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Ban Squished Faces? The Complex Ethics Behind Brachycephalic Dogs

Let's dive into the ethical concerns surrounding brachycephalic dogs, their potential health issues, and the ongoing debate over breeding bans. Explore humane alternatives to ensure the well-being of these lovable breeds.

Frenchie dog laying on owner's lap

Brachycephalic breeds have captured the hearts of many dog lovers around the world with their adorable, squished faces and affectionate personalities. However, their unique features come at a price, raising ethical questions about breeding practices, potential health issues, and the future of these breeds.

In this post, we will explore the subject of brachycephalic dogs, discuss whether they should be banned, and provide some humane alternatives for those considering adding a soulful, squish-faced sidekick to their family.

Understanding brachycephalic dogs

Brachycephalic dogs are characterized by their short, wide skulls, which give them their distinctive flattened faces. Breeds such as Pugs, English Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs all fall into this category.

Unfortunately, their endearing appearance can come with numerous health risks. These dogs are prone to respiratory issues, skin conditions, eye problems, and overheating due to their shortened airways and constricted nostrils.

The Ethics of breeding brachycephalic dogs

The breeding of brachycephalic dogs has become a controversial topic. Many animal welfare organizations argue that the intentional breeding of dogs with these health issues is unethical, as it prioritizes appearance over the well-being of the animal.

In response, some countries have implemented breeding restrictions to minimize the health issues associated with these breeds.

To ban or not to ban?

The question of whether brachycephalic dogs should be banned is complex. While it's true that these dogs suffer from a range of health issues, they also bring joy and companionship to their owners.

A ban on these breeds could lead to a decrease in the overall population of dogs that innately suffer from certain health issues, which may be seen as a positive outcome for some.

On the other hand, enforcing a ban might not address the root of the problem: irresponsible breeding practices. The solution may instead lie in creating stricter regulations and promoting responsible breeding to minimize health risks.

Humane alternatives to buying from breeders

If you have your heart set on a brachycephalic dog, there are still ways to bring one into your life without supporting harmful breeding practices. Consider the following options:

  1. Adoption: Animal shelters and rescue organizations often have brachycephalic dogs in need of loving homes. Adopting a dog not only gives a second chance to a deserving animal but also helps alleviate the burden on overcrowded shelters.

  2. Responsible breeders: If you decide to purchase a dog from a breeder, ensure that they follow responsible breeding practices. This includes proper health testing, breeding for function and health rather than appearance alone, and providing a nurturing environment for their dogs. You should always ask to see the facility and take a tour, so you can see for yourself the conditions that adult dogs and puppies are kept in. Far too often, breeders are really puppy mills in disguise. They know how to market themselves with the right language and staged photos. However, you put both yourself, as well as the welfare of animals overall at risk if you support them without doing due diligence. Dogs bred in puppy mill conditions can end up being extremely expensive and may live much shorter lives than those born into safe and humane homes.

  3. Education and awareness: Lastly, educating yourself and others about the challenges brachycephalic dogs face can help promote responsible breeding and ownership. Share information and resources with friends, family, and social media networks to help create a more informed and compassionate dog-loving community. If you cannot afford to potentially spend thousands of dollars down the road, pet insurance or not, on certain medical treatments and conditions, brachycephalic dogs may not be for you.

Where can I find a brachycephalic dog for adoption or rescue?

Here are a few beloved rescues where you can find your newest squish-faced soulmate. Petfinder also has a breed search tool that is great for finding adoptables in your area.

  1. French Bulldog Rescue Network (FBRN)

  2. Short Noses Only Rescue Team (SNORT)

  3. Bulldog Rescue Network

  4. American Boxer Rescue Association

  5. Boxer Rescue Los Angeles (BRLA)

  6. Legacy Boxer Rescue

Remember to check the adoption policies and requirements for each organization, as they may vary. Additionally, you might find brachycephalic dogs in need of loving homes at your local animal shelters or through general dog rescue organizations.


The love for brachycephalic dogs is undeniable, but we must carefully consider the ethical implications of breeding and owning these adorable animals. By supporting responsible breeding practices, adopting from shelters, and raising awareness, we can work toward a future where these breeds can live healthier, happier lives. Remember, the welfare of our canine companions should always come first.

Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.

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