BREED WATCH POINTS OF CONCERN FOR PUGS
See the Kennel Club website for the (Breed Watch Illustrated Guide – Pugs category 3)
Physical attributes as related to the Breed Standard for pugsthat can affect health issues in the breed and can be sometimes overlooked by both new and experienced judges. I hope some of the points raised here will at least make judges think about overall health of the breed and be aware not to reward attributes detrimental to health.
There are two points in this section that can affect health:
HEAD AND SKULL
This is perhaps one of the most important parts of the Standard relating to BOAS affected dogs and to the points of concern for pugs assessed as Category 3 on the Watch List Breeds. The Standard was written many years ago when a lot of breeds looked very different to today. I will not cover the historical aspect of exaggerations, save to say that without the extremes in previous years today’s pugs would still benefit if judges were aware of the effect of exaggerations that cause health issues in pugs. The Breed Standard is very clear with regard to nose, nostrils, over nose wrinkle and eyes.
The neck must be strong to be able to carry a large head, but proportionate to the body. This is a feature than cannot be ignored as the neck provides the space for the pharynx, larynx, trachea and all the soft tissue noticeable in brachycephalic breeds. We are not looking for a neck like a swan, but a good crest and a strong neck, but not too thick a neck should be an important consideration.
Brachycephalic dogs do not always have deep eye socketsand thus some pug’s eyes can be more prominent. Eye openings are round and eyelids should fit tightly around the eyes with no, or very little, white of the eye visible. Eyes should look healthy, clear and ‘free from obvious eye problems’. A heavy over nose-wrinkle that touches the surface of the eye will often cause irritation to a pug’s eyes and can cause low grade ulcers leading to pigmentation on the eye.
The body should be short and cobby, with a broad chest and well-sprung ribs carried well back. It is not said, but also implied a long sternum where the chest bones can attach. The correct size chest for a pug should provide both protection and space for the heart and lungs. This is unfortunately not always recognised by judges and many pug’s chests are too shallow, short and have no fore chest.Such chests give very poor help to the diaphragm musclesthat are very important for the well-being of the dog. Heavy abdominal breathing and stressed panting are often evident when this is the case. Similarly dogs that are ‘tied in at the elbow’ are similarly affected.
A level top line (neither roached nor dipping) can be a good indicator of a strong spine and certainly of a balanced outline. A mistake seen by judges is to reward dogs who over extend the back legs to disguise a dipping top line. Legs should be ‘well under’ the body.
SKIN AND COAT
This is part of the Watch List concerns and although relates to the well-being of the dog is easily visible to any judge. The usual area of concern is an infection under the nose roll or rarely where the tail curls onto the hip.