Sunday 14 November 2010

Your dog has no nose...

This Japanese Chin was one of several brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds at Discover Dogs today having problems breathing - although none quite as bad as the Bulldog I blogged earlier. The Chin's owner explains, as you can hear, that this was due to having just returned from a stroll around the show. But of course it's really due to having been selectively bred to have a very flat face - and in this dog's case to also having very closed nares (nostrils).

You can see the problem clearly if you compare a still from the video with a shot of my lovely Flatcoat Maisie's nostrils.

My Maisie doesn't have squiff eyes, either.

If you want to know what it's like to be a Chin or a Peke or a Bulldog or a Pug or any of the other severely bracychepahlic breeds, stick a straw up each of your own nostrils and try to breathe through them.


  1. I have to admit that dog is struggling a bit.
    though i've had cavaliers worse , its more to do with excess flesh in their throats than the actual length of their nose.
    A lot of flat faced dogs can breath perfectly well and go for long walks no bother.

    You have to breed from dogs who are healthy and fit , just saying oh that one "should" be fitter because its nose is longer does not work.
    Some dogs with longer noses in these breeds may struggle more than a flat nosed dog.
    take the dogs on their merits NOT their appearance

  2. "its more to do with excess flesh in their throats than the actual length of their nose. "

    The reason there is excess flesh in their throats is BECAUSE of the extreme shortness of their nose/muzzle length.

  3. What I am saying is just breeding from dogs with longer noses because you THINK they will be healthier is not good enough.

    Judging dogs by looks alone is how we got into this mess and to get out of it we need to start thinking deeper.

    cavaliers where invented in the 1920's because someone THOUGHT they would be healthier .
    Flat heads, long noses , yeah thats got to be much better. and look where that has gotten us !

  4. It's basic anatomy and physiology, not rocket science.
    By the way, cavs are brachycephalic.

  5. I have just been directed to this piece about the Japanese CHIN ( please note spelling).Tell me Ms Harrison how does your dog cool itself ? Having learned perhaps a little in the years since the mid 1940s, when I owned my first dog, I always understood that little Red and White Chin was cooling itself by PANTING, dogs do it. I am happy not to be anonymous.
    Ann Dilley

  6. Is there any reason why some kind of exercise tolerance test couldn't be incorporated into normal show judging? Something on the lines of asking the dog to do a brisk run round the ring and then measuring the length of time for their heart rate to go back to baseline.

  7. shows are about physical appearance and physical appearance only. So to answer your question, no, that is never going to happen.

  8. Ann
    all dogs cool by evaporative cooling.....this is indeed by panting but relies on a fully patent airway including inside the nose (the naso turbinate bones), and a nice open trachea.
    Effective cooling relies on a patent airway both for inspiration and expiration.
    Brachycephalics for starters lack the nice open nasoturbinates because they are essentially crushed causing huge resistance. This coupled with an elongated soft palate and sometimes a narrowed trachea puts considerable strain on the airways and much more difficulties cooling down.
    This can then lead to strain on the soft tissues, laryngeal collapse and ultimately DEATH, or just a really miserable constrained life.
    That is why it is a scientific fact that brachys are just not as good as longer nosed dogs at regulating their temperature.
    The saddest thing is that many who breed these dogs have become DESENSITIZED to the problem, seeing it as "normal" for the breed.
    If a labrador walked in to a vets with the raspy breathing the chin in the video is showing, it would be classed as very abnormal.

  9. As dog lovers we have to stand up and be counted and by this I mean that if breeders won't do what is right by dogs and breed for health and fitness, rather than to follow a breed standard, we have to boycot their puppies. I love pedigree dogs and of course I want to protect the breeds but in order to do this we have to introduce healthy dogs with developed eye sockets, longer noses, less loose, excess skin etc. To have created a dog that struggles for breath and passes out in warm weather is monstrous and we've done this, us, the dog lovers!!

  10. I don't like some of those drawbacks. humans have no business breeding dogs to have such short noses.