15 Unique Dogs with Flat Faces (With Pictures)

We are attracted to animals that retain infantile features into adulthood. Our nurturing instinct draws us to them, and we see in them a gentleness to be fostered. In canines, puppies have flat faces that often elongate and become more severe as they grow into adult dogs. To preserve their puppy-ish charms, people have developed several breeds that retain flattened muzzles even as they mature. Here we’ll provide you a brief survey of 15 dogs with flat faces that possess this trait.

While many dogs on our list were bred for their baby-ish appearance, there are a number whose flattened muzzles serve a more practical purpose. These will be identified as they come up.

The 15 Dogs With Flat Faces

The technical term for a flattened muzzle is brachycephaly, which translates from Greek to mean “short-headed.” It is important to note that brachycephaly can cause breathing-related health issues in some breeds.

1. Chow Chow

Chow chow in the grass
Chow chow in the grass | image by Seongbin Im via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Average Lifespan: 8-12 years
Average Size: 45-70 pounds
Coat: long, dense

The Chow Chow is a large breed originally developed in Northern China for a multitude of purposes, including use as a guard dog, sled dog, cart dog, and companion animal.

With ancient roots, it is thought the Chow Chow first appeared in China between 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. Early references refer to the breed’s use as a war dog.

With its intimidating build and protective nature, the Chow Chow’s square muzzle was likely developed to increase the dog’s bite force by limiting the surface area between the jaws.

2. Pug

Pug playing in the yard
Pug playing in the yard | image by DaPuglet via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Average Lifespan: 10-15 years
Average Size: 10-20 pounds
Coat: short

Also developed in China, albeit for a vastly different purpose, the Pug emerged as a companion animal and was popular among Chinese royalty before being exported to Europe.

Perhaps one of the best known dogs with flat faces, the Pug’s squashed features are endearing and expressive, making it one of America’s favorite family and lap dog breeds.

Unlike the Chow Chow, the Pug’s flat face does not serve a practical purpose, and the trait was selected purely for superficial reasons, and to retain the dog’s puppy-ish look.

3. Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue de Bordeaux
Dogue de Bordeaux | image by pipilongstockings via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Average Lifespan: 5-8 years
Average Size: 100-140 pounds
Coat: short

The Dogue de Bordeaux is a mastiff-type breed originally developed in Bordeaux, France, as a working dog. Determined and loyal, the Dogue de Bordeaux was bred to serve a number of roles, including hauling carts, protecting livestock, and guarding people and property.

Much like the Chow Chow, this breed’s square jaw and stocky build contribute to its physical capability, providing it with an increased bite force and fearsome appearance.

Being a rare breed, it is difficult to find outside France. At one point near the brink of extinction, the Dogue de Bordeaux has made a limited comeback, although its numbers remain low.

4. Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin
Japanese Chin | image by Alex Archambault via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Average Lifespan: 13-15 years
Average Size: 3-15 pounds
Coat: long, soft

Despite its name, the Japanese Chin is thought to have originally been developed in China as a lap dog and companion animal. How and when it arrived in Japan is debated.

Like the pug, the Japanese Chin marks another breed on our list of dogs with flat faces that were bred to retain their puppy-ish looks into adulthood.

Considered to be one of the most cat-like dogs, the Japanese Chin’s appearance and behavior have drawn comparisons with felines owing to the breed’s independence and tendency to “wash” its face with its forepaws.

5. Shih Tzu

shih tzu | image by: wernerdetjen

Average Lifespan: 12-16 years
Average Size: 8-16 pounds
Coat: long

Famous for its use as a lap dog, the Shih Tzu was originally developed in Tibet for use as a companion animal and sentinel to watch over Buddhist temples.

The Shih Tzu’s name, which translates to “lion” in Mandarin, comes from its shaggy coat and bold posture, which have drawn comparisons with a lion’s shaggy mane and formidable expression.

Like the Pug and Japanese Chin before it, this breed’s brachycephalic features have been cultivated for aesthetic purposes and do not serve a practical function.

6. French Bulldog

French bulldog
French bulldog | image by stanze via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Average Lifespan: 10-14 years
Average Size: 15-30 pounds
Coat: short

Recognizable from its pointy ears and squat frame, the French Bulldog was originally developed in Paris, France, by mixing toy bulldogs with French ratting breeds.

Popular among American celebrities, the French Bulldog serves as a companion animal and is known for its playful nature and distinctive brachycephalic appearance, a trait inherited from bulldogs.

Although the squarish and flattened muzzles of bulldogs originally served to increase bite force, the French Bulldog is not a working breed, and is best suited to family life.

7. Cane Corso

Cane Corso
Cane Corso | image by AllAboutDogs.Net via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Average Size: 90-110 pounds
Coat: short

Known for its fearsome appearance and muscular frame, the Cane Corso is a large, mastiff-type breed with ancient roots dating back to the war dogs deployed by the Romans.

Developed for a multitude of uses, the breed has been used for hunting, guarding livestock, warfare, companionship, and protecting people and property.

