Choosing a dog with a crushed nose: good or bad idea?
They are so "cute" that they are furious: in recent years, the brachycephalic dogs, that is to say with flat muzzle, are more fashionable than ever. We love their round baby mug so much that we want dogs with an even more flattened muzzle. But at what price?
French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese... All these little flat nosed dogs are all the rage at the moment. Some breeds even sell for gold. Attracted by the appearance of baby that these dogs have, some people prefer to follow their desires or fashion to the detriment of the health of the dog.
Veterinary doctor Stéphane Tardif, editor for AllCreatureAnimalClinic , explains: "Brachycephaly, that is having a flat muzzle, corresponds to the compression of the upper respiratory tract (especially nasal cavity): the snoring characteristic of these dogs, so appreciated by some owners, is actually the sound produced because of the narrowness of his nose, called stridor. It is therefore a airway malformation , selected in the genetics of the breed, in its standard."
Do flat-nosed dogs suffer?
So cute they, these dogs with flattened muzzle can suffer. Indeed, genetic selection, which responds to demand, has given rise over the years to "hypertyped" dogs, that is to say with exaggerated morphological characteristics : an ever-increasing hindrance low at the German Shepherd, skin ever more folded at the Shar-pei, legs always shorter in the Basset, or muzzle always flatter. In the name of aesthetics, these dogs, if physically "perfect" by race standards, have been endangered, as shown in this illustration by Purina Switzerland:
The result today is serious health problems : breathing difficulties, ophthalmological problems, ear and skin problems, as well as difficulties with parturition due to puppies' skull size
respiratory problems of which suffer these dogs are not to be taken lightly: "they have from birth to death congenital respiratory failure. This makes them much more fragile and sensitive in terms of respiratory or cardiac diseases, "continues Dr. Tardif. Dogs can not sweat, they regulate their body temperature by panting. However, their nasal mucosa being reduced, these dogs must provide more effort to breathe. When it's hot, this effort can become unbearable, at least the animal can die.
> English bulldog: are these hyper-typed dogs doomed to disappear?
Should we ban reproduction?
surgery can improve the comfort of life of some brachycephalic dogs, in some cases, but does not produce a miracle.
So to prevent these dogs from suffer from generation to generation, should we prohibit the breeding of hypertensive dogs? For Dr. Tardif, it would above all be necessary to communicate around this notion , whether to institutions to force the modification of standards, from breeders to be more responsible in the selection of criteria to reproduce, and also with the owners, so that they become aware of what the choice of this morphology implies."
Switzerland has already taken steps in this direction since the beginning of the year: the Swiss Association for Small Animal Medicine (ASMPA), the Swiss Veterinary Association for Animal Welfare (AVSPA), the Swiss Cynology (SCS) and the Vetsuisse Bern faculty have come together to raise public awareness of the dangers of brachycephaly , support breedings wishing to improve the health of their dogs, promote university research in the field of canine brachycephaly, or limit advertising using the image of brachycephalic dogs.
So, should we take an example of our Swiss neighbors?
See also: Should I stop buying Bulldogs? and Pugs?