I get flak in the street and online due to owning shar-pei. I will defend my breed against the ignorant comments about their physical appearance from people who know nothing about the breed.
But unlike a lot of owners and even breeders, I’ll fully cop to the breed’s genetic problems. My conversations are usually along the lines of “No they don’t need their wrinkles cleaning out, yes they can breathe normally, no they’re not a fighting dog… but they often have their eyes tacked as pups, their immune systems are screwed through the tiny gene pool the original imports came from and a good percentage have chronic ear infections. Saying all that, I can’t imagine being without one in my life (though they have and always will be second hand/rescues).
Many years ago when our children were very young we went to see a litter of pugs for sale. I confess we were not familiar with the breed at that time. The owners had also been exhibitors and they had about six or seven adult pugs of various ages which they introduced to us all sat together on a settee. These owners could see from our expressions that we were concerned about the pugs’ heavy breathing and the fact that some were badly overweight – and so they suggested that maybe this was not the breed for us or words to that effect. Not long after that we decided on another breed of small dog – the cavalier spaniel. “Out of the frying pan” etc. Our only excuse was that this was nearly fifty years ago and before there was a general acknowledgement that the cavalier breed was an even worse disaster than the pug. We eventually got into Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and had many happy years with that breed, even, to our surprise, becoming UK ‘top breeders’ during the mid eighties.