Friday, 23 August 2013

How f****d is that doggy in the window?

Well, would you buy it? 


And yet on sale at Harrods in London this week:

Click to enlarge

Of course, many people reading this will express horror at the price - or that Harrods are selling puppies at all (with Kennel Club registration I might add). 

But, for me, the interesting part is the refreshing honesty displayed on this notice at Harrods - a great deal more honest, as it happens, than the Kennel Club is on its breed information health pages. (Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself here... not a single mention of respiratory problems for any of the brachycephalic breeds). Now I know this is likely due to Harrods' need to cover its commercial arse, but still... what a shame that the Kennel Club isn't similarly obliged.

Here's what it says on the Harrods notice:
"Health: Can be prone to joint diseases, spinal disorders, heart defects and eye problems. They can also have respiratory problems and tend to wheeze and snore and have trouble in hot weather. An overweight Frenchie may have trouble breathing, because of a swollen abdomen."
And still they buy!

PS: anyone want to have a bash at illustrating a Borsche Pugster for me...?


  1. You have got to be kidding me! £8,000? Seriously? That's about £6,000 more than the going rate for the breed!

    Why are Harrods allowed to sell puppies? I thought it was illegal in this country to sell puppies in pet shops.


    1. I'm amazed anyone would pay £2,000.

    2. At least they are no longer selling lions and cheetahs!

  2. For £8K!!

    What happened to the golden rule when purchasing a puppy? Always ask to see the puppies with their mother! (And make sure she's lactating so the puppies really are hers, rather than just a random bitch brought in under pretense of being the dam.)

    1. Buyer beware! But people shopping at Harrods don't care, they are in the main browsing, wanting to be seen, and take home whatever takes their interest at that moment in time. £8k, £10k whatever, doesn't matter the important thing is is that it came from Harrods whether the item is dead or alive. They're a pretty shallow lot the patrons of Harrods. Getting down to the important bit of this though is where have the puppies been bred, because even if they are KC reg Fran is quite correct, what happened to the KC's recommendation to always see the mother of the puppies. This is deplorable (again)what questions do the sales assistants know to ask the new purchaser and how prepared would these type of people be prepared to answer because they are generally so rude and arrogant. What system has Harrod's in place for after care of these puppies. I too thought it was illegal to sell puppies thus but seemingly I was wrong. It is another example of monetary gain over welfare of the dog and the worst person involved is the breeder of the puppy who doesn't need to do this to their little puppy - in my view another despicable greedy person.

  3. I know it's a spoof, but it's badly inaccurate.

    With respect to life expectancy, check the Finnish KC database. You'll find that the overall life expectancy for a pug is on par with the English springer spaniel, curly coat, or flat coat, and considerably higher than the Doberman or any of the Molasser breeds. The Frenchie IS in trouble in this respect.

    With respect to upkeep, I've looked and can find no evidence that pugs have, on average, higher vet bills than other breeds. Insurance companies, when they list their top 10 breeds for expense, seem always to come up with large breeds and bulldogs. It is much cheaper to feed and house a smaller dog than a large one. (French bulldogs, on the other hand, do show up on lists for high vet bills).

    There are many breeds where a lot of individuals are badly bred and have serious health problems. I agree that brachycephaly is bad. I don't see that a pug who lives as a house dog, and is not allowed to become obese, suffers any more than, say, a mastiff with bad hips who is kept in the yard in all weather.

    As for overheating....many breeds lack stamina in the heat and seek water when the temperature rises. So do many owners. But then many slender, short coated breeds tremble horribly when it goes below freezing.

    1. Are you serous?????? I am so sick of hearing but compared to such n such breed(generally another genetic disaster like the flat coats) the data is not that bad etc etc.....
      The state of many of our pure breed dogs life expectancy & general well being is a sad sick story I am afraid & not something I would use as a comparison to anything.
      People need to warp their twisted minds around the fact not all dogs over heat or snore like a freight train, or eyes are in constant danger of injury, most expect to be able to take their dog outside even in summer & not have to worry that if the aircon fails whilst they are out their pet may well die. None of these things are acceptable anymore the the greater society, people are screaming it no more putting general well being of a dog below looks/type/coat etc anymore.
      To say one breed suffers no more than another is not good enough.... We should be able to say NO breeds shall suffer even discomfort never mind shortened life spans, airway restrictions, chronic pain & lack of full mobility all in the name of looks wether it be size, colour, coat type, bone or type.
      Why is that so hard for people to understand.

    2. All I said was that the spoof is not accurate. JH implies a comparison by saying 'lasts half as long', 'costs twice as much to repair and service'.

      The grouch in me says: "haven't brachy breeds been exposed enough? I got it the message the first time. " I don't think attempts at humor with poor basis in fact are going to change the minds of pug-lovers (and there are a lot of them).

      Please show me anything I said that indicates the extreme features in brachy breeds are acceptable. But 'greater society' is far from rejecting pugs. KC, AKC and ANKC figures show they have been gaining popularity. Plenty of people find their snorting cute, Dog knows why.

