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Opinion on breeding brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs!

There is a lot of chat about the brachycephalic breeds and especially the breeding and why this should be banned. I need to make clear that I fully support the fact that those breeds must stop being bred with the current standards.

However, I have a feeling that the responsibility doesn’t purely lie on the breeders. Banning the breeding of these dogs is like chopping the painful hand! To explain myself, I don’t think banning the breeding will be a permanent solution. There will be another breed,a new breed (or breeds), new purebreds with similarly bad issues that people are going to buy and and buy and breed and breed and the cycle goes on… This is where the responsibility lays actually! If the market is limited, meaning the buyers… the breeding- meaning the sellers- will be limited too… And this how you kill 2 birds with one stone!

People must understand that there is not “normal for the breed”, “normal for these dogs”, “they breath in a different way but it’s expected” , "normal to be snotty", "that's how they are",etc..


It is this attitude that we have to get rid of! Us vets have a big responsibility in educating our clients about this matter. First of all, we have to explain to owners what is wrong with these breeds' airways; making sketches, using anatomy models, real models, anything! I can see, from my 8 year experience, that possibly more than 1 in 2 owners don't know what is wrong with their anatomy!

Secondly, creating educational consults where potential dog owners can discuss all the questions with regards to specific breeds, potential risks and predisposition to diseases, is another measure.

Another important factor is education through campaigns, educational petitions, school programmes, etc.. Also, we shouldn’t forget how important it is to promote adoption!

Above all however, “making” responsible owners is the first rule; growing up responsible kids that respect the environment, the animals and the fellow men around us!

Finally, despite the increased interest in these breeds I believe there is little education about what to expect, how to grow, what to be careful of when you have a brachycephalic dog. I meet brachycephalic dog owners having no idea about their pet’s anatomy and taking them out for a walk on a summer day at 12 pm. This in addition to the educational consults I discussed above can contribute to the management of the issue. Even if these consults at least make more informed owners, I am sure less flat-faced dudes will suffer in this world...

The problem is here and if it cannot be treated, at least we should learn how to manage it . So,all of you fellow vets; please do not close your ears when you hear things like “normal for the breed”, light that fire in the owners and raise the awareness!

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