Top 7 List - Brachycephalic Dog Breeds

Top 7 List - Brachycephalic Dog Breeds

Author WDF Staff


If you never heard of brachycephalic dog breeds, you might assume this term describes dogs with some sort of genetic disorder. However, the term “brachycephalic” refers to something different. If you are a part of the dog world, or you are looking to become a dog owner, you should probably be aware of what brachycephalic dogs actually are and what the term describes.

What are brachycephalic dogs?

The literal translation of the word brachycephalic is “short-headed.” This term describes dogs that were bred to have a shorter muzzle. These dogs are often called out because there are some health concerns with these dogs. More precisely, the brachycephalic airway syndrome. This syndrome can be dangerous and cause specific concerns that are usually connected with poor breeding practices.

It is vital to know that dogs from responsible breeders, even if they are brachycephalic, have no health issues. Of course, there is no guarantee, but 99% of their puppies are healthy. Here are the most common health issues found in brachycephalic dog breeds;

Elongated soft palate

The soft tissue on the roof of the mouth is too long. It reaches all the way to the dog’s throat and causes a blockage to the trachea.

Hypoplastic trachea

The dog’s trachea, or windpipe, is narrower than normal or expected in the breed. This condition can be worsened by canine obesity, which is a growing problem in the US.

bulldog puppy

Stenotic nares

This is a condition that causes narrower nostrils. Narrow nostrils will limit the airflow and cause some breathing issues to the affected dog.

Everted laryngeal saccules

Laryngeal saccules are tiny sacs located just within the dog’s larynx. When the dog struggles to breathe due to one of the issues mentioned above, these sacs can become turned outwards. This is a problem caused by one of the other issues connected to brachycephalic breeds, and it leads to further complications.

What to look for in brachycephalic dog breeds?

If you have a brachycephalic dog breed, there are some things you should keep an eye on. These dogs have shorter snouts, and they don’t cool off the air properly. They are prone to heat exhaustion and heat stroke, so be careful with your brachycephalic dog during hot days. They can also snore, breathe loudly, and be gassy, so if you don’t like that, go for a breed with a longer muzzle.

Here are some of the most popular brachycephalic dog breeds;

1. English Bulldog

The English Bulldog is probably the most famous brachycephalic dog breed. They have a stocky build and powerful bodies. Bulldogs are determined, and they are incorruptible. These dogs are fiercely loyal, but they can develop breathing issues since they are a brachy breed. You must get your Bulldog from a responsible breeder that takes care of the breeding dog’s health.

english-bulldog puppy

2. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier is another adorable companion dog that is like a little ball of energy. These dogs are elegant, and their nickname is the “American Gentleman.” Their short muzzle can cause them health issues, but Boston Terriers from a good breeder are healthy and happy dogs that love physical activity and playing. Make sure you are careful with the amount of exercise during summer.

boston terrier

3. Shih Tzu

Shih Tzus are companion dogs that are not that physically active, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful about the breeder. These are brachycephalic dogs, and you need to look at their ancestor’s health. These dogs have thick, luscious coats, so the heat stroke danger is doubled. Don’t overexercise your Shih Tzu during hot days.

shih tzu puppy

4. Boxer

Brachycephalic dog breeds come in all sizes. Boxers are large dogs with short muzzles that can develop brachycephalic airway syndrome if the breeding dog’s health is questionable. These are very active dogs, so if they have breathing issues, they will have to be calmer and unable to enjoy all the activities Boxers usually love.

boxer profile

5. Pug

Pug is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. These calm, funny dogs make wonderful pets. However, the breed’s overall health was affected by the poor breeding practices and the unwillingness of buyers to wait for the right dog. This is probably the breed that is most affected by brachycephalic airway syndrome. It is vital to get a Pug from a registered, reputable breeder that knows how to avoid potential breathing issues in puppies.


6. French Bulldog

French Bulldogs are among the top 5 most popular dog breeds in the world. The demand for these dogs is huge, and many questionable breeders sell their dogs to impatient owners. Poorly bred French Bulldogs can have all sorts of breathing issues caused by brachycephalic airway syndrome. Make sure you get a healthy French Bulldog puppy and keep in mind that quality is sometimes slow.


7. Bullmastiff

The Bullmastiff is a large, powerful dog that helped gamekeepers catch poachers and thieves. These days, Bullmastiffs are mostly large family pets that still have traces of their protective nature. They are relatively lazy, which might be a desirable trait since they are a brachycephalic dog breed. You should be careful with the amount of exercise these dogs have during hot summer days.


World Dog Finder team

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