Small Flat-Faced Dogs: Your Guide to Snub-Nosed Breeds [2023]

As a puppy, Winston was constantly moving and has not been an easy subject.  This was one of the first portraits of our new dog, and I had to draw his attention straight up to get him looking into the camera (between moments when he jumped up towards me, leaving the area of focus).

If you're in the market for a small flat-faced dog, you're in luck! These adorable pups are known for their distinctive features and charming personalities. Whether you're a fan of the wrinkly face of a Shar Pei or the lovable snorting of a Pug, there's a snub-nosed breed out there that's perfect for you. Our team at Snubby Puppy™ has gathered all the information you need to know about small flat-faced dogs, from health considerations to exercise needs. So let's dive in and explore the wonderful world of snub-nosed breeds!

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Small flat-faced dogs, also known as snub-nosed breeds, are characterized by their adorable pushed-in faces, wrinkled skin, and expressive eyes. These breeds have become incredibly popular due to their unique appearance and charming personalities. However, owning a snub-nosed dog comes with its own set of considerations, from potential health issues to specific grooming needs. Our comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about bringing a small flat-faced dog into your life.

Health Considerations

While small flat-faced dogs are undeniably adorable, their unique physical characteristics can lead to some health concerns. One of the most common issues associated with snub-nosed breeds is brachycephalic airway syndrome. This condition is caused by their shortened muzzles and can cause difficulties with breathing and temperature regulation.

Here are some of the health considerations you should be aware of when considering a small flat-faced dog:

  1. Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome: Snub-nosed breeds often suffer from breathing difficulties due to their short muzzles, which can impact their overall quality of life. Note: This is a serious issue that potential owners should consider before adopting a snub-nosed dog.

  2. Temperature Sensitivity: Because of their compromised airways, small flat-faced dogs are more susceptible to heatstroke. They struggle to regulate their body temperature, making it imperative to keep them cool and hydrated during hot weather.

  3. Dental Problems: The crowded teeth in small flat-faced dogs can lead to dental issues, including tooth decay and gum disease. Regular dental care, such as brushing their teeth and providing dental chews, is essential to prevent these problems.

  4. Eye Infections: The prominent eyes of snub-nosed breeds are susceptible to infections and injuries. Regular cleaning and monitoring for any signs of irritation or discharge are crucial for maintaining good eye health.

To ensure the well-being of your snub-nosed companion, it's important to schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian who is experienced in treating brachycephalic breeds. Additionally, consider investing in pet insurance to help offset potential medical costs.

Airline Flights

If you're planning to travel with your small flat-faced dog, it's crucial to understand the unique challenges they face during airline flights. Due to their brachycephalic anatomy, snub-nosed breeds are more prone to respiratory distress, making air travel potentially risky for them.

Here are a few key considerations when it comes to flying with a small flat-faced dog:

  1. Airline Restrictions: Different airlines have varying regulations regarding the transportation of snub-nosed breeds. Some may have restrictions on specific breeds or impose temperature limitations for their well-being. It's essential to check with your airline of choice beforehand to ensure compliance and avoid any last-minute surprises.

  2. Travel Crates: When flying with a small flat-faced dog, make sure to select a travel crate that provides ample ventilation and space for your pup to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. It's crucial for their safety and comfort during the journey.

  3. Temperature Control: Snub-nosed breeds are sensitive to temperature extremes, including both hot and cold conditions. Before booking a flight, consider the weather conditions at both your departure and arrival destinations. Opt for flights during milder seasons, if possible, to minimize the risk of heatstroke or respiratory distress.

  4. Travel Anxiety: Some small flat-faced dogs may experience increased anxiety during flights due to unfamiliar surroundings and the stresses of travel. Talk to your veterinarian about strategies to help alleviate your dog's anxiety, such as using calming aids or crate training.

Always consult with your veterinarian before making any travel arrangements for your small flat-faced dog. They can help assess whether air travel is suitable for your pup, taking into account their individual health and temperament.


