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Why Do Pugs Have Short Noses?

We all love our pugs to death. They are endearing, cute, and playful little dogs that are loved by everyone in our families. While we all love the fact that our pugs look cute and tiny. It’s also important to understand that with all that cuteness comes a lot of health baggage. Our pugs can have extreme health consequences due to their biological features like short snouts and flat noses. Pugs are often bred under extreme conditions to produce certain features within their race. The endearing nature of our pugs’ snouts is so high in demand that dog owners try to exploit them by mating pugs with smaller snouts. Let’s discuss more on this topic:


Why Are Pugs Bred With Shorter Snouts?


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The reason why pugs have shorter snouts is that breeders breed them like that. It is also to fulfill the market demand. Pugs are much higher in market value when their snouts are short. That way their aesthetic value doubles and hence their price too. Pugs are also ideal for our high-paced lives. We are becoming more emotionally vulnerable with time and a good happy look at our dog’s face lights up our mood. The real reason however is the use of artificial selection in mating dogs. And the way the market demand is centered, so it is not only the breeders but us who need to be blamed as well. To ascertain this theory, one can check how other dogs with short-snouted dogs like Shih Tzu have seen high demand in their sales. The real reason however regarding shorter snouts lay in the following topics:

Selective Breeding

Selective breeding is generally a process of human manipulation into the life of a pug. It is done to get rid of all the negative attributes and keep features as per their liking. The problem though occurs when inbreeding which is often done to enhance a certain breed among dogs can have severe implications. These implications can be catastrophic as shorter snouts that we find cute among our pugs is fundamentally a medical issue for them. The ‘whiff’ and ‘puff’ that we find cute of a pug is a signal that they have breathing obstruction.

There will always be an attempt by the dog sellers to also try to control temperament-related problems. In this fast-paced life, there are more attempts at creating pugs that provide ease to human life. They try to eliminate undesirable characteristics through inbreeding.

Genetic Mutation

The hardcore scientific aspect to modifying characteristics and features of pugs come from the change in their genetic being. Scientists at the Hospital for small animals in Edinburgh examined 374 canines of mixed breeds and pedigrees. They found out that a certain mutation named SMCO2 disrupts the enhancement of facial length. They compared the pug’s skulls with many other dog skulls. They came to know in that comparison that a pug’s skull is much flatter than a mixed breed dog skull.


Health Problems Faced by Pugs Due to Selective Breeding


Pugs can face many problems due to their selective breeding process. Though it’s not true that all pugs will have some health problems. But as pet owners, we need to be aware of any possibility of a health issue that can torment our little friends.

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As far as the veterinary medical community is concerned, pugs can suffer from a host of health issues and let us discuss them:

  • Respiratory problem: Pugs have major breathing problems including the major Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). In this issue pugs generally have a very narrow upper respiratory tract that does not allow sufficient air to pass through their system. This is in general a very minor issue but can turn major while there are a lot of movements like during exercise or eating. When it turns into a major problem you can see symptoms of apnoea (breathing problem in sleep) in your pug.  To know if the situation has become critical you can check the gums of your pug. If it turns to have a blue colour that can be a sign of severe oxygen obstruction in its bloodstream.
  • Cardiovascular problems: Pugs can also face a lot of problems in oxygenating their blood due to restrictive airways. It creates a lot of strain in their cardiovascular system hence risking their heart health. 
  • Eye or Ocular issues: A pug’s eye is very sensitive to a point that its tears do not spread properly. They can face a host of problems due to it like corneal ulcers and prolapse.
  • Neurological issues: The compressed nature of a pug skull can cause a lot of autoimmune disorders in a pug. Pug encephalitis or PDE is a major problem affecting the pugs as it is so severe that it affects around 1.2% of their population. 
  • Skin and Teeth problems: The teeth of pugs are very sensitive and can suffer decay as well. It is also due to their elongated teeth and lower jaw. The characteristic of a multiple skin fold of a pug also comes with severe infections. And there is a chance that the infection can spread into the eyes and ears as well. 
  • Issues of reproduction: Pugs also face reproductive issues. Many female pugs face obstruction to give birth naturally and hence they deliver their babies through cesarean sections. Even a cesarean section is not safe for a female pug as they have breathing abnormalities as well. The technical side to this is that the face of a pug baby is too big to be assisted to a mother’s birthing canal.

