Research has shown that pugs are twice as likely to suffer from health conditions as other dogs
Pugs are a popular pet in many families, but experts say they “can no longer be considered a typical dog”, due to health issues.
Experts have urged people not to buy pugs until the breed sees an improvement in their health.
New research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has shown that the health of pugs in the UK is now worse than that of larger dogs.
The flat-faced dog is known for being a cute companion, but it is exactly these characteristics that take their toll on the health of the breed.
Here’s everything you need to know about the origin of pugs and their health issues.
Where do pugs come from?
To create a pug, three types of flat-faced dogs were crossed: the lion dog, Pekingese dogs, and the Lo-sze dog, known as the ancient pug.
Pugs first arrived in Europe in the early 1600s after China and Europe established trade routes.
They became the favorite pet of royal households due to their comical facial features.
In the 1700s, the famous artist William Hogarth was a pug enthusiast, regularly depicting images of pugs in his paintings.
Marie-Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, also had a pug which she named Mops.
However, the pugs we have today are very different.
After the 1860s pugs were brought to the UK from China. These breeds tended to have the short legs and wrinkled facial characteristics that we have with modern dogs today.
Why are pugs no longer considered a “typical dog”?
Research conducted by the RVC found that pugs are twice as likely to suffer from health conditions as other dogs.
Experts said they “can no longer be considered a typical dog” until their health issues improve.
Dr Dan O’Neill, Associate Professor of Companion Animal Epidemiology at RVC and lead author of the study, explained: “Although they are extremely popular as companion animals, we now know that several Serious health issues are linked to the extreme body shape of pugs that many humans find so cute.
“Now is the time that we focus on the health of the dog rather than the whims of the owner when choosing the type of dog to own.”
Since 2005, there has been an increase in pug registrations in the Kennel Club, with the breed becoming popular.
However, the impact of their breed on their health is “not surprising”, according to Justine Shotton, president of the British Veterinary Association.
Shotton added: “Vet teams see pugs suffering from these distressing health conditions – from breathing difficulties to eye ulcers and painful spinal abnormalities – every day in veterinary surgeries across the UK.
“This study clearly demonstrates how seriously it is the extreme features that many owners find so appealing, such as squished faces, big eyes and curly tails.”
What Health Problems Do Pugs Have?
Research has shown that Pugs are 1.9 times more likely to have one more disorder than other dog breeds.
They also have a 23 in 40 risk of developing common disorders, compared to a standard risk of 7 in 40.
One of the most diagnosed conditions in Pugs is Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome (BOAS), which causes breathing difficulties.
Pugs are vulnerable to disease due to the shape of their flat noses.
But it wasn’t all bad news, they were found to have a lower risk of developing a heart murmur.