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November 4, 2005

In the past three hours, 4 different people have mentioned “Puggles” to me. Good hearted, well meaning people just like the folks who buy or want to buy Puggles from Pet Stores because they are so “cute.” Puggles are a mix of beagle and pug and are currently being touted as the “#1 Hybrid in America” and the "New Must Have Dog". Today alone I've seen stories about Puggles on NBC, the Today Show and MSN. I’m not linking to any of these articles because I don’t want to give them anymore positive media coverage than they are already getting. No, I want to give you the other side of the story and educate you about these new “Designer Dog Breeds”.

Just the other week at Petco, a family with a little Puggle puppy approached me and Pugsley, saying “Awwww, there’s you’re daddy”. I am getting scared. They are gaining in popularity. Of course I think Puggles are cute. Pugs and Beagles are my 2 favorite breeds of dog. I spent my childhood with beagles and my adulthood with Pugs. But does that mean I think it’s a good idea? NO. Cute isn't the issue here folks. I feel like I need to be a voice for these dogs who can’t be heard. I don’t care how much backlash I’ll get for this either. Come and attack me, I double dog dare you.

I’ve been working in Pug rescue for a while now and I’ve seen a lot of heart breaking things. I’ve seen footage of the puppies that are sold into pet stores where they are kept in farm-like warehouses with no electricity, in the dark, in excessive heat and unbearable cold. In crate, after crate, stacked upon one another to the roof with rain and snow leaking in. The puppies that make it out of here alive are the lucky ones. Ever wonder why you see so many sick puppies at the Pet Store? Because they are coming from places like this.

But even before puppies get to that horrible place to be farmed out to local stores, even before they are born, think about their parents and where they come from. From places where the people who breed them don’t care about the dogs or the offspring, they care about the $1500. bounty on each puppy’s head. They don’t care about congenital defects, throwing bad genes from one and bad genes from the other into one big blender to mix up and make more bad genes.

They are so greedy in fact, that they will breed the same female dog over and over and over and over until she can’t walk. To the point where she is still nursing one litter of puppies while being impregnated with her next. How do I know? Because our rescue organization has saved dogs just like this. Pugs with broken jaws, limbs, and cut out vocal cords. Oftentimes, they aren’t given enough food or water and are living in their own feces and urine in cramped quarters. Just enough to keep them alive and pumping out litters of puppies that end up in these same types of places. The Puggle is a Backyard Breeders dream!

Let’s forget for a moment about the fact that a Puggle is going to inherit not ONE set of genetic problems but TWO. A Pug being a brachiocephalic toy breed and lapdog crossed with a beagle hound that is full of energy and was bred to hunt. How well do you think that dog is going to be able to breathe when it’s running hard and playing? Take a Pug’s nose and challenged respiratory system and cross it with Beagles exuberant personality and genetic urge to hunt and run. How can this be good?

Not every Puggle comes out looking like the ones being featured on the cover of the NY Post or on the Today Show. Some come out Black and white. Some look more like pugs with curly tails. Some inherit the long fur of the beagle. And what do you think happens to those "less attractive" dogs? They get discarded.

Even behavioral wise, pugs and beagles are both incredibly stubborn and difficult to train. Any owner who adopts a Puggle, will have to be aware that they are getting double the trouble in housetraining and obedience. You know what this will result in? Owners who don’t have the time, patience, or money to deal with all of these issues. That’s when, if we are lucky, they contact our rescue organization so we can help them. It’s all the owners who don’t contact us though that I worry about. Instead they just sell them in the paper to any random person or worse, dump them on the side of the road, or possibly even to a fate more cruel.

So remember, each time you see a Puggle, or any of these so called “designer’ breeds like Tea Cup Pugs, or Albino Pugs, etc. etc. (and this isn’t just limited to pugs they just happen to be the “it” dog of the moment) know that no matter how cute the dog is, and maybe if it’s lucky will be born without any health problems – that only a non-reputable breeder who is greedy for money and the cost on each puppy’s head would breed a Beagle and a Pug. Only a Backyard breeder or a Puppy Mill would. I’m not saying Puggles aren’t cute. I’m not saying they won’t make great dogs. I’m not saying all will get sick. But I am saying no matter how great he is, the conditions his parents are living in are 95% of the time deplorable. And any money you spend to purchase one goes directly into their pockets so they can stay in business.

If you have found this article by Google Searching “Puggle” which I’ve key worded specifically so that you will, and are looking to purchase a Puggle from a Pet Store or a sketchy breeder, Please think seriously about it before you do.

