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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Different Brachycephalic Breed Study 


The BOAS Research Group has been investigating respiratory disease in dogs for over 10 years. We are now conducting new research into different short-muzzled breeds. We want to find out whether and how other breeds are affected by the same breathing problems seen in Pugs, Frenchies and English Bulldogs. We also look at other problems relating to brachycephalism such as Chiari-like malformation and syringomyelia.


Please note: This study is now closed. 


Breeds included in this study: Affenpinscher, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Dogue de Bordeaux, Griffon Bruxellois, Japanese Chin, King Charles Spaniel, Maltese, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu & Staffordshire Bull Terrier.


What is the purpose of this study?

Whilst the 3 most popular brachycephalic breeds have an increased risk of having BOAS, in other brachycephalic breeds, BOAS is very rarely seen. Conformation alone doesn’t determine the risk of BOAS. Therefore, we are investigating why this is the case and look to establish whether there is a risk of breathing problems in more breeds. This will ultimately help us to improve the current breed health schemes and provide more data for future genetic studies so that we will be able to secure the long-term health and welfare for these dogs.


What does the study involve?

For this study, we will perform a full clinical examination, respiratory grading assessments, involving a physical examination and short exercise tolerance test. We also use whole-body barometric plethysmography (WBBP) which is a non-invasive clinical method used to assess breathing function. We will also take photographs for conformation measurements and DNA swabs for future genetic studies.


This study is now closed. We are working hard to analyse the data and move towards publishing our findings. Please watch this space for further updates.