Brachycephalic dog breeds

Brachycephalic dog breeds: There are several breeds with brachycephaly that are among the most popular for dog lovers. For example, Bulldog or Boxer. Despite their differences, both have a wide skull and a flattened snout.

But there are more coincidences. The shape of their head and nose makes them prone to suffer from different health problems, including those related to breathing.

What does brachycephalic dog mean?

Brachycephalic dogs are those that have a rounded skull and a flattened and short snout, with folds, as well as prominent eyes. They are prognatos, which means that the lower jaw is more advanced than the upper . It is a characteristic maloocclusion of these races.

What are brachycephalic dog breeds?

  • Boxer
  • French Bulldog
  • English bulldog
  • Shih tzu
  • Boston terrier
  • Pug
  • Pekinese
  • Shar pei
  • King Charles spaniel
  • Belgian griffon
  • Japanese Spaniel

How does brachycephaly affect dogs?

The anatomical conformation of these races makes them prone to suffer a series of problems that can have important repercussions on their health. They especially highlight respiratory complications.

That is why we must take more precautions than with other dogs and monitor the performance of intense activities, exposure to heat or overweight , as they are factors that complicate breathing. Here are the most frequent disorders.


It is an urgency caused by exposure to high temperatures. Dogs cannot sweat to regulate and they have to cool off by panting. This way they exchange hot and colder air.

When it is very hot, panting will be insufficient, especially in these types of dogs that already have normal breathing difficulties. Bulldog, Pug and Pekingese are particularly affected.

  • Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs


Facial hair in the eye

In races with nasal folds the hair of these areas can grow towards the eyeball. The Pekingese or the Bulldog are among the most affected. This causes tearing and can injure the cornea. The hairs can be controlled by trimming them or even removing them.

Brachycephalic Dog Syndrome

Several anatomical deformities that frequently occur in brachycephalic breeds that affect the functioning of the airways are included in this denomination. They are the nasal stenosis, the elongation of the soft palate and the erosion of the laryngeal ventricles.


Stenosis of the nostrils

It is a problem that occurs in puppies of brachycephalic breeds. In them the cartilages of the nose are soft and flexible, so that, every time the puppy inspires, the nostrils come together and the nostrils become clogged . It is also called collapse of the nostrils.

It is a congenital problem and the affected puppies will be underdeveloped. In some specimens it is resolved only when the cartilage hardens at approximately six months. Otherwise, surgery is used.

Soft palate elongation

The soft palate is a mucous flap that reaches the epiglottis. When it is elongated, it mounts on it so that the airways are partially obstructed causing snoring, stridor and even nausea or retching.

Any stress or exercise aggravates the picture and the larynx may collapse. Surgery is needed to trim the palate, which must be done as soon as possible to avoid damage to the larynx.

Eversion of the laryngeal ventricles

The laryngeal ventricles are small mucous pockets facing the inside of the larynx. When there is a recurrent obstruction in the airways, these ventricles increase in size and turn, which narrows the respiratory tract even more. The ventricles can be removed with surgery.


Abnormalities in the number of teeth

Adult dogs have 42 teeth, but brachycephalic breeds may lack the last molars, simply because of the lack of space in the jaw, which is very short. It is not a problem.

Brain tumors

Although brain tumors, fortunately, are not frequent in dogs, brachycephalic breeds are the most predisposed to suffer from them , due to the bulging and flat conformation of their skull. The clinical picture will depend on the location of the tumor. Only in some cases is it possible to operate them.


Hydrocephalus is the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. This increases its size, so the cerebral cortex is compressed against the skull and is damaged.

Among the breeds with the highest risk of congenital hydrocephalus, Pug, Pekingese and Bulldog stand out. The treatment involves reducing the production of cerebrospinal fluid. The prognosis depends on when the veterinary treatment is started.


Mastocytomas are tumors in cells called mast cells, which belong to the immune system. In dogs they manifest in the skin and brachycephalic breeds have a greater predisposition to suffer from them, especially after nine years.

They are masses that we can detect in different areas of the body, with different aspects and sizes. These tumors release histamine and similar substances, which can cause gastroduodenal ulcers. Treatment will depend on the characteristics of the tumor.

Brachycephalic dog breeds

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