Instead, I would urge you to look at your local adoption and rescue organizations, animal shelters, or check Petfinder.org where these dogs will inevitably end up. The volunteers who make these operations possible work tirelessly and give selfishly of their time, heartache, and personal money to save dog's lives. Please also consider making a donation to help them continue their relentless efforts to save all the dogs that are products of abuse and neglect.

You can start here: Precious Pugs Rescue and Adoption and give today.

How else do I know? Because Pugsley is a puppy mill pug and his parents sufferered tremendously.

***Please feel free to crosspost***

Here are just a few Puggles listed on Petfinder currently being sheltered and are in need of a good home.


















Posted by Lori on November 4, 2005 4:44 PM permalink



Toni commented November 4, 2005 6:13 PM

I'm one of the people who asked Lori about the Puggle. I opened my home page this afternoon to cute, little puppy dog eyes glaring back at me. It prompted me to view a video on MSN - which I rarely do. After watching this corporate, young gal gloat over her "baby", I thought...I've got to ask Lori her opinion on hybrid breeding. Inevitably, the dogs that I'm attracted to based on their pure "cute" factor have been hybrid-bred dogs...Labradoodles...Puggles. I knew Lori would have an opinion on the topic (if you are a reader, you know, Lori's not afraid to share her opinion and often enjoys a healthy debate) and I also knew Lori's opinion, in this case, would not only be coming from the heart...but from the head because the girl rarely argues on principle alone -- she often has the facts to back it up. When talking dogs, particularly Pugs, she's a pure genius. After chatting with her for just a few minutes, I learned a lot. I hadn't really stopped to consider the combination of health issues or behavioral issues. More than that, I hadn't stopped to consider the breeding process - the conditions, the poor dogs who are being bred or the money-hungry breeders who will risk the health of animals for a few bucks. While our world is all about creating the "best" and the "cutest" (don't even get me started on the designer baby article I read recently!) -- the latest and greatest -- does anyone, besides folks like Lori, stop to think what it really means and how other living creatures are affected? I'm not nearly as passionate about animals as Lori is - I'll admit - but I appreciate that her passion can educate...even if it's just a handful of blog viewers.



Christine commented November 4, 2005 7:16 PM

THANK YOU, Lori, for posting this! I really hope that anyone considering getting one of these dogs finds this post, and learns something from it.

In addition to what you pointed out, what bothers me is the whole *must-have* dog thing. Too many people treat a pet as a fashion accessory, and when it goes out of style, they just abandon it for the next *must-have* pet. Too many people treat pets as a disposable commodity, and not the living beings that they are.

It's not a $1500 handbag or a pair of shoes or whatever...it is a living creature! I have nothing but contempt and hatred for anyone who does not understand this fact.

Thanks again for posting this, Lori!



Nicole commented November 4, 2005 7:55 PM

While your points are very valid and this was an important post...they are sadly valid in MOST cases which is why i've got to be the "don't buy, don't breed, ADOPT" voice in all this. I am so anti-breeder...i mean i know there would be no cute pugsley or any of the fab dogs i've had all my life (i've ALWAYS had a purebred before little Audrey) but the dogs i've taken care of at citizen canine are a blatent example...the hip dysplasia of goldens, the leg problems of newfoundlands...all this stuff is the result of YEARS of incest.
I think in some cases...like your getting little pugsley, or me getting my abused lab kisses from pet stores (often the crapiest places ever) is a way of helping out animals because they are ALREADY bred and on the planet and do, in fact need homes...but putting your name on a list for a dog you can pay major $$ for while thousands of already concieved dogs are being euthanized...NOT cool.



Nicole commented November 4, 2005 8:04 PM

PS you should write to the assholes "marketing" the puggle and remind them of the perils of breeding. You have a well-written piece, so put it out there!



Lori commented November 4, 2005 9:34 PM

Uggh, I just read that the NY Post featured a Puggle on the front page yesterday saying how in demand they are in the city and people are clawing to get them. Women want them to look fashionable just like they want their Louis Vuitton bags!!



Nicole commented November 4, 2005 11:33 PM

Can I ADOPT a Louis Vuitton bag?



Mr Pug commented November 5, 2005 2:03 AM

Your heart is obviously in the right place, but...uh...Hello, Basic Genetics. Breeding dogs of two different breeds saddles the progeny with both breeds' problems??? Not usually. On average, cross-breeding results in offspring that are healthier than the purebred ancestors. (By your logic, inbreeding is the way to go, lest we create *any* animal that suffers the genetic sins of both its parents.)

The puggles that we've met, for example, have been the opposite of what you describe. Puggy playfulness, combined with a normal snout. A winning combination, if you ask me.