    3. Sadly Jennifer the answer to your second paragraph is no, clearly. If five years ago there had been an understanding of the cruelty and discomfort inflicted on these breeds and pedigree dogs in general, then JH would have been able to sit back and be thankful that she has managed to cause a cessation. Not of breeding pedigree dogs, no one wants that, but a healthier, happier, more fit for the purpose of LIVING COMFORTABLY, dog. Until all of these breeders of these breeds realise that it is cruel to perpetuate these breed features then the topic will remain in the public domain. Tibetan Spaniels are a great little breed, feisty, energetic, loyal, why can't their comparatively moderate features be a guiding hand to helping the "B" breeds featured in these topics? Moderation is a much better path to follow than exaggeration for our lovely dogs. ps your last sentence made me smile, "Dog knows why" the breeders should try and remember it.

  4. Jennifer, a vet has replied to your attempt to justify the health of Pugs according to insurance data. It's flawed!

    1. Where? Please provide references. I would love to see good insurance data, as would anyone making a serious effort to make sense out of dog health issues.

      If you're talking about Dr Hale, he does oral health. I respect his opinion, but the mouth is not the whole dog. I'd love to see a 'Dr Hale' type interview with an orthopedic specialist....or a dermatologist...or a cardiologist... or an onocologist. I'm sure different breeds would be listed as in trouble.

      Brachy dogs are easy targets cause they're funny looking, unathletic, and are often allowed to get obese. The less visible health problems deserve equal time.

    2. Brachy breeds are easy targets!!!!! Well maybe if they could great they would not be targeted as you put it.
      I respect his opinion but the mouth is not the whole dog....... OMG dose it matter.... never mind the fact the mouth has a lot to do with the health & welfare of the whole dog. Have you ever had an ongoing jaw & or tooth issue, I have & I would prefer be hit by a bat thank you it affected not only my whole body but my state of mind too.
      The really is nothing left to defend whether it be brachy breeds, giants(that where originally medium to lg), coat colours, bone, excess skin or eye issues there is NO excuse. We now all know many of these dogs are ion discomfort & much worse therefor any breeding for such genetic traits MUST STOP. No if buts or whys just STOP BREEDING SICK DOGS.

    3. I repeat, please provide references. (Or are you a different anonymous?)

      I have never said anything in favor of breeding sick dogs, or dogs with exaggerated features. I am not making excuses. I'm only seeking responses that are proportional to the problem. PDE has spent little time with the problems of giantism, immune deficiencies, allergies, and cancer (to name a few big ones), and has focussed heavily on brachy breeds.

      I am also concerned that approaches, like JH's spoof add, that are based on half truths are likely to backfire. Pugs have a loyal, devoted, and growing following. To a loyal pug owner, the pleasure they get from their pet outweighs the health problems, and they will choose to replace their much loved pug with another pug when it passes. If you're trying to reach this audience . . . or the crowd they run with...the 'Pugster' add will be dismissed out of hand. Its value is only for preaching to the choir.

      You ask: "Have you ever had an ongoing jaw & or tooth issue"? Yes, I, myself, have ongoing issues with jaws and teeth. I have a congenitally undersized jaw and was born lacking 14 permanent teeth. My dentist bills have been huge. But the pain, and eventual expense, of a hip replacement will far outweigh my mouth woes.

    4. Yes you're right re my emphasis on the brachy breeds. That reflects my personal upset re their suffering. I haven't done as much recently on the less visually obvious issues. Will address.

      You are also right to pull me up on parts of the Pugster spoof - it's not the case that Pugs live half as long. Can't decide whether to edit or to make it the Porsche Bulldog, which would make it correct.

      As for alienating committed pug owners.. think may have done that already. The people I'm really trying to reach are pet owners and those thinking of getting a pug. People need to stop buying them.


    5. Is Dr. Hale over exaggerating then Jennifer?

      Another vet also commented on the brachycephalic post as well. Your research is flawed with regard to vet bills cor relating to sick breeds. Brachycephalic breeds suffer everyday but there is no direct correlation with that suffering and monetary payouts from insurance companies.

      I suggest you read the blog again.

    6. JH, I agree, your add would fit the bulldog... or the Frenchie. I think you have a real uphill battle with respect to the pug. In a time when people, and especially children, are spending less and less time out of doors, small, friendly, playful, amusing house pets have enormous appeal. Svartberg (2006), after analysis of 13,000 temperament tests on pedigree dogs concluded "Considering this, the results suggest that suitable pet dog breeds are characterized by high sociability and high playfulness. According to the results of a previous study (Svartberg,2005), dogs with high scores in sociability are attracted to strangers, fearless of them and non-aggressive towards them. Dogs with high scores in playfulness are generally interested in playing with humans. Such attitudes in dogs are probably attractive for pet dog owners. Dogs with low sociability scores, i.e. hostile and socially fearful dogs, are probably far more difficult to handle, and breeds with that typical personality are less likely to attract new owners." (Google Svartberg, Breed temperament and you'll find the paper. Incidentally, the flat coat comes out looking very attractive in this study).

