Monday 9 November 2015

BRACHY WEEK: pugs in the media

...could be your last

This little advert appeared on Asda supermarket's Twitter feed this morning. Of course, the first thing is to be horrified at the suggestion that you should give a dog a mince pie - raisin-toxicity is a thing in dogs and while some dogs seem impervious to them (my vet says she's been throwing her own Labs the raisins from her breakfast muesli for the past 20 years) even a small handful can kill susceptible dogs.

But, boy, when is the advertising industry's love affair with dogs that suffer from being bred with flat faces going to end?

Elsewhere, a quick and sharp social media response orchestrated by Beverley Cuddy at Dogs Today Magazine has succeeded in persuading House of Fraser to remove this little number this morning

Again, the main issue was the suggestion that a puppy is an appropriate Christmas present - not that it featured a Pug.

Pugs are everywhere in the media. It's an unstoppable tide. Here's just 0.00000000001% of the pug ads out there. 

This website thinks it knows why (and no, it isn't a spoof):


"The flat nose of pugs never lets them breathe without gasping. They take pleasure in snorting and making funny noises on purpose to amuse people around them and get their attention. Their cute strange sounds bring out adorable feelings from everyone."
It isn't just Pugs - it's Frenchies and Bulldogs too. Seemingly, anything without a face. 

Churchill Insurance bulldog
Now, it would be very difficult indeed to persuade advertisers to stop using these dogs in advertising - they're just too popular. But I reckon you could persuade them to use those with less extreme features - smaller tongues; open nostrils, smaller nose rolls, slim-bodied and squiff-free eyes that show no eye-white by pointing out the problems that come with those features.  More like, say, the Pugs featured in this vintage American advert (not sure of the era.. anyone know?)

Think it's a good idea?  Then I need your help. I am looking for a good name for such a campaign that would encourage the responsible use of brachycephalics in advertising - ideally with an appropriate acronym.  

Please post your suggestions below...


  1. I am so glad you have mentioned this! pugs are everywhere in the media and it just reinforces that these flat faces are normal and funny. they're not, i hate that people think the poor dogs are 'laughing' when they are just trying to breathe. The other day i was by a train station with a massive pug on a bilboard for ASDA behind it. I couldn't bear to look at it's face knowing people are thinking 'how cute'. :(

  2. Fuller Faces (FuFa).

    A breath away...

  3. PUGS - People Use Good Sense - when purchasing our products and when buying a brachycephalic breed as shown in our advertisement?

  4. What about: Not Plug Ugly But Pug Lovely?

  5. You could have a headline, "Ever imagined what it is really like being a cute flat faced dog?" and then offer advice how to do so, "Just get a belt and put it around your neck. Pull it tight enough that it causes your wind pipe to be restricted and wear it like that for the day." You could have a visual of a Pug then looking at a human panting and struggling with the belt around their neck and a thought bubble above the Pug saying, "Well, now you know."

  6. Yes, unfortunately brachycephalic dogs and cats are very popular in the media. It seems like a real fad now, but as your image showed above, they've been in ads for a long time. Sadly, most of the public are completely ignorant and/or apathetic toward how pathological such facial features really are. That's really what's driving this; the media are just taking advantage of this, and perpetuating it. Not good.

    Actually, something else recently occurred to me: the vast majority of dogs in the media are purebred. It's rare to see a landrace or mixed dog on TV, the movies, or ads. Also not good. Again, producers are playing on people's biases, and keeping them alive. We need to increase awareness. Not only should pugs not be portrayed as "adorable, furry little people," but pure and extreme breeding in general should not be presented as the normal condition for domestic wolves (dogs) and other domesticated animals.

  7. "Get PuggedUp"


    Pugs are Cute

    The flat nose of pugs never lets them breathe without gasping. They take pleasure in snorting and making funny noises on purpose to amuse people around them and get their attention. Their cute strange sounds bring out adorable feelings from everyone.

    THEY are Entertainers

    Pugs have a great sense of humor. They love to create fun out of ordinary things in life. From simplest things like eating and sleeping to fun activities like running around the home or playing, they never fail to grab people’s attention with their mischievous look and charm.

    Man’s Best Friend.....

    Blah blah, rubbish, fish paste, complete trash and etc

    1. Great find... thank you. Although enough to make you weep. Have added a quote to the blog.

    2. Its just incredible. How anyone can write that sentences and not realise what they are describing is an intentional welfare disaster!?

    3. Whoever comes up with an answer to that will have cracked the brachy issue...

  8. I wish there was a way to make old Victorian era photographs of Pugs and other flat faced breeds popular.. Photos showing healthier versions of these breeds of yester-year.

  9. Puggered. Dogs Without a Face, DWARF, PFD, pedigree faceless....mmmm Im useless at this sort of thing.

    I had to laugh "my vet says she's been throwing her own Labs the raisins from her breakfast muesli for the past 20 years".

    I thought I was the only one. I did't feed them to my dogs, though. I used to bin them instead. I got so tired of doing it, it got to a stage there seemed to be more raisins than muesli so I stopped eating Muesli entirely.

    My Gran had a kortsnasta, a boxer, Charlotte or Lolly as she ended up being called, she was positively mad for grapes. She used to catch grapes mid air, swallowing them whole without a blink. She lived to a ripe old age, seems many pedigree dogs did in those days even given a diet dangerously high in grapes. Wonder if its a breed specific thing? One of my dogs adores paprika, he can crunch through a whole one no problem. So far I cant find anything that says its a bad thing...I remove the seeds just in case.

    1. Dogs Without a Real Face. That would be DWARF, which is a great acronym!!

    2. Oh yea! Sleepy me. I thought "Responsible" but "Real" is less ambiguous.

      Little problem though not all brachycephalic dog breeds are dwarfs and not all dwarfs are brachycephalic.

  10. When your child is snuffling do you laugh or call the doctor?
    When your child is struggling to breathe do you think he is cute or get him help?
    Still think you treat your dog as well as you do your child?
    The shorter the snout, the harder they breathe.
    Remember when you choose your next pup.

    Chris R.

  11. Hey there Jemima!

    Remember Adam Ruins everything? He has a new show on TruTV in the US now. I read somewhere he will be doing an episode on Purebred dogs, but I think it is mostly generally all Predigree animals the episode will cover.. I just hope it is not biased to the extend of promoting to not get a purebred dog or cat at all..

    Here is a link to his facebook fan page..