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Flight Ban on Snub Nosed Cat & Dog Breeds

flight ban snub nosed cat dog breeds brachycephalic pet friendly airlines in cabin hold

If you’re the proud owner of a snub nosed cat or dog breed such as a French Bulldog or Burmese cat, you’ll be only too aware that flying with your pet is problematic. Most international pet friendly airlines in 2023 allow snub nosed (brachycephalic) breeds of cats and dog to fly in the aircraft cabin. However, snub nosed cats and dogs aren’t permitted to fly in an aircraft hold, due to respiratory issues they face in the ventilated environment. Most commercial airlines only allow small cats and dogs weighing up to 8kg to fly in the cabin. And since the majority of snub nosed dogs are heavier than 8kg whilst inside their travel carrier, it seems impossible to fly with your pet. In many cases, a pet friendly ferry or train are the safest option for travelling with snub nosed cats and dogs, but unfortunately, these aren’t always available, and also aren’t suitable for long haul international travel. To further complicate matters, some pet friendly destinations have flight bans on snub nosed cat and dog breeds at certain times of the year. Read on for information on airlines that allow snub nosed cat and dog breeds in 2023, as well as countries that have special regulations.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Why Can’t Snub Nosed Cats & Dogs Fly in the Hold?

Snub nosed cats and dogs are known as brachycephalic breeds, with brachy meaning short and cephalic meaning head. This results in snub nosed breeds having skull bones that are shorter in length in relation to their proportions, giving their noses a flattened appearance. These breeds have a significantly higher risk of health complications due to their short snouts and compromised respiratory systems, known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).

Due to their anatomy, snub nosed breeds of cats and dogs have difficulty breathing in hot environments, and in a temperature controlled aircraft hold.

Sadly, snub nosed breeds account for the highest proportion of deaths when flying in the hold. Over the last decade, airlines across the globe have gradually removed snub nosed cat and dog breeds from their pets in the hold policies. Nowadays, you’ll find that ethical airlines don’t allow snub nosed cats and dogs to fly in the hold of the aircraft for good reason. Pet safety comes first. Some airlines do, however, still allow snub nosed breeds of cats and dogs to be transported by specialist cargo couriers. But, in our opinion, it simply isn’t worth the risk.

Which Breeds of Snub Nosed Cats & Dogs are Restricted by Airlines?

While there isn’t a ban in all countries on sub nosed breeds flying on a plane, cats and dogs of the following brachycephalic nature aren’t allowed to fly in the aircraft hold. In general, international pet friendly airlines don’t allow snub-nosed cat and dogs of these breeds to fly in the hold as checked baggage or cargo.

Snub Nosed DogsSnub Nosed Cats
AffenpinscherBritish Shorthair
Boston TerrierBurmese
Brussels GriffonExotic
Boxers (all breeds)Himalayan
Bulldogs* (all breeds)Persian
Cane Corso**Scottish Fold
Chow Chow**
Dogue de Bordeaux
English Toy Spaniel
Japanese Spaniel (Chin)
Lhasa Apso
Mastiff (all breeds)**
Pit Bull**
Presa Canario
Pug (all breeds)
Staffordshire Bull Terrier**
Shar Pei
Shi Tzu
Tibetan Spaniel
Airline Restricted Snub Nosed Cat & Dog Breeds

*American Bulldogs are also classified as dangerous, and special airline rules apply

**All variations of these breeds are classified as dangerous by airlines

Flying with any of these breeds is therefore difficult, and if they’re also regulated by pet friendly airlines as ‘dangerous’ or ‘fighting’ dogs, they aren’t allowed to fly in the cabin. In most cases, airlines don’t permit dogs they deem to be dangerous, to fly in the hold as checked baggage either. But, some pet friendly airlines have a cargo branch, or work directly with a pet courier, and allow these dogs to fly in the cargo hold. However, for snub nosed dogs classified by airlines as ‘dangerous’, this isn’t an option as they can’t fly in the aircraft hold due to problems they’ll face with breathing.

Ban on Importing Snub Nosed Breeds

While most pet owners are already aware that they may face issues when trying to organise a pet friendly flight for their snub nosed breed, many people aren’t aware that some countries and territories have local laws in relation to importing snub nosed cat and dog breeds.

For instance, if you’re flying to, from or via Southeast Asia, you cannot take a snub nosed cat or dog with you,, full stop. There’s a year round travel ban on pet friendly airlines allowing snub nosed breeds of cats and dogs to fly to the following countries:

  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Philippine
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Depending on your travel destination and route, snub nosed dog and cat breeds, and any “mix” of these breeds, aren’t accepted for carriage by some international airlines between:

  • 1 April to 30 November at Northern Hemisphere points
  • 1 October to 31 March at Southern Hemisphere points

You can also check out detailed guides for taking a pet to global destinations.

In addition, size and weight restrictions set by the pet friendly airline will determine if your snub-nosed cat or dog is allowed to fly in the cabin. Most European pet airlines allow pets of up to 8kg to fly in the cabin, but some American airlines do permit pets of up to 11kg. If you’re flying with a snub nosed cat or dog in the cabin from the UK to Europe, generally 8kg is permitted. Remember that the weight restrictions apply to your pet and their travel carrier combined.

So, if you have a snub nosed cat or dog companion, your cat is likely to be able to fly in the cabin with a pet friendly airline to their size and weight. On the other hand, a snub nosed dog usually weighs more than the maximum permitted, so unfortunately, they’ll have to either stay at home, or you can explore other pet travel options as opposed to flying.

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