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Is It Immoral to Get a Pug?

Pet Ethics

By Burn BookPublished about a year ago 3 min read
Is It Immoral to Get a Pug?
Photo by Toshi on Unsplash


I know this isn’t a subject that I usually cover and my previous articles would lead one to assume dogs are the bane of my existence, however, I feel like this is an issue that needs addressing. Plus, this’ll count as my good deed of the week.

I feel like the cult of pugs and bulldogs reached an all-time high in recent years. You couldn’t watch a Youtube video without an influencer parading their scrotum-faced dog around, huffing and snorting and barely breathing.

But soooooo adorable, right?!?

It would seem that they ignored all of the controversial conversation surrounding the breeding and subsequent ownership of these dogs. While these breeds may be cute and popular, the genetic abnormalities and health issues that they are prone to suffer from as a result of selective breeding raise serious ethical concerns.

But first, let’s take a step back and look at the history of these breeds. Pugs were first bred in China, where they were kept as lapdogs by emperors and empresses. They were then brought to Europe in the 16th century and quickly became popular among the upper class. Bulldogs, on the other hand, were originally bred in England for bull baiting, a popular sport in medieval times. They were later used for dog fighting and were eventually bred to be the friendly, gentle giants we know today.

Now fast forward to present day, and these breeds are suffering from the very traits that made them popular in the first place.

By JC Gellidon on Unsplash

The physical characteristics that make these breeds so distinctive, such as the pug’s wrinkled face and the bulldog’s short snout, are the source of many health problems. Pugs’ wrinkled faces, for example, are prone to breathing difficulties, skin infections, and eye problems due to their flat faces. While Bulldogs are prone to respiratory issues and overheating due to their short snouts.

These health issues are not only painful for the dogs themselves, but they also require costly and ongoing vet care. According to Dr. Karen Becker, a veterinarian and animal health expert, “Many bulldogs and pugs have chronic health issues related to their breeding. These health issues can be expensive to treat and can shorten the dog’s life.”

Furthermore, selective breeding for certain physical characteristics (god only knows why people actually want their dogs to look like they’ve been repeatedly smacked in the face by a frying pan) can also lead to physical abnormalities that can affect the dog’s quality of life. For example, pugs and bulldogs are known to have a higher incidence of hip dysplasia, a genetic condition that causes the hip joint to develop abnormally and can lead to arthritis and lameness. Apart from the health issues, breeding these specific breeds also perpetuates a cycle of inbreeding which makes the breeding population more susceptible to genetic disorders, which more often than not results in them having a shorter lifespan.

By freestocks on Unsplash

The American Kennel Club (AKC), the largest purebred dog registry in the United States, has also recognized the health issues associated with these breeds. In an article on their website, the AKC states that “Pugs and bulldogs are two of the breeds most affected by brachycephalic syndrome, a condition caused by the shortening of the upper airway.”

After reading about the life of progressive suffering that these dogs are subject to, I can’t help but think that anyone who is still actively breeding them or wants to own them is an S-tier selfish person. Breeding them is not only unethical but also unnecessary. There are plenty of other breeds that make great pets without the health issues. And if the demon that possesses you still yearns for a pug, I guess there’s always the option of adopting from shelters and rescue organizations. You kill two birds with one stone by helping to discourage continued breeding and you get to perform a greater good for the dog community.

Wow. Virtue signaling feels great. I should really do this more often.



About the Creator

Burn Book

Die-hard cynic and sarcasm aficionado. Home of long form shower thoughts and unmedicated psychosis. Enjoy.

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