Caring for a Brachycephalic Breed – What You Need to Know

| June 23, 2023

Brachycephalic breeds, including Bulldogs, Pugs, and French Bulldogs, have witnessed a surge in popularity owing to their unique physical characteristics. This increasing demand has sparked ethical concerns regarding the well-being and welfare of these breeds as they are prone to predisposed health issues. There is an ongoing discussion regarding “The Cost of Cuteness”, particularly when it comes to brachycephalic breeds. Some pet parents focus solely on the appearance of these animals, overlooking the health complications that should be addressed when caring for a brachycephalic breed. 

What Are the Health Challenges of Brachycephalic Breeds? 

Their distinctively short muzzles and flattened facial structures can result in difficulties with:  

  1. Breathing, especially in hot weather
  2. Eye Ailments
  3. Dental Issues
  4. Skin fold infections
  5. Heat Intolerance

These breed-specific health challenges not only cause discomfort and reduce the quality of life for these dogs but can also lead to expensive medical interventions. 

What Does Responsible Parenthood Look Like?

Pet parents are encouraged to have a different mindset when caring for brachycephalic breeds as their genetic makeup can create health complications. Pet parents should have a comprehensive understanding of these potential health issues and be prepared to provide specialized care. Regular veterinary check-ups, weight management, appropriate exercise, and avoiding strenuous activities during hot weather are essential steps to ensure their well-being. Pet parents should consider these steps when welcoming a brachycephalic breed into their household: 

  1. Recognition of health complications
  2. Routine veterinary visits, even if the pet appears to be healthy
  3. Proper administration of clinical prescriptions/advice 

Following these steps not only sets your pet up for success, but it provides you with reassurance knowing that you are providing them with the best care at any given time. 

What Are Responsible Breeding Practices for Brachycephalic Breeds?

Encouraging responsible breeding practices is crucial to promoting the welfare of brachycephalic breeds. If you are a breeder, we strongly encourage you to prioritize the health and welfare of dogs over physical appearance by carefully selecting breeding pairs to minimize the incidence of breed-related health problems. Collaborative efforts involving reputable breeders, veterinary professionals, and animal welfare organizations such as the Brachycephalic Working Group and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association can contribute to the breeding production of healthier brachycephalic dogs. 

By addressing the ethical concerns associated with brachycephalic breeds, we hope to provide education to pet parents and advocate for the wellbeing of dogs. We encourage those looking to bring a dog into their life to consider adopting from animal welfare organizations where a wide variety of breeds and mixed breeds can be found. Together, we can foster a compassionate approach towards brachycephalic breeds that prioritizes their health and happiness while diminishing the demand for dogs bred solely for their physical appearance.