      Pugs were not among the breeds Svartberg studied, but in my experience they are the epitome of a people friendly, curious, playful, tolerant, silly breed. Physically unfit is not a problem if the owners don't go outside much. The family where mom and dad are couch potatoes and the kids spend 6 hrs a day watching the TV of playing video games is the ideal home for a pug, Look at Pug Meet photos . . . the people involved are largely (no pun intended) obese. In my opinion, it's more helpful to say: "If you buy a pug, look for one with a nose that sticks out a bit and without buggy eyes" than to say "Don't buy a pug". Or even something silly like "Healthy dogs don't look like Star Wars characters". (Almost all of them, including the humans, are flat faced. The only exception is Jar Jar, who has goggle eyes).

      Anonymous 17:03. Please explain what you mean by 'over exaggerating'.
      I don't think Dr Hale was exaggerating. His account comes off as an honest, accurate description of the problems he has encountered in his practice. However, in my experience (I have bred Labbies, and the only mouth issues I've had to deal with is possible correction of mildly undershot jaw..I also ran a boarding kennel and talked with a lot of dog owners of different breeds) mouth/jaw issues are relatively inexpensive to fix compared to orthopedic problems such as HD, elbow problems, and cruciate ligament tears, especially in large breeds.

      Sure, my research is flawed. No one's research on vet costs is very good. I wish better insurance data were available to work from. However, I stand by what I have said. Insurance companies have published a limited amount of data on 'most expensive' breeds. This is dominated by larger breeds, plus the bulldog and sometimes the French bulldog. I have yet to find the pug listed as an 'expensive breed' in lists made public by insurance companies. This is accurate . . . and so far as I can see, the best that can be done given data limitations. If you have better data, please state.

      Do you disagree that "the mouth is not the whole dog"? If we wanted to get an overview of human health, would a practicing dentist or orthodontist be a definitive source?

      It looks like you have some problems with reading, logic, and language. I wish you would give clear references.

    7. 'Over exaggerate ' - hyperbolic approach to his description of the health issue.

      'It looks like you have some problems with reading, logic, and language. I wish you would give clear references.'

      No I don't generally. Can YOU read?

      I suggested you go back to the blog and read it again! There are no specific references to scientific or peer reviewed literature or even any references to insurance data but there are some further comments by a practicing vet, whose comments are well worth reading IMO.

      The main issue is that it is not really possible to quantify, analyse and correlate the general health difficulties and suffering that brachycephalic breeds have to deal with on a daily basis. Trying to compare this with other dogs whose expensive treatment warrant extensive surgery, pharmaceutical assistance or long term drug treatment for other ailments is both flawed and inappropriate. Very often, corrective surgery is not an option chosen by owners of these types of dogs because of the dissonant opinion that their dog's snorting, snuffling (i.e.respiratory distress) is something that they and the dog 'get used to'. We really need more veterinary opinions, questionnaires etc. Even breed forums may be able to offer more useful information.

      Your comment that the 'mouth is not the whole dog' is accurate but rather grotesque really, given the issue at hand. Dr Hale is a Veterinary surgeon specialising in oral health. He will have studied anatomy and physiology of canids and will have some significant general experience before he specialised in dentistry. It's a holistic view of the animal's overall health, based on his professional experience in that specialised area. If you suffered from congenital cardiac disease, a dentist would be capable of explaining to you the health issues associated with Infectious Endocarditis if you failed to treat the streptococcal infection in the abscess on your tooth, for example. In order to specialise, you still have to have an understanding of health and disease generally!

      Clearly, from reading Dr.Hale's paper, his concern is not just the mouth....

    8. No, of course I can't READ. I got my PhD by paying people to take exams and write my dissertation, and all my scientific publications are ghost written. :-)

      Google over-exaggerate:
      Common Errors in English Usage:

      “Over-exaggerated” is a redundancy. If something is exaggerated, it’s already overstressed.

      If I suffered from congenital cardiac disease, my primary problem would NOT be infectious endocarditis, as this is an infectious, not a congenital problem, and I would refer to a cardiologist before I referred to a dentist/orthadontist/oral surgeon.

      I can see why you remain "Anonymous". THIMK!

    9. The following is taken from the Embrace Pet Insurance website with regard to health issues in Pugs and estimated costs and risk assessments.

      Health Issues Common to Pugs
      Like many small dogs, Pugs can have the hip deformity known as Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, which reduces the blood supply to the head of the rear leg bone causing it to shrink. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association in 2002, Pugs are 65.6 times more likely to be at risk for Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease compared to all other dogs. The first sign of the disease, limping, usually appears when the puppy is 4 to 6 months old. It can be treated with surgery to remove the head of the leg bone, after which the puppy will have a relatively normal life other than an increased likelihood of arthritis.

      Pug kneecaps often easily slip out of place, a condition known as luxating patellas, which may require surgery to correct. Also, they frequently have serious dental problems because their teeth are crowded into their flattened face.

      Pugs have a high incidence of a liver defect known as "portosystemic shunt," which can only be treated with expensive surgery. According to a study published in JAVMA in 2003, with a 1.3% prevalence rate, Pugs are 26.2 times more likely than all other breeds to be at risk for portosystemic shunts.

      Pugs can also suffer from a number of neurological problems including epilepsy, but the most frightening of all diseases that can strike the breed is the one known as "Pug Dog Encephalitis," or PDE. This is an inflammation of the brain that causes seizures and death. There is no cure and no way to prevent this condition. The Pug Dog Club of America is aggressively supporting research into the cause of PDE, and it's currently believed to be a genetic disease.

