UK

Owners of 'flat-faced' dogs discuss highs and lows of owning one

A pair of pug dogs Image copyright AFP

The fashion for dogs with flat noses has created animals who have difficulty breathing and seeing, according to the British Veterinary Association.

It says the creation of breeds such as pugs, bulldogs, shih-tzus and King Charles spaniels has "increased animal suffering".

Existing owners share their views on the advice.


Robert Quinn, Ashford, Kent, owns Valentino, a pug

Image copyright Robert Quinn

I became the proud owner of a pug about eight years ago, before they were as popular as they are now.

They are amazing little dogs, incredibly loving and good natured with wonderful, cheeky personalities.

Having said that, when I bought him, I was unaware of quite how significant their medical problems can be.

Valentino, as the poor little monkey is called, has scratched his bulging eyes loads of times.

Weep

He only has to bump into something and there's a risk he'll lose a chunk of his eyeball.

Not that I've ever seen that happen.

I just notice thereafter, sometimes days thereafter, when his eye begins to close and weep.

At that point, it's straight off to the vet for treatment for the eye ulcer that has inevitably formed.

Pain

We've had that happen to us three times now, maybe four.

As much as the worst thing about it is the pain for your little dog, the expense is important to consider too.

We've spent anywhere from a couple of hundred pounds to about £1,500 treating the ulcers, depending on how soon they were noticed and how bad they were.

Insurance will generally cover the cost, but if you haven't got insurance, which for pugs is very expensive, then you're going to have to fork out a lot on the poor little mite.

Sickens

As much as I adore pugs, I would find it hard to argue about restrictions being placed on their breeding.

When we bought him, we thought a pure, pedigree dog was the way to go.

Now, the thought sickens me.


Nicolla Moran, Chorley, Lancashire, owns Dolly, a Pekingese

Image copyright Nicolla Moran

I own a Pekingese - a breed people don't see much any more.

I found out about the breed when I was a manager at a care home and a lot of my clients talked about the breeds.

When I decided to buy a dog, I made sure that I did plenty of research and was careful in my choice of breeder.

I looked specifically for a pup with no roll over its nose and a clear muzzle.

I feel that my dog, Dolly, is a healthy and safe example of good breeding that I want people to look for.

She is very healthy, she can walk miles, swim, play in streams and she often works in care with me helping people with dementia.


Eral Anderson, Birmingham, owns Hugo, a bulldog

Image copyright Eral Anderson

I always wanted a short dog.

I did my research and bought Hugo.

Even though he's my world, I agree that people should stop buying them.

They take a hell of a lot of work to make sure they don't exert themselves and keeping them cool when it's warm, that's when they're most likely get into difficulties.


Swati Rao, Pinner, Middlesex, owns Merlin, a King Charles Spaniel

Image copyright Swati Rao

Merlin was our Christmas gift to our family of four in 2012.

We decided on the breed after extensive research.

Nobody mentioned any breathing problems, however the research did warn us about heart problems at later stages of life.

We wouldn't change anything about him.

He's brought so much joy and given endless love to us all.


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