Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I finally met my match at the beach yesterday: Piper the Boston Terrier.

Not sure if the big dogs have just been letting me win all this time or what, but I outweighed Piper by a whole bunch of pounds and STILL couldn't out-tug her. We tugged and tugged for about fifteen minutes straight before our humans finally ended the match on account of heavy breathing/excessive foaming at the mouth.

According to my human, when you have no face (technical term: brachycephalic) all sorts of stuff can go awry. I guess an uninterrupted game tug-of-war is one of those things. Apparently, breathing is another. Wow. I never realized just how many things us flat-faced dogs are up against in the breathing department.


STENOTIC NARES - Just a fancy name for skinny nostrils. The smaller the nostrils, the less room for air to get in. Kinda makes breathing a challenge.

ELONGATED SOFT PALATE - It's hard to cram all the parts of a normal dog's mouth & throat into the brachycephalic's short face. The result of this experiment? An ill-fitting soft palate (the thing that separates nasal passage from oral cavity) that flaps loosely down into the throat. This little flap can cause breathing problems (and lovely snorting sounds).

TRACHEAL STENOSIS - "Stenosis" means narrowed. A brachycephalic dog's trachea (windpipe) may be dangerously narrowed in places.

HEAT STRESS - Thanks to a host of respiratory complications, brachycephalic dogs are really inefficient panters. Dogs with more "conventional" head construction can pass air quickly over their tongues to cool down through panting. For brachycephalic dogs, so much extra work is required to move the same amount of air that the airways become inflamed and swollen. This can lead to a further over-heating, making them good candidates for heat stroke.


Pretty serious stuff! Guess I shouldn't be too upset about our game of the tug-of-war ending in a tie, huh?


chasingtales2 said...

Kiki hereby challenges Puglet to a tug o war: Eastbay vs. SF. Whaddya say, Puglet??

THE PUGLET said...


Choose your weapon:

- flying squirrel
- floppy frisbee
- rubber chicken