“We don't have any studies showing those are directly related to the length of the nose.“The component that we really have to look for, that we know make the biggest difference in these dogs, is the elongated soft palate…
“That's not related to how long the nose is, that's related to different genes that are writing for the length of the soft palate. We see long soft palates in dogs with long noses. We see this in Labradors, we see this in mixed breed dogs. So, it's not only a brachycephalic issue."I think it's really important to note that these things can occur in any breed of dog. They do happen to occur more in brachycephalic dogs, but we don't have concrete evidence that it's directly related to the length of the nose. “Most brachycephalic breeds, with the exception of some of the more mastiff types, these dogs were bred to be companions. That's their job and they do that very, very, very well. Part of the reason we love them so much is that these brachycephalic facial features elicit almost an infantile like response to people. I think that focusing on the fact that these are companion dogs.
"These dogs are not out flushing birds, they're not working dogs, they are meant to make people happy, sit on your lap. I absolutely believe that they should be able to do things like go on a little hike …. they should absolutely be able to do that and be able to breathe while they do that. But this is not a dog that's out herding sheep in the summer. I think keeping that in perspective is really important.“I think we need to focus, as preservation breeders, on doing a little bit of a better job on selecting breeding stock and producing healthier versions of every breed. But for brachycephalic, specifically, we all know that there are some dogs out there that are not good breathers and that happens. "I think the hard part as a breeder is to say ‘OK this dog might be beautiful, this dog might have a great top line and this has great movement but he cannot breathe and I should probably put him in a companion home where he won't be bred.' That's a really, really hard decision to make, but I think as we move forward, especially in this new culture and climate, we have to make more of those decisions.
“I've actually done a little self-study where a dog comes to see me and I always find out where the dog came from. Then I make a note what issues does this dog have. About 95% of brachycephalic dogs I see that are bad breathers are from a pet store, a puppy mill or rescue. That is just the fact that I've gotten over six years of being a veterinarian, that these dogs are often the ones that they ordered online."Listen to this fabulous interview with Bulldog specialist Jay Serion to learn more about the Bulldog Club of America's work on breeding healthy dogs. And this outstanding Love the Breeds episode with more information about Pugs from three nationally renowned breeders.