Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Breed of the Week: Pug

Pugs are a breed I'm pretty familiar with since I worked for someone who was a HUGE fan (and owner) and had many pug owning clients because of that.  

Pugs are a breed that is often considered cute or ugly or both and often by the same people. They definitely have their share of problems - behaviorally and health wise.

They come in a either fawn or black. They originated in China and became AKC recognized in 1885.  

They are very lively dogs with a LOT of personality.  Most of them are extremely sweet and friendly. I've only encountered a few that were simply aggressive.

Health issues:
1. Obesity - beyond common to the point that I go OUT OF MY WAY to praise every Pug that's in excellent body weight. AND make sure I tell they owners to KEEP doing what they are doing!

2. Respiratory issues - as with any of these brachycephalic (short nose/squishy face) breeds, they are born with an already compromised airway. They do NOT tolerate heat or stress very well at all. They can be born with stenotic nares  which may require surgical correction. They can also have an extra long soft palate which will cause abnormal respiratory noises and issues - again these dogs need surgery.

3. Facial fold issues - any of these breeds with crinkly faces can have these problems and people tend to want the dogs that are MORE wrinkled. They can get infections and also have issues with tear draining, tear staining and also entropion (where the lids roll in). The latter is a problem that requires surgery.

4. They can have luxating patellas too (like some of our OTHER toy breeds - they are considered a toy breed)

5. A specific seizure disorder called NME (necrotizing meningioencephalitis). This is serious and hereditary. NOW there is a DNA screening test for breeders. It's a test for a "risk factor" NOT a definite "this dog will get the disease." They say that a dog with this is 13x more likely to develop NME. AND there are some dogs without this factor that can develop it. It is simply a TOOL to help breeders hopefully minimize this in future generations. NME can be fatal - I saw it kill a technicians dog - dog did not respond to any treatments.

6. Nail trims - they hate them. Plain and simple. I may have met 3 Pugs that tolerate this well. The rest (which are GREAT no matter what else you do to them - vaccines, etc) will nearly turn blue sometimes fighting you on this. I think there is some genetic thing here (*kinda joking but not 100%*)

7. Because they have the same number of teeth as other dogs crammed into a small and abnormally shaped mouth, they tend to have dental disease and need regular dental cleanings under anesthesia (where trust me, they will breath the best they have in their life with that endotracheal tube in place!). 

8. Skin/ear issues. I have seen a lot of them have chronic infections/allergies.

9. Behaviorally - apparently difficult to housebreak. 

10. Often need C-sections if you are going to breed (which again, I do not recommend).

Purchasing a pug puppy is not inexpensive but if you do, be prepared that costs do not end there (this really should be said of EVERY animal - sadly so many don't seem to get that or think about it until they can't provide needed care). But this breed does have a higher maintenance cost than other breeds and certainly than a nice shelter mutt.

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