Veteriner in Charlottesville reveals the 4 dog breeds that are likely to suffer from breathing problems

When it comes to dogs, certain breeds are coveted due to their flat-faced features. These features are maintained through selective breeding. Although they may look cute to us, they can pose serious health risks to the dog. The most common issue faced by flat-faced dogs breeds is that of breathing and other respiratory diseases.

What Are Flat-Faced Dog Breeds?

  • The scientific term for flat-faced dogs is ‘brachycephalic dog breeds’. These breeds have flat faces, short noses, and smaller skulls. Some examples of these breeds are bulldogs, terriers, pugs, and many more. Although all dogs make great pets, it is up to the owner to be responsible for them if they are likely to have certain health issues.

Since the last decade, there has been a thousand-fold increase in the breeding of flat-faced dogs due to their demand in the market. However, around 58% of these owners struggle to identify when their dog is having breathing issues, leading to fatal consequences.

Why Flat-Faced Breeds Have Breathing Issues?

  • Brachycephalic breeds have breathing issues because the shape of their nose, face, and muzzle makes it difficult for their respiratory system to function properly. These breeds also begin to have painful issues in the areas around the nose, due to the development of eye ulcers. Flat-faced dogs are more likely to die due to overheating, stroke, or respiratory issues.

What Can You Do To Help Your Pet?

Knowing the behavior of your pet and noting any changes in that behavior is key to monitoring flat-faced dogs. You should know what their usual activity level is and what their breathing sounds like when normal. Symptoms of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome consist of the following:

  • Snoring or snorting
  • Noisy breathing when inhaling
  • Coughing or Choking
  • An issue in eating and swallowing
  • Reduced activity levels
  • Excessive panting
  • Overheating
  • Collapsing during warm weather
  • Excessive watery eyes

Top Dog Breeds With Breathing Issues

Although all flat-faced dogs have a high risk of developing Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome and other breathing issues, certain breeds are at a greater risk. This is usually because their bone structures and airways are prone to obstruction. In many cases, further breeding of these species or owning them is considered unethical.

However, if you decide to own them, it is your responsibility to provide them with the best care. The four most common breeds to have breathing issues are:


  • Both French and American Bulldogs are considered flat-faced breeds that are at high risk of developing breathing issues. Any changes in the breathing pattern and sounds of your dog should be a cause of alarm. Obstruction of a bulldog’s airways can lead to collapse or more fatal consequences on hot days.


  • Pekingese dogs have a soft palate and narrow airways in their skull. This makes them susceptible to breathing issues, especially due to their small nostrils. These dogs have additional issues with mobility to their skeletal structure.

Shih Tzu

  • dog breedsThere is nothing worse for a dog’s breathing problems than for it to have a flat face and be covered in a lot of furs. Shih Tzu’s have thick coats that overheat the dogs and do not couple well with their limited breathing. Make sure to groom your pet and shave its coat during the summers.


  • Much like bulldogs, pugs have breathing issues due to their punched-in face and short nose. Since their eyes are so close to the nose and not deep in the sockets, they can develop eye ulcers due to breathing issues as well.

To ensure the general wellbeing of your dog, it is important to consult a vet now and then. Autumn Trails and Veterinary Center provides multiple medical services to keep your dog healthy and happy. Call us at 434-971 9800. We are located in Charlottesville, VA.