Breeds that Can’t Fly In-Cargo: Why is my French Bulldog prohibited from travel via air cargo?

French Bulldog prohibited from travel via air cargo

Certain dog and cat breeds are prohibited for transport via cargo by most airlines.

For it's been determined by reviewing the Department of Transportation (DOT) Animal Incident Reports that certain breeds of dogs are more prone to death during transport in cargo.

Back in 2010, the DOT published a press release due to the increasing numbers of deaths in short-nosed breeds during transport.The press release mentioned the following breeds:

  • Pugs
  • Boston Terriers
  • Boxers
  • Pekingese
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Shih tzus
  • Bulldogs

Short-nosed breeds, as the DOT described, are also called snub-nosed breeds.However, the technical term for the breeds is brachycephalic.Since 2010, the list of brachycephalic dog breeds has significantly grown, and they have become very popular.Brachycephalic cat breeds exist as well, and the list includes:

  • Persian
  • Himalayan
  • Burmese

These breeds of dogs and cats have compressed muzzles.Seems cute and harmless, however due to the compression of their face and other internal structures, they may develop severe health problems. The health consequences associated in brachycephalic breeds are vast and commonly denoted as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome.Yes, it's a syndrome with the following clinical signs:

  • difficulty breathing
  • heat and exercise intolerance (fainting or collapsing)
  • sleep apnea
  • vomiting and regurgitation

Regarding air travel in cargo, be aware that the difficulty breathing, and heat intolerance can lead to heat stroke.Without immediate veterinary care, it is fatal.

Airlines do care about animals and animal welfare.In response to DOT findings, many airlines have developed policies to protect animals during transport in cargo (and in cabin).Please review your airlines' pet travel policies and comply for the safety and welfare of your pet:

If your dog or cat breed is brachycephalic and they are prohibited for transport via cargo, please view this as the airline is trying to protect my pet. Never try to evade the policy, for you will be placing your pet at risk.

For more articles about Airline Pet Policies:

If you have questions or need tips to prepare your pet for air travel, please contact Dr. Nelva Bryant of When Pets Fly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to When Pets Fly to learn more.


Canine_Deaths_Press_Release.pdf (

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