Pugs are not ‘typical dogs’ and shouldn’t be bred, new study says

New research from the Royal Veterinary College has revealed that pugs are almost twice as likely to develop health disorders than other breeds, and can ‘no longer be considered a typical dog’

Stop and think before you buy a flat-faced dog

Experts are urging people not to buy pugs until there is an improvement in their health and body shape.

It comes after new research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), which revealed pugs are twice as likely to experience disorders annually compared to other dogs.

Researchers argue that pugs “can no longer be considered a typical dog” from a health perspective, Manchester Evening News reports.

The flat-faced nature and body shape of the breed have seen them soar in popularity in recent years – but vets are warning that their health should be prioritized over their appearance.

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Pug ownership grew five-fold between 2005 and 2017


Getty Images/Tetra images RF)

Dr Dan O’Neill, associate professor in companion animal epidemiology at the RVC and lead author of the paper, said: “Although hugely popular as pets, we now know that several severe health issues are linked to the extreme body shape of pugs that many humans find so cute.

“It is time now that we focus on the health of the dog rather than the whims of the owner when we are choosing what type of dog to own.”

Until now, the full scale of the health crisis in pugs has not been fully understood.

The study, led by the RVC’s VetCompass programme, compared the health of random samples of 4,308 pugs and 21,835 non-pugs.

Their flat faces, bulging eyes and wrinkled skin are deemed cute by the public



Overall, pugs were found to be around 1.9 times as likely to have one or more disorders recorded in a single year compared to non-pugs.

Pugs were found to be 54 times more likely to develop brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), and also had higher risk of developing skinfold infections, obesity and narrowed nostrils.

But they did have reduced risk of some conditions, including heart murmur, aggression and wounds.

In order to correct the breed’s serious underlying health issues, their body shape must shift towards a more moderate and less extreme shape.

For now, experts are advising people to stop breeding flat-faced dogs and stay clear of buying them.

Experts want to prioritize the breed’s health over people’s desire to own one



Justine Shotton, British Veterinary Association (BVA) president, said: “These statistics are shocking but, sadly, they will not be surprising to our members.

“Vet teams see pugs with these distressing health problems – from breathing difficulties to eye ulcers and painful spine abnormalities – in veterinary practices across the UK on a daily basis.

“This study clearly demonstrates how it is the extreme characteristics many owners find so appealing, such as squashed faces, big eyes and curly tails, which are seriously compromising pugs’ health and welfare and often result in a lifetime of suffering.

“While these extreme, unhealthy characteristics remain, we will continue to strongly recommend potential owners do not buy brachycephalic breeds such as pugs.”

Donna is desperate for BOAS surgery


Breeds in Need)

Little Dolly is in intensive care


Breeds in Need)

Numerous animal charities and activists are speaking out about the dangerous health problems in flat-faced dog breeds.

Breeds in Need rescue in Lincoln recently shared the story of two bulldog puppies, Dolly and Donna, who are suffering with life-long health conditions as a result of their flat-faced breed.

The 15-week-old pair were surrendered to the charity last month, after their breeder noticed they couldn’t breathe, eat or drink normally.

Dolly currently needs an inhaler three times a day, until she can get specialist treatment to live like a normal dog.

Charity co-founder Sally Turzanski, 30, said: “We see a lot of flat-faced breeds who struggle with their breathing, but I’ve never seen it this severe in such young pups.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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