Tag Archives: Pekingese

Anatomy 101: brachycephalic dogs

I was at a lunch last week and I was talking about brachycephalic dogs.  One fellow asked, ‘brachy what?’

Brachycephalic dogs are dogs with a short muzzle and generally flat face.   “Brachy” means “shortened” and “cephalic” means “head.”

These features make them very cute. But, this head structure doesn’t leave a lot of room for the nasal passages and palate, which are parts of the anatomy that help breathing.

Most of us who either own a brachycephalic dog or who have seen one at the dog park or elsewhere can identify the ‘brachy snort’ – the sound of a dog that is struggling to breathe.

We all know that dogs help to control their temperature on hot days through panting.  Unfortunately, brachycephalic dogs are inefficient panters and so these dogs are more susceptible to heat stroke.  They are generally not good outdoor dogs during summer because of this.

Some dogs also suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome.  This syndrome is actually a group of upper airway abnormalities.  Brachycephalic syndrome is also known as congenital obstructive upper airway disease and in extreme cases, a veterinary surgeon may do surgery to help correct the abnormalities.

The abnormalities associated with the syndrome include:

  • stenotic nares, which are nostrils that are narrowed
  • elongated soft palate, which is a soft palate that is too long for the mouth and so the length partially blocks the entrance to the back of the throat
  • a hypoplastic trachea, an abnormally narrow windpipe
  • nasopharyngeal abnormalities,  the bone in the dog’s nasal cavity grows incorrectly and this can stop air flow.  This bone helps direct airflow and also helps with heating and humidifying inhaled air.

Because of their breathing difficulties, a brachycephalic breed must be fit and trim no matter what their life stage.  Obesity is a real threat to these dogs.

Since breathing difficulties become worse with strenuous exercise, it’s critically important to balance the dog’s caloric intake with their exercise and look for small opportunities to exercise the dog without causing stress.

Common brachycephalic dog breeds include:

·         English Bulldog

·         Pug

·         Shih Tzu

·         Pekingese

·         Boston Terrier

·         Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

·         Shar Pei

·         Lhasa Apso

Dogs of the Titanic

This week, the world will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s maiden voyage and sinking in the North Atlantic.  As with many moments in history, dogs were part of this event.

Dogs were among the passengers of the Titanic and the ship had dedicated kennel facilities.  A dog show had been planned on board the ship for Monday 15th April. When the ship was sinking, it was reported that a passenger went to the kennels and released the dogs to save them from drowning in their cages.

According to (mixed) records, between 10 and 12 dogs were on board the ship.  The Astors  (perhaps the richest passengers on board) were traveling with their Airedale named Kitty.   Each day a member of Titanic’s crew would exercise the dogs on deck.

The Astors with their dog

A photo (unattributed) reported to be staff of the Titanic taking dogs for a walk on deck.

Three dogs survived the sinking. There was a Pomeranian owned by Miss Margaret Hays of New York; the pair escaped in lifeboat Number 7.  Elizabeth Rothschild escaped in lifeboat Number 6 with her Pomeranian.   The other dog was Pekingese named Sun Yat Sen owned by Henry Sleeper; owner and dog escaped in lifeboat Number 3.

The Titanic Museum in Branson, Missouri has established the world’s first tribute to dogs of the Titanic.  Mascots Molly and Carter greet guests each day from Wednesday to Sunday  and show them the kennel facilities of the ship, along with stories of dogs aboard.  This creative commercial for the exhibit is found on YouTube:

Not to be confused with actual history, a book by Marty Crisp for young adults tells the story of White Star:  A Dog on The Titanic.  In this fictional story, a 12-year old named Sam Harris is traveling from England to America.  Sam volunteers to help out in the Titanic’s kennels and meets Star, an Irish Setter. The boy and dog live through the sinking.

