Brachycephalic dogs is a group of breeds that are extremely popular, but that have some limitations and that are prone to some serious health issues. In this video i will tell all you need to know about brachycephalic dogs, including what are the exact health problems and how to deal with them, i will show you different brachycaphelic breeds, how to maintain and exercise them, how and why these dogs were developed… Just everything about them. Lets jump into it!
What are Brachycephalic dogs? Brachy means short and Cephalic means head, so the term Brachycephalic dog is describing all the dogs with shortened head. These dogs have very short muzzle and wide head, in contraty to dolichocephalic dogs, whose head is thin and long, like Greyhounds head or mesocephalic dogs, whose head and muzzle is medium sized, such as Labrador Retriever.
Some of the Brachycephalic dogs belongs into the group of most popular breeds in the world, such as English and French Bulldog, Shih Tzu, Boxer, Pug or Chow Chow. But even though these dogs are very popular, they are prone to some very specific health issues.
The main issues are breathing difficulties. These dogs have small or narrow nostrils, which can restrict the airflow into them when the dog is breathing through the nose.
They also tend to have elongated and thickened soft palate, which can extends into the back of the throat, which can block the trachea.
These dogs can also suffer from respiratory infections and aspiration pneumonia and they can have problems with heatstroke as they cannot pant efficiently to allow them to cool down, so they can rapidly succumb to heat stroke in warm conditions.
The breathing issues are definitely number one health problems in brachycephalic dogs, but they also tend to suffer from dental problems a lot, which is caused by their small mouth and overlapping teeth.
It is important to maintain good oral health of these dogs. Other health problems common to brachycephalic dogs are different eye problems, as their eye sockets tend to be shallow and the flattened muzzle compres the tear ducts, so the dogs seems to cry constantly. If that is case with your dog, you must regularly wipe them under the eyes to prevent skin iritation.
Sadly, the list of health concerns does not end there, as brachycaphelic dogs are also very prone to skeletal deformities, but this is rather problem of individual brachycaphelic breeds.
Skin infections, especially around the facial skin folds is also quite common and again, it is important to clean their skin between the folds regularly to prevent infections.
Because these dogs tend to suffer from many health issues, it is extremely important to buy a puppy from responsible breeder that has history and knowledge of breeding these dogs and where you will have much much higher chances of getting a healthy puppy.
It is hard to prevent the breathing difficulties, but you should monitor your dog and if they are often panting and breathing heavily, dont hesitate and visit a doctor. It can be normal for some brachycephalic dogs, but it is always better to prevent the problems.
Also, because many brachycephalic breeds have problems with heat, it is important to not vigorously exercise them during high temperatures. It is better to make long walks early in the morning or late in the evening, provide the dog with nonstop acces to water and create them some cool zones.
But regular exercise and proper diet is definitely extremely important with these dogs, because obesity is a big risk factor in worsening the breathing issues. So daily walks, playtimes, fun training sessions, dog sports or anything else is definitely a good idea. Just do not over do it if you see that your dog is breathing heavily or when it is hot outside.
The brachycaphelic group of dogs includes a lot of different breeds, from the smallest ones like Boston Terrier to very large ones like Bullmastiff. Here you can see an image of different breeds with shortened muzzle. It definitely does not include all of them. Just to name few alphabetically, there is Affenspinscher, Boxer, Bulldog, Brussels Griffon, Bullmastiff, Boston Terrier, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cane Corso, Chow Chow, Dogue de Bordeaux, French Bulldog, Japanese Chin, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Pug and Shih Tzu. BTW, i made a special video about each one of these breeds on this rocadog channel, so if you are interested in any of them in more details, just search Rocadog + breeds name in Youtube search and check out the video!
There is one last question to answer. If these dogs suffer from different health issues more than other breeds, why they were developed. One study published in US national Library of Medicine say that some of the Brachycephalic breeds, for example the English Bulldog, were selectively bred in order to shorthen the muzzle to make them better at fighting as it is believed that shorten muzzle creates stronger jaws.
They mention another theory, that say, that people bred these dogs in order to create dogs with shape of head that reminded them human infants. What we know for sure is, that most of these dogs are rather younger breeds developed in few last decades or centuries. Most of the ancient and primitive dogs that evolved naturally by surviving of the fittest have rather longer muzzles. Most of the Brachycephalic dogs were developed by human intervention and by deliberate breeding.