Demand for pugs strong: pet shop


Auction site ban imminent

A Dunedin pet shop is vowing to continue selling pug dogs as an auction website moves to ban the sale of the popular breed.

Last week, Trade Me announced the ban of the sale of pugs, British bulldogs and French bulldogs on the auction website from March.

The move was due to the breeds suffering acutely from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome, making it difficult for the dogs to breathe, exercise and moderate their body temperature.

SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen said the breeds’ “exaggerated physical features” caused them “considerable welfare issues”.

Animal Attraction owner Judi Johnson said the four pug puppies sold in about two hours in her pet shop in Crawford St last week.

Each pug cost $2900, a standard price for the breed, she said.

She got her pugs from “a local registered breeder” but declined to give their details.

If more pugs became available, she would sell them again.

“Why wouldn’t I take more?” Ms Johnson said.

The demand for pugs was strong.

The spike in popularity of the breed began when the character Frank the Pug first appeared in the movie franchise Men In Black in 1997, she said.

She acknowledged the breed had health problems and blamed Dogs New Zealand, formerly the New Zealand Kennel Club, for allowing a breed standard which encouraged the exaggerated features.

Dogs NZ canine health and welfare officer Becky Murphy, of Feilding, said the breed standard for pugs stated the health and the welfare of the dog was paramount and the dog had to be able to “function as a dog”.

Dogs NZ director and secretary Peter Dunne, of Wellington, said Dogs NZ – which advocates on behalf of dog breeders, dog owners and kennel clubs – had a rule discouraging the sale of dogs to “commercial dog wholesalers or retail pet dealers”.

The rule was designed to protect the buyer so they had a “comeback” if there was an issue with the dog.

If someone bought a dog directly from a breeder and there was an issue, the buyer could contact Dogs NZ to deal with the breeder directly.

A pet shop owner might not take responsibility if a dog they sold had a health issue, he said.

New Zealand Veterinary Association chief veterinary officer Helen Beattie, of Dunedin, said the association wanted breeders to be “ethical and responsible” and work against producing dogs with “exaggerated features”, such as “pushed-in faces” in the three breeds.

She encouraged potential puppy owners to quiz the breeder before buying.

Questions should be asked about the traits of the puppy’s parents to get a better understanding of what they were about to buy.

A Nichol’s Pet Warehouse spokeswoman said the store refused to sell the three breeds and took advice from the SPCA on suitable breeds for sale.

An Animates Dunedin spokesman declined to comment as the manager was on leave.

Pet Doctors The Gardens Vet and Pet Store failed to respond to messages by deadline.

Post a Note general manager and co-founder Nathan Weathington said the only animals listed on the website – where people could list items to sell free of charge – were farm animals and pets rescued from trusted organisations, such as the SPCA.

“We don’t work with breeders .. dogs are one of your biggest scam items in New Zealand and this is one of our ways of avoiding that headache and it’s ethically the best thing to do.”