White Star: A Dog on the Titanic

Ms Crisp compiled the following canine passenger manifest when she researching for her book about White Star:

Owners Breed Boarded Home Cabin # Lifeboat Survived?
Robert Williams Daniel, 27,
a banker traveling alone
1) French bulldog“Gamin de Pycombe” Southampton Philadelphia Went down with the ship and was pulled aboard by a lifeboat Daniel- yes; Bulldog- no, although it was seen in the water by R.N. Williams
Henry Sleeper Harper, 48,a publishing scion traveling with his wife, Myra, 49, a manservant, and an Egyptian dragoman 2) Pekinese“Sun Yat Sen” Cherbourg New York City D-33 Lifeboat 3 wife, servant and companion all escaped in LB3 Harper-yes; Pekinese-yes
Helen Bishop, 19,newlywed, honeymooning with Dickinson H. Bishop 3) small, unknown breed“Frou Frou” Cherbourg Dowagiac, Michigan B-49 Lifeboat 7 Bishop and her husband- yes; Frou Frou- no, left locked in cabin
Harry Anderson, 47,stockbroker, traveling alone 4) Chow Southampton New York City E-12 Lifeboat 3 Anderson- yes; Chow- no
William Ernest Carter, 36,traveling with his wife, Lucile, 36, daughter, also Lucile, 14, and son, William the II, 11. Also traveling with a maid and manservant 5) and 6) two small dogs.One was a King Charles Spaniel and the other  breed is unknown. Southampton Bryn Mawr, PA. B-96 and B-98 Collapsible C; wife and children left the ship in Lifeboat 4; servants were both lost All members of family- yes; dogs- no
Margaret Hays, 24,traveling alone 7) Pomeranian Cherbourg New York City C-54 Lifeboat 7 Hays-yes; Pomeranian-yes
Col. John Jacob Astor, 47,real estate tycoon traveling with his pregnant wife, Madeleine, 19, and a maid and a manservant 8) and 9) Airedale, “Kitty,” and a second dog, probably also an Airedale,per a report from survivor Edwiga Goldenberg Cherbourg New York City C-62 Astor went down with the ship and was crushed by a falling funnelManservant was lost. Wife and maid survived on Lifeboat 4. Astor- no; Airedales- no; wife- yes
William Crothers Dulles, 39,attorney, traveling alone 10) unknown breed,listed in channel crossing records simply as “dog.” Possibly a Pomeranian or a fox terrier Cherbourg Philadelphia A-18 Went down with the ship Dulles- no; dog- no
Ann Isham, 50,spinster expatriate who had been living in Paris with her sister for the previous nine years (Isham is a possible, not a verified, dog owner.) 11) Great Dane(could also have been a Saint Bernard or a Newfoundland) Cherbourg Paris and New York City C-49 Refused to get in a lifeboat without her dog. Isham- no; dog-no.  A woman was spotted by passengers on the German liner “Bremen” two days after the sinking, floating in her lifejacket with her arms wrapped around a large dog.
Elizabeth Barrett Rothschild, 54,wife of leather magnate Martin Rothschild, traveling with her husband 12) Pomeranian Cherbourg New York City Lifeboat 6 Rothschild- yes; Pomeranian-yes Mrs. Rothschild and her dog were on the same boat as the famously unsinkable Molly Brown. Martin Rothschild went down with the ship.
FICTIONAL Sam Harris, 12,returning to the U.S. after three years of boarding school in England. Irish setter,”White Star,” owned by J. Bruce Ismay, president of the White Star Line and also a passenger on the Titanic. Southampton for Sam; Queenstown, Ireland for the dog Lancaster, PA. B-47 Lifeboat 4 Sam- yes; Star- yes.  Boy and dog were rescued from the water right after Lifeboat 4 was lowered.

A New Dog Sport “Legend” Is Born

Read this article to learn about all of the winners at this year’s Westminster Dog Show.  Malachy the Pekingese won the coveted Best in Show title.

A New Dog Sport “Legend” Is Born.