Brachycephalic Dog Breeds – Health Problems


Health Problems of

Flat-Faced (Brachycephalic) Dog Breeds

Brachycephalic dog breeds have flat faces and short muzzles. The term comes from two Greek words meaning ‘short’ and ‘head’.They may have a bottom jaw which sticks out disproportionately to the top jaw.

Brachycephalic dog breeds

Here is a list of Brachycephalic Dog Breeds

 French bulldogs

English bulldogs

Boston terriers


Cavalier King Charles spaniels

Shih tzus



Chow Chow


and many less known breeds.

This type of dog has become increasingly popular but bad breeding has lead to respiratory problems for these flat-faced breeds.

Brachycephalic dog breeds

Brachycephalic syndrome is a condition affecting certain dog breeds which can lead to severe respiratory distress.

Symptoms include:-

Snoring, snorting, noisy breathing, tiring or fainting during exercise and heatstroke.

Brachycephalic dogs are also prone to;-

Eye Problems due to large protruding eyes and small eyelids, which don’t always shut.

Skin infections due to the heavily folded skin around the neck

Dry eye and tear staining.

Dental disease due to overcrowding teeth.

Brachycephalic dog breeds


Elongated soft palate. Brachycephalic dogs have more tissue between the nose and mouth cavities.

Large tongue.

Narrowed or collapsed nostrils.

Narrowed windpipe.

Inflamed pouches in the Larynx

Tips to help if you have a Brachycephalic dog or are thinking of getting one.

1 Go to a reputable breeder.

2 Keep your dogs weight under control.

3 Use a well fitting harness

4 Don’t let your dog overheat.

5 Keep a watchful eye on your dog’s breathing.

6 Exercise within limits.

 dog breeding

Here is an interesting article on the subject of Brachycephalic or flat faced dogs published by BBC News in September 2016.

A recent survey by the Royal Veterinary College suggests many owners of brachycephalic dogs are not aware of the common underlying health problems.

Caroline Reay, chief vet at Bluecross Animal Hospital in Merton, said: “Most owners – and some vets – think airway noise, and consequently reduced activity, is normal, so the problems are rarely discussed.

“And I think the number of operations we are carrying out is really only the tip of the iceberg”.

The extremely broad head shape seen in in pugs and bulldogs is not a natural look. It developed as a result of intense, selective breeding.


8 thoughts on “Brachycephalic Dog Breeds – Health Problems”

  1. I have a Frug~ French bulldog pug mix~ sweetest dog and I got her based on personality night on luxe, I think my next dog will be a basset hound pug mix and hopefully the nose will be longer! My girl might need to have surgery on her nostrils we shall see?

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