Also like the Chow Chow, the Cane Corso’s squarish jaw and large head correspond with its formidable bite force. Because of the breed’s strength and protective nature, it is recommended that Cane Corsos be properly socialized as puppies to prevent aggression towards strangers and other dogs.

8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier king charles spaniel
Cavalier king charles spaniel | image by Petful via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Average Lifespan: 9-14 years
Average Size: 13-18 pounds
Coat: medium

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a spaniel-type breed originally developed in England, where it was bred as a hunting companion.

Although its history can be traced back to working dogs, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has more recently been bred as a companion and support animal, popular among families with small children.

Doey-eyed and endearing, this breed’s shortened muzzle contributes to its puppy-ish charm and characteristics. Small and energetic, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a great choice for families looking for an athletically capable small dog with a flat face.

9. Bullmastiff

Bullmastiff sleeping
Bullmastiff sleeping | image by Eran Finkle via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Average Lifespan: 8-10 years
Average Size: 100-130 pounds
Coat: short

The Bullmastiff is a large bully and mastiff-type breed originally developed in England for its use to protect livestock, properties, and people.

Used by game wardens to dissuade poachers, the breed combines the size and strength of mastiffs with the aggressive attitude of bullies, making it a formidable guard dog against intruders.

The largest of the dogs with flat faces on our list, the Bullmastiff is not for everyone, and requires a good deal of room and exercise. Unfortunately, the breed is also known for having a shortened lifespan, in part due to its large size.

10. Brussels Griffon

Brussels griffon
Brussels griffon | image by Ger Dekker via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Average Lifespan: 10-15 years
Average Size: 8-12 pounds
Coat: short-medium

Immediately recognizable from its brachycephalic and bearded face, the Brussels Griffon was originally developed in Brussels, Belgium, as a companion breed, although its roots trace back to working dogs used in stables to hunt rodents.

Perhaps one of the most unique looking dogs on our list, the snout of the Brussels Griffon, rather than being flat, caves into the face at the bridge of the nose, giving its expression a squashed look.

An especially loving and eager to please breed, the Brussels Griffon is an ideal household companion and family pet that thrives on displays of physical affection.

11. Boston Terrier

Boston terrier
Boston terrier | image by Sendai Blog via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Average Lifespan: 13-15 years
Average Size: 10-25 pounds
Coat: short

Often mistaken for the French Bulldog, the Boston Terrier is a non-sporting breed originally developed in the United States as a companion animal.

Distinguishable from French bulldogs by their slimmer frames and more proportional bodies, the Boston Terrier is known for its rounded face and square jawline. Overly protective of its owners, this breed should be trained and socialized at a young age to familiarize them with strangers and to curb any aggressive tendencies.

12. Pekingese

Two pekingese on the ground
Two pekingese on the ground | Image by No-longer-here from Pixabay

Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
Average Size: 7-14 pounds
Coat: long

A small and opinionated breed, the Pekingese was originally developed in Peking, China, as a companion animal and lap dog. At one time popular among Chinese royalty, the Pekingese is known for its characteristically large eyes and flattened features, which contribute to its baby-ish appearance.

The breed does suffer some health issues related to its appearance, and can have difficulty breathing. Fortunately, despite these health issues, Pekingese are known for being long-lived.

13. Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso
Lhasa Apso | image by John via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Average Lifespan: 12-14 years
Average Size: 10-18 pounds
Coat: long

Like the Shih Tzu, the Lhasa Apso is another breed originally developed in Tibet for use as a sentinel outside Buddhist temples. In the early 20th century, the breed first arrived in the United States as a gift to an American explorer from the Dalai Lama, and has since expanded in popularity outside of Tibet.

Loyal and diligent, the Lhasa Apso makes for a great family pet and lap dog, known for being tolerant and gentle around children. Its long coat means this breed must be groomed regularly to avoid knots.

14. English Bulldog

English Bulldog
English Bulldog | image by reynaroyal via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Average Lifespan: 8-10 years
Average Size: 40-60 pounds
Coat: short

Another of the well-known dogs with flat faces, the English Bulldog is a medium sized bully breed originally developed in England from the Old English Bulldog.

While the Old English Bulldog was historically used as a fighting and bull-baiting dog, the English Bulldog has inherited some of its predecessor’s features without any of its physical capabilities.

Stocky and brachycephalic, this breed often has breathing difficulties and cannot tolerate excessive physical activity. Due to its various health issues, the English Bulldog requires regular vet checkups and may not live as long as some of the other breeds on this list.

15. Boxer

Boxer dog resting on the grass
Boxer dog resting on the grass | image by localpups via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Average Size: 50-70 pounds
Coat: short

A muscular and athletic breed, the Boxer was originally developed in Germany to assist hunters with tracking and capturing large game. Agile and quick, the breed’s prominent overbite and robust jaw muscles helped it pin down prey, holding them in place for hunters to dispatch them.

Despite their past as working dogs, Boxers are also known for being wonderful family pets that are gentle around small children. Interestingly, their name comes from their tendency to use their forepaws to communicate.