Juxtaposition of Borzo and German Shepherd Heads Side by Side

Borzoi German Shepherd Mix – Combining Speed and Smarts

The Borzoi German Shepherd mix is an interesting mixed breed. Borzois are sighthounds, bred to hunt wolves. They can sprint up to 40 miles per hour with their slender frames, narrow heads, and deep chests. These dogs are often seen as lazy or low energy due to their relaxed nature, but they still require a lot of activity to stay fit.

Borzoi Running.  It can sprint up to 40 mph for short times
Borzoi Running. It can sprint up to 40 mph for short times

German Shepherds are most known today for their role as police dogs, but—as the name implies—they were originally bred to herd sheep. They’re built for endurance, which has been needed through time no matter the job they’re performing.

German Shepherd Running on beach
German Shepherd Running. This animal is built for endurance.

When you combine these breeds, you end up with a high-energy breed that may be laid-back or more ready to go. These big dogs are muscular and strong, which may become a problem without proper leash training and socialization.

Litters will vary in shape, size, and color, though they will no doubt have the deep chests and narrower waistlines of their parent breeds.

In this article, we’ll discuss the Borzoi Shepherd mix in-depth as well as what you can expect from this crossbreed.

Borzoi German Shepherd Mix

The Borzoi German Shepherd, like most mixed breeds, can have a vast variety of traits. What’s for sure is that they’ll be strong, high energy dogs with deep chests and thick coats. They’ll likely want to be where their family is at—Shepherds liking to be in on the action, and Borzois content to lounge on the couch while you watch TV.

Behavioral problems to anticipate include chasing of pets or young children (particularly for dogs not socialized to kids or animals) and unreliable recall.

Training may be very easy thanks to the German Shepherd heritage, or more difficult due to the Borzoi’s independent nature. Use positive reinforcement techniques and have patience, though, and your mixed breed will learn new things in time—they’re very smart dogs!

Summary of Breed Characteristics

Lifespan 7-14 years
EnergyHigh
GroomingHigh
TrainabilityEasy-Intermediate
SizeLarge-Giant

Borzoi German Shepherd Mix Appearance

A Borzoi German Shepherd mix puppy will combine the genetics of both parent breeds. In many aspects, it can seem like Borzois and German Shepherds couldn’t be more different!

This will make for a diverse litter that can range in color, size, and shape.

Some certainties are a thick, medium-length double coat, a fairly long muzzle, and triangular ears.

German Shepherds stand at 22-26 inches in height and weigh 50-90 pounds. Borzois are a giant breed with a height over 26 inches (or 28 inches for males) and a weight of 60-105 pounds.

This isn’t a vast difference, but this mixed breed’s size is still quite unpredictable.

Face and body shape could also take after either parent. Borzois have long, triangular faces and a sprinter’s build, while German Shepherds have bulkier frames and a more “normal” face shape for a dog.

Some German Shepherds have sloped backs as well, with their hind legs lower than their front legs. This happens due to poor breeding and unethical breed standards, and often causes health problems for the dogs—for this reason, we advise avoiding breeders with puppies or parent dogs of this shape.

One example of how Borzoi German Shepherds can look is this beautiful pup named Gatsby. He’s grown a bit of a following due to his long, “giraffe-like” neck!

Borzoi German Shepherd Mix Cost

At the time of writing this article, I was able to find one Borzoi German Shepherd mix up for adoption with an adoption fee of $200.

I didn’t come across any Borzoi German Shepherd breeders in my research, as this mixed breed is still quite rare.

You’re most likely to find a rescue dog with this mixed breed. Adoption fees do vary, but are typically much lower than purchasing a dog from a breeder.

Adopting from a Rescue or Shelter

Adopting from a rescue group or shelter is an excellent way to adopt a dog! When looking for a specific breed, it’s best to browse breed-specific rescues in your area.

While you might stumble across a Borzoi German Shepherd at a generalized dog rescue or shelter, there will also be many other breeds in the mix.

Look for Borzoi or sighthound rescues in addition to German Shepherd rescues. You might also consider looking into adopting a Borzoi, German Shepherd, or similar mixed breed dog due to the rarity of this combo.

If you have children or pets, be sure to check with the rescue or shelter to ensure the dog is a good fit. Borzois in particular are chasers, and might see small animals like cats as their prey—not their friends!

It’s best if a dog has been raised around similar pets or children of the same age as your own. Be sure to introduce them properly—go slow and use a leash!—and to also teach the child or other pet how to behave around the new dog.

3 Borzoi standing next to each other. All have long coats and predominantly white
Brozois Need to become acclimated to other dogs

Finding a Breeder

If you do find a Borzoi German Shepherd breeder, it might be difficult not to jump on the opportunity—but it’s incredibly important to vet your breeder before purchasing a dog from them.

You want to ensure you’re dealing with a reputable and ethical breeder. One thing to watch for with this breed in particular is the German Shepherd parent.

Some German Shepherds, particularly those bred for showing, are purposefully bred to have sloped backs and shorter hind legs. This can put extra pressure on their back joints, an extra problem for a breed already predisposed to hip dysplasia (which is common in large breed dogs).

