What is a Bichon Frise German Shepherd mix?
A Bichon Frise German Shepherd mix is considered a hybrid, designer, or boutique dog. Most of these German Shepherd mixes are medium in size, with traits from both of these breeds that influence appearance, behavior, and health.
What Are the Traits of a Bichon Frise and a German Shepherd?
According to Dog Time, purebred Bichons are small, fluffy dogs that have their origins in several breeds originating in the Mediterranean regions of Italy and North Africa.
The German Shepherd, by contrast, originates in Germany, being descended from several local breeds used for herding and later, military and police work. Although commonly a family pet today, these dogs still retain strong protective instincts.
The American Kennel Club classifies these small dogs as part of the Non-Sporting Group. Even though they have fluffy coats, they are non-shedding, which might make them helpful for people who live with allergy symptoms.
German Shepherds are part of the Working Group, because of their herding and security work origins. Shepherds are not hypoallergenic, as they do shed and have thick, double coats designed to ward off cold winter temperatures.
Bichon Frises, though not classified as Toy dogs, are small, standing about 11 inches high and seldom weighing over 12 pounds. The much-larger German Shepherd Dog may stand 24-26 inches high and weigh 70-90 pounds.
A Bichon is a good choice for apartment living, while a Shepherd does best in a setting that has a yard. Both breeds thrive on a lot of interaction with their families and develop a strong attachment to the people they live with.
What Should You Expect from a Bichon Frise and German Shepherd Mixture?
There are a lot of differences to keep in mind when it comes to a German Shepherd mix, especially when the other breed is a small dog. Crossbreeds customarily inherit traits from both parents, and individuals from the same litter may vary.
Dogs Love to Know points out how unpredictable crossing two breeds, especially two very different ones, can be.
Most of these dogs will come from the pairing of a Bichon Frise male and a German Shepherd female. Because of the sharp difference in size, it is highly unlikely that a female Bichon could safely conceive and deliver puppies by a Shepherd male.
Some of these dogs come from multi-generation crosses that add greater diversity to the appearance and overall traits. Because both breeds are very different, it might be hard to tell which breed will prevail.
However, there are some traits that owners can comfortably predict. One thing that owners can reasonably expect is for these dogs to be smaller than the average German Shepherd. A medium-size would be very typical of these types of dogs.
These dogs will most likely have long, fairly fluffy coats and curly tails because of the parent breeds. The dogs may or may not have double coats.
These dogs may have coat colors ranging from white to typical Shepherd colors, or a combination of the two.
A twice-weekly brushing should help keep most of the shedding under control. Depending on how much your dog’s coat tends to grow out, visits to a groomer might be advisable to help keep their coat as under control as possible.
Another thing that people should be able to expect from these dogs is having a gentle, playful nature. A dog that is a combination of these two breeds is one you can probably easily trust around children.
What Traits Will Bichon Frise German Shepherd Mixes Share with Purebred Shepherds?
According to Shepped, mixes are likely to exhibit the best traits from both breeds. Even though there is no one predictor of how these dogs will turn out, the breeds provide examples.
German Shepherd mixes will likely have the same acute sense of smell also found in purebred German Shepherd Dogs.
One of the best things about this strong sense of smell is that these dogs are easy to keep amused with tracking activities.
Another trait that these dogs will likely have from their German Shepherd ancestry is a high degree of versatility. Even though these mixes are more likely to be pets, they will still adapt to a lot of new and different situations very easily.
These dogs will also have an excellent energy level, which makes them especially suitable for households with children. Because they are somewhat smaller than a purebred Shepherd, they are less likely to end up accidentally hurting kids.
Regardless of the size, German Shepherd mixes have a high level of protective instincts, making them constantly watchful of everything that goes on near them.
These instincts make them effective watchdogs that will let you know when someone’s around.
Are Bichon Frise German Shepherd Mixes Easy Dogs to Care For?
A German Shepherd Dog mixed with a Bichon Frise is not suited to living outdoors full-time. Most of these dogs veer towards the smaller side, and, as such, would not do well in exceptionally cold weather.
Cecilia de Cardenas highlights the importance of activity for these dogs, making life inside around the family a better choice than a backyard existence.
Also worth keeping in mind is that the high intelligence levels of both breeds ensure that these mixes will be smart. You’ll find one of these mixes to be a quick learner, but regular exercise or other activities of some sort are essential.
What Health Conditions Might Bichon Frise German Shepherd Mixes Have?
These German Shepherd mixes have inherited the possibility of health conditions from both breeds, including:
- Elbow and hip dysplasia
- Von Willebrand Disease
According to the OFA, both the Bichon Frise and the German Shepherd Dog are susceptible to elbow and hip dysplasia. These crippling conditions involve deformed joints, making movement hard.
Another effect of this devastating condition is that dogs may lose the use of the affected limb with elbow dysplasia and use of the hind legs with hip dysplasia. Life for dogs with these conditions may become difficult without surgery.
Upstate Veterinary Specialties defines cardiomyopathy as a type of heart dysfunction that often results in congestive heart failure.
This disorder is more common in German Shepherds than Bichon Frises and usually occurs in middle or older age. However, a younger dog may have this condition, especially if one of their parents also had this disease.
These dogs are also somewhat susceptible to von Willebrand Disease. According to Ian Landau, VWD is the most common bleeding disorder that affects dogs.
Owners of dogs with this condition need to avoid having them put on certain medications that increase bleeding risk. Special precautions may also need to be taken before or during surgical procedures to decrease bleeding risks.
Small Door Veterinary defines cataracts as a clouding of the lenses in the eyes. It is possible for cataracts to progress to the point of blindness.
One good thing to know is that not all dogs with cataracts will end up blind. Surgical intervention may be possible, as well as managing conditions like diabetes that might contribute to the presence of cataracts.
When you have a Bichon Frise German Shepherd mix, you will have a dog that has a reasonably good health level but has the possibility for health issues to be aware of, like any breed or mix.
One of the keys to keeping any dog healthy is keeping up with regular veterinary appointments. By teaming up with your vet, you will be in a better position to take care of any health issues while they are still easily managed.
Are Bichon Frise German Shepherd Mixes Easy to Train?
This video demonstrates how easily one of these dogs has picked up commands, even as a puppy still going through an energetic, very active phase.
Because most of these dogs will lean somewhat more towards a medium or large size, the methods used to train full-blooded German Shepherds will likely prove quite effective. You don’t want to underestimate their strength on a leash.
All of the initial training should involve your GSD mix being leashed. You’ll be able to better assert your authority, and will be able to keep your dog from wandering out of bounds and getting in trouble.
When your dog is very young, it’s reasonable to expect him or her to become easily distracted. Using positive, food or praise-based rewards is one of the most effective ways to make sure that your dog follows commands with minimal fuss.
Even though a small breed makes up half these dogs’ ancestry, most of these mixes will behave like large dogs. Because they act like big dogs, proper control around other animals is essential.
Deciding to add a Bichon Frise German Shepherd mix to your family is always a great choice. Understanding the needs of this mixture and making sure you meet them is the best way to ensure the dog becomes an important family member.