To buy a healthy Pug

What should I as a puppy buyer think about ask the breeders before buying?

© Therese Rodin

You have found a breeder who seems good and has dogs that you are interested in. You start to take contact with the breeder to get informed about his/her dogs. Then the breeder has a litter and you are interested in a puppy (or you are interested in an adult dog that needs to be rehomed).

It is extremely important that you inform yourself about the questions below to avoid buying a Pug that gets sick with a lot of suffering and with many and high veterinary bills.

Most breeders have information about testing and breathing on their websites. Look their websites thoroughly through.

I also strongly advise you to read the information about health issues in Pugs here on the website under “Strategies for the breeding of healthy Pugs” before you start to look for a Pug.

You need the following information from the breeder:

  • The parents are tested for PDE and both are clear, or only one of them is carrier of the PDE marker.
    • If one parent is a carrier of the PDE gene marker (N/PDE or PDE/PDE), the other must be free (N/N). (Some testers use the marking N/N, N/S and S/S (normal/sick).)
  • The parents are tested for DM and both are clear, or only one of them is carrier of the DM genes.
    • This test is not as common as the PDE-test yet. If the parents are not tested, recommend the breeder to read the section about DM under breeding strategies here on Pug Dog Passion.
    • If one parent is a carrier of the DM marker (N/DM or DM/DM), the other should be free (N/N).
  • The parents are x-rayed/CT-scanned for identification of vertebral anomalies such as hemivertebrae.
    • The parents should be free of hemivertebrae and other vertebral defects.
  • The parents are examined for patellar luxation.
    • At least one of the parents should be free of patellar luxation. One of them may have patella luxation grade I at the most. (The patella luxates but goes back by itself.)

If any of the above information is missing on the breeder’s website, ask him/her about the missing result.

You also need to ask the breeder about the breathing of the puppy’s parents.

  • Do the puppy’s parents breathe freely?
    • If the answer is yes: Try to get informed about what the breeder means with “free breathing”. Do the parents breathe silently through both nose and mouth, i.e. no sounds due to narrow nose or soft palate?
    • There is some sound in almost all Pugs, but the breathing should be almost without sounds. Ask the breeder to send you videos where the parents’ breath is clearly heard after activity.

When you have a picture of the parents of the puppy and everything looks good, also ask the breeder to show you the pedigrees of the parents. In that way you can see that the same dog does not occur more than once in the pedigrees. Read more about genetics and inbreeding here on the website.

Before you bring your puppy home, I advise you to examine the mother, or if possible both parents and take them for a walk, run with them so that you hear that they breathe freely also when they open their mouths and pant. (Sometimes it is only possible to examine the mother since the father can belong to another breeder.)

Also, look at the nose of the parents/the mother. It should have a little length and open nostrils. Look at the eyes that should not be protruding, but be nicely embedded in the skull.

Furthermore, make sure that you have seen the certificates of both parents’ test results before you pick up the puppy. Also, the puppy (or adult dog) shall have a veterinary examination certificate that is not older than seven days when you come to fetch it.

Good luck!

Photo: Liane Seemann
Mopszucht vom Ilexwald