One way to fully oxygenate a pug is to mate it to a beagle.
And make a puggle.
And tick some people off.
Like a former president of the Pug Dog Club of America.
Of course, this person is a proponent of the toilet science that is behind the “pure blood cult” that unfortunately underpins the entire established dog fancy.
Now, let’s keep in mind that pugs are one of those breeds that has been utterly FUBAR by Western fanciers. A flatter and flatter muzzle means breathing and cooling problems, also known as brachycephalic airway syndrome. The desire to produce a double curl in the tail has also predisposed the dog to spinal issues.
And I could go on.
But those facts don’t stop this former president from making a whole series of really stupid comments about what happens when you breed a pug to a beagle.
The first of these is the nearl tautology in the title “Pugs and Beagles: Two Distinct and Separate Breeds.”
My answer to that statement is ”So?”
A breed is something humans contrive. It is not a biological entity, and the notion that a breed should always be pure is something that has generally been rejected in animal husbandry. And it’s only been the gold standard of dogs for about a 150 years– and even then, it was not universally accepted in all breeds.
Now, a puggle is just a dog with 50% pug genes that happens to have a normal muzzle and a single curl to the tail.
It’s not unlike the pug that you’d find in England in the eighteenth century, like this fine specimen:
Yep. That’s William Hogarth with his own pug (“Trump.”)
Pugs were not always extremely brachycephalic.
And they also did not exist in their current form for thousands of years.
And they didn’t exist in a closed registry system for all that time.
The former president makes this a major part of her complaint against puggles:
The Pug is an ancient breed dating back to the Major Han dynasty (206 b.c. to a.d.200) in China. They were bred for the emperors and other high officials.
Well, not exactly.
Pugs were largely developed in their current form in the Dutch Republic and then in Great Britain. Indeed, there was a belief that most pugs were from the Netherlands, and only the black ones were Chinese. The black pugs were derived from Chinese stock that was brought to Britain in the late nineteenth century, but the bulk of pugdom was developed from stock that came to Europe in the seventeenth century. And they were crossed with lots of different European breeds, including pinschers and terriers.
No one threw little fits about people breeding Chinese dogs to European ones in those days.
But, oh, do they now.
Now, this former pug club president goes off into the morass of toilet science and easily disproved claims about what happens if you cross two breeds:
The breed [the pug] has several health issues including the more common of elongated soft palates, to Pug Dog Encephalitis, which is always fatal, Hemi-vertebrae, which causes rear leg paralysis and Epilepsy. They are also prone to all sorts of eye problems and obesity.
Their biggest problem is they are such wonderful pets they have become popular and as is often the case this new found popularity is not good for the breed…
Upon checking the Beagle web site we find this breed is a hunting breed of note. He often works in packs. Is very active and not necessarily a lap dog.
The Beagle web site lists 97 health problems with about 20 listed as those with a higher incidence within the breed. These also include common problems such as elongated soft palates to epilepsy to severe eye problems.
Therefore, why take these two wonderful breeds and combine them to make a “breed of the month”? There are very good medical reasons not to mix such health issues and one wonder if the purchasers of these “Puggles” are willing to not only pay the price of medical problems but also undergo the heartache when their fashionable breed experiences life threatening issues.
There is a common claim among the high priests of the blood purity cult that if you cross two breeds you get the health problems of both breeds.
Most of the health problems purebred are the result of recessive alleles. Most of these diseases are exposed through a reduction in genetic diversity within a breed, which are usually the result of the closed registry system and popular sire syndrome. As the dogs within a breed become more related to each other over time, the greater the chance of them producing dogs with these health defects.
When one crosses two breeds, that issue is usually mitigated through simple probability.
Not all diseases are recessives, of course.
And if beagles and pugs had the same disorder that is caused by the same mutation or series of mutations, then one could make the case that crossing them might cause health problems.
We already know pugs do have a lot of issues with genetic diversity. (All 10,000 pugs in the UK are derived from just 50 ancestors. It’s not as extreme as Cavaliers, Sussex spaniels or Norwegian lundehunds, but they do derive from a very limited gene pool.)
But the real issues pugs have are the result of their bizarre conformation.
And when you cross a pug with a normal dog, these effects are mitigated a bit.
The truth is there is a religious belief in the dog fancy that two breeds should never be crossed, unless we’re talking about extreme circumstances.
And then, even when extreme circumstances are revealed, as is clearly the case with the very inbred Norwegian lundehund, crossbreeding is attacked as some sort of unmitigated evil.
It must be denounced.
But the truth is this is all a smokescreen.
The pug fanciers might want to denounce puggles all they want.
But puggle breeders didn’t produce the defective dogs we call the pug today.
It was “reputable” and “responsible” breeders, who “show.”
And the show ring, instead of “improving” the pug, distorted and contorted its conformation until it no longer resembles a dog.
It is now a flat-faced freak that can’t really breathe or cool itself.
Although there are procedures that can alleviate some of these problems, one way to oxygenate a pug is to let one mate with a beagle.
And then you get something that maybe Mr. Hogarth would recognize as a being a pug dog.
And it’s “pug dog,” not “pug species” or “pug space alien.”
Pugs are still dogs.
And they have canine anatomy and physiology.
We ought to respect these simple facts when we’re producing dogs.
We can breed dogs that have quite impaired bodies.
And it’s simply not ethical.
And in my book, breeding a pug to a beagle is a more ethical endeavor than continuing down this bizarre path of flat-faces, deformed brains, and distorted spines.
But then again, I’m operating under the presupposition that logic and evidence mean anything.
And you really can’t do this with members of a cult.
They already know the “facts,” and the louder they talk, the more true they are!