      There are no genetic screening tests available at this time for hemivertebrae or PDE, but a good breeder will tell all prospective puppy buyers about any affected dogs in your puppy's ancestry.

      Flat-Face Health Issues
      Many small dogs have trouble with their airways, but this problem is much worse in the flat-faced – or shall we say “Pug-nosed? -- Pug. Breathing difficulties are extremely common, especially in hot and humid climes, and most pugs snuffle, snort and sneeze constantly. They also snore. Pugs with severe breathing problems will need corrective surgery.

      His flat face also means the Pug has many different kinds of eye problems, so regular veterinary eye exams and staying alert for signs of vision problems or scratched corneas is simply part of good Pug ownership. So is constant attention to keeping his wrinkles and folds clean, as Pugs tend to get a lot of skin, ear and nose infections caused by bacteria and yeast growing in the folds. Their tendency to allergies makes this problem worse.
      Their flat faces cause more than skin, eye and ear problems, unfortunately. They are also associated with a condition known as hemivertebrae, where the vertebrae – the bones of the spine – are deformed. Affected dogs start showing signs at around 4 to 6 months of age, with limping, staggering and a lack of coordination. Some puppies become paralyzed. Surgery can be helpful, but each case is unique and requires expert evaluation by an orthopedic specialist.

      Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat:
      Portosystemic Shunts
      High $2,000-$6,000

      Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease
      High $1,000-$3,000

      High $300-$1,500

      Arachnoid Cysts
      High $4,500-$10,000

      Fold Dermatitis
      High $300-$2,500

      Necrotizing Meningo-Encephalitis
      High $1,500-$4,000

      Estimates based on claims paid by Embrace Pet Insurance - See more at:

    10. You may well have a PhD but that does necessarily not equal intelligence, empathy and emotional maturity does it?! All of those qualities are required when one is trying to to get to the root cause of dissonance in breeding practices and pedigree dog health issues.

      It seems to me you simply like bragging and seem determined to validate your superiority in science and academia, rendering other peoples' contributions flaccid and unworthy. Perhaps if you take your ego out of this, I may then take your contributions a little more seriously.

      Your response above is simply pedantic and petty. Perhaps if you get a little less attached to your ego and less attached to being 'right' about everything, I may take you a bit more seriously....

      Until then, grow up Jennifer.

    11. This article lists the odds ratio for the ten most commonly diagnosed diseases in 132 breeds collected from veterinary teaching hospitals in the USA over a 30 year period. The odds ratio is the odds of a dog in that breed having the listed disease relative to all other breeds combined.

      Odds ratios above 1.0 mean a dog from that breed is more likely to be diagnosed with that disease than all other pure bred dogs. Breeds with odds ratios below 1.0 mean that breed is less likely to be diagnosed with those diseases than other pure bred dogs (a generally healthier breed).

      This list can be used to select the healthier breeds (in the USA).

    12. My goodness, why on earth are they spending money on research, they know what is causing the problems, physically. Stop breeding pugs now, and if the breeders want to continue with a pug type then start doing some cross breeding, slowly. By the time they get the results of the research how many more pugs/bulldogs/pekes etc etc are bred with these appalling conditions. How painful and distressing it must be to be a pug with just one or two of any of the conditions outlined above. It's cruelty, it's as bad as wrapping barbed wire around a dog's muzzle because it is inflicted deliberately and with full knowledge that the dog is going to hurt and possibly die from the affect because a human being had an urge to do it or breed it.

    13. Hurrah! A reference.
      But go back and read the blog. Research on pug insurance costs was supposed to support or disprove the claim that the pugster "costs twice as much to repair and maintain".
      What you have found is a list of conditions for which pugs are at risk, with associated treatment costs. It's a scary list. However, if you go through other breeds on the same web site, you'll find they too have scary diseases. (Try the Labrador Retriever, which most of us will agree is a reasonably healthy breed. Labs look worse than pugs!). And if you go through the diseases listed to see what breeds they are associated with, pugs are not at the top of the list for many of them. Eg, Rotties are listed as the most affected breed for Arachnoid Cysts, and Liver shunts are fairly common in miniature schnauzer, Yorkshire terrier, Irish wolfhound, cairn terrier, Maltese, Australian cattle dog, golden retriever, Labrador retriever, and Old English sheepdog. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, breeds at risk for LPD are :Affenpinscher,Australian Terrier, Bichon Frise, Border Terrier, Boston Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Chihuahua, Cocker Spaniel, ,Dachshund, Fox Terrier, Jack Russell Terrier, Lakeland Terrier, Manchester Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, Miniature Pinscher, Pomeranian, Pekingese, Poodle, Pug, Schipperke, Scottish Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog, Silky Terrier, Welsh Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and Yorkshire Terrier. Pug Dog Encephalitis and NME are the same disease, and appear to be closely related to Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis (GME), a disease that affects all breeds, with higher incidence in small breeds. Entropian has been discussed a few times on this blog, but for breeds other than pugs.
      It is not possible to go from the data you have provided to a meaningful estimate of the yearly, or lifetime, vet costs for keeping a pug, or to determine how the vet costs for pugs stack up against those for other breeds.

