Flat-Faced Breeds Essentially Dogs

Lauren, a very special family friend just got two Lhasa Apso puppies. She named them Bear and Boo. Many breeds have issues that go along with the territory. Lhasas have short muzzles. There are things that Lauren needs to be aware of concerning this a breed with this characteristic. Lauren loves her puppies very much and I am confident that she is going to raise the happiest and healthiest dogs possible.

Flat-faced or short-snouted dogs include Shih-Tzus, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, Boston Terriers, Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The veterinary community refers to these faces using the medical term, brachycephalic to describe their facial structure. That term is used to describe breeds that have flat facial structure.


The shorter and stockier breeds tend to have more issues than the bigger breeds like the Boxer.

Although their faces could be irresistibly cute, there are things to be cautious about. These breeds have short muzzles and compact skulls. Their respiratory system is compressed and their airways are narrow. Weak or abnormally formed tracheal cartilage is not uncommon in these breeds. They tend to have elongated soft palates and short airways. Their nostrils tend to be tighter than non-brachycephalic breeds. This less than ideal structure leads to snoring, snorting, wheezing, and reverse sneezing. Their respiratory systems not as efficient as their non- brachycephalic friends and there are several issues to be aware of. There are things to be cautious of and there are ways to avoid dangers. Let’s make life easier and more comfortable for our friends!

Brachycephalic breeds are prone to tracheal collapse. I strongly suggest the use of harnesses with a leash as opposed to attaching the leash to a collar. In light of the challenges that these breeds face due to their structure, controlling this breed using a leash and collar could lead to further respiratory issues. Pulling on a leash attached to a collar will make breathing more difficult if the dog is pulling. Such breeds that pull on leashes risk tracheal collapse. To avoid problems, attach the leash to a harness. Be sure to use a harness for walking and never pull the dog by the collar. Collars are for tags – NOT leashes! A collar mustn’t be tight. If you can slip 2 or 3 fingers in between the dog and the fastened collar without digging your fingers into the dog it should be a good fit. I use the Walk In Sync harness and leash set for my own dogs who do not have flat faces. I recommend these harnesses for all breeds because the support they provide is much more evenly distributed and more comfortable than the harnesses that support the dog’s chest with straps.

To shop for harnesses, go to Walk In Sync. It is by FAR the most innovative harness on the market today and provides the very best support. Its design was created to provide you with the most control for all dogs. It curbs pulling and jumping in the most humane way. There is no choking or any risk of physical damage to your dog. This is a must-have product. I wrote a review on the Walk In Sync at the following link: The BEST Harness EVER! I also included it in my Favorite Products Page.