How far are we willing to go with the Brachycephalic dog breeds? Does it really matter how cute we think they are compared to their health?
Imagine a trend where a man or a woman is considered attractive only if they cannot breathe through their nose, but the mouth, and if they have to choke and gasp for air every few minutes because the tissue surrounding the larynx is so thick that it prevents normal breathing.
Who knows… maybe there is a parallel universe where Pugs have pet humans with breathing problems, and they debate the same thing in their own world.
But, for now, we have this world, and 19 brachycephalic dog breeds that have serious health issues.
You’d be surprised that not just obviously “flat-faced” dogs are on the list. There are other dog breeds that have the same problems, and it is all because of the breeding programs.
Brachycephalic Dog Breeds
The term ‘brachycephalic’ means ‘short-headed’. And, in essence, these dogs do have a shortened head and a smaller, flat-looking nose.
We are going to talk about purebred brachycephalic dog breeds only, but bear in mind that there are a lot of mixed dog breeds with the same problems.
Let’s see all the breeds that have this special shape of head.
The first on our list is the famous brachycephalic dog breed originally bred in China a long time ago. The original Pugs didn’t have such a short head, but years and years of breeding programs led to this final outcome.
Because of these breeding programs, today’s Pugs are prone to more than breathing problems. They also have a lot of skin problems, and they often have a lot of allergies.
But, they are the cutest little dogs that usually weigh around 15 pounds, and can grow up to 13 inches tall.
The American Kennel Club recognizes only two Pug coat colors – fawn and black. However, you can find Pugs in many other coat colors and patterns.
2. French Bulldog
Frenchies are also a famous toy dog breed that weighs more than a Pug (up to 28 pounds), but they share the same height – up to 13 inches.
Frenchies are well-known for their snorting problems that mostly come from their brachycephalic skull, but it can come from other problems as well.
The AKC recognizes many more coat colors and patterns than the mentioned Pugs, and some of them are cream, piebald, and sable Frenchies.
3. Boston Terrier
This is a very similar dog breed to the Frenchies. However, the Boston Terriers are taller (up to 17 inches), but weigh less (up to 25 pounds). This is the standard Boston Terrier. There is a smaller version called the Teacup Boston Terrier.
No matter the size, they have the same breathing problems as the rest of the dogs on our list. Both male and female Boston Terriers have similar temperaments – playful and social. This is another reason why their breathing issue is torture for these doggies – they are not able to fully enjoy playtime.
4. English Toy Spaniel
Take a look at this photo of the English Toy Spaniel: ETS. This is what dog breeders strive for. And, this is exactly what puts these dogs in danger. They cannot breathe properly.
The ETS is another small dog that weighs up to 14 pounds, and can be up to 10 inches tall. They have a beautiful double and silky, medium-length coat that can come in 4 AKC-recognized colors.
Another Chinese dog – the Pekingese dog breed. This is one of the oldest purebred dogs in the world. They are also genetically closest to wolves.
But, they don’t look like wolves. They are brachycephalic small dogs that can weigh up to 14 pounds, and grow tall by up to 9 inches.
A small dog, but with a strong personality and a lot of coat colors.
6. Shih Tzu
Speaking of brachycephalic dog breeds from China, here is another one. Shih Tzus are of similar size as Pekingese – weighing up to 16 pounds, and standing up to 10 inches tall.
This little dog is famous for its double and long coat type, which makes this dog breed gorgeous looking.
But, they can have this coat type without a flat face. In other words, we love them for their personality (playful and outgoing) and because of all the haircuts their long fur allows us to make for them, but the brachycephalic part is unnecessary.
7. Lhasa Apso
This small dog breed comes from Tibet. They are long-haired dogs that are famous for their floor-length fur. But, a lot of people shave and trim their fur, and “turn” them into short-haired Lhasa Apsos.
They weigh up to 18 pounds, and can grow up to 11 inches tall. The females are slightly smaller than the males.
Even though these dogs are famed for their beauty, they are not as expensive as some other toy long-haired dog breeds. You can see all about the Lhasa Apso price by following this link: Lhasa Apso Price.
8. Japanese Chin
Another dog coming from the Far East, but this time, from Japan. The Chin is another brachycephalic dog with a very flattened face that causes a lot of health issues.
Once again, the beauty of these dogs doesn’t come from their flat face. They have medium-length and silky fur, which makes them beautiful.
And, their temperamental traits are perfect for an indoor living environment, as well as their size: their weight is up to 11 pounds, and their height is up to 11 inches.
9. Brussels Griffon
This time, coming from Europe, Belgium – this is another small and fluffy dog breed with a brachycephalic skull.