    14. Your list indicates that it is time that serious action needs to be taken and that perhaps being purebred isn't such a good thing after all. Perhaps the falling numbers of show dog entries isn't because of the international financial situation after all, it is really because pedigree dogs are so sick and that is so sad and could have been prevented. There just aren't the number of healthy dogs to fill the classes.

    15. For sure, one can criticise the blog post in relation to the error in comparing the Vet costs of a Pug to a high performance car. Mostly because a Pug isn't a 'high performance dog' - it's dropping to bits and hasn't been bred with superb engineering in mind. It's been bred to look a certain way, without much attention to the outcome of it's overall health. A Porsche Boxster is a product of superb engineering and it's manufacture has an emphasis on quality, continuing improvement and safety. Hardly an accurate comparison to pedigree dog breeding is it?

      The main issue with Pugs and other brachycephalic dogs is that they are obviously physically deformed. Continuing to breed for physical deformities which are detrimental to the animal's health is unethical. The problem is that a lot of people find the deformities (curly tail, flat face) cute. That is the root cause of the problem as I ss it.

      If Porsche only focused on the look of the car without attending to the engineering, performance and safety features, it would fail to sell. I would argue that it's german engineering and their rigorous attention to detail is the real selling factor.

      Perhaps the Pug's car equivalent would be of an Italian design - e.g. Lamborghini or Alfa Romeo as they tend to focus on the looks and don't concentrate on what they should - the DNA. Design, Nature and Art.....or Deoxyribonucleic Acid when it comes to Pugs.

    16. "My goodness, why on earth are they spending money on research, they know what is causing the problems, physically."

      Mining the Veterinary Medical Database can lead to some interesting revelations. The most obvious is what diseases are likely hereditary and should be the focus of genetic studies with possibly future application (genetic test and possible drug treatment for the affected) to the analogous human genetic disease.

      Another could answer why in dogs the largest animals have the shortest lifespans when the opposite is true for most mammals.

      "Mortality in North American Dogs from 1984 to 2004: An Investigation into Age-, Size-, and Breed-Related Causes of Death"

    17. "Mortality in North American Dogs from 1984 to 2004: An Investigation into Age-, Size-, and Breed-Related Causes of Death"


      "Consistent with the knowledge of brachycephalic airway syndrome in Bulldogs, respiratory disease represented
      the most frequent OS (organ system) cause of death in this breed. However, respiratory disease was also the most common OS cause of death for both Afghan Hounds and Vizslas, which is not as readily explained."

      Perhaps this information found after spending the money for this research is of value to the owners & breeders of Afghan Hounds and Vizslas.

    18. Hi Pipedream Farm, I should qualify what I meant about research in this case. Because I watched the German programme and was horrified by the skull deformity hence my comment. For me it underlined that a dog cannot live comfortably or with normal expectation when the head is so deformed. Thus, with that tangible evidence, it seems pointless to research when all that needs to happen is to stop breeding that type of head shape. Use the money for something more obscure rather than what we can now see is blatantly obvious. The photograph of that little pug puppy is heart rendering and so unnecessary, I wonder how the breeder/owner feels when they look at that photograph, can they really be proud and happy that they bred/own a dog who's life may be severely compromised.

    19. PipedreamFarm. Great reference!!!! Will have to read carefully. Raises lots of issues that make one think.

  5. Thank you Jemima for highlighting the plight of these poor animals and for raising awareness that Harrods and a growing number of pet shops are continuing to sell puppies. This goes against the advice of all animal welfare and consumer organisations to ALWAYS see a puppy with its mother in the place where it was born. No matter how glamorous and upmarket the retail environment appears, puppies that are offered for sale in these places have come from 'breeders' whose only thought is to make as much money as they can. There is no concern for the well-being of the puppy or consideration as to whether it will go to a suitable home. They are not interested beyond ensuring the purchase price is paid. Selling puppies through pet shops and via dealers is an abhorrent practice and should not be acceptable in Britain in 2013. Please sign Marc Abrahams' petition to ban the sale of puppies (and kittens) without the mother being present:
    This trade contributes significantly to growing numbers of unwanted dogs, many of whom are euthanised because there are simply too many for the number of homes available. They can be bought on a whim and easy come, easy go. As soon as the novely wears off many will find themselves in need of a new owner. Unlike good breeders, pet shops and dealers aren't interested in taking back a puppy/dog if it is no longer wanted so the burden falls to rescue centres. The sellers pocket the money and the charities (reliant on public donation) are left to pick up the pieces.
    If a puppy of this breed from a good breeder is going to be prone to developing the problems that you have mentioned, then how much more likely this is for a puppy bred with only profit in mind!It's almost certain that no health tests will have been done. Why bother when people will buy the puppies anyway? Some buyers may try and do their best for the pup and end up heartbroken or trying to cope with mounting vet bills they cannot afford. Many people taken in by a 'cheaper' puppy from a dealer offered for sale on the internet end up paying out many times more in medical treatment than they would had they spent a little more and purchased directly from a good breeder. The term 'false economy' certainly applies. Someone paying £8000 for a pup is unlikely to struggle to afford veterinary care but nevertheless may not relish the long term commitment of caring for a dog with a chronic condition.

