Brachycephalic Dog Breeds


The popularity for brachycephalic breeds has been on the rise for some time now. Sometimes referred to a snub-nosed, some of the most highly recognizable brachycephalic breeds include the Pug, the French Bulldog, the Pekingese, and the Boxer.

Brachycephalic dogs have a very distinctive facial appearance. They are easily identified by their flat faces, shortened muzzles, thin nostrils, and in many cases, narrow airways. The name “brachycephalic” is Greek in origin and means “short head.”

Do Brachycephalic Breeds Have Any Health Challenges?

Since brachycephalic dog breeds have a unique facial construction that impacts their airways, most of these breeds struggle to keep their body at a normal temperature when weather is extremely hot or extremely cold. Dogs typically pant to help them cool down, and many brachycephalic breeds possess narrow nostrils that can make it very difficult for them to pant sufficiently to decrease their body temperature, leading to overheating.

To ensure brachycephalic breeds do not succumb to overheating, it is vital that you provide your dog with cool water to drink, fans to cool his body, and air conditioning when indoors or in a vehicle.

Some brachycephalic breeds can also be plagued by skin conditions. This is often attributed to facial folds that require regular cleaning and thorough drying to remain healthy and bacteria free. Some brachycephalic dog breeds also suffer with allergies affecting the skin.

Other health problems some brachycephalic breeds experience are eye issues such as cherry eye and dental conditions relating to the unique shape of the dog’s skull.

If you are planning on adding a brachycephalic breed to your family, one of the most important things you should do is ensure you purchase your new family member from a reputable breeder who is committed to fulfilling the appropriate health testing on all breeding pairs to help promote optimal the future health and wellness of their puppies and the breed. This one step can greatly reduce the risk of purchasing a puppy that will suffer with some of the most common problems associated with brachycephalic breeds. 

What Precautions Do I Need to Take with My Brachycephalic Breed?

If you purchase a brachycephalic breed, there are a few precautions you should take to ensure the health and wellness of your new best canine pal. These include: 

  • Special precautions for airline travel

Because brachycephalic breeds can struggle with compromised breathing capacity due to their unique facial construction, there are special precautions you should take if you plan to fly with your snub-nosed pooch. Brachycephalic breeds can find it difficult to breathe at higher elevations, and their breathing may also be affected by humidity levels, higher temperatures, and stress.

As a result of these things, many airlines do not permit brachycephalic breeds to travel in cargo. However, most airline carriers will allow snub-nosed dogs to accompany their owners in the cabin of the aircraft. Before booking any flight, it is best to contact the airline you plan to book with to find out about their policy for flying with a brachycephalic breed.

  • Special precautions for activity

Because brachycephalic breeds do not do well in extreme temperatures, it is important to ensure you only walk your snub-nosed dog during times of day when the temperatures are mild or moderate. Both regulating body temperature and proper breathing can be problematic for snub-nosed dogs when it is cold or hot outside.

But it is not just the temperature that requires monitoring with brachycephalic breeds. These types of dogs can easily overexert themselves. Keeping the dog at a correct body weight can help to prevent this, but it is also key to stick to an exercise regimen that is modest at best. If your dog has excess energy to burn, it is best to do several short exercise sessions rather than one long one.

What are the Most Popular Brachycephalic Breeds Today?

If you’ve got your heart set on adding a brachycephalic breed to your family, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to great options. Whether you are looking for a toy, miniature, small, or large breed, you’re sure to find the perfect pooch for you!

Here is our list of some of the most popular brachycephalic breeds today:


The Affenpinschers descends from Germany and is sometimes simply referred to as Monkey Dog because of its unique facial appearance. A small breed dog, the Affenpinscher is renowned for his high energy levels and spirited personality. 

A dog breed with a distinctive mustache, the Affenpinscher is an old breed, tracing its roots back to the 17th century where its role was to assist with rodent control.

The Affenpinscher delights in acting like a clown but still has a very brave and assertive personality. A true entertainer, the Affenpinscher is versatile, adaptable, intelligent, obstinate, and an excellent watchdog. 

American Bulldog

The happy go lucky American Bulldog makes for a wonderful family companion. A large breed dog, the American Bulldog does best in a home with a fully fenced yard in which to stretch his legs. Since this breed has lots of energy to expend every day, a securely fenced containment area is recommended for this breed, and regular daily exercise is a must.

A highly social dog type, the American Bulldogs will suffer if kept isolated from its family for lengthy periods of time. Very intelligent, the American Bulldog should be given proper amounts of both mental and physical stimulation every day. If these needs are not met, the dog may invent its own entertainment and can become destructive.

