Vets have urged dog-lovers to think twice about buying squashed-faced dogs such as pugs and French bulldogs, after many would-be owners were found to be unaware of the health problems such breeds often experience.
According to data from the Kennel Club, registrations of squashed-faced, or brachycephalic, breeds have shot up in recent years: while just 692 French bulldogs were registered in 2007, registrations reached 21,470 in 2016.
Certain DNA variations in dogs are linked to a short skull shape. The animals’ baby-like faces with large, round, wide-set eyes and flat noses are known to be a key factor in why owners choose such breeds: over time those traits have been bred for, and in some cases have been taken to extremes.
This selective breeding and prioritising appearance over health has left the breeds prone to skin disorders, eye ulcers and breathing difficulties among other problems.
Now the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has launched a campaign dubbed #breedtobreathe to draw attention to the issues, revealing that a new survey of 671 vets found 75% of owners were unaware of the health problems of brachycephalic breeds before they chose their squashed-faced dog. Moreover the vets said just 10% of owners could spot health problems related to such breeds, with many thinking that problems including snorting were “normal” for such dogs