All animals should be bred for health over looks.

We’re calling for collective action to improve the health and welfare of brachycephalic (or flat-faced) dogs, such as English bulldogs, French bulldogs, and pugs.

There's been an explosion in the use of these breeds in social media and marketing in recent years, driving a demand for them as pets.

Health over looks #BreedtoBreathe

What’s the issue with brachycephalic dogs?

There’s been a rapid rise in the number of brachycephalic, or flat-faced, dogs in the UK in the last decade. 

In 2018, the French bulldog overtook the Labrador Retriever as the UK's most popular dog breed, with an almost 3000% increase in numbers in the previous 10 years. We’re concerned that celebrity influence and social media have had a big role to play in this rise in popularity.

Flat-faced dogs can suffer from a range of serious health and welfare issues, including breathing problems, eye disease, inability to mate or give birth naturally, and skin and dental problems. Obesity exacerbates these health problems.

In our 2017 Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, vets reported that 56% of the brachycephalic dogs they see in practice need treatment for breed-related health issues. But only 10% of dog owners could recognise these issues.

How can you get involved?

Use our #BreedtoBreathe toolbox to support the campaign:

dog head scans

vet and nurse working

For veterinary professionals

  • Use our 10-point practice plan to improve the health and welfare of brachycephalic dogs and promote responsible pet ownership.

  • Promote and carry out annual brachycephalic health assessments.

  • Tell owners about the role of obesity in exacerbating other health problems linked to brachycephaly (for example, respiratory disease). Let them know that frequent respiratory sounds by their dog, such as snorting and snoring, are not normal, but instead are clinical signs of compromised breathing.

  • Report conformation-altering surgery and Caesarean sections, in Kennel Club-registered dogs, to the Kennel Club.