    Spare a thought too for the parents of these puppies. The pups do at least have a chance for a decent life in a good home with people who care. For the breeding dogs and bitches in commercial enterprises, there will probably be only way of escape and that will come when they are old, worn out and ill. Having made their owners hundreds, possibly even thousand of pounds of income, they are disposed of as soon as they are of no further use. Seeing the pitiful state of mothers of puppies that are sold in pet shops would deter even the most determined purchaser!

    If these puppies are KC Registered, then this is against the KC's Code of Ethics. They WILL take action against breeders selling KC registered puppies to pet shops, even Harrods.
    "13. Will not sell any dog to commercial dog wholesalers, retail pet dealers "
    If you can confirm they are being sold as KC registered then the KC would be very interested to know about this. I think it is more likely they have 'Kennel Registration' which is through an alternative registry favoured by volume commercial breeders to give their animals a veneer of prestige.

    Finally, please remember that a good breeder, who cares for the welfare of the dogs they have bred, would never sell to a pet shop. Even for a cut of £8000.

    1. Julia, I'm afraid you are mistaken. the Kennel Club *will* act if they find that an *ABS* breeder has sold pups to a pet shop - but *not* if it's a non-ABS breeder.

      We were recently given film of an ABS breeder selling pups from the back of a car at a motorway service station. That breeder has now been removed from the ABS. But the KC is still registering her puppies on the general register.

      The KC has been challenged many times on breeders breaking the KC's Code of Ethics. The reply is always that the C of E is not enforceable. They will only refuse registration, if it is a non-ABS breeder, if a KC rule is broken (eg if the bitch is over 8 years old or it's a mother-son mating).

      I double-checked with Harrods before posting the above. They confirmed that the puppies they sell come either with Kennel Club or Dog Lovers registration.

      I should say, btw, that as pet shops go, Harrods is most definitely not the worst. The pups are well cared-for and Harrods say that they do insist that breeders do breed-specific tests. There is certainly *some* vetting of purchasers, too.


    2. The discussion whether the KCUK is an enemy or a friend, your information absolutely, undeniably, indisputably underlines that the KC are only interested in monetary gain. They are a business. The dogs just the commodity they trade in. They are hypocrits, how can they pompously lay down a code of ethics with no intention of following through for the benefit of the dogs. How? As I have said previously, I understand that there is no legal requirement to use their services, but breeders want to be able to conform and use a formal system. But if that system is proven to be absolutely pointless, expensively pointless they will stop. Their reputations as good dog breeders is devalued because their association with such an impotent organisation as the KC becomes laughable in the eyes of the dog buying public. Someone, say in conjunction with a welfare animal group, will set up a much more reliable and respectable organisation that is truly for the wellbeing and welfare of dogs. And this organisation will have some legal back up to remove all of this utter nonsense unlike The KC who sees themselves as the "law" in the dog world but when it comes to enforcement is proven to be useless, utterly useless. The KC really have to remodel themselves and be seen to be really genuine dog lovers, regardless of the politics involved in some of their decisions regarding safeguarding dogs and not their breeders.

  6. Julia, I look forward to see the KC do as you say they will, and do it NOW, with a big slice of publicity. The KC shouldn´t have a great deal of diffulty in finding out whether the pups are KC registered and if so, by whom, should they?

    1. See above Bodil. The KC knows that puppies sold at Harrods are often sold with KC registration. And the same is true of puppies at other pet shops - and online puppy pedlars - too.

      The KC has not tried to stop it.


    2. Well they jolly well should stop it NOW. Harrods cannot really state that their sales staff are dog friendly, dog experienced unless those personnel have certification to prove that they truly understand what selling a small vulnerable puppy entails to the general public. Harrods need to be able to show the system in place for follow through, and what happens to puppies who are "unsatisfactory" and returned to them some weeks after sale. What happens to it Jemima, what happens? The KC cannot condone it, they just cannot it's immoral, it's distressing and it's disgusting, totally against anything they allegedly believe and advise.

  7. Julia, there is another well known pet shop in Burgess Hill, Sussex, who sell KC reg pups and have done so for many years. KC know about it and do nothing to stop it.

    They preach to the public about not buying pups from pet shops and say they are against puppy farming. They are hypocrites, plain and simple.

    Recently they gave assured status to a well known puppy dealer in Sussex. She sells farmed pups under a pet shop license from a shed at the bottom of her garden. KC did remove her assured status when we reported her but how the hell was she given it in the first place? And why are they still registering pups she breeds when diseased farmed pups have been sold from her premises?

    1. Keep up the pressure, please. ABS my foot, that system is as shallow as the whole KC setup. Thanks for you efforts in trying to help these poor little puppies and their dams, what a hideous life for them all. Shame on the KC.

    2. Georgina, I'm not a great defender of the Kennel Club, but the ABS is not bad now, after several overhauls. I do think you have a better chance of sourcing a carefully-bred dog through the ABS.

      And neither is the Kennel Club populated by dog-loathing monsters. In fact the opposite - they are, overwhelmingly, dog lovers (albeit dog lovers caught up in a system where they can't see the wood for the trees). And they also do quite a lot of good stuff for dogs.

      As for Harrods, their staff *are* trained, and they clearly go to *some* efforts to sell healthy puppies to responsible people.

