Bulldogs – Brachycephalic Breed Tips

French Bulldogs puppies for sale near me

Owning a brachycephalic breed (we will call them brachy breeds for short) such as French Bulldogs can be challenging for some, especially new owners of this breed type. Let’s go over what exactly a bracy breed is, as well as things to look for as an owner, and advice for owning one of these breeds.

What is a Brachycephalic Breed?

A brachycephalic breed (pronounced brackie sefalic) are any of the breeds of dogs that have a large, wide skull, a compressed skull appearance from front to back, and a severely short muzzle (sometimes appearing that no muzzle/nose is present at all). brachycephalic means shortened head. While this conformation is cute and appealing, bracy breeds require special care and lifestyles and owners who can accommodate them.

Are Bulldogs The Only Bracy Breed?

While Bulldogs are probably the most popular of the brachycephalic breed, many dog breeds exhibit this conformation. These dog and cat breeds fit this conformation such as the Affenpinscher, French Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffon, Bull Mastiff, American Bullies, the Persian cat, Scottish Fold, and the Himalayan cat. All of these breeds (and more) are subject to the many issues associated with their skull shape.

Issues Associated With Flat-Faced Breeds

Here are the more common issues associated with brachy breeds:

Skin conditions: Short skulls have excessive skins, often creating large, deep folds of skin. These skin folds harbor moisture and promote bacterial and yeast growth. Areas often become inflamed, and can cause hair loss and wounds caused from excessive scratching. These infections are often recurring.

Respiratory Issues: These breeds usually have excessive amounts of loose or extra soft tissue, which causes an airflow obstruction (similar to malacias that some children are born with). This obstruction is especially dangerous if a dog or cat is panting in order to try to cool themselves. Normal, relaxed breathing can also be affected and result in oxygen depletion. When obstructions cause a medical issue, it is known as Brachycephalic Upper Airway Obstructive Syndrome or BUAOS for short.

Eye Issues: Because the skull is so flat, the eye sockets of Bracy breeds are very shallow, and unable to hold the entire eye ball. This causes minor to extensive bulging of the eyes. Since more of the cornea (outer surface of the eye) is protruding, eyes are at risk for dryness as well as major trauma. Eye trauma that results in surgery, blindness, or even loss of an eye is common in this breed.

While we hope you find this information helpful, we hope it does not steer you away from being an owner of one of the brachy breeds, such as the French Bulldog. Their size loyalty, love, character, size, cuteness, and energy far exceeds any of these issues. In my heart, it has always been worth it to have a little bat-eared mini Bulldog in my home.


P.S. – If you own a brachycephalic breed cat or dog, we recommend pet insurance. We use a couple of different companies, but our favorite is: Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments field below!

2 Comments on Bulldogs – Brachycephalic Breed Tips

  1. Thank you so much for this informative article. A close friend of mine has a french bulldog that I watch when she is out of town. I like the idea of having a powerful dog in such a little package. However, I have a question about exercise. You mentioned that the extra flaps of skin can be dangerous if they are panting to cool down. What would be appropriates types of exercise and/or amount? Or is there a recommended way to help them cool down? I know that they naturally have a lot of energy, but I can see myself having a nervous fit everytime she is trying to cool down. I don’t want to put my friend’s dog in unnecessary danger. Thanks so much!

    • It is a little scary, especially if you are in a state with hot and humid summers.
      We make sure the air is on inside before we take them out, so the house is nice and cool. When they come inside, the kitchen (tile floor) is always their favorite place to lay and cool off. We limit to about 15 minutes outside, less if they are playing hard. We also have kiddie pools with water for play.
      If you did ever feel that your friend’s dog was having a hard time cooling off, a cool (not freezing cold) bath focusing on the belly and neck will help. Also alcohol pads on the foot pads help them cool faster in an emergency. Thanks for the question!

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