Brussels Griffon

Hailing from Belgium, the Brussels Griffon is somewhat similar in appearance to the Affenpinscher and is also often called “Monkey Face.” The breed is known to be quite compact but is solidly built. Brussels Griffon possess a spirited expression that in many ways replicates a human’s face.

A breed that was also used for rodent control in its native Belgium, the Brussels Griffon soon gained popularity as a beloved family companion. The Griffon is happy, alert, and very loving. However, the breed can also be prone to mood swings, hyperactivity, and crankiness.

Brussels Griffons are somewhat demanding, wanting to be the center of their owner’s universe. Unlike the Affenpinscher, the Brussels Griffon comes in two coat types in the United States: smooth and rough.


A large breed dog, the Boxer cuts an impressive figure with its block-like head and muscular frame. The Boxer is a jubilant dog with energy to spare, always ready to indulge in mischief-making. Extremely playful, the Boxer remains puppy-like for most of its life. 

Boxers are well-renowned for their intelligence levels. They are curious, brave, and very sociable. A breed that bonds very deeply to its family, the Boxer is devoted and affectionate but can also be very stubborn.

A breed that can be very goofy, the Boxer’s antics always bring a smile to their family’s faces. This dog type is very lively and has boundless reserves of energy. Known for their unique dance called the “kidney bean,” the Boxer not only has its own special “moves” but also its own special sound that is exhibited when the dog is happy or excited.


The Bulldog, alternately referred to as the English Bulldog or the British Bulldog, traces its roots to England when the breed was developed for use in the brutal sport of bull baiting. The Bulldog’s earliest ancestors were most likely Mastiff-type dogs that were brought the England by the Romans.

A breed of medium size, the Bulldog’s distinctive head renders him easily recognizable in a crowd. Their body is set quite low to the ground, is densely muscled, and compact. The Bulldog’s head is its crowning glory and is known for its squareness and immense size. One of the defining characteristics of the Bulldog is his droopy lip and charming underbite.

Though the Bulldog comes from bloody origins, the modern version of this dog type bears little resemblance to its bull baiting past. The breed is tenacious and brave but is also sociable, loving, and deeply affectionate. Bulldogs can be obstinate and fierce defenders of their families but warm to new people readily… more


A large dog of great substance and power, the Bullmastiff’s original purpose was providing guardianship over his owner’s home and hearth. The breed was built to be brave, self-assured, powerful, and quick.

The Bullmastiff’s size alone is sufficient to discourage most intruders. However, the breed will also fiercely defend those it loves if called upon to do so.

A breed known for its deep confidence, the ideal Bullmastiff has a solid temperament and carries itself with dignity and grace. Unlike many dogs its size, the Bullmastiff is surprisingly a lower energy dog.

Smart and independent, training the Bullmastiff can be challenging. This breed requires an owner that will establish and maintain firm boundaries.

Boston Terrier

The Boston Terrier is a charming little breed that is sometimes referred to as the American Gentleman. First developed in the 19th century, the distinguished looking Boston Terrier is well renowned for its affectionate ways and loving heart.

A breed renowned for their high intelligence levels, the Boston Terrier is spirited, loving, obstinate, and can be overactive. A born entertainer, the Boston Terrier is truly a delightful family companion.

Though the Boston Terrier is considered to be a small breed, this dog type of compact and has a very muscular frame. Coming in two different colour variations, black and white and liver and white, the Boston Terrier’s markings given the appearance of a tuxedo.

Chow Chow

With his lion-like mane, blue-black tongue, and impressively sized head, the Chow Chow is one dog breed that stands apart from the crowd. Though this figure can be intimidating to many, the Chow Chow is known for its stable temperament and kind nature.

This dog type carries itself with noble grace. Full of dignity and somewhat standoffish, the Chow Chow’s home was once the palaces and kennels of Chinese royalty.

A breed that is not particularly enamored of affection, the Chow Chow is a quiet dog that enjoys the company of his family members most of all. The Chow Chow can be very territorial and will defend its family with fierce loyalty. 

Dogue de Bordeaux

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a French dog that has been in existence for approximately 600 years. A dog breed with a head of an immense size, the Dogue de Bordeaux is both brave and extremely strong. The breed first came to the public’s knowledge when one of them appeared in the 1989 Tom Hanks’ film Turner and Hooch.

The Dogue de Bordeaux makes for a wonderful family companion. The breed has gentle, loving nature but can also be extremely obstinate and cocky. Aggression towards other dogs, small animals, and even strangers can be a problem with this dog breed. This breed is known for its devotedness, confidence, and exceptional guardian characteristics. 

