The Cephalic Index in dogs is the cranial width compared to the cranial length which is known as the cranial ratio. This ratio does not iclude the muzzle and this confusion often sees people mistakenly classifying their dog or breed. When the muzzle is included it is known as the craniofacial ratio.
The three types of skull are as follows :
Bracycephalic : Wide or oval cranium. Short or broad headed and the length of cranium is shorter than the width. Our Cavalier king Charles Spaniels are classified as brachycephalic.
Mesocephalic: Square cranium. Cranial length is equal to cranial width, normal/medium proportion. Our Brittany Spaniel is classified as Mesocephalic.
Dolichocephalic : Long rectangular cranium. Long headed, cranial length is greater than the cranial width. Our Miniature Poodle, Reggie is classified as dolichocephalic.
For many years it has been argued that Cavaliers are not brachycephalic but I think in most cases this stems from the confusion that the muzzle is taken into consideration but as discussed above it is not and in 2011 a German study defined them not only as brachycephalic but extreme brachycephalic.
"Cephalometric Measurements and Determination of General Skull Type of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. M. J. Schmidt, A. C. Neumann, K. H. Amort, K. Failing, M. Kramer. Vet. Rad. & Ultra, 26 Apr 2011. Quote: "The general skull morphology of the head of theCavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS) was examined and compared with cephalometric indices of brachycephalic, mesaticephalic, and dolichocephalic heads. Measurements were taken from computed tomography images. Defined landmarks for linear measurements of were identified using three-dimensional (3D) models. The calculated parameters of the CKCS were different from all parameters of mesaticephalic dogs but were the same as parameters from brachycephalic dogs. However, the CKCS had a wider braincase in relation to length than in other brachycephalic breeds. Studies of the etiology of the chiari-like malformation in the CKCS should therefore focus on brachycephalic control groups. As Chari-like malformation has only been reported in brachycephalic breeds, its etiology could be associated with a higher grade of brachycephaly, meaning a shorter longitudinal extension of the skull. This has been suggested for other breeds."
So it was disappointing that Bill Lambert representing the Kennel Club (KC) at a Brachycephalic conference at the Royal Veterinary College in November 2013 was quoted by Dog World to say, "The researchers' definition of brachycephalic may not concur with that of dog folk and the KC, but we are surprised at the inclusion of the Cavalier and the Stafford among brachycephalic breeds." I took this up with the KC and Bill Lambert said, "He meant it it in the context of extreme brachycephalic dogs", and in a later conversation he said. " he did not consider them brachycephalic because they have a muzzle." I had sent him the article of the German study but on talking to him, it is apparent that the KC has got a different idea of what bracycephalic is because they seem to be mistakenly using the cranialfacial ratio to define skull type on the Cephalic Index, I explained to Bill Lambert his mistake, that is commonly made and pointed him in the direction of the German study that I had sent him. Hopefully he has taken it on board and we will hope that the KC can refrain making comments that keep breeders of bracycephalic dogs in denial of them being brachycephalic and the fact that being brachycephalic causes them numerous health issues. The full article of the conference can be read if you click on this link below http://www.dogworld.co.uk/product.php/104537
Another article which is interesting is an article , "The Brachycephalic Syndrome ", by Goran Bodegord, MD
Both the articles I have put on blogs before but they are so compelling towards breeding away from dogs with a brachycephalic skull and as this article is about the Cephalic Index it makes sense to include them.
I have yet to aquire a tool to measure my dogs craniums and will indeavour to get this done and publish it. It was suggested to use a g-clamp but its a bit bulky and I don't think it would give an accurate measurement without casing discomfort to the dog. I think I might invest in a pair of calipers to measure their skulls, as it will be of on going use.
End on a few photos of Smudge coming up to eight weeks pregnant this Thursday and a couple of Treacle with our Molly who yesterday after three days of sickness thankfully turned the corner and is getting better. Touch wood, at the moment no one else is showing signs of sickness. I have never had or any of our children any sickness past 24 hours and Molly was beginning to worry me but looks like she is back to her old self today and actually was riding her bicycle around this afternoon. Smudge is doing well and taking it all in her stride again as she approaches her due date which is the 27th Feb. The labour ward is up and I just need to get in some new puppy milk powder, just incase she needs any help. Come the weekend we will start monitering her temperature, three times a day. It will be nice to have the patter of tiny paws soon, after such a dark and damp winter.
20/2/2014 04:39:44 am
Very informative Jane and send a muddy hug to Molly from Darcey x
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“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!