Look after our pugs | Village Vets
patrick the pug, pug health issues, flat-faced dogs


This summer will see the release of Disney's new movie release ‘Patrick The Pug’ featuring a brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog. Flat faced breeds, including Pugs, French bulldogs and British bulldogs have boomed in popularity over recent years, fuelled by the media, celebrities and the use of these dogs in advertising.

However, these breeds struggle with serious and often life-limiting health problems. Leading national, international and other animal welfare organisations, often speak in the media to raise awareness of the health and welfare issues these breeds suffer. Whilst many people perceive the squashed wrinkly faces of these breeds as ‘cute’ or appealing, in reality dogs with short muzzles can struggle to breathe, even when doing day to-day activities such as walking or eating.

These breeds can also suffer from a range of other problems including eye ulcers, skin infections and spinal abnormalities. This worrying welfare problem is made even more disheartening when vets hear how many people now believe signs of distress, such as snorting and laboured breathing, are a normal characteristic of the breed. I fear that the further visibility of brachycephalic dogs, such as those in your Movie, will only create higher demand for the breed.

Animal welfare is at the heart of everything vets do and so we would kindly ask that Disney and all related PR agencies, advertising and cinemas to use appropriate and responsible marketing for this movie. Suggestions would include:

Adding a welfare message into the credits section of the film that explains the health issues of Pugs.

Leaflets to be distributed to journalists and to the public at cinemas that describe the leading health issues of the Pug breed and suggest that ownership should not be undertaken lightly.

Images of Pugs dressed in human clothing will not be used in leading marketing materials, such as the Patrick The Pug promotional poster.

The film will not be accompanied by any merchandising of Patrick the Pug memorabilia.

Village Vets would be happy to support the development of any film industry initiatives to ensure that potential animal welfare implications are considered prior to future movies that prominently feature animals.

We hope that the entertainment industry as a whole appreciate our concerns raised and that, at the very least, will consider the implications for animal welfare in future productions and advertising campaigns.