Brachycephalic Breeds: Unhealthy in More Ways Than We Thought?

We see them everywhere – Boston Terriers, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, (and the 12 other breeds that fall under the Brachycephalic category)- and they are loved by many.  But they may also be prone to a list of ailments beyond those afflicting other breeds.

A recent study of brachycephalic breeds (short-nosed dogs) revealed that these breeds experience more health issues than other dogs EVEN in areas that would seem to be unrelated to their unique noses and airway structures.  A review of Nationwide’s pet insurance claims for 1.27 million dogs (including just under 185,000 brachycephalic dogs) from 2007 to 2015 showed that these dogs were three to four times more likely to injure their corneas than other dogs; this could be because their muzzles provide less protection to their eyes than “regular” muzzles on other dogs.  But these dogs were also more prone to skin issues beyond the fungal issues that many associate with the folds in their skin.  Perhaps even more surprising, the study indicated that there was a higher degree of disease in the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory and cardia systems, increased dental issues and orthopedic concerns in brachycephalic dogs than in other breeds.  The study concludes that this analysis shows “brachycephalic breeds significantly more impacted than their structurally normal counterparts across a range of common conditions.”

So what does all of this mean to pet parents who love these breeds?  Many pet parents have long understood that what makes these dogs unique also makes them prone to certain ailments, but this recent study seems to indicate that these breeds may be subject to an array of issues that far surpass what was originally thought.  If you love your brachycephalic breed, are you ready for all of this?  Is it worth it?  What do you think should be done to improve the health of these amazing dogs?

Thanks for reading.