English Toy Spaniel

The English Toy Spaniel is a dog breed sometimes called the King Charles Spaniel in its native England. This dog breed is known for its gentle disposition and affectionate, loving nature. The breed has long been a favorite of British royalty. 

The English Toy Spaniel is a sturdy dog that is square in body type. A breed that is rather quiet by nature, the English Toy Spaniel was always intended to serve in one very important role: a beloved family companion. A dog with very low activity requirements, the English Toy Spaniel enjoys nothing greater than spending time with his beloved family members.

French Bulldog

The French Bulldog is one of the most popular brachycephalic dog breeds today. With his distinctive bat ears and comical ways, the Frenchie easily wins the heart of everyone he meets.

A small dog breed, the Frenchie is a dog of sturdy substance. His body is both strong and muscular. Though this breed has a very playful side, the Frenchie is one dog that enjoys taking a good and lengthy snooze. 

The French Bulldog is a smart dog that thrives on learning new things so long as training sessions closely resemble games. The breed is very independent and can be resistant to doing things it doesn’t want to do… more

Deeply loving, Frenchies crave human companionship. Comical and mischievous, you will never spend a dull moment with a French Bulldog in your home. 

Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin has a remarkable quality that many people don’t know about: its ability to jump quite high! Though considered to be a toy breed, the Japanese Chin’s ability to leap is impressive enough to rival any cat. In addition to this, the Japanese Chin resembles a furry feline in several other capacities including its love of high perches, excellent climbing skills, and intense desire to groom itself. 

A very sweet-natured dog, the Japanese Chin is an excellent choice for a family companion. A dog that loves people of all ages, the Japanese Chin is extremely affectionate and loving.

Though the Japanese Chin has a voluminous coat, his grooming is surprisingly quite low maintenance, requiring only the occasional bath and regular brushing.

Happy go lucky and very sociable, the Japanese Chin is highly intelligent and gets along well with other household pets, making him a great choice for families with multiple animals in their homes. 

Lhasa Apso

Though the Lhasa Apso is a small dog; in his own mind, his size is on par with the Great Dane. A dog breed whose original role was a watchdog for royalty, the Lhasa Apso is a steadfast protector of his family.

The Lhasa is very protective of those he loves most. Not an aggressive dog, the Lhasa is wary of strangers and can be territorial. Brave and independent, the Lhasa Apso is a dog of high intelligence and enjoys getting up to mischief. 


A favorite in the Imperial courts of China, the Pekingese carries itself with dignity and self-importance. A breed that was always intended to function as a status symbol and lap dog, the Pekingese is easily identified by its immense lion-like coat and distinctive face, two hallmarks of the breed.

The Pekingese moves with a unique lumber that is accompanied by generous helpings of pride, attitude, and arrogance. A smart dog, the Pekingese is as stubborn as he is intelligent. 

A breed that is affectionate with its family members, the Pekingese is not fond of strangers. An excellent watchdog, the Peke will eagerly guard its family and home and can be quite vocal.

The Pekingese is a brave dog almost to the point of foolhardiness. This dog type is not particularly tolerant of behavior it considers rough or foolish, making the Peke a poor choice for families with small children. 


The Pug takes its name from the Latin term that translates to fist. This particular handle was bestowed upon the breed because of its facial appearance that closely resembles a closed human hand.

A comical breed, the Pug loves to entertain. But make no mistake, the breed is quite self-assured, carrying itself with pride. This dog type loves to play but also needs ample time cuddling with its beloved family members. Pugs thrive in the limelight and prefer to the be at the center of all attention.

Happy, loving, and sociable, the Pug is also an intelligent breed. However, the Pug is also known for being a training challenge, readily displaying some obstinate behavior.

The Pug is not a particularly vocal dog but excels as a guardian of its family’s home and property.

Shih Tzu

A small breed dog, the Shih Tzu has an aristocratic origin, serving as the beloved lap dog of Chinese royalty during the Ming Dynasty. Though the Shih Tzu has often been classified as a snob, the breed is actually very sociable, spirited, and loving.

Always intended to be a friendly dog, the Shih Tzu loves everyone he meets. The breed exists to make people feel welcome.

A breed that is versatile and adaptable, the Shih Tzu is equally at home in an apartment or in a home with a fully fenced yard. This dog type loves children and is hardy enough to play with them with full abandon though supervision is recommended.

The Shih Tzu is sometimes referred to as a Chrysanthemum Dog because of the growth trajectory of his beard hair. Like the Bulldog, the Shih Tzu has an underbite that is part of his charm. 

Thinking a brachycephalic breed is the perfect fit for your family? Consider our list of some of the most popular snug-nosed breeds today, and you just might find the ideal pooch for you!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Table of Contents