Finally, what makes puppy mills are more relevant to puggles than any other breed? (And for all your indignation about mills, it sure didn't stop you from buying a mill puppy, did it.)



anonymous commented November 5, 2005 4:30 AM

I wonder how long someone with too much money and too little brains will pay to genetically engineer a marsupial sloth as a hanbag. Think about it, a cute animal with a pouch, that likes to hang from your arm or shoulder. That would be quite a sight, and quite a fashion statement.

Personally, I think that dogs that can't breathe are crimes agaist evolution. And the breeders that don't think about health first, are the criminals.



Lori commented November 5, 2005 7:58 AM

Your first point is one that’s been argued in the animal community for years. I don’t disagree that Mutts are overall healthier, but true Mutts are generally “accidents” NOT genetically engineered by-products created to make some slimeball rich or to match a womans handbag.

Besides, how do you think “Purebreds” are created anyway? By "intentionally" (and THAT is the operative word here) taking one breed and crossing it over and over and over again with another breed until it's perfected into what society feels are both it's desirable qualities. Society -- is the other word that is killing me here. Without the demand, there wouldn't be a supply.

As I pointed out in my article, Puggles are no different than any other breed with what goes on in Puppy Mills, they just happen to be the “It” dog of the moment and are in serious demand which is perpetuating the problem that exists in these breeding factories.

I bought Pugsley from a Pet Store 11 years ago before I was involved in rescue and BEFORE I was aware of the atrocities that exist in puppy mills. Obviously I wouldn't change him for the world. But now that I'm educated, I would only adopt a dog from a rescue or shelter. Sadly, that is where a lot of these Puggles are going to end up.



terry commented November 5, 2005 6:43 PM

Triangle Beagle Rescue in NC is where we got our precious beagle/jrt mix....she is precious!!

www.tribeagles.org if you're interested....



Tom McCracken commented November 6, 2005 12:59 AM

Lori, great article. I hate when living creatures are commercialized. I linked to your post from my Puggle Buzz Report



Lauren commented November 6, 2005 12:01 PM

Great Entry..you really brought to light on a lot of things, that we don't realize!




MaryBeth commented November 6, 2005 1:59 PM

As an owner of a rescued greyhound, a rescued pug, a rescued cat and two rescued hamsters, I just wanted to offer my thanks!

Most people just don't realize or take the time to educate themselves on where their "cute" pet shop pets come from. Thanks for giving them a voice!



ThePinkPanther commented November 6, 2005 2:38 PM

I came across your site from a comment you left on Gothamist. Although I am not a dog owner myself, I have high hopes of adopting a mini-schnauzer when I have my own place.

Needless to say, your post was very informative and moving. I have done a good deal of research on different breeds and the whole 9, but I do know that most people buying dogs don't exactly know what they are getting into or are getting a dog because it is in fact that the "IT" dog, which is a saddening thought.

If anything, your post cemented my resolve to adopt from a shelter or rescue network, and raised my attention to the cruelty of puppymills. I am sure that you are a big help to the pug and dog community as a whole.



Samantha commented November 7, 2005 1:33 PM

Someone put that same Post article on my desk on Friday. I had to get on my soap box and tell pretty much the same thing you just posted. Get the word out folks.




Dog Lover commented November 9, 2005 6:16 PM

Mr Pug...we understand that mixed breeds carry less health problems. I think the point of Lori's comments is the abuse and awful conditions that many puppies come from. Thanks Lori, for your comments. I too am concerned about the dogs that get abused and "unloved" after the oh so cute puppy stages.



Ith commented November 11, 2005 6:58 PM

Lori, I'd never heard of a Puggle before I read your post. Wonderful post, really. Puppy mills are horrors, they truly are. I believe that we live in a "Kleenex Society". Everthing, including living creatures, are disposable. Tired of it? Isn't making you happy anymore? Dump it. All the cars and dogs I've rescued over the years are a testament to that.



Elisa commented November 17, 2005 1:36 PM

I found your page while searching for information on puggles. I have a 2 year old puggle and she is the sweetest most obeideint dog I have ever had. I have had both pugs and beagles and I have to tell you it is the best of both worlds. My puggle has no breathing problems, she isn't too loud and hyper and she is excellent with kids. When you breed two different kinds of dogs together it does not take the bad genes from both. My puggle is a mix creating a HEALTHIER dog. I felt more secure with the mixing of the two breeds rather then the risk of getting an purebred inbred dog which will cause defects. I wouldn't be so negative of these little guys untill you give them a shot.


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