      It isn't helpful to portray people or organisations as comedy goodies or villains. It isn't that black and white.

      You comment a lot here and often make strong points, but I do sometimes find myself hesitating when moderating some of your comments because your emotional response to things that upset you makes you overstate the case.


    3. I know of two breeders that are on the ABS that I would not touch. One is using it as a way to advertise her son's puppies, as though they are bred by an ABS breeder, even though he isn't an ABS.

      The second has bred litters where dogs have died before they were one, from health problems previously unheard of in the breed. Other dogs from these litters have been left with serious health problems. The KC have been contacted and did not even reply to the owners of these pups.

      This breeder is continuing to breed from her affected stock, and has done nothing to mitigate the problems from happening again.

      There are lots of ABS Whippet breeders breeding puppies with COIs greater than 15% over 10 generations. Many are 25% and one had a recent litter that was pushing 30%!

    4. Not good. Fran, you should push the KC. If the evidence is strong, they do seem to be more willing to act since the UKAS accreditation. And, of course, if they don't... let me know.

      Those COIs are ridiculous - stupid and unnecessary. Do you have an effective population size for whippets?


    5. The effective population size for Whippets is 43.

      Breeders keeping the average COI down are, in the main, the pet breeders who are happy to mix the various lines (working, show, racing), but are unlikely to be the ones heart and eye testing their stock, nor know about health problems behind the various lines. The average COI for UK Whippets increased this year from 9.7% to 10%, compared to the COI of Swedish Whippets which has come down.

      There are a few reputable breeders who are also breeding dogs with low COIs (less than 6.25% over 10 generations), but those are the exception rather than the rule. Most of the show breeders would say they struggle to breed dogs with COIs lower than 7%, due to the saturation of popular sires back in the 90s - mainly Hillsdown Fergal and Ch Pencloe Dutch Gold (1992 Crufts BIS winner). Also, 50% of KC registrations are from working lines and they don't want to use them, because they look nothing like the show-bred dogs. There are also the light-boned racing lines, which are unlikely to be used by show breeders. Most of the European lines also come from Pencloe Dutch Gold. American/Australian dogs are much bigger.

  8. But Jemima, if the ABS is supposed to be a "reassurance tool" for pedigree puppy purchasers surely it has to be seen to have some formal standard The blog above about the Burgess Hill pet shop that had been granted ABS status and would have that status now if PLC hadn't stepped in. That the KC are still registering the puppies from this source is a nonsense, and if money were not involved they too would have shunned the BH set up. I know that the majority of the KC personnel are dog lovers, it is the people who have the power and influence who are being ineffectual. The KC isn't populated by dog-loathing monsters any more than I believe that all dog breeders are despicable. It is time that they start to see the wood, there are enough people with opinions alerting/advising them without the information we and they are bombarded constantly by the media i.e. newspapers, television, radio, etc etc. There is no excuse to hang back when they have the wherewithall to stop this nonsense. I don't think I've played the good/bad guy card because the topic is too serious for that sort of stupidity. It is black and white. You know that. If one wants something done one gets on with it, and you are a beacon of that fact. You have brought many many dogs out of an impossible situation and rehabilitated them for their benefit and their new owners. You of all people know and have carried through that black is white. No comment can be overstated in the case of unacceptable behaviour, cruelty, perpetrated on an innocent species by people who are involved for monetary gain. Why else are you keeping the pressure on them and the dog breeders? It is because you want them to understand and change their practices isn't it? Otherwise all of the information received from you and reacted to by us is all just a lot of air and that I know is untrue.

  9. Harrods apparently also sell mongrels for ludicrous amounts of money. Were you going to write about this, too?

    1. Anon can you please provide evidence,such as an advert, a link etc. As opposed to just 'apparently.'

    2. Harrods certainly does sell some "designer crossbreeds" - and for loadsamoney.


    3. A fool and their money etc.
      The old 'designer' tag should be a big selling factor.


  10. Anon 00:01, you are missing the point. Whatever jacket a dog is wearing it is wrong that any animal is passed for sale over a cash register. At that point it becomes a commodity, a thing, a thing sold for pure profit, monetary gain. Not bought because the new owner has considered the implications and responsibilities of becoming a dog owner and wants a dog in their life. They have bought the dog because they are browsing, see it, want it, have it regardless of cost. Unless the sales assistant knows what they are doing that puppy's life is in danger. In effect they need to dissuade the person from buying the puppy on a whim, but if the person argues their corner and can prove that despite it being a spontaneous purchase they really understand the commitment for possibly the next 12 years is absolute then and only then should the sale go through. But Anon 00:01 that doesn't make it acceptable practice to buy or sell puppies over the counter, it really doesn't. How a shop can offer after sales service for the safety of the puppy is beyond me, the puppy is aged 14 weeks and being a pain, how and what do the shops do for that puppy, what facilities do they have to help this puppy? What? What happens to puppies who exceed their sell by date and cuteness and there are younger puppies on their way, what? Mongrels, crossbreeds, purebreds, kittens, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens whatever living creature is involved selling living beings over the counter is unacceptable, surely I am not wrong to be frightened for the animals involved and despairing of the people who think it is acceptable to sell innocent animals into an unknown future.

