Brachycephalic Dog: Breeds, Characteristics, Complications and Care

Perro braquicéfalo: Razas, Características, Complicaciones y Cuidados

Waggyfriend, this time we want to talk about dogs with brachycephalic syndrome. Do you know what this syndrome is and what breeds comprise it? We invite you to stay reading and discover it. You can also find its physical characteristics, complications, cures and much more.

What is brachycephalic syndrome?

Brachycephalic syndrome is a set of anatomical and health characteristics associated with certain breeds of dogs that have flattened skulls and short snouts. This refers to a condition that results from selective breeding to achieve these distinctive facial characteristics. Some of the breeds most commonly affected by this syndrome are the English Bulldog, Pug, French Bulldog, Boxer, among others.

What causes brachycephalic syndrome in dogs?

Without a doubt, the cause of this syndrome lies in the process of intentional selection and breeding to create dogs with wider skulls and shorter snouts has led to the formation of these brachycephalic breeds. Over the years, specific physical traits have been preferred and selected for, leading to this particular craniofacial morphology.

Physical characteristics of a brachycephalic dog

Brachycephalic dogs have certain distinctive physical characteristics that set them apart from other breeds.

Flattened skull

Their skull is flattened compared to other dog breeds, this results in a wider and shorter head shape.

Short snout

They have shorter snouts in relation to the size of their skull.

Flattened nose

The nose is often wider and flattened, resulting in smaller nostrils compared to other breeds.

Prominent lower jaw

Some brachycephalic breeds may have a prominent lower jaw, giving them a unique appearance.

Bulging eyes

Some brachycephalic breeds have prominent, bulging eyes compared to the rest of the face, which can increase their vulnerability to eye injuries or problems.

Wrinkles on the face

They often have folds and wrinkles in the skin around the head, especially on the forehead and around the nose.

Health complications in brachycephalic dogs

Airway obstruction

Brachycephalic dogs often have narrowed or collapsed airways due to their flattened facial structure. This can cause difficulty breathing, excessive panting, and abnormal breath sounds, especially during exercise or in hot weather. This obstruction can result in chronic respiratory problems and requires veterinary attention so that it is not confused with a cold in dogs.

Sleep apnea

This condition involves the interruption of breathing during sleep. Brachycephalic dogs, due to their obstructed airways, are more likely to experience pauses in breathing while sleeping, which can lead to frequent awakenings and poor rest.

Dermatological problems

Wrinkles in the skin of brachycephalic dogs, especially around the face, can retain moisture and dirt, increasing the risk of yeast or bacterial infections. These infections can cause skin irritation, redness, odor, and itching. Dermatitis and skin infections are common and require regular cleaning care.


Brachycephalic dogs are prone to weight gain due to their tendency to be inactive and possible respiratory problems that can limit their ability to perform vigorous exercise. Additionally, their facial structure can make chewing difficult, which sometimes leads to rapid eating and excessive food intake, contributing to overweight.

Eye problems

Some brachycephalic breeds have bulging eyes and increased eyeball exposure, which increases the risk of eye injuries, dryness, irritation, and diseases such as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Eye problems can cause discomfort, irritation and in extreme cases, vision loss if not treated properly.

Dental problems

The short snout can result in a lower jaw that does not fit properly with the upper teeth, which can lead to dental problems such as malocclusion, crowded teeth, and plaque buildup. This can make dental cleaning in dogs impossible to perform normally and properly.

Heat sensitivity

Brachycephalic dogs have difficulty regulating their body temperature, making them more susceptible to heat stroke. It is essential to prevent them from being exposed to high temperatures and keep them cool in hot climates.

11 Brachycephalic Dog Breeds

English bulldog

They are muscular dogs, with a compact build, with wrinkles on their faces and a distinctive expression. They have a short and wide snout.


Known for their large eyes and short, wrinkled snout. They are playful and affectionate dogs.


They have a wide, flattened snout, and are known for their energetic and friendly temperament.

Boston Terrier

They are characterized by their short snout and square appearance. They are small, intelligent and friendly dogs.

French Bulldog

They have a short, flattened snout, large ears, and an alert expression. They are small, muscular dogs with a lively temperament.

Shih Tzu

Although they are not extremely brachycephalic, they have a shorter snout compared to their skull. They are small, hairy and affectionate dogs.


They have a flattened and wrinkled snout. They are small, compact dogs with a brave nature.

German Boxer

Similar to the Boxer, but with a perhaps slightly more elongated snout. They are active, intelligent and loyal dogs.

Dogue de Bordeaux

A large breed with a wide, flattened snout. They are calm, loyal and protective dogs.

American Bulldog

With a short and wide muzzle, they are muscular, brave and loyal dogs.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Although not extremely brachycephalic, they have slightly flattened skull features. They are small, friendly and affectionate dogs.

Within the blog there are several articles that talk about other dog breeds, in case you are interested in knowing what they are, I recommend reading: mini toy dogs and types of husky

Brachycephalic dog and heat, how should you act?

Brachycephalic dogs are particularly sensitive to heat due to their narrowed airways and difficulty regulating body temperature. Waggy's recommends you take the following 5 actions to prevent the heat from causing problems for your dog:

  • Limit the time the dog spends outdoors during hot days, especially during high heat hours.
  • Make sure your dog has constant access to shade and fresh water at all times, both indoors and outdoors.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise during heat.
  • At home, make sure there is a cool, well-ventilated place for your dog. Use fans or air conditioning to maintain a comfortable temperature.
  • Observe your dog closely for signs of overheating, such as excessive panting, a bluish or shiny tongue, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, or unsteadiness.

How to cure brachycephalic syndrome in dogs?

Brachycephalic syndrome in dogs has no definitive cure, as it is a structural condition that is associated with breeds that have flattened skulls and short snouts. However, there are certain strategies and treatments that can help relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life of affected dogs. These measures are usually aimed at mitigating respiratory problems and preventing associated complications.

On this occasion we will talk to you about corrective surgery since in serious cases, surgery to expand the airways can be considered. Rhinoplasty, soft palate correction, or other surgical interventions can help improve your dog's breathing. However, surgery is a delicate procedure and should be evaluated and performed by a veterinarian specializing in soft tissue surgery.

If you are thinking about taking your puppy for a consultation, you have to be prepared to know how to deal with stress and anxiety in dogs , since this state is often triggered by the nerves that being in a doctor's office generates. Try giving puppy treats with CBD for dogs from the Waggy's brand, they also contain Omeg a 3 for dogs , a necessary and essential component for the development of our pet, as you will see they are ideal for calming your dog who is rabid due to stress.


In conclusion, these dogs have a number of medical conditions caused by their compromised facial structure, such as nasal stenosis, cleft palate, respiratory problems, airway obstruction, eye problems, and difficulties regulating body temperature. This combination of health problems can reduce the quality of life of these animals and lead to significant medical expenses for their caregivers. It is crucial that those considering adopting or purchasing a brachycephalic dog are fully informed about the health difficulties associated with these breeds. Responsible and ethical breeding, which prioritizes the health and well-being of dogs over aesthetic characteristics, is essential to reducing the prevalence of these genetic problems.

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