Big saucer eyes with a sad look, a flat nose, a pressed-in snout – and always panting. Some people love pugs, others find their appearance rather questionable. But both groups should agree: pugs are dogs. No question! But that’s exactly what a study from Great Britain puts up for debate.
The condition of the little woofers is so unhealthy that the animals “can no longer be regarded as typical dogs from a health point of view,” as the “BBC” reports.
For the study, the Royal Veterinary College put 4,308 pugs and 21,835 dogs of other breeds through their paces. And the comparison showed clearly: Pugs are mostly unhealthier than the other dogs. Compared to other breeds, the probability is 1.9 times higher that a Pug will have one or more health problems in just one year.
There’s just not enough space
But that doesn’t seem to stop pug fans from getting such a flat-nosed four-legged friend. Because the boom is unbroken: between 2005 and 2017, the number of pugs registered with the umbrella organization of British dog breeders’ associations quintupled.
Even if the pug is booming – the problems that veterinarian Myfanwy Hill brings to the field sound scary. The dog has a smaller skull, says the veterinarian from the University of Cambridge to the “BBC”.
But nothing else about him has become correspondingly smaller. The brain of pugs is “squeezed into a box that is too small.” Other soft parts of the dog are “pressed into a smaller space.” In short: there is no space.
“You have to breathe through your mouth”
This lack of space is also evident in the narrow nostrils of pugs. The result: breathing problems. It’s like trying to “breathe through a really tight straw,” says vet Hill. “They have to breathe through their mouths because they can’t breathe efficiently through their noses.”
The supposedly smiling little dogs sticking out their tongues are a false “joyful” image people have of pugs, Hill says. On the contrary: you suffer from shortness of breath.
Because of these problems, Justine Sotton, President of the British Veterinarians’ Association, strongly recommends that potential owners should not buy “brachycephalic breeds such as pugs”. This is “as long as these extreme, unhealthy traits persist.” In addition to pugs, brachycephalic (short-headed) dog breeds also include bulldogs and boxers.
Even more dangerous when pug is fat
If people still want to get a pug – or if they already own one, they should at least pay attention to a few things, as veterinarian Hill adds. For example, excessive panting or a lot of noise when breathing. Especially in summer, care must be taken to keep the body temperature of the pugs cool.
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And of course you also have to watch out for the weight of a pug. The “barrel-shaped bodies” are “really cute,” says Hill. But “an overweight, short-faced dog like a pug is at even greater risk.” (nl)