I'm going to blog on a subject close to my heart , dogs being bred to be brachycephalic because the Cavalier falls into this group. A basic description of a brachycephalic breed is a dog with a broad, short cranium and most often coupled with a short muzzle. This look is man-made and we do not see any undomesticated Canid's that are brachycephalic. It serves no purpose for the dog. Other breeds included in this brachycephalic group are Pug, Bulldog, French Bulldog, Affenpinscher, Bosten Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Pekingese, Shit Tzu, King Charles, Boxer, Chihuahua, Bull-mastiff, American Cocker Spaniel, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Tibetan Spaniel to name a few, as the list does not stop there but I will. Those are just some off the top of my head, so you can see that this is not a small problem in dog breeds and not isolated to just a couple breeds.
Now lets look at the health issues it will predispose a dog when it has deliberately been bred to be brachycephalic. The common health issues of the brachycephalic dog is Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome, Elongated Soft Palate, Stenotic Nares, Everted Laryngeal Saccules and Laryngeal collapse. Information of these conditions can be found at CavalierHealth.org on this link :
Brachycephalic dogs on the extreme end of brachycephalic group like Pugs, Pekingese and French Bulldogs often suffer with over heating problems and the snorting and snuffling that is heard from these breeds that some find so endearing and cute, is the dog struggling to breath. A dog can also like humans breath through its mouth but if a dog breaths in more often through its mouth because of obstruction of its airway through being brachycephalic it predisposes them to pneumonia, due to air not being filtered or heated or cooled by the nasal chamber before reaching the lungs. We also know from research that the nose contains a cavity which when they breath in cool area passes through and helps regulate the dogs temperature and in brachycephalic dogs this cavity is reduced or even none existant in some, hence that brachycephalic dogs can struggle to regulate body temperature and have a tendency to over heat. Basically it is really hard to just breath and regulate body temperature being an extreme brachycephalic breed dog.
Research is on going in brachycephalic dogs and already in Europe we see countries legislating against exaggerations in breeding of dogs that effects their health and welfare.
I regularly read the Pedigree Dog exposed blog and recently saw a post which informed people of a upcoming conference on Building Better Brachycephalics, personally I would rather a conference on Not Breeding brachycephalics but little steps.
I have an email feed from the Kennel Club (KC) and not once have they sent any information about this event, as I would of made the effort to attend if I had known in time, as in London so a bit of moving around would of had to be done but if I had some notice in time I would of got there.
Thankfully though someone on Pedigree Dogs Exposed website put the link to a write up about the evenings events
The article about the conference is very interesting and is heartening to hear the vets and researchers basically saying breeding dogs to be brachycephalic is bad for them, so that's a positive and stepping forward. Then though you read the comments by my old mate Bill Lambert representing the KC. Apparently the KC is surprised by Cavaliers and Staffords being in the brachycephalic group. What planet are the KC on or was Bill Lambert puffing on a bit of wacky backy (although I believe cocaine is all the rage at the moment for people in places of authority) before he got asked for a comment and he also thinks there maybe some confusion in what the dog folk and KC think is brachycephalic to the researchers, because he reckons on none of those researchers being dog folk like him, do you want a hand with digging that pit you're digging for yourself there Bill, I suspect not as you're doing a mighty fine job digging it yourself for the KC. So email to KC sent asking to clarify Bill Lamberts comment.
could you please let me know the link on your website for information about the Brachycephalic conference that you attended on the 11th November given by the RVC ? This was an important event for health and welfare of breeding dogs and I would hope to see you have given it some space on your website. It would be nice to see it listed on the home page.
Also could you clarify a comment made at the event by Bill Lambert. He is reported to of said,"we are surprised at the inclusion of the Cavalier and Stafford among brachycephalic breeds." Is the Kennel Club saying that the Cavalier is not brachycephalic ?
I can assure you as a breeder of this dog and knowing many vets that deal with the problems caused by dogs being brachycephalic, we are in agreement that the Cavalier is most certainly a brachycephalic breed. Just looking at the Stafford you can see it is brachycephalic through head and jaw alignment but to a milder
extent. So could you also tell me why Bill Lambert thinks the KC is so surprised by these two breeds inclusion as a brachycephalic breeds ? His statement worries me that either the KC are incompetent or it is Bill Lambert who is.
See I have no problem with people breeding any of the breeds I mention on this blog or people wanting to show etc their dogs but breed them without them being brachycephalic or any exaggeration that only serves your purpose and predisposes the dog to a life of struggle, so next time you hear that cute little flat faced dog snuffling, snorting, choking or panting excessively remember its not trying to be cute its struggling to breath.
Breeding a dog away from being brachycephalic is actually easier than to keep breeding them brachycephalic, the only down fall of breeding away from it is you might not be breeding book ends, dogs that look almost identical.
If the KC don't soon get there act together we could be looking at legislation to control the deliberate breeding of exaggerations that predispose dogs to poor health.
I will await the KC reply to my email on Bill Lamberts comments at the Brachycephalic conference with interest.
“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 with Bumble and Blottie, waiting patiently to be unleashed, November 2018
Hello, I am Jane, you might of guessed, I love dogs. We are situated in the North Devon countryside, England, United Kingdom. Our home is occupied by my husband, David, our children, pack of dogs and me.