Brachycephalic update from the BSAVA

10 January 2018


Many of you may have seen recent media coverage on the health and welfare of brachycephalic breeds, in particular the BVA’s #breedtobreathe campaign which was launched last week. Elements of the campaign were developed in conjunction with BSAVA and other key stakeholders.

We thought it would be useful to update you on the salient points of this issue, so we have included relevant links below to those resources that are likely to prove of most value to our BSAVA members, in particular those in veterinary practice.

In addition to our work with BVA, BSAVA is a member of the Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG), which collaborates with relevant organisations in the UK to address some of the health and welfare challenges posed by brachycephalic dog breeds; and we will keep you posted on our progress via the news section of the BSAVA website.

We have also launched a canine brachycephalic stream at Congress this April, to highlight the latest thinking and clinical advice, rounded off with an evidence-based discussion from key opinion leaders.

I hope you find this a helpful update and very much hope to see you at Congress.

John Chitty, BSAVA President



  • The BVA’s #breedtobreathe campaign – in particular the Policy Position and 10-point plan for practices provide useful tools – read more here
  • The Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG) is chaired by Dr Dan O’Neill of the Royal Veterinary College and comprises representatives from the Kennel Club, relevant breed clubs, leading animal welfare charities, researchers and veterinary organisations, including BVA and BSAVA. Its aims are to raise awareness of the health problems relating to brachycephalic breeds, identify ways in which their health and welfare can be improved and also, reduce the public demand for these breeds – read more here
  • Companion article from November 2017: Progressive research in brachycephalic dog breeds
  • BSAVA has launched a canine brachycephalic stream at Congress on Friday 6th April, to culminate in a panel discussion with Emma Milne, Jane Ladlow and Amanda Boag, entitled ‘Can a brachycephalic dog be a healthy dog and how do we achieve this?’ The programme is available to view here

BSAVA Position Statements:

  • Inherited diseases and exaggerated characteristics – BSAVA strongly recommends that animals which show extremes of conformation that negatively affect their health and welfare should not be used for breeding.
  • Responsible Pet Ownership – BSAVA strongly supports the concept of responsible pet ownership and recommend that anyone considering acquiring a pet should ensure that they can provide for the welfare needs of their pet before taking on the responsibility.