung) to deliver 39 units (80 001-039) between 1927 and 1929. These locomotives immediately took up their duties at many stations all over the German State Railroad area. All of the locomotives survived World War II: 22 came to the DR, 17 remained with the DB. The "Bullis" / "Little Bulls" put into the DR roster became superfluous starting in 1962/63 with the delivery of new class V 75 diesel switch engines. At least 20 of the 0-6-0 units found new work as industrial locomotives in different maintenance facilities. Road number 80 019 was the last unit to survive in this kind of work. It was not put into storage until November of 1984 at the Engelsdorf maintenance facility and was scrapped in May of 1987. With road number 80 009 (privately owned in Berlin) and 80 023 (SEM in Chemnitz) two DR locomotives can still be admired for posterity.
From 1946 on all 17 of the subsequently DB locomotives (80 005, 013-016, 028-039) were stationed in Nürnberg. At the end of their career, the class 80 units were only stationed in Schweinfurt and road number 80 031 was the last to be taken out of service on April 15, 1964. Ten units were given a new chance as industrial locomotives at mining operations in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. Former road number 80 039 was still under steam as the last one until August of 1977 at Ruhr Coal, Inc. Five of these mining "Bullis" were preserved in the form of road numbers 80 013 (DDM), 014 (SEM Heilbronn), 030 (DGEG), 036 (VSM Netherlands), and 039 (Hammer EF).