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Brachycephalic breeds have birthing difficulties

Photo by ALAMY

Brachycephalic syndrome is a pathological condition affecting short nosed dogs and cats which can lead to severe respiratory distress.

A study presented at the Royal Veterinary College (RCV) has found that flat-faced brachycephalic dogs are the most likely breed types to encounter problems when giving birth (dystocia). The study found that, compared to other crossbred bitches, French bulldogs were 15.9 times more likely to have dystocia.

The most common affected breeds were:

  • French bulldog – 15.9 times more likely

  • Boston terrier – 12.9 times more likely

  • Chihuahua – 10.4 times more likely

  • Pug – 11.3 times more likely.

The findings suggest that owners should carefully consider the risks before deciding to breed from their bitches.


O’Neill, et al. (2017). Brachycephalic breeds most likely to encounter birthing difficulties, Journal of the British Veterinary Association Vol 23, 559, doi: 10.1136/vr.j2722

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