Pug health: Journal article summary

22nd August 2016 - 11:00 AM

In each edition of the Kennel Scope we’ll be providing you with up-to-date research in areas that may be of interest to veterinary professionals. In this edition, we’ll be summarising the findings from:

Demography and health of Pugs under primary veterinary care in England. O’Neill et al. Canine Genetics and Epidemiology 2016 3:5.

The full open access article is available online here.


The Pug is an ancient dog breed and was the fifth most commonly registered UK pedigree breed in 2014. However, the breed has been reported to be predisposed to several disorders including ocular, respiratory and dermatological problems. The VetCompass Programme collates de-identified clinical data from primary-care veterinary practices in the UK for epidemiological research. Using VetCompass clinical data, this study aimed to characterise the demography and common disorders of the general population of Pugs under veterinary care in England.


Pugs comprised 2709 (1.03 %) of 264,260 study dogs under veterinary care from September 1st, 2009 to 30thApril, 2015. Annual proportional birth rates showed that Pugs rose from less than 1 % of annual birth cohorts before 2008 to comprise 2.8 % of the 2013 annual birth cohort. The most common colours of Pugs were fawn (63.1 %), black (27.7 %), apricot (7.6 %) and silver (2.1 %).

Of the 1009 pugs under veterinary care in the study during 2013, 688 (68.19 %) had at least one disorder recorded. The most prevalent disorders recorded overall were overweight/obesity (13.18%), corneal disorder (8.72%) and otitis externa (7.53%). The most prevalent disorder groups were ophthalmological (16.25 %), dermatological (15.60%) and aural (15.06%). The most prevalent body locations affected were the head-and-neck (43.51%) and abdomen (19.33%). The most prevalent organ systems affected were the integument (31.81%) and digestive (25.47%). The most prevalent pathophysiologic processes recorded were inflammation (38.26%) and congenital/developmental (15.16%).


Ownership of Pugs in England is rising steeply. Overweight/obesity, corneal disorder and otitis externa are the most common disorders in Pugs. Identification of health priorities based on VetComapss data can support evidence–based reforms to improve health and welfare within the breed.

Canine Genetics and Epidemiology is a peer-reviewed, open access, online journal publishing original research and review articles relating to all aspects of canine genetics and epidemiology. The Kennel Club Educational Trust cover 50% of the article processing charge for manuscripts published in the area of domestic dog health.

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