Brachycephalic (or "short-nosed") dogs, such as the French bulldog, pug and British bulldog, are some of the most popular breeds in the UK. Popular flat-faced breeds include Boston terriers, pugs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels, French bulldogs, English bulldogs, shih tzus and boxers. However, these breeds have some serious inherent health problems. A core welfare message is "Stop and think before buying a flat-faced dog".

Our interactive infographic gives more detail on the related health issues of these breeds:

Flat-faced breeds and Heat Related Illness (HRI)


Brachycephalic breeds are at least twice as likely to suffer from heat related illnesses – with some breeds facing a 14 fold risk increase (English Bulldog) according to an RVC research paper published in Nature in 2020. The Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG) have issued a consensus statement in response to the higher risks of HRI in flat-faced breeds (Download here)

Information for Vets

Heat Illness Risks in Dogs Factsheet/Infographic (download here)

A summary document about HRI in dogs; frequency of cases seen in GP vet practices; clinical signs and survival rates

VetCompass Clinical Grading Tool for Heat Related Illness in Dogs

Designed to help vets and owners to identify heat-related illnesses earlier to ensure earlier intervention in order to reduce illness escalation and heat-related canine deaths

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