    1. No, puppies should not be sold in shops. The point was that this is something that affects the dog business in general and is not restricted to dogs of breeds, and that the sort of moneygrabbing people who breed dogs to sell to shops should not be characterised only as people who use the KC's registration system.

  11. Annie Macfarlane27 August 2013 at 15:26

    I completely agree with you Georgina. I think this situation is serious enough to demand that the KC use their "clout" to stop it happening. DLRC is a register set up specifically to enable people to register puppies that are not KC registered and thereby give them some sort of credibility. I find it all very sad and I'm disappointed that nothing seems to have moved forward in relation to securing the future of innocent animals. I feel it's not something that should ever be acceptable. What's the point in having a code of ethics if its not enforced? Very sad indeed

  12. From a marketing, as opposed to scientific, perspective: If you want to prevent people from buying pugs, bulldogs, etc., a more effective approach might be to put out the slogan "Unfit dogs for unfit people" with cartoons depicting stereotypical fat slobs / couch potatoes on the other end of the leash.

    If you can convince people they will be judged as undesirable because they have an obviously unfit dog, you've largely won the battle.

    1. Agreed. It does seem to be a matter of making brachycephalic dogs almost socially unacceptable.

      Can't see the KC or the breeders complying though. ;)

    2. Miklosi et al refer to an interesting study in their book 'Dogs: Behaviour, Evolution and Cognition' by Wells in 2005.

      The study measured peoples' reactions to certain dogs and also inanimate cute objects, such as a teddy bear, when out with their owners. Unsuprisingly, puppies and older dogs such as Labradors solicited most social interaction from passing strangers. Interestingly, dogs generally perceived as 'aggressive' or have negative societal behaviour labels attached, such as Rotties or Staffies, tended to get ignored. As did the teddy bears - which are generally perceived as cute or attractive although inanimate objects.

      The study was more geared towards behaviour perception but it's a simple demonstration of how people can be influenced and make choices (good or bad) related to choosing dogs based on looks.

      I recently had a similar experience out with my mixed breed, medium black and white dog. Now I think she's cute as a button, but she certainly wouldn't be generally perceived as a beauty. As we were walking through town we passed a mother with her two children who completely ignored us. Behind us were two pugs on a lead with a young couple. On seeing the pugs, the children squealed in delight and ran up to them as they were so irresistably cute... (completely uninvited btw. not good!)

      THAT is the problem. Deformity in dogs has been labelled as cute. That has to be turned around somehow...

    3. Unfortunately, it more than a labelling problem. Find yourself an copy of SJ Gould's famous essay on the Evolution of Mickey Mouse (easily Googled). H. sapiens seems to be hard wired to respond to baby faces. The pug, with baby face + cheerful, silly, playful, affectionate, stubborn antics is the ideal critter to tug on human heartstrings.

    4. The Swedish KC's moves to educate judges about breathing problems (which, btw., are not simply a matter of short muzzles) seem more constructive than ranting about deformities. Also, some suggest that the trend to extreme brachycephaly is tied in to increased use of Ceasarian sections. If this is true, prohibitions of breeding from CS bitches--the UK KC has made a first move here -- should cause a move in the right direction.

      I think the driver for flat faces is from the populace.. . breeders are only responding to popular demand. Humans seem to be hardwired to respond lovingly to baby faces. The mutations that lead to modern brachy breeds seem to have come into the dog genome several thousand years ago. They do not seem to make dogs more fit in natural selection. But they do seem to create creatures that have greater appeal to H. sapiens. Can find references if anyone cares.

    5. I think we understand the reasons why people find flat faced dogs attractive. They have been well documented on this blog. The problem that exists is the social acceptance of continuing to breed dogs with known congenital health problems because we happen to like them. It's pretty sick.

    6. perhaps its partly to do with children calling more of the shots in todays families.
      the amount of mothers who bring matted poo whatevers & lhasa's and shih tsu to our grooming shop , they obviously where not interested in having a dog themselves but had bought it for the kids who really want a teddy bear not a living breathing sentient being.

  13. Hi Jennifer, it might be kinder to say unfit dog from unfit breeder, qualifying unfit breeder as a person who knowingly presents to the market a breed that is born to suffer. I was astonished by the skull comparisons on the German programme. The deformity is hideous and perhaps using that image as one of the reasons that moderation of their head shapes should be undertaken on a very, very urgent basis. I had thought that the KC could refuse registration of any of these breeds, in conjunction with the breeders and whilst working together commence registration when the dogs are reaching maturity and all problems can be properly assessed. At Crufts, the bulldog being wheeled for it's health check by the vet is the most ironic thing I've seen for a very long time, as you say "dog help them".

  14. There is one glaring mistruth in the Herrod's ad. They say frenchies are expected to live at least 10 years. The Finnish KC database gives them 5 yr 4 mo on average, with only 24 of 228 dogs living to old age. Worse than the bulldog...and seeming to gain popularity everywhere.

    1. Actually, it says 'Over 10 years'.

  15. Pugster = a cross between a Pug and a Munster Spaniel. Sounds good to me.

    Well, maybe not from the Munster point of view.

  16. I've just seen on FB that Harrods has stopped selling puppies, after closing its Pet Kingdom department for commercial reasons.

    One less pet shop selling puppies.