Buying a dog is a Crowell: Vets warn of celebrity obsession with ‘cute’ flat faces

    Pugs have become a favorite with dog lovers and celebrities thanks to their small, powdery noses and wrinkled faces.

    Gerard Butler, Paris Hilton, and YouTuber Zoe Sugg are just a few of the famous faces who have shared their lives with the dynasty.

    But veterinarians are urging people not to buy a pug, after a new study revealed the breed had such severe health conditions that they could no longer be considered a “model dog”.

    Pugs are more likely to suffer from breathing, eye and skin disorders than other breeds, according to vets from the Royal Veterinary College.

    “This study clearly demonstrates the extreme characteristics that many owners find so attractive, such as pursed faces, large eyes and squiggly tails, that seriously endanger the health and well-being of Pugs and often lead to lifelong suffering,” said Justin Shotton. President of the British Veterinary Association.

    The characteristics of short-faced pugs have not developed

    The ‘brachiocephalic’ short-faced pug’s characteristics do not develop naturally, and are instead the result of selective breeding

    Pugs are more likely to suffer from breathing, eye, and skin disorders than other breeds, according to vets from the Royal Veterinary College.

    Pugs are more likely to suffer from breathing, eye, and skin disorders than other breeds, according to vets from the Royal Veterinary College.

    Gerard Butler is just one of the famous faces who have shared his life with the dynasty

    Gerard Butler is just one of the famous faces who have shared his life with the dynasty

    What conditions are pugs at high risk for?

    • 54 times more likely to develop brachial airway obstruction syndrome
    • 51 times more likely to have narrow nostrils
    • 13 times more likely to develop corneal ulcers
    • 11 times more likely to develop dermatitis caused by skin folds
    • 2.5 times more likely to be obese
    • The chance of developing ingrown toenails increases by two times

    The characteristics of the short-faced “brachiocephalic” pug do not develop naturally, and are instead the result of selective breeding.

    This facial structure puts them at high risk for a range of health conditions, including breathing, eye, and skin disorders.

    In their study published in the journal Canine Medicine & Genetics, the research team noted that “pugs have become incredibly popular in the UK in recent decades.”

    This breed has a flat-faced appearance that many humans find very attractive and “cute” but this flat-faced is also associated with many serious health issues.

    “There is therefore a growing concern about well-being issues associated with the popularity of pugs and health issues.”

    In the study, researchers compared the risks of 40 common conditions in the pug with that of other dog breeds.

    The team analyzed records of 16,218 Clays and 889,326 non-clay breeds, taken from the VetCompass database.

    Their analysis revealed that Pugs were at increased risk for 23 of the 40 common disorders.

    The pug has become a favorite with dog lovers and celebrities, including YouTuber Zoella, with their small, powdery noses and wrinkled faces.

    The pug has become a favorite with dog lovers and celebrities, including YouTuber Zoella, with their small, powdery noses and wrinkled faces.

    Pugs are more likely to suffer from breathing, eye, and skin disorders than other breeds.  Pictured: Paris Hilton with her pet dog

    Pugs are more likely to suffer from breathing, eye, and skin disorders than other breeds. Pictured: Paris Hilton with her pet dog

    What is brachial airway obstruction syndrome?

    Brachiocephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BOAS) is the term given to the effects that the short head of these animals has on the passage of air through the upper airways.

    Signs can range from mild snoring to severe breathing problems.

    Animals with BOAS can struggle to breathe during exercise and even collapse due to a lack of air.

    Dogs’ reliance on panting to cool themselves also makes animals with BOAS very vulnerable to overheating and potentially developing breathing difficulties in hot conditions.

    Pugs were 54 times more likely to develop humeral airway obstruction syndrome — a condition that affects the upper airway — and 51 times more likely to have narrowed nostrils.

    The strain was also 13 times more likely to develop corneal ulcers and 11 times more likely to develop dermatitis of the skin folds.

    In addition, pugs were found to be 2.5 times more likely to be obese, and twice as likely to have overgrown toenails.

    However, it wasn’t all bleak – Pugs were found to be less likely to have many other conditions including heart murmurs, lipomas, and aggressiveness.

    The researchers concluded, “The study provides a broad evidence base about the positive and negative aspects of pug health.”

    “Sick predispositions were more common than disease prevention, confirming the hypothesis that there are many health-related well-being challenges to overcome for Pugs.”

    The study comes shortly after researchers revealed that the Pug is among the dog breeds with the shortest life expectancy.

    Vets from the Royal Veterinary College evaluated 30,563 dogs of 18 breeds to see how life expectancy varies between dogs.

    Their results revealed that while the average life expectancy of dogs in the UK is 11.2 years, this varies widely between breeds.

    Jack Russell Terriers had the largest life expectancy of 0 at 12.7 years, followed by Border Collies (12.1 years) and Springer Spaniels (11.92 years).

    Pugs were 54 times more likely to have brachial airway obstruction syndrome - a condition that affects the upper airway - and 51 times more likely to have narrowed nostrils (stored image)

    Pugs were 54 times more likely to have brachial airway obstruction syndrome – a condition that affects the upper airway – and 51 times more likely to have narrowed nostrils (stored image)

    At the other end of the scale, four flat-faced breeds were found to have the shortest life expectancy.

    French Bulldogs were only expected to live 4.5 years from age 0, followed by English Bulldog at 7.4 years, Pugs at 7.7 years and American Bulldog at 7.8 years.

    Dr Kendy Tzu-yun Teng, who led the study, said: ‘Canine life tables offer new insights and ways to look at the life expectancy of pet dogs.

    They are also strong evidence that health and well-being are compromised in short, flat-faced breeds, such as the French Bulldog and the Bulldog.

    The history of the clay

    The Pug is an ancient breed of dog, with roots dating back to 400 BC

    Most historians agree that the breed originated in China, where they were bred as companion animals for the wealthy.

    With their people-pleasing natures and adaptability, Pugs have made a name for themselves as ideal baby dogs and companions.

    They kept the company of Tibetan Buddhist monks in their monasteries and received royal treatment as companions to the Chinese emperors and their families, whom they valued so much that they kept guards and servants for their protection and care.

    The Chinese bred three types of flat-faced dogs: the lion’s dog, the Pekingese, and the “Lo-sze”, also known as the ancient pug.

    The popularity of pugs spread from China to Japan and Russia and eventually to Europe, where they soon settled in royal palaces and upper-class homes.

    Their small size, sturdy frame and minimal exercise requirements make them ideally suited as a house pet.

    Source: American Kennel Club