The pug is poor.
The dogs are bred to resemble the so-called "child pattern" throughout their lives: Round head, googly eyes, small nose. That this is at the expense of the health of the dogs, many do not care.
Often the head of the pug is so shortened that it suffers from respiratory distress, it is also prone to eye diseases. Many of the dogs can breathe only poorly or not at all through the nose, they have to gag when eating, snore even when awake and collapse frequently in summer.
For the German Veterinary Association and four other veterinary associations, this currently particularly popular dog breed in its current physical form belongs to the so-called "torture breeds".
The dogs have another problem: anomalies in the position of the legs
As if that weren't bad enough, dogs have another problem, a study shows. A study from Sweden, the results of which were published in the journal Vet Record, found that one in three pugs can't walk properly. According to the study, abnormalities in gait are common in these dogs. A bigger problem than previously thought.
For their study, the researchers contacted all owners of the dog breed who are members of the Swedish Kennel Club and own a pug aged one, five or eight years old. They had the participants fill out a questionnaire on whether their dog had gait abnormalities such as paralysis, poor coordination, weak legs, or general problems including, for example, whether the dog could jump.
In addition, participants were asked if their dog has abnormalities in the claws and skin on the paws. The subjects were also asked to provide video footage of their pugs.
31 percent of the dogs suffer from malpositions of the legs
Of the 550 dog owners who answered the researchers' call, just under 80 percent believed their pug had no leg problems. However, after watching the videos, the researchers found that the dog owners tended to describe their dog's gait as normal, when it is not at all.
After the team supplemented the dog owners' assessments with their own observations, they came up with a percentage of 31 percent of Pugs suffering from malpositioned legs.
On average, the dogs were two years old when they first started having problems walking. Often the front legs were affected first before the deformity spread to the back legs as well. Even though the dog breed is often associated with obesity, researchers were unable to establish a link between excessive body weight and anomalies of the legs.
Veterinarians recommend: Don't buy the dogs
Particularly sad: of the 47 dog owners who had to have their pugs put to sleep, the most frequently cited reason was misalignment of the legs. This indicates that the problem is much larger than most people and veterinarians ame.
"Although this study did not differentiate between orthopedic and neurologic reasons for the deformities," write the study authors, "the combination of the questions answered and the observations from the videos certainly suggests that the problems are neurologic rather than orthopedic in nature."
This means that the dogs are not isolated cases – comparable to a malposition of the legs in humans – but that the problems are caused by selective breeding. The authors point out that further investigations with larger control groups must be carried out. Still, they hope their finding will raise people's awareness of this problem in the dog breed.
The German Veterinary Association has also developed a flyer that briefly and precisely – including a checklist – lists the worst symptoms and manifestations that fall under an agony breeding in these dogs. However, the clear recommendation of veterinarians is: do not buy, certainly not over the Internet, and not out of pity either.