Helping Your Pug to Breathe Better


Your pug will face some sort of genetic defect in breathing. They can have any of the following problems like the elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, brachycephalic airway syndrome, tracheal abnormalities. You have to be prepared that there is a chance for your pug to have a breathing attack.

You might even have to take them to your vet so that they can breathe easily. Some tips to follow while helping your pug to breathe better:

  • Do not venture them out when the humidity in your area is too much. Summers and humid conditions make a pug more irritated. As humidity also causes a lot of air imbalance in a region. The air imbalance can cause a lot of problems for a pug. Excessive heat also irritates pugs.
  • It’s not advised to make your pug exercise in the summer weather. The preferable time however for any pug to exercise is preferably mornings or later evenings. Your pug is more content in sleeping near a tree shade than exercise.
  • Brachycephalic dogs should not be tightened with collars as it can cause too much tension in their neck area. Rather harness is a better choice as it can spread the captivated region evenly. Too much pressure in one particular area can cause strain in that part.
  • The other thing one needs to remember while looking after breathing issues of your pug is to offer them a good comfortable bed. The base of the bed should be slightly elevated which will open up your pug’s air pipes and hence he/she won’t feel the strain.  
  • The other issue that can cause health issues is the prospect of gaining excess weight. Excess weight can cause a lot of health problems. Your pug should maintain a good exercise regimen and also eat healthy food in case it starts gaining a lot of weight. More weight can cause excessive stress on their respiratory system and further render them breathless.
  • It is important for us to also act as responsible parents to them. When you see your pug getting overly excited about some things they get breathless. If they are playing with any other dog and suddenly they start becoming breathless, it’s time to take them away. Similarly, if they get too excited about a toy, take it away from them if they get breathless.

Should I Get a Short-snouted pug?


Pugs can be very cute and yes they look adorable but one has to assess both the cost and repercussions of the investment. You have to be sure about the fact that pugs can have major health issues including ailments that can make you visit the vet almost once every week. They do have cute eyes, ears and wrinkly skin, but one should ask if they are ready for the commitment that comes with it. You should also know that most of these pugs are crossbred and hence they appear so cute. They have genetic problems. Their quality of life is severely affected due to these predisposed abnormalities of genes.

You have to know that you might have to pay a lot of vet bills and buy an insurance premium to take care of your cute little friend. Here is a more organised way of the pros and cons.

Pros of petting short-snouted pugs Cons of petting short-snouted pugs
Adorable and cute High vet charges, health problems
Suitable for urban life Payment of Insurance premium

Why Do People Love Squashed Face Dogs?


People are loving the companion breed of dogs as opposed to active dogs. They are loving these new breeds of city dogs that are providing them good moral and emotional support. In countries like the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. there is a widespread surge in love for pugs. Many people are opting for these flat-faced dogs as pets.

Final Words

Pugs with shorter snouts can have a lot of health issues. We have to be wary about it, Pugs have cute faces but there is a dark truth seeped in that wiggly skin. 


FAQs on Why Do Pugs have Short Noses?


Are pugs genetically modified?

Ans: Pugs are genetically modified through inbreeding. As opposed to the natural selection of passing on a tougher breed, pugs on the other hand are bred with selective and artificial selection. This kind of breeding is done to enhance the marketability to sell a bug by enhancing its appeal. But it comes with many physical problems.

Were pugs bred to take down lions?

Ans: This fact has no basis in reality. There is one Chinese legend that talked about it, but it is mostly an untrue occurrence that is being propagated to keep the market value of pugs high. Pugs are neither aggressive dogs nor have they taken down any lion.