Why do Some Breeds of Dogs Snuffle and Snort?

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Some breeds of dogs snuffle and snort much more than other breeds due to restrictions caused by having a shorter muzzle area. The faces of dogs in these breeds is so short that the soft palate enters part of the throat and causes the dog to make these noises. Dogs with short faces are known as brachycephalic breeds and the condition that causes them to snuffle and snort is called Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction (BAOS).

The snuffle and snort sound is known as paroxysmal respiration. "Reverse sneezing," is a way of describing the sound. However, the sound made by brachycephalic dog breeds is not really a reverse sneeze. It may be louder or more frequent when the dog is excited, as less air gets to the windpipe, or trachea.

Some bracycephalic breeds that snuffle and snort due to BAOS include the pug, bulldog and Boston terrier. Pugs are originally from China and are light brown in color with a darker face and eyes that protrude. French bulldogs have a darker face like the pug, but may have a white area on the chest. Except for the BAOS-related snuffling and snorting, French bulldogs are thought to be fairly quiet small dogs. Unlike French bulldogs, Boston terriers are said to be fairly noisy and bark quite a bit. In addition to the snorting noises, Boston terriers tend to drool as their jaw skin hangs down.


Bulldogs can have serious breathing problems caused by BAOS, while most of the other brachycephalic breeds, including the Pekingese, Boxer and Shitzu, are not as likely to have serious respiratory issues. Hot temperatures can cause all brachycephalic breeds to not only snuffle and snort more, but to have problems staying cool enough. These breeds cannot cool down as easily as other dogs as they cannot usually circulate enough air fast enough to be able to pant easily and effectively.

Sometimes, surgery may be required to help dogs breathe more easily. Brachycephalic dogs that snuffle and snort usually have a narrowed trachea, or windpipe, and/or narrowed nostrils. Not all bracycephalic dogs will have the same degree of BAOS.


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Post 6

@OeKc05 – I know what you mean. My pug startled me when she started doing this, and I was really concerned and called the vet.

It's sad that there's nothing we can give them to help with this. If it gets much worse, I may look into having her airways surgically altered. This would be an extreme solution, though.

Post 5

It sounds like my bulldog is snorting at some intrusion into her windpipe. I used to open up her mouth and look for a blockage, but I soon learned from the vet that this is normal for her breed.

Post 4

I'm sure that the breeds mentioned here snuffle and snort more often than most dogs, but every dog I've ever owned has had issues with reverse sneezing. The first time I heard it, I was a kid, and I thought that my dog was dying!

For maybe thirty seconds at a time, she would suck in air, blow it out just as quickly, and hold her lips taut. She was a mixed breed with a long nose, so it wasn't related to the structure of her muzzle.

I was relieved to learn that most dogs do this at some point. It's related to allergies. I think it helps them clear out their airways.

I've had so many different breeds and mixed breeds that snuffled and snorted like this. I always feel a little helpless when they start, because I can't make it better, but it passes rather quickly.

Post 3

@elizabeth23, I have to agree with you. I do not understand the continued breeding of animals like dogs and cats for certain species. Not so much for these problems, though; my big issue with it is the huge number of animal shelters full of cats and dogs in need of homes while we make ourselves little designer pets. But then, I suppose have also moved to doing this with children, so perhaps I should not be surprised.

Post 2

I find it sad that breeds like pug dogs are continually raised even though they have these obvious genetic problems. In my opinion it goes against both the natural course of evolution and even the kindness to animals asked of people by faith, if they don't believe in evolution. Not only would these breeds never survive in the wild- admittedly probably true for most purebred animals- they also have a lesser quality of life, even pain at times, due to this breeding obsession.

Post 1

Just a small error, but it is spelled Shih Tzu. A common, and sort of unfortunate, spelling error. Important, though, nonetheless.

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