If the parent breeds or puppies have sloped backs, we recommend avoiding the breeder. Putting breed standards before ethics is a red flag, as it signals that the dogs are not the breeder’s first priority.

Luckily, German Shepherds that come from a working line likely won’t have this problem.

You’ll also want to ensure that you don’t support any puppy mills or backyard breeders.

Puppy mills are businesses that breed as many dogs as they can, as fast as they can—they only care about profits.

Borzoi Puppies Source "Puppy Bed Time" https://www.flickr.com/photos/ferlinka/1317785292/ by Deb
Find a Reputable Breeder. Healthy Litter of Borzoi Dogs

Dogs in puppy mills are abused and neglected, and puppies often live shorter lives due to poor breeding practices. Once a puppy mill sells a puppy, they don’t care what happens to them.

Backyard breeders, on the other hand, may care about and provide for their dogs. However, they don’t know enough about breeding to breed responsibly. This can result in health problems for the puppies.

It’s best to choose a breeder who knows the breed, or in this case both breeds, inside and out, screens their dogs for genetic conditions, and cares about the welfare of the breed and the puppies they’re selling.

To ensure you’re shopping with a reputable breeder:

  • Visit the dogs in a home setting. The breeder should allow you to see all of the dogs, including the parents, in the environment where they’ve been raised. This should be a home setting that provides for all of the dogs’ needs such as water, shelter, and enrichment (like toys!).
  • View veterinary paperwork. Ask your breeder what health screenings they’ve done on their dogs, and to see paperwork on both the parents and puppies. The dogs should be taken to the veterinarian regularly and all puppies should be up-to-date on vaccines. If your breeder doesn’t bring their dogs to the vet, you should not buy a puppy from them.
  • Ask questions! A reputable breeder will be anticipating questions from you. They might even have some to ask you in return! Ask about common health and behavioral problems with the breed, and don’t believe anyone who tells you there aren’t any. If the breeder lies or cannot answer basic questions, walk away.
German Shepherd with Veterinarian
Vet visits are essential for your dog’s health

Lifetime Expenses

An adoption fee is typically a small price to pay in comparison to the lifetime expenses that come with having a dog. Keep this in mind before bringing your pup home!

Some basic essentials that you’ll need right away include:

  • Food and water dishes
  • Toys
  • Collar and leash
  • Harness (if you choose to use one)
  • Comb and/or brush

These basics will likely need to be replaced a number of times throughout your dog’s life.

The next thing to think about is food costs. These dogs eat a lot more than small breeds, and so their food expenses are higher.

Routine veterinary care is another must. Your dog will need a minimum of one visit to the veterinarian every 6-12 months for a check-up and to have their parasite preventative renewed.

This will protect your dog from parasites such as fleas, heartworm, and ticks. You should ask your veterinarian which protection is needed in your area.

For example, my veterinarian suggests an added tick preventative to protect against Lyme disease.

Your dog will also need their rabies vaccine every 1-3 years, depending on which dosage you purchase. This is required by law in most states.

Lastly, some people bring their fluffy-haired dogs to a groomer, which is another expense to consider—though it won’t stop you from having to brush these dogs at least once every few days.

Borzoi German Shepherd Mix Temperament

A Borzoi German Shepherd mix may have an independent streak like Borzois or be extremely easy to train like German Shepherds. They may also fall somewhere in the middle.

German Shepherds are incredibly smart and trainable dogs, which is why they’re so often used as working dogs. They’re adaptable and can be trained to perform many different tasks!

It’s important to stimulate their minds through games that challenge them and make them think. This might be as simple as playing fetch or teaching new tricks. Or, you might train for a sport such as dog agility.

Borzois are also smart dogs, and Borzoi owners describe them as very emotionally intelligent. They’re sensitive to negative attitudes and seem to know what their owners are feeling.

However, they can have a stubborn streak due to their strong hunting instincts. These dogs hunted fairly independently, making calls on their own as they zipped through fields after their prey—therefore, they sometimes think they know better than you!

This can make training a challenge, especially for inexperienced trainers. However, all it takes is patience and positive reinforcement. Reward them when they do well and hold back on the impulse to scold them when they don’t do as you say.

German Shepherd Training with Woman in Red shirt and hat holding yellow ball
Training a German Shepherd

Keep training sessions short with all dogs, as it’ll stop you and them from becoming frustrated. This will allow you to end on a positive note and keep training fun.

Another training aspect to consider is socialization. This mixed breed may be a little standoffish with strangers, especially if they take after their Borzoi parent.

It’s also important for all dogs to learn to adapt to various situations, including new people, places, and animals.

A sometimes overlooked aspect of socialization is teaching your dog to be alone. This is important, especially for these dogs who love to be with their families!

While you shouldn’t leave them alone for too long, it’s important that they feel safe and secure when you do. Start small, such as leaving your dog in another room while they’re busy eating or chewing a toy, and gradually work up to outings that take more time.

Stay realistic when it comes to how long your dog can be alone. No dog should be left alone all day, every day, and puppies need extra care and many more potty breaks than adult dogs!

