In recent years there's a rise in popularity among dog owners for smaller dog breeds with wider heads and short snouts. These are so-called brachycephalic dog breeds. Evolution has become unreasonable because of a certain view, that animals with short snouts are cute. With the shortening of the face, certain bones of the head got significantly shorter, while all the soft tissues remained the same and had to squash on a few centimeters in length. Animals with brachycephalic syndrome have soft tissues of nose and throat with multiple folds and deformations, which cause partial airway obstruction.
Typical brachycephalic syndrome symptoms are noisy breathing, especially upon inspiration (breathing inward), fast and difficult upon expiration (breathing outward), trouble sleeping, snoring, some dogs will retch or gag, especially while swallowing, a wider stance of front legs, exercise intolerance, blue tongue and gums from lack of oxygen (cyanosis), and occasional collapse.
The brachycephalic syndrome occurs in dog breeds, which have disproportionately short head and snout: Pug, French Bulldog, English Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Shih Tzu, Pekingese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, German Boxer, and some other breeds and crossbreeds. These breeds are because of their extremely changed anatomy and skull physiology especially prone to the brachycephalic syndrome. Short snouted dog breeds have narrowed or collapsed nostrils (stenotic nares), which makes it hard for a dog to breathe through their noses. Skinfolds on their faces are a result of the normal amount of soft tissue on shortened bones. Equally, there is an excessive amount of soft tissue inside the body, which leads to diseases, such as airway obstruction. Often these skinfolds lead to dermatological problems and need to be surgically removed.
We advise to not decide on buying a dog based solely on its appearance and cuteness. It is important to educate beforehand about the breed and its proneness to specific diseases. Also, check if the dog's relatives had breathing problems. Take your dog early to a vet for a check-up. If you notice noisy breathing at a young dog, take it to the vet immediately. Dog owners, who have brachycephalic breeds, be careful to avoid putting your dog under stress, overexcitement, heat, and too much exercise.