Pugs Can’t Be Considered ‘A Typical Dog’ Due To Serious Health Issues, Study Finds

A study by The Royal Veterinary College warns that pugs face serious health risks and concluded that the dog breed “can no longer be considered a typical dog from a health perspective”.

The popular breed is known and loved for its flat-faced, bulging-eyed look, wrinkled forehead, and protruding tail, but the consequences of breeding for its specific appearance have become detrimental to its overall health. To better understand the impacts, the study looked at 4,308 pugs and 21,835 dogs of other breeds in the UK, comparing their health profiles and odds of developing 40 common disorders.

Best In Show announced at Crufts
A pug dog stands in the showroom on the last day of the annual Crufts dog show at the National Exhibition Center on March 13, 2011 in Birmingham, England.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The study found pugs were at increased risk for 23 disorders, including 54 times more likely to have brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, 51 times more likely to have narrow nasal passages, 11 times more likely to have infections in the skin folds. Additionally, 17.4% of the pugs were obese, compared to just 6.9% of the other dogs.

However, pugs were found to have a reduced risk of seven disorders, including heart murmurs, injuries and aggression, compared to other dog breeds.

But ultimately, the study found that pugs’ predisposition to disease significantly outweighed their protections against disease. It concluded that pugs have critical health problems and that “the very different health profiles between pugs and other dogs in the UK suggest that the pug has substantially departed from conventional dog breeds and can no longer be considered a typical dog from a health perspective.”

The popularity of pugs has seen a steep rise over the past 20 years, with the study citing the annual pug registration rising from 2,116 in 2005 to more than 6,000 in 2020. And they’re just as popular across the pond. The American Kennel Club currently lists them as the 28 most popular dog breed of 204 breeds in the US

But experts warn dog lovers about the rise in health problems experienced by brachycephalic breeds like pugs, French bulldogs and English bulldogs, and recommend considering the animal’s health when looking for a new furry friend.

Earlier this year, Norway went so far as to ban the breeding of certain dogs, including english bulldog and Cavalier King Charles spaniels, for health reasons after an animal rights group filed a petition with an Oslo court, according to USA Today.

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