Based on findings of a recent study, pugs should no longer be regarded as “a normal dog” since many health problems plague the breed. The researchers contend that the dramatically elevated risks connected with “designer dog” breeding have driven respiratory and cognitive issues in pugs to such a degree that the species has now split from other prominent dogs; however, there are several healthcare concerns that need to be solved for both pugs as well as other brachycephalic dogs.
The study’s findings were presented in a paper published in BMC Canine Medicine and Genetics.
Pugs, bulldogs, boxers, and other “designer breeds” with significantly pushed-in noses are all considered brachycephalic dogs. They have shortened snouts and smaller heads than other dog breeds.
This results in clogged airways in addition to other health problems. In recent years, brachycephalic dogs have witnessed an explosion in popularity. This rise in popularity may be partially attributable to well-known celebrities posting photos of themselves with their pugs on social media and to the widespread use of these platforms.
Despite the apparent drawbacks of the breed, pugs are still being bred to have even shorter noses, while at the same time, welfare groups have emerged to produce a breeding standard that is more conducive to good health.
In the most recent study, a group of researchers from the Royal Veterinary College in the United Kingdom gathered a sample of 4,300 pugs and approximately 22,000 breeds of dogs that are not pugs and analyzed the likelihood of those breeds acquiring 40 different common illnesses.
Compared to dogs that were not pugs, pugs had a 1.86 times greater likelihood of being diagnosed with one or more disorders. Pugs had a greater frequency in 23 of the 40 diseases examined than other breeds.
There was a significantly increased chance of developing obstructive airway syndrome (nearly fifty-four times higher), stenotic nares (pinched nostrils making it difficult to breathe; fifty-one times higher risk), and corneal ulcers. These three conditions were among the most prevalent (13-times higher risk).
Pugs scored well on seven illnesses, including heart murmurs and aggressiveness, which suggests that the breed has some redeeming features concerning their overall health. However, the findings point to an alarmingly elevated risk of various illnesses in pugs, most directly connected to the shortness of the snout.
Pugs may “no longer be considered as a typical dog,” as the researchers put it, because of the wide variety of associated health difficulties.
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