Doby the Pug Visited at Our Sacramento Clinic

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Here at one of our clinics in Sacramento is a pug named Doby and his human. Pugs like Doby have a sweet disposition which makes them good and loving pets and we can easily see in this picture what kind of quality relationship Doby has with his human. The breed dates back to the 3rd century Han Dynasty of China and has always been kept as a pet or lap dog. By studying painted portraits of European Pugs dating back to around 1750 we can see that while they have always been a somewhat brachycephalic breed, their body and head type has changed significantly over the centuries. The original Pugs had longer legs, less exaggerated muscling, larger bodies with smaller heads and above all, a less pronounced brachycephalic. This last point means that the old pug breeds did not have such short faces as do our modern Pugs and therefore did not suffer from the same problems we see today. The process of breeding for the irresistibly cute dogs we now know has led to problems breathing which can be related to either the nose, the soft palate the trachea or any combination of the three. This has also led to extreme heat sensitivity and we in California’s central valley have to keep this in mind all summer long as our valley heat can easily do serious and permanent damage to the organs and brain of an overheated pug. Another modern characteristic of today’s Pugs is that they don’t mind being sedentary and therefore tend to have lifelong weight-gain problems which should be carefully managed as all the problems previously described are exacerbated by overweight and obesity. The Pug has been used for centuries in the production of a wide variety of other dog breeds and this has been done to achieve a smaller body, like the Shih-Tzu, Lhasa, King Charles or, as in the Bulldog types, to achieve a shorter jaw with fighting advantages, or as we see with Bostons, Frenchies and others to produce a sweet-tempered pet dog which is universally recognized as cute. With all the brachycephalic breeds we have to worry about breathing and overheating but our concerns over these issues are greatest with the Pug which is the original Brachycephalic breed – Geoffrey Antipa

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