When you think of an “ugly” dog breed, chances are that a pug comes to mind. Pugs are often lampooned for their flat, smooshed-in faces and bulging eyes. But why are some dog breeds seen as ugly while others are seen as cute? There’s a reason for this, and it has everything to do with evolution.
Pugs are ugly. I don’t think there is any doubt about that. They have short snouts and big eyes, and their skin is all wrinkly. But what I want to talk about today is not just how ugly they are, but why they are ugly. See, pugs suffer from a condition called brachycephalic syndrome, which basically means that their skulls are too short and their airways are too small. This leads to all sorts of problems like difficulty breathing, overheating, and even organ damage. So why would anyone want to own a pug?
The Pug’s Unique History
As mentioned, pugs suffer from brachycephalic syndrome, which is a deformity that gives them their characteristic short snout and flat face. This deformity is caused by centuries of inbreeding.
Pugs were originally bred in China, where they were kept as companion animals by Buddhist monks and were bred to be companions for Chinese emperors. Dutch traders brought them to Europe in the 16th century, where they quickly rose in popularity thanks to their generous dispositions and small size. It wasn’t until the Victorian era, however, that the Pug’s physical appearance began to change significantly.
Queen Victoria was a well-known pug enthusiast during this time, and she began breeding them to create even more exaggerated physical features—such as shorter noses and curvier bodies. These changes were made purely for aesthetic reasons and had no bearing on the dog’s health or well-being. In fact, many of these changes ended up giving the Pug a host of health problems, such as difficulty breathing and eye injuries. Due to their popularity, pugs were heavily bred, and their genes were passed down through generations of dogs. This inbreeding has led to the severe deformities we see in pugs today.
Not only are pugs ugly, but their health problems are also a direct result of their breeding. Because of their short snouts, pugs often have difficulty breathing. They are also prone to eye infections and other issues related to their flattened faces. In addition, pugs often suffer from joint problems and skin infections. All of these health problems can be traced back to the severe deformities resulting from centuries of inbreeding.
As time passed, these exaggerated features became increasingly popular, to the point where they are now considered part of the Pug’s defining look. However, many people still consider these features unattractive, so Pugs (and other similarly bred dogs) are often seen as ugly.
Why Do People Keep Breeding Pugs?
Despite all of these health problems, pugs continue to be one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Pugs are small dogs, which makes them convenient pets for people who live in small apartments or houses.
- Pugs are known for being very affectionate dogs. They are often described as “a kid’s toy” because they are eager to please their owners.
- Pugs have low exercise needs, making them ideal pets for people who don’t have much time to take their dogs for walks or runs.
Pug’s popularity is likely due to a combination of these factors. However, there is no denying that their popularity comes at a cost, namely, the severe health problems that are a direct result of their breeding. So why do people continue to breed these ugly dogs? That’s a question that doesn’t have an easy answer. Some veterinarians have advocated to stop buying these breeds due to health problems.
While some people may find Pugs unattractive, there’s no denying that these dogs have become one of the most popular breeds in recent years. Thanks to their history as companions for Chinese emperors and British royalty alike, Pugs have an air of distinction that can’t be found in other breeds. So, even though they might not be everyone’s cup of tea in terms of looks, there’s no mistaking that Pugs are one of the most unique breeds around.
Here is a video on dog breed deformities, which also includes the ugly Pug: