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Mum wants a pug!

(21 Posts)
BurnThePages Thu 08-Dec-16 13:18:34

My mum, out of the blue, has just announced she wants a pug.

The set up is this - she retired 6 months ago. Myself and my 4 year old boy live with her and two cats. Myself and my boy will likely move out in the next couple of years.

The flat is large and spacious, with a medium sized back yard.

Just hoped someone with pug experience would come along and chat with me about it, I am really excited at the prospect of mum getting a pug but just wonder about the cats and my boy. Will they all get along?? smile confused

She says she wants to buy from a breeder, but they are very expensive. I think she should consider rescuing one but she doesn't seem keen for some reason. Maybe she thinks they will have behavioural problems. Is this a 'thing'?

Also about training, I read pugs are hard to train, is this true?

Is there anything else she should consider?

Any advice or thoughts would be great, thanks

Wolfiefan Thu 08-Dec-16 13:20:46

You need to read up on the breed. Health issues etc. is there a breed club you could speak to? Go to shows? Meet owners and ask questions.

BurnThePages Thu 08-Dec-16 13:25:03

Thanks Wolfie

We have done a bit of reading up about possible health issues - making sure the folds of skin on the face are clean; possible eye infections and breathing problems. Keeping them hydrated and cool as their stubby snouts make it difficult to do for themselves.

toboldlygo Thu 08-Dec-16 13:32:09

IMO the most important thing to consider, before anything else on your list, are the health issues. Pugs are one of the most extremely brachycephalic breeds and come with a host of painful, expensive and lifespan-shortening conditions as a result of their appearance.

It is a great shame for them as the ones I know have lovely characters - you seldom meet an unpleasant pug - but having worked in veterinary practice and seen the progress of BOAS, hemivertebrae, enucleations for various eye conditions etc. I cannot help but feel strongly against their breeding. There are many other toy breeds without extreme conformation that I feel would make better pets.

pigsDOfly Thu 08-Dec-16 13:36:37

Pugs are very prone to breathing and other health problems and there are a lot of puppy farmed pugs out there with the potential for major health problems.

If she doesn't want a rescue then buying from a reputable breeder is the only way. It does mean however, that she will be put on a waiting list and will have quite a long wait.

Reputable breeders often have the list of potential buyers already closed before the bitch is even pregnant. She needs to do a lot of homework to find a reputable breeder if they have pups waiting to be homed, then they are very likely to be a puppy farm.

If she buys one from anything less than a good breeder she'll be supporting a cruel and horrible trade. Oh and just so she knows the puppy is unlikely to be any less expensive than buying from a proper breeder.

Find a specialist pug rescue centre. You never know they might have some pups. And dogs are in rescues for many different reason, many of them come from loving homes, they don't all come with problems.

BurnThePages Thu 08-Dec-16 13:52:21

Thank you both. I will speak to my mum about all of the points raised, and do a search for specialist pug rescue homes. I really do think she should rescue if she can.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 08-Dec-16 13:59:03

Poor pugs sad It's really sad what overbreeding does in same cases.

Definitely a rescue .

Wolfiefan Thu 08-Dec-16 14:02:29

If she does want a puppy you may have to wait months and months. Walk away from anyone who gives just a mobile number. Doesn't want to home check. Doesn't ask questions to check your suitability.
Go through breed club. Make contacts.

TrionicLettuce Thu 08-Dec-16 14:12:40

If she's adamant she wants to go to a breeder rather than get a rescue then she needs to be very careful she's going to someone reputable. Unfortunately this is likely to require either a fair amount of travelling, a long wait or both.

It is absolutely not worth compromising when it comes to pugs though. Yes, she could no doubt easily find a breeder just down the road with puppies ready either now or fairly soon but they are so riddled with health problems (mostly as a result of their conformation) and so over bred by BYBs/puppy farms that it's just not worth the risk.

Any decent breeder of pugs will firstly have done all the appropriate health testing for the breed. This means hip scoring (although sadly it seems incredibly rare for anyone in the breed to do this) with a result well below the breed average, a patella check and an x-ray to look for signs of hemivertebrae. They should also have had DNA tests done for degenerative myelopathy, May-Hegglin anomaly, pyruvate kinase deficiency, primary lens luxation and pug dog encephalitis. For each of those conditions at least one parent must be clear, except in the case of May-Hegglin anomaly where both parents must be clear.

The mating should have a low coefficient of inbreeding, preferably as close to 0 as possible but at the very least below the breed average (which for pugs is currently 5.2%). This article explains why low COIs are so important.

On top of those health tests and giving consideration to COI they should also be actively breeding for less exaggeration. This means intentionally selecting for longer muzzles, open nostrils and fewer wrinkles. The most common health problems which affect pugs are brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (where breathing is compromised as a result of the flat face, excess soft palate and pinched nostrils), brachycephalic ocular syndrome (where the eyes are at high risk of injury due to the flat face making them bulge) and skin fold dermatitis. These are all directly related to the physical shape of the dog and a huge proportion of pugs suffer from one or all of them to some degree, particular the breathing issues. Sometimes these just require management but in some cases surgical intervention is necessary to allow the dog to function as normal. Any half decent breeder should be actively trying to reduce the chances of puppies they breed being affected by these conditions which means actively breeding away from the exaggerations which are currently accepted as normal for the breed.