They either have smooth or wiry double coat types. And, the most interesting part about this breed is the beard-like fur around their muzzle. This gives them a human-like appearance. Looking into their round, dark eyes while they look like wise old men, you have a feeling they understand everything you say to them!
The Brussels Griffon is a small dog that can be up to 10 inches tall, and weigh up to 10 pounds.
10. Tibetan Spaniel
A playful and smart Tibetan Spaniel is a small dog that weighs up to 15 pounds, and can grow around 10 inches tall. They are similar to Japanese Chins, and Pekingese dogs, which is normal considering their East Asian origin.
And, just like the mentioned dog breeds, Tibetan Spaniels also have the (in)famous brachycephalic head shape.
The last small dog on our list of brachycephalic dog breeds is the Affenpinscher… a German dog breed.
They are in the toy dog group, with their weight of up to 10 pounds, and height of up to 11 inches. This is a funny and cute-looking dog that comes in 5 different coat colors, including black, red, and beige.
And, now onto the bigger brachycephalic dog breeds. The English Bulldog is not a very tall dog – its height is only up to 15 inches. But, it can weigh more than 50 pounds, and it has a stocky and muscular body.
Of course, the most famous part of its looks is its flat-looking face. However, other Bulldog breeds also have breathing problems.
As for the coat colors, the AKC recognizes more than 10 Bulldog coat colors.
This brachycephalic dog breed comes from Germany. They are an excellent representation of working dogs: active, smart, and loyal.
Boxers usually weigh up to 80 pounds, but there is a weight difference between females and males. As you’ve guessed it – females weigh less than males.
As for their height, they can be from 21 to 25 inches tall.
Boxers might have a longer snout than some other brachycephalic dog breeds, but they still experience the same breathing problems.
This is another Bulldog breed with breathing issues because of the flattened nose and shortened skull shape.
However, similar to Boxers, they have a longer muzzle than most other dogs on this list, which means they won’t have as much difficulty as Pugs or Frenchies.
The Bullmastiff is a big guard dog that can weigh around 120 pounds, and grow taller than 26 inches. They come in shades of fawn and red coat colors.
15. Cane Corso
The Cane Corso is a large brachycephalic dog breed that can have lots of breathing issues because of the unregulated breeding programs.
They weigh more than 100 pounds, and their height is up to 27 inches. These are large dogs bred for guarding, and later used for all kinds of other working purposes.
Besides breathing problems, they can have other health issues as well. You can read about those health problems here: Cane Corso Health Issues.
16. Dogue de Bordeaux
This is a large, affectionate dog from the working group that can grow up to 27 inches tall, and that can weigh more than 100 pounds.
They come in four AKC-accepted coat colors, but the fawn coat color is one of the most common among the Dogue de Bordeaux breeders.
They were bred as guard and hunting dogs, but today, they are simply amazing family pets.
17. Chow Chow
There is a standard Chow Chow that weighs around 60 pounds, and a miniature Chow Chow that truly looks like a Teddy Bear dog.
These dogs are famous for their face wrinkles, brachycephalic head, and blue tongue. They were originally bred in China as guard, hunting, and protection dogs.
With their height of up to 20 inches, Chow Chows fit into the medium-sized dog group.
18. Shar Pei
This is another Chinese dog breed. As you can see, there are a lot of Chinese dog breeds with a brachycephalic head shape. The Shar Pei is one of them. And, it is also quite recognizable. Just like the Chow Chow, Shar Peis also come in standard and miniature size.
The standard Shar Pei weighs from 40 to 60 pounds, and can grow up to 20 inches tall.
The Shar Pei comes in more than 18 different coat colors and patterns.
19. Staffordshire Bullterrier
Most people won’t think of this dog when talking about brachycephalic dog breeds. However, these dogs also suffer from breathing problems, even though these problems are not as prevalent as in other mentioned dog breeds.
The reason for a fewer number of Staffordshire Bullterriers with more severe breathing problems is the more adjusted breeding program that has the goal of correcting this issue.
But, those loyal to the old ways still consider that a Staff should have a flatter face.
As a final thought, I’d like you to take a look at this short clip: BOAS Frenchie. It shows some of the clinical signs of BOAS (or Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome) – the major health issue of all brachycephalic dog breeds we talked about.
I hope you will understand my problem with short-faced dogs after the video. These dogs don’t have a normal and happy life. They struggle to breathe – some more than others.
It is important to understand that we made them this way.
We wanted a short nose and a flat face. So, it is only natural that we help them. Let’s make dog breeding programs that won’t turn dogs’ lives into living nightmares.
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