`

UK Vets Warn Against Owning Flat-Faced Breeds

PetGuide
PetGuide logo

They seem to be the ‘it’ dog to many stars…Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling, Paris Hilton, among others, are all Pug Moms and proudly take their fur babies with them everywhere. You can’t help but grin at those big eyes and those squishy faces, right?

Except, those squishy faces are actually no smiling matter at all.  Pugs, and other flat-faced breeds like King Charles Spaniels, Shih Tzus and Bulldogs, actually fall into a type of breed vets call brachycephalic dogs, and those flat faces  pose serious health consequences for the pups.

The shape of the dogs’ muzzles, heads and throats (which has essentially been bred to that distinction) make it very difficult for the dogs to breathe and often require surgical intervention simply to clear air passages and ensure the dogs don’t suffocate.

Related: The Hideous Truth About Dog Plastic Surgery

And now, rescue organizations in the UK are stepping up and out, sharing that more and more of these flat-faced breeds are turning up in shelters, a problem for both the shelters who try to help with costly medical issues as well as the dog, who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

According to the British Veterinary Association, increased popularity of the breed type has actually increased animal suffering, as more and more of this brachycephalic trait is continually bred into the dogs.

Yes…the very thing that makes this breed desirable is slowly tearing away their genetic ability to survive happily and healthfully. The distinctive broad head and wrinkly, flat face in pugs and bulldogs is not the natural look for those dogs.  Very intense, purposed and selective breeding over time has created the look, and in doing so, has severely changed the way these animals breathe and live. The dogs suffer from things like eye ulcers and severe, debilitating breathing issues, often requiring surgery simply to live.

Related: The Basics About Tail Docking in Dogs

The selective breeding has become such an issue that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) recently declared the urgent need to look at breed standards established by the Kennel Club.  More and more dogs are being brought to the UK from central and eastern Europe, where breeding standards and concern is not very great.

The selective breeding has become such an issue that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) recently declared the urgent need to look at breed standards established by the Kennel Club.  More and more dogs are being brought to the UK from central and eastern Europe, where breeding standards and concern is not very great.

An online petition calling for the investigation and addressing of the health for brachycephalic dogs and cats has been signed by over 12,000 veterinarians and veterinarian nurses, and the Royal Veterinary College opened a clinic designed to specifically address the problems that brachycephalic dogs face.

So what does that mean for someone desperate to be a Pug Papa (or Mama)? It means that he or she should be prepared for possible breathing issues. And remember that kennel club standards and our perception of what a dog should look like are what drive the demand for flatter and squishier faces. Always do your research before bringing home any dog, so both you and the dog can breathe easier.


Comments