In recent years, Pugs and French Bulldogs have soared in popularity, quickly becoming two of the most popular breeds in the country. It's not hard to see why - both are adorable, and the perfect size for endless cuddles and snuggles.
The increased demand for Pugs and Frenchies in recent years has led to an increase in health problems. Due to inbreeding, the designer dogs are renowned for having multiple health issues, which must be maintained over time. A consequence of demand, however, is that breeding practices have become more irresponsible, resulting in conditions that may cause distress.
In the last 15 years, there has been a 300% increase in the number of Frenchies in the UK, with the number of Pugs similarly increasing. We see them everywhere, and we can't help but love them - but, it's important that we know what's going on, should we have to help.
French Bulldog Or Pug?
Although Frenchies and Pugs are totally different breeds, they do bear many similarities, resulting in them often being confused.
Genetically, Pugs and Frenchies are not related. As the name suggests, French Bulldogs originated in France in the 1850s, with the majority of UK based Frenchies the product of crossing English Bulldogs with local Terriers.
Pugs, however, have a far longer ancestry. Their origins can be traced long back to China, where they were prized by emperors and other members of the royal court. They were imported to Europe around the 16th century, where they became similarly popular with monarchs. Now, of course, we're all completely in love with them!
In terms of looks, the two appear very similar. Both are a similar size, and are renowned for their flat faces and folds. The main difference between the two breeds is their ears. While Pugs have relaxed ears, French Bulldogs have ears that stand up straight. These 'bat ears' are the easiest way to tell the difference between the two breeds.
If you're looking for a devout, loyal companion, you've struck gold with either of these breeds. No, really, once they're with you they'll never leave your side!
We can't keep track of the number of times we've turned around and almost stood on a Pug. Frenchies are the same - they just love their humans! However, this attachment means you're often responsible for keeping them occupied. Luckily, they're not all that needy, and once they're distracted with their favourite toy they'll be quiet for hours.
Also, due to their small size they're the perfect travel dog, and will happily walk anywhere with you (so long as you slow down for their little legs). Otherwise, they're the perfect cuddle companion for chilled evening after work, or a lazy weekend in bed.
Aside from being adorable, Frenchies and Pugs are widely recognised for their health problems. We've all heard the horror stories and, often, the problems are thankfully not as severe as the media would have us believe.
That's not to say that the problems aren't very real, though, especially when it comes to respiratory health. Many Pugs and Frenchies suffer from brachycephalic syndrome, meaning that they can't breathe through their windpipes and nostrils. Consequently, they breathe through their mouth, and make considerable noise. Their flat faces also mean lots of folds, which have to be cleaned regularly to avoid infection.
Spinal problems are also common within the breeds, causing further problems along the line. It is common for legs to fail in Pugs, while Frenchies commonly have hip problems, which also affect their mobility.
How Can We Help?
It's important that Frenchies and Pugs are continually monitored to ensure that they are comfortable and in good health. However, there's no need to worry - it's quite easy to keep your pooch comfortable and healthy.
In terms of breathing, the important thing is to keep them from getting too warm. During the summer months especially, make sure that you keep their environment well ventilated, so that they're comfortable throughout the day. It's also important to be selective when walking them. Choose routes that are well shaded, and avoid the hours when the sun's at it's highest (11-4pm).
Similarly, it's important that you're prepared for them to overheat. Make sure that you take water and a bowl with you, as it's likely that they'll tire quickly and need to rehydrate. If you forget, stop by a pub or cafe and ask for a bowl of tap water - they're usually happy to oblige.
In terms of their physical ailments, it's always best to speak to a vet about what's best for your individual dog. There are a variety of medications available, which can help alleviate symptoms and create comfort. If the issues worsen, many Pugs and French Bulldogs rely on 'wheels' to get around. The tools act as rear legs for them, supporting the back end of their body.
Should I get A Pug Or French Bulldog?
We can't deny that Pugs and French Bulldogs are a huge commitment, perhaps more so than other dogs. Their health issues require constant monitoring, and their breathing has been known to cause sleepless nights. In short, they take a lot...
However, we think the reward of them far outweighs the challenge. They're just little bundles of love! As long as you're prepared and know the signs to look out for, and are prepared for the challenge, they make great, loyal pets.
As long as you love them, they'll love you, and that's what matters!