While small flat-faced dogs may not be the most athletic of breeds, they still require regular exercise to keep them healthy and happy. It's important to strike a balance between providing enough physical activity and not pushing them beyond their limits due to their brachycephalic features.

Consider the following when it comes to exercising your small flat-faced dog:

  1. Moderate Exercise: Snub-nosed breeds are susceptible to heat exhaustion and respiratory difficulties, so it's crucial to provide them with moderate exercise in a controlled environment. Short, frequent walks and playtime in a fenced yard are ideal for keeping them active without overexertion.

  2. Avoid Extreme Temperatures: As mentioned earlier, small flat-faced dogs struggle to regulate their body temperature. Avoid exercising them during extremely hot or cold weather, as it can be dangerous for their well-being.

  3. Mental Stimulation: Alongside physical exercise, small flat-faced dogs also require mental stimulation to prevent boredom. Engage them in puzzle toys, obedience training, or interactive play sessions to keep their minds sharp and satisfied.

  4. Swimming: Swimming can be a fantastic low-impact exercise option for small flat-faced dogs. The buoyancy of the water alleviates stress on their joints, and it helps them stay cool during hot weather. Always supervise them closely and ensure they wear a life jacket for added safety.

Remember, each dog is unique, and their exercise needs can vary. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate exercise routine for your small flat-faced dog based on their health, age, and breed.

List of Snub-Nosed Breeds

Snub-nosed breeds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and personalities. Here is a list of some of the most popular small flat-faced dogs:

BreedSizeOriginTemperamentHealth Considerations
PugSmallChinaAffectionate, CharmingBrachycephalic Airway Syndrome, Eye Infections
French BulldogSmallFranceAdaptable, PlayfulTemperature Sensitivity, Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
Boston TerrierSmallUnited StatesIntelligent, FriendlyBrachycephalic Airway Syndrome, Eye Infections
Shih TzuSmallChinaLoyal, AffectionateDental Problems, Eye Infections
PekingeseSmallChinaIndependent, RegalEye Infections, Dental Problems
Cavalier King Charles SpanielSmallUnited KingdomGentle, AffectionateHeart Conditions, Eye Infections

Each breed has its own unique set of characteristics, so take the time to research and find the one that aligns with your preferences and lifestyle.


What is a small snub-nosed dog?

A small snub-nosed dog refers to breeds that have a flat face, shortened muzzle, and prominent eyes. These breeds often have a unique appearance and charming personalities that people find irresistible.

What wrinkled dog is small?

The Shar Pei is a wrinkled dog that falls under the category of small snub-nosed breeds. Known for their loose, wrinkled skin and calm temperament, Shar Peis are a favorite among dog lovers.

What dog looks like a pug but isn't a pug?

One dog breed that has a similar appearance to a Pug is the French Bulldog. While they share some physical characteristics, French Bulldogs have their own distinct personality traits, making them an excellent alternative for those seeking Pug-like qualities.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Snub-nosed breeds can be prone to excessive snoring due to their elongated soft palates and narrowed airways.
  • Be mindful of your small flat-faced dog's weight, as obesity can exacerbate existing breathing difficulties.
  • Regular grooming is essential for snub-nosed breeds to keep their wrinkles clean and free from infections.
  • Snub-nosed breeds are known for having a voracious appetite, so be mindful of their food intake to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Dental hygiene is crucial for small flat-faced dogs, as they are prone to dental issues. Regular teeth brushing and dental check-ups are important preventive measures.


  • American Kennel Club. (2022). Breeds. Retrieved from
  • The Kennel Club. Health Issues of Brachycephalic Dogs. Retrieved from
  • Wedderburn, P. (2019). French Bulldogs: Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Breeding, Behavior, and Training. DVGRR Publishing.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as veterinary advice. Consult with a qualified veterinarian for personalized recommendations based on your dog's specific needs and health condition.

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