When it comes to living with other pets and children, these dogs can get along well if they’re socialized at a young age. Dogs who aren’t raised with small pets or young children may be prone to chase them.

Some Borzois are fine around cats, for example, until they run—then they’re chasing them around the house like mad!

If you’re adopting an older dog, ask the rescue or shelter group if they’ve ever been around children or other pets and how they’ve done.

Be sure to make introductions slowly, keeping your new Borzoi German Shepherd mix leashed for better control.

Teach them how to interact with children and small pets gently, and teach your children and other pets to do the same.

White Long Haired Borzoi Laying on Blue Sofa
Borzoi like to lie around the house a lot of the day

Borzoi German Shepherd Mix Exercise

Borzoi German Shepherd mixes are high-energy dogs. They will undoubtedly need plenty of exercise to stay healthy, happy, and well-behaved.

However, there are temperament differences in the parent breeds when it comes to hyperactivity. German Shepherds are more hyper than Borzois.

Borzois are often content to laze around the house for a big portion of the day. They need at least one long walk or run daily, and should also have access to a large, enclosed yard for racing around when they feel hyper.

They weren’t bred for endurance so much as speed, however. When they’re done exercising, they’ll likely want to spend hours sleeping beside you on the couch or laying at your feet.

German Shepherd puppy sprawled out in grass
German Shepherds like to lie around a lot of the day as long as they get exercise.

Good indicators to determine how much exercise your dog needs are their temperament and body shape.

Are they slim-framed and calm like the Borzoi, or more muscular and hyper like the German Shepherd?

Your veterinarian can also give you advice on exercising your dog.

When it comes to activities, lure coursing, agility, herding, tracking, and dock diving are great sports to stimulate these dogs’ instincts.

Feel free to try various activities and see what you and your dog enjoy. Also keep in mind which breed they take after most when pursuing new sports.

Borzoi German Shepherd Mix Grooming

Brush these dogs once every 1-2 days to reduce shedding and ensure their fur remains tangle-free. If these dogs aren’t brushed frequently enough, they may develop painful mats in their fur.

During the shedding season, you might need to brush your dog more frequently.

Your dog will also need their teeth brushed, nails trimmed, and ears cleaned regularly.

Borzoi German Shepherd Mix Environmental Needs

This mixed breed needs to live in a home with a large, well-enclosed yard. Fencing should be high to prevent them from jumping over and running away.

Borzois in particular have a tendency to run due to their hunting instincts. Once they see prey, real or imagined, they’re off—and it’s difficult to catch them!

Don’t expect reliable recall from these dogs, but do train recall in a safely enclosed space so that your dog has practice in case of an emergency.

Never allow them off-leash in an unenclosed space, as their instincts may take over despite their training.

Borzoi German Shepherd mixes can live well with children and other pets so long as they’re taught how to interact with one another.

Teach your children to treat dogs gently, to stay away from their face and food, and not to roughhouse with dogs. Train your Borzoi not to jump on, chase, or nip children or small pets.

Take introductions slowly and keep any dogs on leash to avoid fighting, jumping, or chasing.

Never leave young children unsupervised with any dog, as either the dog or child might get hurt.

German Shepherd Puppy Licking Face of young girl
You must actively socialize your dog

Borzoi German Shepherd Mix Health

Borzoi German Shepherd mixed breeds can inherit health problems from either parent, and there are also health problems these breeds are predisposed to do to their shape and size.

The best way to ensure you’re getting a healthy dog is to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder who health screens their dogs. Ask to see veterinary records for proof of this.

As discussed above, we recommend not purchasing a dog from a breeder who shows their German Shepherds—show lines of this breed are bred with sloped backs, which increases their risk of hip dysplasia.

Keep in mind that even the best breeder cannot breed dogs that will be perfectly healthy forever. Unfortunately, every breed has unavoidable health issues they can run into, and health problems can occur unexpectedly as well.

Some health concerns to watch for include:

Knowing the signs of bloat is important if you adopt this mixed breed, or a similar deep-chested breed.

Bloat is when a dog’s stomach fills with gas or liquid and turns over. This is often deadly, though it can sometimes be treated if caught early enough.

Symptoms of bloat include:

  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Retching
  • Drooling
  • Restlessness
  • Pain in the stomach area, especially when touched

To decrease your dog’s chances of developing bloat, make sure they don’t eat too much at one time. Use bowls with grooves in the bottom, designed to force a dog to eat slowly.

Keep your dog’s stress levels as low as possible, especially around mealtimes. Don’t exercise them right before or after a meal, and consider feeding them without other pets or children in the room.

Other pets or children could cause your dog stress, especially if they’re trying to take the dog’s food or the dog feels like they need to eat quickly to avoid competition.

Borzoi German Shepherd Mix History

Borzois were bred in 1600s Russia to hunt wolves. The Russian aristocracy needed a fast dog with a powerful jaw, hunting instincts, and thick fur to survive cold winters.

They achieved this by breeding a sighthound with a thick-coated Russian breed. Aristocrats would have hundreds of Borzois and took them out to hunt in small packs.

German Shepherds were bred in 1800s Germany to herd sheep. However, they are primarily known today as police or military dogs.