The Pug is an ancient breed of Chinese origin that came to England with Prince William of Orange when he gained power as King of England in 1688. The English Stud Book records Pugs as far back as 1859 and Britain’s first Pug Dog Club was approved by the Kennel Club in January 1883. The Kennel Club currently allows four colourings: fawn, black, silver and apricot.

Pugs are currently very popular in the UK and were the fifth most commonly registered UK pedigree dog breed in 2014. Behaviours such as attention seeking and begging for food, and childlike facial features such as large dark round eyes and flat faces are seen as endearing by human owners. However, despite their popularity, the breed has some well-documented health issues, especially in relation to eye, breathing and obesity problems. Collection of health information on large numbers of Pugs attending veterinary practices in England would provide reliable data to assist with reforms that aim to improve the health of the breed. The VetCompass Programme collects de-identified clinical record data from veterinary practices in the UK for research to improve animal welfare.

Pugs made up 2709 (1.03 %) of the 264,260 study dogs under veterinary care from September 1st, 2009 to 30thApril, 2015. By calculating the proportion of dogs born each year that were Pugs, the study showed that Pugs accounted for less than 1 % of puppies born each year before 2008 annual but rose to comprise 2.8 % of all puppies born in 2013. The most common colours of the study Pugs were fawn (63.1 %), black (27.7 %), apricot (7.6 %) and silver (2.1 %).

Of the 1009 pugs under veterinary care during 2013, 688 (68.19 %) had at least one disorder recorded. The most common disorders recorded were overweight/obesity (13.18 %), corneal (eye surface) problems (8.72 %) and ear infections (7.53 %). The most commonly affected parts of the body affected were the head-and-neck (43.51 %) and abdomen (19.33 %).

This study of over one thousand Pugs provides a framework to identify the most important health priorities in Pugs and can assist with reforms to improve health and welfare within the breed.