Dogs with a pugged nose or a pushed-in facial appearance are known as brachycephalic. Over the years, breeders matched brachycephalic dogs to achieve a look that included a normal lower jaw with a compressed upper jaw. Through targeted breeding, these dogs have developed an even more pushed-in appearance. Brachycephalic traits are not limited to small dogs and come in all sizes. Despite their appearance, this trait can cause various medical considerations.
Pugged Noses in Tiny Packages
Small dogs make up the largest group of brachycephalic breeds. Typically, these dogs weigh less than 20 pounds but the distinct pushed-in face is hard to miss. These breeds include the pug, the Boston terrier, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, the Pekingese, the Chihuahua, the Japanese chin, the Brussels griffon, the French bulldog, the Tibetan spaniel, the shih tzu and the Lhasa apso.
A Medium to Large Measurement
The medium to large dog category includes dogs between 20 and 100 pounds. These dogs may be larger, but they share the same facial characteristics. The breeds include the English bulldog, the boxer, the Chinese shar-pei and the chow chow. One other breed, the cane corso, ranges from 80 to 120 pounds and rests at the upper edge of the large breeds.
The Brachycephalic Kings
The kings of the brachycephalic breeds weigh more than 100 pounds and are represented by the various mastiff breeds. Mastiff breeds include the English mastiff, bull mastiff, Neapolitan mastiff and the Dogue de Bordeaux.
Cute Face, Not So Cute Conditions
With the cute, pushed-in face, brachycephalic dogs come with many different health considerations. One of the most common is brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome. Because of shortened upper jaw, abnormalities can occur in the nasal passageways, the soft palate and the trachea. These abnormalities lead to breathing difficulty, noisy breathing, snoring, coughing, gagging and fainting. These breathing difficulties worsen in hot, humid weather. Along with the pushed-in face, you may notice your dog’s eyes seem to protrude. This is due to shallow eye sockets. Small traumas to the head can cause an eye to pop out of the socket, requiring surgical intervention. Despite the smaller jaw size, brachycephalic dogs still have 42 teeth. Unfortunately, there is not always adequate room for these teeth, causing them to grow at odd angles.