Brachycephalic dogs are adorable. That’s hard to deny. So why should it be a problem when breeders continue to produce these dogs to meet demand? Well, those cute, smushed faces come at a price, and not just in terms of how much money it costs to buy a dog from a breeder. Brachycephalic means “short-headed,” and that short head means snouts are shorter than they should be, skin on the faces folds too much, and other physical differences appear that cause major health problems. Brachycephalic dogs face sometimes life-threatening medical conditions, and people buy them thinking they’re cute without understanding these risks. The breeders get paid, so they keep breeding, and the dogs end up at shelters when owners can’t afford the medical costs. Here’s why breeding brachycephalic dogs causes such big problems.
Health Problems Brachycephalic Dogs Face
The ancestors of brachycephalic dogs didn’t have short heads. The traits you see today were bred into them by breeders who wanted to preserve genetic deformities, whether it made dogs healthy or not. Because of these deformities, brachycephalic dogs continue to suffer from several conditions.
Brachycephalic dogs often suffer from an elongated palate, which extends into the larynx and interferes with breathing. This is what often gives brachycephalic dogs their trademark snort. They also tend to have malformed nostrils, called stenotic nares, that further prevent dogs from taking in enough air. A brachycephalic dog can also have a narrow trachea, collapsed larynx, or paralyzed cartilage in the larynx. All of these things are part of brachycephalic airway syndrome.
There are all kinds of other health issues caused by this type of breeding. Dogs that can’t breathe well can’t pant enough to release heat, so they are more at risk of overheating. They are more at risk of weight gain, as they become sedentary to avoid overheating. Their skin folds can cause dermatitis and infection. Their teeth may be overcrowded. Their eyes can prolapse. The list goes on and on.
Buying Supports Irresponsible Breeders
Breeders of brachycephalic dogs will keep breeding to meet demand, and when demand is high, they increase breeding to make a profit. If it’s profitable, they will keep doing it. If it weren’t for the fact that people are willing to shell out big bucks to buy a deformed dog that they think is “cute,” breeders wouldn’t continue to create dogs that are unhealthy. It’s entirely unnecessary.
Not to mention, supporting breeders at all means that you skipped over a shelter dog that could have used a loving home. Adopting a shelter dog frees up shelter space for another animal in need, and you’re saving at least one life. If you want to know more about the problems with buying from breeders, read this.
Brachycephalic Dogs Crowd The Shelters
Recently, several brachycephalic breeds, such as Pugs, French Bulldogs, and English Bulldogs have become more popular, especially in the United Kingdom. There are many reasons people might be interested in brachycephalic dogs. They are small and have low exercise needs, which makes them suited for apartment life, and they are very cute.
The problem is that people buy these dogs because of their looks, but they are not prepared to handle all the medical needs that might come with. Eventually, the dog might be too expensive to care for. Vets and shelter workers in the U.K. are begging people to stop buying brachycephalic dogs for this reason. Not only do they end up getting surrendered, but other dogs in shelters don’t have the resources they need because of overcrowding. Also, the breeder has already been paid and has no reason to stop breeding. The cycle continues, and the problem only gets worse.
If You Still Want A Brachycephalic Dog
If you understand the health risks brachycephalic dogs face and you still want one in your life, please consider adoption. There are plenty of adorable, short-faced dogs in shelters that need homes. You can help give them a chance, enjoy your cute pup, and avoid supporting irresponsible breeding practices. Our adoption page lets you search for adoptable dogs near you by breed, so take a look at dogs in your area.
Just make sure you know what goes into caring for a brachycephalic dogs. Obesity makes brachycephalic airway syndrome worse, and you’ll have to watch your dog’s weight. You may need to give them medication to reduce inflammation in their airways, and many brachycephalic dogs require surgery to correct the deformities that make it hard for them to breath. That can add up and be very costly, both to you and your dog. Do your research and make a responsible decision.