Should Flat Faced Dogs Be Banned?

should flat-faced dogs be banned many
will suffer with serious breathing problems flat face dogs like pugs French
bulldogs and the like are becoming more and more common and unfortunately more
dogs are suffering health problems because of this is #breedtobreathe realistic and do vets really want to ban pugs French bulldogs and
other flatnose dogs I’m dr. Alex from helping you and
your pet live healthier happier lives so let me know your experience below and
thoughts in the comments I’d love to hear from you I’ll discuss why I think a
ban of these breeds is a bad idea in a minute I also know that not all dogs
suffer from these problems and other breeds have serious issues – all of
which I’ll discuss but first let’s jump into the issues flat faced dogs like
pugs Bulldogs French bulldogs are grouped together and known as
brachycephalic which simply means short nose now they are fantastic characters
they are loyal fun-loving and make excellent companions they generally
lighten the mood in the consult room so if anyone accuses me or to build this
most other vets as being against these flat nose breeds they couldn’t really be
further from the truth the problem is we are seeing these flat faced dogs more
and more in our concerns across the world and as a result we’re seeing more
and more of the problems many of them suffer from now the problems are many
and a very much a man-made breeding issue we have just selected for shorter
and shorter noses but at the same time the amounts of soft soft tissue that’s
skin and tissue within the mouth is pretty much remain the same now this
leaves a huge amount of tissue crammed into a really tiny head so the nostrils
have become really narrow which makes it very hard for them to actually draw air
through their noses as the air goes through their nose the amount of tissue
here is also magnified again increasing the resistance to airflow the next
problems that make breathing hard whether these dogs breathe through their
nose or the mouth is their soft palate and tongue the soft palate is the flappy
bit of tissue at the back of the throat now when it is longer than normal it
flaps around it narrows the airway and this is what you’re hearing when your
dog is sniffling snorting or snoring you’re hearing the effort that these
dogs are having to make to force air past this partial obstruction right
to the back of their throat so you might think that the noises a lot of our
flat-faced dogs make are cute but in reality they are an audible indicator
that they are not breathing freely even when the air manages to be forced
through the small nostrils and narrow nasal passages and past the soft palate
obstruction it then has to contend with the trachea or windpipe and guess what
this is more narrow than normal to the increased effort needed just to breathe
through these narrow Airways then makes the larynx or the voice box become
swollen and guess what this does yeah it makes the airway more narrow again and
breathing just that much harder to make matters even worse there is currently an
obesity epidemic in our pet dog and cat population that I’ve
spoken about many times before and any excess fat is just going to increase our
flat face dogs problems by further narrowing their Airways now not every
flat faced dog is going to be affected and not every flat nosed dog who does
suffer with some problems will be affected to the same degree it is though
a significant problem and if you hear one of these brachycephalic dogs
snuffling if they’re snorting or if they’re snoring then you can be pretty
certain that there is a problem no matter how cute you think the sound is
just because it has become normal for these breeds does not mean that it’s
okay so just how many dogs are affected well in one study done at the University
of Cambridge 93% of pugs were affected to some degree or other 90% of French
bulldogs and 85% of Bulldogs also suffering to some degree now that’s an
awful lot and even if you think that that is a gross exaggeration its still
going to end up being an awful lot of dogs especially when you then combine it
with this statistic that up to 58% of flat nose dogs seen by vets with
breathing problems are not recognized as having breathing issues by their owners
it is so prevalent that we just think that it is normal not being able to
breathe properly is not normal now if you’re still not convinced pinch your
nose and try breathing through a straw for any length of time while being
active you won’t last long and will soon need to rest and it’s for this very
reason that many flat faced dog breeds are considered quiet or
if they get excited or try to run around too much they very quickly reach a stage
when they simply cannot get enough oxygen into their lungs now this is a
massive issue considering that they are such enthusiastic friendly individuals
and that’s not all of course these breathing problems can make flat nose
dogs more prone to heatstroke some breeds can also have problems with
deformed spines and that affects their their spine and their nerves and many
will suffer from skin infections because of the deep skin folds the hearts can
struggle from the lack of oxygen the breathing problems caused their teeth
can be very crowded and dental disease is very common and it’s very common in
most small breed dogs anyway there are also more prone to eye issues because
they’re just much more prominent and vulnerable to injury and perhaps finally
they also sometimes struggle to give birth their large heads mean that many
require elective cesarean sections so we are breeding dogs that can’t breathe
properly and many can’t even give birth without surgery now that’s enough of the
potential problems and I’ll leave a couple of links down below that discuss
them in more details now of course hearing that your dog may
be really likely to suffer from these conditions is very upsetting and a
frequent reaction is then to point out that there are lots of other breeds that
commonly suffer from hereditary genetic conditions – so why are we just picking
on these flat nose breeze you know we’re just picking on them we’re just ganging
up now I’ll be the first to admit that yes many breeds do have conditions that
they are more prone to and suffer from with an upsetting regularity now I also
believe that these issues are just as important to fix and some of the
strategies that I’ll discuss in a minute will be just as helpful for any breed
trying to rectify the problems that us humans have created through selective
breeding now some examples of this might be Westies with skin allergies they might
be Labradors with their hips and knees dachshunds with their massively
prevalent spinal disease Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and their hearts and
their skulls the list is a long one and I think there are four reasons why our
pugs and our French bulldogs among others currently being singled out the
first is that they’re rapidly gaining in popularity second that many people are
unaware of the issues their new dogs are likely
to face the third is the airway problems they can affect very young dogs
and the fourth is that surgery is the only thing that may improve things and
this is not without significant expense and risk in some cases there is just no
effective medical treatment so what can we do to have these awesome dogs be even
more awesome and free from disease after all that must be the goal of everyone
surely well one thing that has gained a lot of press recently is a call to ban
the breeds that are affected now this is not what the recent #breedtobreathe campaign is all about but there have definitely been some petitions
calling on the complete banning of the entirety of these breeds will this work
well in my opinion absolutely not unscrupulous breeders will always find a
way to get around any legislation creating cross breeds formulates a new
breeze under the table sales but the fact that it wouldn’t work doesn’t in
