Owner reported breathing scores, accelerometry and sleep disturbances in brachycephalic and control dogs: A pilot study

Emily-Jayne Blackwell, MS Tivers, Andrea K Jeffery, Emily Tovey, David Barker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


ObjectivesTo compare physical activity and length and quality of sleep between brachycephalic dogs and a control population.MethodsBrachycephalic and control dogs were prospectively enrolled. Length of activity and sleep were determined via accelerometer use. Owners completed a questionnaire regarding typical daily activity, sleep patterns and an 'owner reported breathing score (ORBS)'. One hour of normal home sleep was recorded for each dog, and a veterinary observer subjectively scored the dogs’ sleep quality.ResultsTwenty brachycephalic and 15 control dogs were included. There were no differences between age and weight. Owners reported brachycephalic dogs to be less active (p = 0.022) and have higher ORBS (p < 0.001) compared to control dogs. Brachycephalic dogs had increased sleep disturbances compared to control dogs (p = 0.001), and video sleep score was positively correlated with increased sleep disturbances (r2 = 0.47, p = 0.007). There were no differences in active and sleep times based on accelerometry between groups.ConclusionBrachycephalic dogs have more disturbed sleep, which may have negative implications on welfare, but there were no differences in activity or length of sleep between groups. There is evidence that signs suggestive of brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) as assessed by ORBS is correlated with poorer sleep quality, indicating that reduced sleep quality is part of BOAS. Owners may underestimate disturbed sleep or may perceive disturbed sleep to be normal.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberE135
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number4
Early online date19 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank PitPatPet Ltd for the donation of accelerometers used in this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 British Veterinary Association


  • accelerometer BOAS brachycephalic sleep


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