I don’t quite agree that it would be next to impossible to rescue the pug breed once there is sufficient consensus amongst influential pug breeders to do it. Even one generation of breeding to suitable outcrosses would achieve quite a lot in reducing the brachycephalyof this breed, getting it back to where it was many decades ago.There is nowadays an acceptance of outcrossing to achieve useful ends (as well as to create pretty crossbreds), for example the cockerpoo and labradoodle.
I agree, but getting that consensus is going to be harder than the breeding back to a healthy body shape. Especially when people like Olive’s owner are buying “cute” little flat faced dogs and only doing their research the heartbreak way after acquiring a pug with bad health due to their conformation.
But only after she ended up with a poor little sick pug. I’m not saying she’s a bad or silly person in any way and it’s admirable that she’s now fighting to stop other people and pugs suffering like she and Olive have done. But it still stands that even if she’s fighting to be part of the solution, she started off as part of the problem.
I personally wouldn’t go to IGs as a natural outcross for a pug. I’d be tempted to go for a Tibetan Spaniel as the pups not puggy enough and subsequent throwbacks would be very pretty. Also, tibbies on the whole have good health.
Personally I don’t find flat faced dogs cute! I prefer natural looking dogs and thus the flat faced ones are as far removed as perfect dog look to me as is possible.
I think things may gradually change led by the public. Someone buys a pug, it cost a fortune in vets fees and dies young, they don’t buy a pure pug again! I see more pug mixes around than pugs tbh.
It`s simply not working that way. Pug litter registrations and sales are soaring. Alll the health problems are put forward as “special features of the breed” by the breeders, and the word “cute” is heavily overused. More Pug litters are bred in the UK than of any other Toy breed, and the numbers keep going up.
Otis, I notice, has better muzzle length than olive, which I’m sure will be a significant factor to enable the sky diver to have a better life than poor olive. It should be a no brainer for the pug clubs to change the standard, presuming they are not idiots!
The copy of the pug breed standard that I have (dated 1991) says “The muzzle is short, blunt, square, but not up faced.”. There is nothing that even implies flat-faced or without any length of muzzle at all. So, tis not the wording of the standard, but peoples’ interpretation.
This would seem to be an example of that insidious creeping away from “ideal” under the guise of “more is better”, I.e., “the shorter the better” in this case, that has ruined so many breeds.
Most breeds are at the mercy of the way people interpret the breed standard. In many breeds, there are several different “lines” and it depends on what the judge on the day prefers/owns. I remember a few years ago passing the rottweiler ring and I was astonished at the variance in size, heads, body shape, rear angulation etc… between dogs of the same sex and age. The show siberian huskies fall into roughly two extremes of type, being the stocky, fluffy pet type and the rangy, skinny, whippety sledding type with not many in between. I could go on and on.
The only breed I can think of in recent years that’s gone the other way towards a homogenous look is the shar-pei. At one time they were all shapes, sizes and colours. Nowadays, you can look at a show class and see mostly moderate type red fawn brushcoats with the odd horsecoat or other colour. I’ll keep the can of worms of the whys and wherefores unopened for now.
It would nevertheless be perfectly possible to write an unambiguous wording into the standards which would indicate more precisely a healthy length of muzzle. Then it would be a matter of education and encouragement. That ‘encouragement’ could include disqualification of flat-faced pugs at major shows, plus ongoing debate to promote the breeding of pugs which will live comfortable lives, not cost the earth in vet fees and with the eventual aim of eliminating a lot of the present sadness associated with this breed.
I wish our main kennel club in the US was inclined to do this.
It’s hard for breeders who want to do the right thing, but also want to find good homes for their pups, to go outside the AKC. The public, by-in-large, still accepts AKC as a seal of quality. Around here (Central Florida), we see a lot of CKC registrations, and these are widely considered second class and semi-fraudulent.
Strange, isn’t it, that anyone would be so stupid and insensitive as to breed dogs which cannot breathe adequately, I mean that is a basic requirement and right for any living thing. You would think it would be grounds for prosecution.