It is true that some breeds are more prone to certain health problems than other breeds, but just because a dog is vulnerable to a certain condition doesn't mean he'll definitely develop it. When you breed a poodle with a bichon frise, you're guaranteed to end up with a cute pup. As far as a bichon-poodle mix's health goes, his parents and your care will determine how he fares.
Is It the Breed or the Condition?
The University of California Davis conducted a study of thousands of dogs to determine if purebreds are more susceptible to diseases than mixed-breed dogs and designer dogs, or purebred mixes. Conventional wisdom had been that purebred dogs were more vulnerable to certain diseases because the gene pool is thinned with repetitive breeding. Scientists discovered a few conditions, such as cataracts and hypothyroidism, tended to affect purebred dogs more than other dogs but otherwise mixed-breed dogs are no healthier than purebred dogs. If you're interested in adding a bichon-poodle mix to your home, knowing what conditions are common among poodles and bichon frises will give you a starting point on what to look for as your dog grows up.
Poodle Health Problems
No matter what size you're talking about -- standard, miniature and toy -- poodles are no strangers to health problems. The Poodle Club of America lists a variety of conditions that all three poodle breeds are vulnerable to inheriting, including Addison's disease, Cushing's disease, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, patellar luxation, epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, hypothyroidism, progressive retinal atrophy and von Willebrand's disease. The smaller miniature and toy poodles are prone to dental problems from tooth crowding in their tiny mouths; the larger standard poodle is vulnerable to bloat and certain cancers.
Bichon Frise Health Problems
Bichon frises commonly develop skin atopy or allergies, the Bichon Frise Club of America says. The bichon is genetically predisposed to other illnesses, including patellar luxation, dental disease, certain cancers, liver shunt, bladder infections and stones, mitral valve disease, cataracts, and certain cardiac and metabolic diseases such as Cushing's disease and diabetes. Allergies and dental disease are usually easily managed with the help of a veterinarian.
Proactive, Not Reactive
If you're considering adding a bichon-poodle mix to your mix, do a little homework. If you're going designer, seek a reputable breeder and learn as much as possible about your prospective pups' parents. A responsible breeder will have health records on file; some post their dogs' health test results on the Canine Health Information Center database. Of course, a healthy background doesn't guarantee a dog won't develop any illness, but it will give you peace of mind that your puppy comes from a strong lineage. Even if you adopt from a shelter, understanding the conditions common to bichons and poodles lets you look out for symptoms of potential problem ailments.
- VetStreet.com: Poodle
- Bichon Frise Club of America Inc. Health Resource Center: The Health of the Bichon Frise
- Animal Planet: Bichon Frise Guide
- VetStreet.com: Mixed Mutts and Designer Crosses: Healthier Than Purebred Pets?
- Healthy Pets: The Surprising Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs
- Poodle Club of America: Health Concerns
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