itself make banning entire breeds the wrong thing to do instead passing any
such legislation will alienate a huge proportion of the dog owning population
who have fallen understandably falling in love with the fantastic characters of
these dogs it will put people off seeking help for those dogs already with
us and suffering health issues for risk of being judged and made to feel
embarrassed or ridiculed it also won’t help the new designer breeds and crosses
which will come along and take their place undoubtedly with exactly the same
characteristics and problems that always seems to be loopholes with any
legislation and this will definitely happen in banning these breeds will also
lose so many of the desirable traits that they have and there is another way
I believe so then what is the alternative to banning flat-faced dog
breeds well the way I see it there needs to be a four pronged attack and this
could definitely reverse the current worrying health trend that we see and
improve the lives of millions of dogs now it could also be used as a template
for other breeds with genetic issues that could have far-reaching
implications in improving the health of the dog population as a whole so educate
educate educate is my first step I’ve already said that over half of
flat-faced dog owners do not consider that individually their dog
some breathing problem even when it is present now this is not surprising and
it’s not a judgment at all it’s a very similar figure in fact to owners of
overweight pets as you can read about in a video that I’ll put up here when we
become used to something being present we just start to accept it as normal a
dog who is making noise while they are breathing especially when they’re not
exercising heavily is not normal and the more that this message is spread by vets
by dog trainers and all dog enthusiasts the more dogs can be helped to live
active easy breathing lives that they deserve the role of obesity also needs
to be made very clear now this is something that is readily treatable with
a good weight loss program and support it does not need surgery it doesn’t need
expensive treatment and either losing weight for the obese or maintaining a
healthy weight for those that all already at that point maybe the
difference between a dog you can exercise freely and one who can hardly
breathe that at rotten really is that important and obesity and its role
should not be underestimated on another note then the more
prospective puppy owners who know what to look out for the higher demand
they’ll be for individuals who are less likely to suffer from the genetic
problems that can seriously impact not only on the quality of life but on the
life expectancy of these breeds and this brings us nicely to my next suggestion
and that’s breed standards now the vast majority of dogs they never go near a
showring and they never judged anything more serious than a school pet day or a
summer fete and have nothing to do with organizations like the Kennel Club the
best breeders though are often although not always Kennel Club registered or
associated with some form of club and there are definitely some advantages to
choosing a breeder who is registered with these especially if you do not know
a breeder from personal or from professional recommendations and that’s
something I’ve discussed as well in how to buy a healthy puppy it is the Kennel
Club though who decide what each breed should look like and that’s known simply
as the breed standard and the simple act of encouraging and knows to be bred back
into the breed will highlight the vital importance of this among breeders it
also generates a lot of publicity and any photos of winning dogs will show a
dog with a longer nose and if we become more you
to seeing individuals like this and hopefully our definition of normal will
also change it wouldn’t hurt either to get a few high profile Park or French
Bulldog lovers just to help publicize the changes and help encourage people to
look responsibly for breeders that breed healthy puppies when they’re thinking
getting a puppy themselves the impact of celebrity endorsement it should not be
underestimated and again I’ve discussed this in a video and linked up here but
how do you know if a breeder is responsible well that brings us onto
health schemes and it’s where clear evidence-based health schemes can come
into play an excellent work done by the BOAS group at the University of
Cambridge and I’ll put some links down in the description below it shows us
that it is possible to take a few simple measurements and from these predict
which dogs are more likely to suffer from breathing issues and which
individuals are more likely to be free from disease if we breed from to lower
risk dogs then their puppies are also likely to be at a much lower risk of
developing these breathing genetic problems it won’t then take many
generations to get noses back on our flat face dogs and breed them back to
health the population as a whole will be much healthier as a result but what
about those breeders who choose not to be part of the health scheme well
backyard breeders and puppy mills will find hopefully that their potential
customers will now be much better advised and informed and they’ll find
that the demand for the puppies that they produce it will just dry up and
make sure you check out my related video if you don’t know why puppy mills are
bad and why you shouldn’t buy a puppy from a pet shop again I’ll just link that up here
in the card now breeder controls are the logical next step so to further help
combat rogue breeders we just need strict controls the simple licensing of
breeders that we currently have generally simply give them the right to
sell puppies as a business that’s little to ensure that the
breeding conditions are really appropriate for raising healthy well
socialized puppies let alone the welfare of the mums and dads of these puppies
which is some in some cases is just heartbreaking
now poor puppy breeders will always fly under the radar exploiting the dogs that
they breathe the puppies that they produce and the people if you buy or
mistakenly rescue them making this harder through regular inspections of
known puppy breeders combined with tough and meaningful prosecutions of those who
continue to produce puppies in poor conditions or produce unhealthy puppies
of any breed it can only be a good thing for the whole of the dog population now
everyone who’s been involved in the debates about banning versus appropriate
breeding and the like want the same thing and we mustn’t lose sight of that
we all want happy healthy dogs to say that all dogs of one breed will have
health problems is not accurate but equally just because some people
perceive that their dog is completely healthy does not mean that there is not
a problem the evidence unfortunately confirms and points to the fact that
there clearly are significant issues by having an us-versus-them situation there
is a real risk of alienating the owners of the very dogs that need help and the
last thing we want is owners of brachycephalics or any other breed in the
future with issues to stop seeking help for any health issues because of fear of
judgment or embarrassment or ridicule and failing to take really sound advice
let’s instead all work together veterinarians Kennel Club’s breeders and
breed enthusiastic as educate and support not alienate dog owners and
potential owners of breeds affected with these health issues or any other issues
in the future let’s teach them how they can give these dogs that air they need
to live the life they deserve so what do you think what is the best way to
improve the health of our flat-faced dogs or any other breed for that matter
do you even think there’s a health issue that needs solving I’d love to read your
thoughts and comments down below also to remember to subscribe to make sure that
you don’t miss out on future videos just like this one and until next time i’m
dr. alex from our pets health because they’re family

