Brachycephalic dog breeds are really popular, but this popularity comes at a cost that is often paid for by the dogs themselves. The short, flat faces of such breeds means they will commonly suffer from respiratory problems (these can range from so mild they’re barely present to so acute as to result in an almost continual struggle to breathe from mild exertion) and potentially, a number of other health defects too.
More moderate brachycephalic dogs are healthier and more robust; but such dogs can be hard to find in some breeds, which have recognised widespread complex health issues.
A middle ground option for those that love brachycephalic dogs but that are concerned about the direction some breeds are taking in terms of health and welfare is to choose a hybrid dog type instead, which is a cross between one brachycephalic parent and one with a normal-length muzzle.
This article will suggest five hybrid dog types with more moderate brachycephalic features that you might want to consider.
A brachycephalic dog is one with a shorter than normal nose and flattened muzzle. When we say “normal” in this context, we refer to the norms for the canine species itself; the way dogs naturally evolved and which provides them with genetic good health and fitness for life.
Flattened muzzles give dogs an evolutionary disadvantage as they affect their respiration and a range of other things too including ability to reproduce and survive in the wild, and how acute this is can be hugely variable from breed to breed when it comes to brachycephalics, and even from dog to dog within each breed too.
Why are more moderate brachycephalic features a good thing?
The more moderate a brachycephalic dog’s features are, the healthier they are and the lower their chances of suffering from painful, debilitating and costly to manage health problems as a result of their conformation.
Some brachycephalic dog breeds only have the signature flatness of the face to a moderate degree, while for others, the breed norm or preferred appearance in the breed or among buyers of dogs of the breed is far more exaggerated and so, sadly harmful to the dog too.
Hybrid dog types also benefit from a boost in genetic diversity, which in turn gives them the benefits of hybrid vigour. Outcrossing, or crossing two unrelated breeds reduces the chances of hereditary health defects from one of the two respective parent breeds being passed on to their offspring, and when you cross a dog from a brachycephalic breed with one from a breed with a normal-length muzzle, this achieves another boost in the offspring too.
A hybrid dog with one brachycephalic parent will have a face that is less flat than that of one from two brachycephalic parents, whilst still maintaining the trait in a more moderate way, offering the best of both worlds for those who appreciate such an appearance but that have concerns over the health problems that can come with it.
Here are five hybrid dog types with one brachycephalic parent and so, that represent more moderate brachycephalic features than that side of their parentage itself.
The Jug is a cross between a Jack Russell and a pug, and other than small stature, these two breeds are vastly different in more or less every way! Pugs are one of the most complex brachycephalic dog breeds in terms of facial exaggerations and health issues, while Jack Russells are robust, hardy, and have very different traits and personalities too.
Jugs can vary quite a lot in appearance depending which traits they inherit most strongly from each side, but are definitely one of the more interesting moderate hybrid crossings.
The Cavapoo is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles spaniel and a poodle, being a small or miniature poodle generally. They tend to be small but not tiny, and are often very pretty dogs thanks to the fusion of both sides of their parentage. Cavapoos also tend to be very smart dogs, and often very moderately brachycephalic as a result of the long poodle nose.
The Puggle is a cross between a pug and a beagle, and while the pug is one of the flatter faced brachycephalic breeds, the beagle, as a hound, has one of the canine world’s longer noses, so the appearance of the puggle can be pretty variable.
This cross often results in a dog with a real sense of humour, but as their owners will often admit, not always a lot of common sense!
The Pomsky is an interesting crossing, involving the parentage mix of a Pomeranian and a Siberian husky, two breeds that at a glance have very little in common. However, while the Pomeranian is a toy dog breed, like the husky, they’re also spitz dogs, albeit ones that have been bred over time for very different traits.
Their coats can be high maintenance and they’re fairly outgoing dogs too, and so can be entertaining but potentially highly strung.
Finally, the Shihpoo is a cross between a Shih Tzu and a smaller poodle variant, and is a fairly popular hybrid dog type that usually has a petite size, good health, and reasonably outgoing nature.
The long poodle nose again moderates the brachycephalic side of things, and dogs of this type are often rather lively, although also retaining the sofa-loving traits of the toy dog side of their parentage too.