Forgive me; this is going to be long….I am conflicted.
Pugs have been a part of my family for three generations … they’ve been part of us for well over 85 years. For years, I knew of no other families with pugs; but we had magazines, books and pug organizations …and we had no debilitating medical problems with our dogs.
My earliest memories are of correcting people; it seemed like nobody knew what they were:
“he’s not a bulldog, he’s a pug”
“no, he didn’t run into a wall”
“that’s not very nice, he’s not ugly…I love him”
Fifty, forty years ago — I didn’t see pugs with their tongues hanging out constantly (birth defect); I wasn’t hearing or reading about nasal enlargement surgeries or the rest of it.
For the past 5 decades, none of our pugs have been purchased from a breeder; they have all been from shelters and legit rescue programs. One was adopted after being featured on Captain Penny’s Pooch Parade in the 1960s.
In 1981, a pug won Best of Show at Westminster. I recall telling my Vet that I hoped that “win” didn’t set off crazy popularity. I remember him looking at me oddly and asking “why?”.
I was shocked that he didn’t seem to be thinking —or concerned — about the long-term ramifications of a frenzy of bad breeding.
But that’s exactly what happened — and suddenly pugs were everywhere: in commercials, on greeting cards, etc.
…then “Men In Black” contributed to the irresponsible growth of the breed and so on & so on…
Ask long-time Dalmatian breeders what happened after the 101 Dalmatians movie came out.
Not a single pug of my grandparents’, my aunt or my immediate family ever required nasal surgery or had medical issues related to their respiratory system.
None of them were ever used for breeding.
Truth be told, I wish the day would come where only responsible, licensed, well-regulated breeders are permitted to sell animals.
I *wish* there weren’t so many animals dumped, abandoned, “born just for profit”; I will spend the rest of my life only having pets that come from those unfortunate situations.
I personally will not go to a reputable breeder, ever, for any future pets … not while so many other dogs are in shelters.
I wish I could.
In a different world, how I wish the breed hadn’t exploded — bringing all the physical problems now suffered by these sweet animals and perpetuated by greed & ignorance.
The breed is not inherently bad: irresponsible breeders are BAD.
Don’t buy from the Amish, EVER.
Don’t buy from people who “just wanted their dog to have one litter” and have no idea what the hell they’re doing.
Don’t purchase off of Craigslist; be responsible and do some damn research.
And while I’m on my soapbox: there’s no such thing as “teacup” or “miniature” or “micro” — they’re the result of runts being bred to runts. None of that is good.
Photo attached of my Grandpa — long before me. Sadly, these healthy pugs don’t look like what you see today.
Thank you, Karen, for stating exactly what needed to be said.
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