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Pugs and other flat-faced dog breeds discouraged due to health concerns

These dogs may be cute, but they're silently

These dogs may be cute, but they're silently suffering. Credit: Getty Images

Are you looking for a new furry friend for your family? You may want to think twice before bringing home some of the trendier dog breeds. In recent years, pugs, bulldogs, Boston terriers, French bulldogs and shih tzus have risen in popularity across the United States. But years of selective breeding has resulted in their distinctive flat faces, which you might find cute, but actually indicates a severe anatomical deformity characteristic of brachycephalic syndrome.

“The problems arise from the distinctive shape of the dogs' muzzle, head, and throat, which can make it difficult for the animals to breathe. Surgical procedures are often needed to remove obstructive tissues in order to clear the major airway passages,” according to a report on

So why hasn’t the public been warned about the long-lasting danger these dogs face as a result of selective breeding? A veterinarian interviewed by the The Guardian, who wished to remain anonymous, answered that difficult question: “If I stood up and told the truth about these breeds, I would immediately alienate them and they would up sticks and move to the neighbouring practice where the vet was not as outspoken,” the source is quoted as saying. “Vets in general practice simply cannot afford to be honest and to speak out. You would be hard-pushed to find a general practitioner who likes the concept of a brachycephalic dog but you would be equally hard-pushed to find one being openly critical of them because this would put their livelihood on the line.”

Findings have reportedly shown that an astonishing number of these breeds have been hospitalized and undergone reconstructive surgery to relieve the condition in order to clear their major air passages.  The Board of Veterinarians Appeals (BVA) released a statement last week urging people to rethink their decision, according to the report.

"The surge in popularity of these dogs has increased animal suffering and resulted in unwell pets for owners,” Sean Wensley, president of the BVA, told the website. “We strongly encourage people to think about choosing a healthier breed or crossbreed instead.”


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