Save our breath

We're sure that you'll agree that all animals deserve to live a long, happy and healthy life. To do this, they need many things, but crucially, they need room to breathe.

What's the problem with 'brachycephalic' animals?

Brachycephalic animals are those with short, flat faces. While these animals have an undeniable 'cute factor', they also come with plenty of risks. Worryingly, due to their prolific status across tv, media, and social media - dogs in particular - are the subject of a 'brachy boom'. Brachycephaly isn't exclusive to dogs, it's also a growing problem in cats, rabbits and horses.

Brachycephalic dog breeds include French bulldogs, pugs and British bulldogs and have shorter snouts and flat faces - sadly, this can lead to a lifetime of suffering. Their extreme conformation means that many dogs have airways that are obstructed and abnormally narrow nostrils and windpipes. This means that these dogs experience a constant struggle to breathe normally. Heat regulation can be difficult as well as the ability to exercise and some dogs may be unable to sleep properly, causing chronic tiredness.

Common problems such as loud breathing, snoring and snuffling have become normalised and videos like dogs falling asleep with toys in their mouth have become amusing. The sad reality is that these behaviours occur as a result of breathing difficulties, as pets try to make themselves more comfortable.

But it is not just breathing problems that affect these dogs. Due to their extreme body shape, these beloved family pets often suffer from lifelong diseases and illnesses that are expensive and extremely distressing for pets and their owners.
Brachycephalic doesn't only relate to dogs
Are safeguards in place when it comes to certain breed aesthetics? We're not so sure, and that has to change. We think if you love them, you should let them breathe.
Pugs are known for their flat faces

Help give these animals more room to breathe

We need to do something to save these breeds. To enable change to happen, we need your help to gather as much information as possible about these animals.

We need to know every time you see a brachycephalic animal on TV, in film, in advertisements, on physical products or used as a promotional tool online. We'd also love to hear about your own experiences with these animals.

This information will be critical for conversations about how we tackle this major welfare issue affecting our pets and to ensure that they are bred with health and happiness first and foremost.

Own a flat-faced pet?

If you own or have owned a flat-faced animal, take action below to share your experiences with us. By taking part in #SaveOurBreath, you can help protect future generations of animals from needless suffering in the name of aesthetics. 

Be informed on brachycephalics

Brachycephalic animals are at much greater risk of developing a number of health conditions compared to other animals. If you own or are considering buying a brachycephalic pet, it's important that you are aware of the issues that these breeds face, and that you monitor your pet's health closely.

Which animals are affected?

It might not come as a surprise that many of the affected breeds are some of the most popular pets in the UK. However, we mustn't forget that it's not just dogs at risk here. Persian cats and Netherland dwarf rabbits have also been selected for shorter noses and are also known to suffer from a range of health problems. According to the Royal Veterinary College, 64.9% of Persian cats studied suffer at least one health condition.

Brachycephalic animals include:

  • Pugs
  • Brussels griffon
  • Bulldogs
  • French bulldogs
  • Boston Terriers
  • Boxers
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel
  • Chow chows
  • Dogue De Bordeaux
  • Lhasa apso
  • Pekingese
  • Shih tzu
  • Persian cats 
  • British shorthair cats
  • Netherland Dwarf rabbits

What are the most common health issues affecting brachycephalics?

Brachycephalic animals face a much greater risk of developing serious health problems compared to other breeds and animals. These include:

  • Serious breathing problems that get worse with age, caused by Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS)
  • Overheating
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Chronic tiredness
  • Joint disease
  • Skin infections
  • Eye conditions
  • Dental issues
  • Spinal problems

Read more about the common health problems with brachycephalic animals.

What can I do if I own a brachycephalic pet?

We understand that many people own and love many of these breeds and that they're treasured family pets. As an owner of a flat-faced animal, it's really important to inform yourself and be armed with the best advice to help take care of your pet. Read our advice for owners of flat-faced pets.

If you own or have owned one of these animals, please help us to protect future generations of animals by sharing your experience with us.