Pugs have high health risks and can no longer be considered a typical dog from a health perspective, a study suggests.
Experts are advising people not to buy the dogs until there is an improvement in their health and their body shape shifts to being less extreme.
Research from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) reveals the health of pugs in the UK is substantially different and largely worse than other dogs.
According to the experts, these findings suggest the pug can no longer be considered a typical dog from a health perspective.
"Although hugely popular as pets, we now know that several severe health issues are linked to the extreme body shape of pugs that many humans find so cute," said RVC Associate Professor Dan O'Neill, the paper's lead author.
"It is time now that we focus on the health of the dog rather than the whims of the owner when we are choosing what type of dog to own."
The dogs' health issues stem from their flat face, bulging eyes, wrinkled skin and tendency towards obesity - characteristics that are often considered cute by the public.
The study compared the health of random samples of 4308 pugs and 21,835 non-pugs.
Overall, pugs were found to be 1.9 times as likely to have one or more disorders recorded in a single year compared with non-pugs, indicating a poor overall health status in the breed.
Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome was the disorder with the highest risk in pugs, with the breed almost 54 times more likely to have the condition.
This reflects the common respiratory difficulties experienced by flat-faced breeds due to the shape of their faces.
Pugs were also at higher risk of many other conditions compared with non-pugs, including narrowed nostrils, skinfold infections and obesity.
To correct the health problems caused by pugs' extreme body shape, the researchers suggest the dogs should be bred to have a more moderate appearance.
In the meantime, experts such as the British Veterinary Association urge people to reconsider buying flat-faced breeds such as pugs.
The research is published in Canine Medicine and Genetics.
Australian Associated Press
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.