Sunday, 16 September 2018

PUGS: THE END IS NIGH! (Well, as we know them now - but don't panic, it's a good thing)

In a landmark move, the Dutch Pug Club has responded to bad publicity, unrelenting pressure from campaigners, a wealth of science elucidating the breed's many health issues and strengthened animal welfare laws in the Netherlands.

They have just announced the following reforms:

• opening of the stud books to allow interbreeding with non-registered Pugs (that may or may not be  purebred).
• the introduction of a minimum craniofacial ratio (muzzle/skull length)
• a limit on the number of litters any one stud dog can sire
• the introduction of a second endurance test designed to ensure that only the fittest dogs are bred.

You can read the statement here if you understand Dutch (and if not you'll need to pop it into Google Translate). If an official translation into English is made available, I'll add it here.

The idea is to increase genetic diversity (studies suggest it is very low) and moderate the very flat-faced Pug that is currently in vogue. Pugs have varied a lot in form historically, but have never been as flat-faced as they are now and it has resulted in considerable respiratory and ocular problems.  Recent research undertaken by Cambridge University shows that 70% of Pugs aged 3-7 have significant problems breathing - clearly unacceptable.

Now I expect my interpretation of the impact this could have might be different from that of hard-core show breeders in Holland but, if accepted by the Dutch KC (and the word is that it will be), it's possible we will start to see KC-registered Pugs that look more like this 'Retromop' below - leggier, more athletic and with more of a muzzle. (Retromops have been crossed with Jack Russell then bred back to Pugs to create a more moderate dog. There is also an "Altedeutscher" Pug in Germany that is more moderate and purportedly purebred.)

More importantly, a move like this really paves the way for other breeds, and a new wave of younger, more science-savvy breeders,  to follow. And, technically, if registered in Germany they can be registered in other FCI countries and any countries that have a reciprocal arrangement with the FCI (such as the UK Kennel Club).

Great news for the breed - and possibly many others, too.  Well done the Dutch Pug Club!



  1. Great news! Hope Sweden Will follow

  2. While an admission that there are serious problems with pugs and a willingness to try to do something about it is are great things, I believe that "moderation" will not be enough to alleviate the terrible oral-health liabilities of brachycephism. Have a look at this post of a very moderate Boston who had horrific dental disease - My point is, if you want to avoid all the problems associated with breeding pugs, stop breeding pugs.

    1. the solution is not to stop breeding pugs, it's an AMAZING old breed, we must to preserve breeds not to make them extinct, to avoid problems in any breed (all breeds have their issues) is necessary to open genetics to bring back the old breed, that's what some breeders are doing with pugs, french and english bulldogs, german shepperds, and so on... all show breeds have A LOT of health issues, eyes, heart, dysplasia, allergies, epilepsy, joint and back problems, some breed can't even walk properly any more like basset hounds, sharpeis have horryble skin problems all breed are fiscally extreme these days ... we need to stop that and bring back the old breed, I'm going to breed pugs and english bulldogs like they used to be... I'm going to improve the breed... and I'm so happy there are more breeders like me, that don't give a shit about the shows but to breed healthy and working type dogs.

  3. Just another thought and in no way specific to Pugs - Human intervention in the reproductive lives of dogs has almost never resulted in a net positive outcome. We may select for "desirable" traits but almost always drag along undesirable traits into the bargain. Thinking that we can "fix" a breed by breeding smarter is the type of hubris that got us into this mess in the first place. Just something to keep in mind.

    1. Because we would definitely have "dogs" with zero human intervention in their reproductive lives...

    2. thank you Fraser for these words...

  4. Yay!! Pugs have such sweet temperaments; they deserve to be able to breathe.

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