Pugs are a popular pet in many families but according to experts 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 off than that of larger dogs.
The flat faced dog is known for being a cute companion, but it’s exactly those features that are wreaking havoc with the breed’s health.
Here’s everything you need to know about where pugs come from and what health issues they have.
Where do pugs come from?
To create a pug, three types of flat faced dogs were bred together: the Lion dog, Pekingese dogs and the Lo-sze dog, which is known as the ancient pug.
Pugs first came to Europe in the early 1600s after China and Europe established trading routes.
They became the pet of choice for royal households due to their comical facial features.
In the 1700s, famous artist William Hogarth was a pug enthusiast, regularly portraying pictures of pugs in her paintings.
Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI , also had a pug who she named Mops.
However, the pugs we have today look very different.
After the 1860’s pugs were imported from China to the UK. These breeds tended to have the short legs and wrinkled face characteristics we have with modern dogs today.
Why are pugs no longer considered a ‘typical dog’?
Research carried out by the RVC has found that pugs are twice as likely to experience health disorders, compared with other dogs.
Experts have said that they ‘can no longer be considered a typical dog’ until their health issues improve.
Dr Dan O’Neill, associate professor in companion animal epidemiology at the RVC and lead author of the study explained: "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."
Since 2005 there has been an increase in pug registrations in the Kennel Club, with the breed becoming popular.
However, the impact their breed has on their health is “not surprising,” according to Justine Shotton, British Veterinary Association president.
Shotton added: "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.”
What health issues do pugs have?
The research has shown that pugs are 1.9 times more likely to have one more disorder that other dog breeds.
They also have a risk of developing 23 out of 40 common disorders, as opposed to the standard risk of 7 out of 40.
One of the conditions that pugs are most diagnosed with is Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS), which causes difficulty with breathing.
Pugs are vulnerable to the condition due to the shape of their flat nose.
But it wasn’t all bad news, they were found to have lower risks of developing a heart murmur.