Unfortunately whilst full health testing is becoming more common it's still very difficult to find breeders who are really concentrating on improving health by reducing exaggeration. Pugs really are in such a state now that I don't think it's going to be possible to improve them again without a careful, well planned outcrossing programme.

That said, going for a pug cross bred by your average breeder is not a good idea. There's a huge difference between a properly planned outcross and just chucking the closest terrier/poodle/whatever at a pug and hoping for the best. The vast majority of these crosses are bred by BYBs cashing in on the fashion for ever more ridiculous breed combinations.

Given the scarcity of decent breeders an adult rescue pug, whose breathing and general health can be evaluated prior to adoption, is a much safer bet than compromising and getting a puppy from a less than ideal breeder.

BagelGoesWalking Thu 08-Dec-16 15:50:29

I second all the things said about health issues/breeders etc.

Has she ever had a dog before?
Has she ever had a puppy before?
Would she consider another breed?

Puppies are seriously hard work and, if she wants a well behaved one, not a spoilt "mummy's little boy" dog, she'll really have to commit to training and re-training. She would be much better off with a slightly older dog who has at least the basics.

Would she look at a poodle? There are some lovely small toy poodles at She could do a wonderful things and rehome a dog who is used to living in a house, has some training and will provide her with a lot of companionship.

orangeyellowgreen Thu 08-Dec-16 18:32:20

You're very unlikely to find a rescue pug, they're expensive and delightful little dogs whose owners always adore them.
Those I know are all healthy and lively but you do need to research any breed before looking for a pup.

pigsDOfly Thu 08-Dec-16 18:57:09

There are specialist pug rescue Orange.

Think you'll find specialist rescue for almost all breeds of dog somewhere in the country. Not all rescue have been ill treated or neglected. People's circumstances change, sometimes owners become too ill to look after them or the owner dies.

pigsDOfly Thu 08-Dec-16 18:58:09

Not sure what happened to the letter s on the end of rescue every time I typed it.

FatOldBag Thu 08-Dec-16 19:13:43

Pugs are lovely. Great with kids, and should be fine with cats if socialised with them from a puppy. They are an absolute fucking arse-ache to potty train. It's worth getting an adult rescue pug just for that, haha! If you go on pug forums on FB you'll see a lot of puppy owners posting in frustration about potty training, and lots of replies saying things like "mine wasn't fully trained until nearly a year old" or similar. They don't need too much walking, a couple of short walks a day is fine if they access to a reasonable garden as well. Never walk them in the middle of the day on a sunny day as they can overheat. Careful not to overfeed as they will eat anything in any amount, and they're only little so can get tubby which isn't good on such a small frame (I know how that feels, haha!). They do like a lot of company so a newly retired lady like your mum who's home a lot with time to invest in them and their training would be ideal.

GettingitwrongHauntingatnight Thu 08-Dec-16 19:16:26

Do many pugs come up for rescue?

They are super little dogs, don't need much exercise, love peopke especially children.

Only downside is they can have health problems. Mine has cost me a fortune bit and hes not 1 yet!

FatOldBag Fri 09-Dec-16 09:13:04

Rarely, there is a pug rescue, but it's more a case of registering your details and circumstances and waiting for a pug to come in that matches your circumstances (rather than having a load of them in kennels waiting a home like in a lot of dog shelters). When they arrive in local/general dog rescue shelters, they are snapped up in days.

Helsinkimorning Fri 09-Dec-16 09:20:15

Get a quote for pet insurance for a pug. It's definitely necessary. It may make your mum change her mind.

BurnThePages Fri 09-Dec-16 10:10:56

Thank you everyone for your replies, its very much appreciated. I will show this thread to my mum.

We spoke about it briefly last night, about the possible health problems and the amount of time it may take to train a pup. She is thinking about it. Her heart is set on a pug I think.

haveacupoftea Tue 13-Dec-16 12:04:58

Hi, I have several pugs and have contributed to a book about pug care. I would definitely recommend befriending your local pug club and the pug rescue organisation on FB. Champdogs will have a list of reputable breeders and you can get on a waiting list. They rarely come up for rescue although I have seen some poor old ex breeding girls on Gumtree who could do with a second chance at life.

They have fantastic personalities, are loving and funny, but very stubborn (pugnacious!). You will find a lot of owners are extremely fond of their pugs and there's a lot of love for precious senior pugs in the pug clubs.

As a companion for an older person, they really are ideal.

I wont go over the health problems as that has already been said. They are a risk but your pug may also be perfectly healthy. As with any dog they are likely to need vet care at various stages of their life in any case.

Forget about the cost btw. A pug lover will cheerfully pay the going rate for their new best friend smile

littlefrenchonion Wed 14-Dec-16 14:11:22

What I tell my clients at work who are considering getting a pug: take a piece of gaffa take and stick it over your mouth. Then bung one nostril with cotton wool. Leave both in place for 24 hours, including a little jog around a field.

THEN see how you feel about getting a pug. This is their reality. Yes - they are generally well behaved, but that is because most pugs I see in practice are too busy focusing on breathing.

It's a cruel life. Tell your mum to think carefully.

NavyandWhite Fri 16-Dec-16 08:03:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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