10 Brachycephalic Dogs and the Growing Controversy Around Them

Certain physical characteristics set some dogs apart from others. These can vary widely in terms of size and color, but one group stands out above the others: canines with brachycephaly. These instantly identifiable breeds are distinguished by their distinctive facial traits, such as their smooshed-in faces and short, wrinkled noses.

The price of these distinctive face shapes is high, though. Owing to the health issues associated with the distinctive traits of brachycephalic dogs, there is a great deal of controversy around their breeding. We’ll discover more about this breed type, the debate surrounding them, and the affected canines in this post.

What Does it Mean to be Brachycephalic?

We should first clarify what it means to be brachycephalic before talking about brachycephalic breeds. The cause of this illness is tiny skull bones compared to those of a typical dog. Dog faces seem more squashed because of these reduced bones. The phrase actually derives from Greek terms that mean “short head,” which is appropriate. These flat-faced canines are expensive, yet many believe them to be adorable.

The Risk That Comes With This Condition

Regrettably, brachycephalic dogs have certain very dangerous characteristics. This is due to a number of factors, the most important of which is their improper breathing pattern. Almost all of these canines suffer from a disorder called “Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome,” or BOAS for short.

In essence, breathing becomes difficult due to a blocked palate in BOAS. Upper respiratory disorders, difficulty breathing deeply, and inadequate oxygen intake are symptoms of this. Avoiding pre-adopting or otherwise purposefully aiding in the breeding of these dogs is the greatest strategy to combat BOAS, which only arises from the intentional breeding of dogs with at-risk traits.

Why Some Are Against The Breeding of Brachycephalic Dogs

Regretfully, there is a way to prevent these health dangers. Dogs, as you may know, are limited to the features they have been purposefully designed to have. Breeders are more likely to purposefully breed these dogs the more people find brachycephalic features attractive. For this reason, several experts recommend against buying “purebred” brachycephalic breeds, such as French bulldogs or pugs. This is not to suggest that if you’re interested in adopting from a shelter, you shouldn’t rescue one; but, some people believe that deliberately looking for these breeds is a direct cause of the issue.

Let’s now examine the risk factors for BOAS in 10 of the most common brachycephalic dog breeds.

1. French Bulldog

The delightful French bulldog, which can weigh anything from 16 to 28 pounds, is our first breed. In fact, these dogs were purposefully developed to resemble their English equivalent in the 1800s. Any home would benefit greatly from having a French bulldog as a companion. They are often regarded as happy and gregarious, and they get along very well with small children. They are, nevertheless, among the breeds of brachycephalic dogs most likely to exhibit “clinically significant signs” of BOAS. In actuality, almost half of all French bulldogs exhibit these symptoms.

2. English Bulldog

The English bulldog is a long-standing breed that dates back hundreds of years. In spite of their rugged exterior, these wrinkled dogs are among the friendliest breeds. Despite their adorable and endearing qualities, these characteristics lead to a susceptibility to several health problems. Of course, BOAS is one of these. Apart from this regrettable illness, they are also quite vulnerable to illnesses including skin disorders, lung problems, and hip dysplasia.

3. Boxer

There are various reasons why boxers are excellent breeds. In addition to having a cute appearance, they have a lively, humorous disposition. A boxer is a devoted guardian; you may feel secure knowing that your house is secure when they are around to maintain order. Despite having traits that make them vulnerable to BOAS, their risk is lower than that of some of the other dogs on this list.

4. Boston Terrier

You can guess where city the Boston terrier originated in during the 19th century in the United States. This small-medium breed, dubbed the “American Gentleman” for its elegant appearance and kind disposition, has many wonderful qualities. Regrettably, BOAS is prevalent in this breed. To the extent that a veterinarian can diagnose them with just one or two symptoms.

5. Pekingese

China is the home of Pekingese dogs, who were long regarded as the preferred pets of the nobility. Given that this breed is noted for its independence and occasionally rebellious disposition, it is evident that this therapy has had an effect on their attitude. Pekingese dogs, on the other hand, exhibit a strong affection for their family and other close relatives. Unfortunately, BOAS affects a large number of Pekingese dogs because of their traits.

6. Chinese Shar-Pei

The history of the Chinese Shar-Pei dates back thousands of years. The Shar-Pei, which is well-known for having deep wrinkles, requires regular cleaning and upkeep to stay healthy and infection-free. Still, the work is definitely worth it. Shar-Peis have a great deal of affection and love for their family, and they will defend them from any suspicious outsiders. Additionally, this breed is quite prone to developing BOAS.

7. Pug

The pug is the only breed with such a heavy emphasis on brachycephalic features. Due to their continued selective breeding to promote these traits, pugs have a 50% chance of developing BOAS, and this figure has only gone up. Being a pet pug is incredibly gratifying because they are cute, cuddly, lazy, and beautiful dogs. However, they are also a breed that is highly likely to suffer several unfortunate health issues.

8. Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso hails from Tibet and has a long history of serving as sentinel dogs, which has made the breed closely associated with Tibetan monasteries. Being self-assured and self-reliant, the Lhasa Apso makes up for their lack of popularity with its distinctiveness. They are distinguished by their long, flowing fur, yet they also exhibit certain common brachycephalic characteristics. Although they are more likely to get BOAS than certain other breeds with flat faces, they still have a tendency to develop it.

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9. Shih Tzu

The Shih Tzu that we are familiar with today originated in Tibet as well, but they were actually cultivated in China. The Ming and Qing dynasties placed a great emphasis on these small, lively furballs. These canines are often only 10 to 15 pounds in weight, but they have a noticeable charm and confident streak. Despite being a highly well-liked breed, they can also be vulnerable to some unfavorable circumstances. Naturally, one of these is BOAS. Your Shih Tzu may also suffer from conditions like hip dysplasia, ocular abnormalities, and dental issues in addition to BOAS.

10. Bullmastiff

Not to be overlooked is the Bullmastiff, which is among the largest brachycephalic dogs. In the past, these dogs have been recognized as protectors and guardians. Though they may seem duty-driven, these dogs really just want to cuddle and spend time with their devoted owners. Don’t let that fool you. Unfortunately, because of their small faces, Buffmastiffs are more likely to get BOAS. Not all dogs of this breed exhibit this problem, although a good number do.