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13 Responses

  1. Our Pets Health says:

    What do you think? How can we best help these dogs as well as other breeds?

  2. Dusty Black says:

    ugly deformed mongrels should indeed be banned.

  3. Henrik Ulstein says:

    Is "all" french bulldog bad? or does the seller make a difference ?

  4. cøtten cãndy says:

    Does that count Boston terrier I love Boston terriers I even have one named Dexter but he's 1 years old now he hasn't had any problems

  5. Anni Kalapudas says:

    It really is sad that dog breeds that generally have such a friendly temperament such as pugs and cavaliers are bred to be so unhealthy. By banning them we would get rid of those wonderful natures of them. I really wish that some day the breed standards will be changed for good, in order to have a healthier, more natural version of these dogs in the future. I'm no expert, but I feel like introducing a bit of new blood to the brachycephalic breeds from healthier breeds would be good idea.

  6. Shadowe Wraithe says:

    I believe that the breeding for "Extreme" conformational features definitely need to be banned. Health issues are so horriffic in so many breeds…and then there's the GSD, please don't let me start on that abuse of breeding for the spinal slope…

  7. OpticalArxenal says:

    Yes and no. It should be banned to breed them that way, and breeds with unethically flat faces should be bred away from it until acceptable. BSL has been proven not to work, so it's pointless to ban breeds instead of breeding practices.

  8. Lilia says:

    Somewhat related but can grunting in dogs be bad, then? 🤔 I have a Mini Aussie I got from a reputable breeder who cares about health when breeding who has grunted since maybe 12 weeks old.

    I thought something was wrong with him but he's seen numerous vets (and I've brought it up) and none of them have been concerned given he doesn't really get winded the way a super flat nosed dog may get and he doesn't exhibit other symptoms that are concerning (no snoring, and he doesn't just grunt all the time).

    That, and I then learned Aussies can be a very vocal breed with diverse sounds and some do some interesting sounds. He's not much of a barker. He has various grunts, instead! He has a certain grunt if he's being inquisitive in sniffing (though if he's using his snuffle mat, for example, he doesn't usually grunt), if he's tired, if he's happy, etc. He usually does it when interacting with us vs just while on his own doing something.

  9. David Sultana says:


  10. Super Shepherd says:

    This video needs more views. More people need to hear this.

  11. _lil_gummy says:

    Not really true I make my French bulldog run for hours everyday and my French bulldog breeds normally with his mate so it’s only bad owners that have these problems

  12. Charles Thomas says:

    This is why I only have mixed breeds.

  13. Susanna Bergström says:

    Hi , your video is very informative and great. In the future I think your videos could be even better if you use pictures in them to illustrate different looks and issues of the dogs. I have a pug myself with longer nose and neck to prevent the breathing issues. She can be outside in 31 degrees and play. She has so much more energy than regular pugs. I was really careful in choosing the right puppy and I went to get independent healt evalutation at two different vets that gave her a clean bill of health, to be sure that she was healthy before I got her. People trust sellers if they claim to have visited vets. In my view one should always get an independet medical exam of the dog before buying it.

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