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

A study conducted 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 appearance, bulging eyes, wrinkled forehead, and knotted 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 chances of developing 40 common disorders.

Best In Show announced at Crufts
A pug dog stands in the show hall on the final 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 that pugs had an increased risk of 23 disorders, including 54 times more likely to have brachycephaly – an obstructive airway syndrome, 51 times more likely to have narrowed nostrils, 11 times more likely to have skin fold infections. Additionally, 17.4% of pugs were obese, compared to only 6.9% of other dogs.

However, pugs had 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. He concluded that pugs have critical health issues and that “the very different health profiles between pugs and other dogs in the UK suggest that the pug has diverged considerably from traditional dog breeds and can no longer be considered like a typical dog from a health standpoint.

The popularity of pugs has seen a surge over the past 20 years, with the study citing the annual registration of pugs increasing from 2,116 in 2005 to over 6,000 in 2020. And they are equally popular on the other side of the pond. the American Kennel Club currently lists them as the 28th most popular dog breed out of 204 breeds in the United States

But experts are warning dog lovers of increased health issues in brachycephalic breeds like pugs, French bulldogs and English bulldogs, and say to consider 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 bulldogs and Cavalier King Charles spaniels, for health reasons after an animal rights group petitioned an Oslo court, according to USA today.