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Fickle fashions affecting French bulldogs and Pugs

The RSPCA is reporting an upturn in the number of “designer breeds” such as French bulldogs and Pugs being abandoned. Becoming fashionable can have dire consequences for a breed, for as more people choose to buy a puppy of a specific breed, more people will sadly choose not to keep the dog long-term. Some of the unfortunate dogs who are cast aside by their owners end up being taken in by the RSPCA.

In 2016 the charity rescued several Pugs and French bulldogs who had been abandoned. Here are some of their stories:

Poor Petunia
The RSPCA was called late at night on 18 March after a member of the public found a pug collapsed in a blanket in the street in Cricklewood, north-west London.

The poor dog, who was found curled up in a blanket where she’d been dumped, was rushed to Putney Animal Hospital with an infected, ulcerated eye and severe ear infections (pictured above). She was treated but, a week later, vets made the difficult decision to put her to sleep to end her suffering.

Petunia was scanned and found to have an Irish Kennel Club microchip which was not registered so an owner could not be traced.

Feeling blue
RSPCA Cymru launched an investigation after an emaciated blue French bulldog was taken into a veterinary surgery on 21 July.

The bitch was thought to have come from either Newport or Cardiff and had serious health issues.

Puppy dumped
Milo the pug pup was just eight-weeks-old when he was dumped by a bin in Congleton, Cheshire, on 1 October.

The little dog was lucky to be found by a passerby and was taken into RSPCA care where he was treated for a skin condition before being rehomed.

RSPCA animal welfare officer Stephen Wickham said: “It is so sad that someone deliberately dumped Milo like this, knowing that as a young pup he would be completely defenceless.
“We don’t know for certain how long he was there for before he was found, but he would have been very vulnerable out there on his own.”

‘Free pug’
A tiny pug puppy was found abandoned in a garden in Wimbledon on 20 October alongside a note reading: ‘Free pug xxx’.

The little puppy, named Pumpkin by RSPCA staff, was found in a plastic pet carrier without a door and had a nasty injury to his eye and later had to have the eye removed.

Inspector Phil Norman said: “The note indicates that Pumpkin has been dumped deliberately so it may be that he was an unwanted pet and his owner didn’t realise the amount of work it takes to look after a puppy, or that they did not want to pay the cost of vet care.”

Pumpkin was rehomed by one of the veterinary nurses who cared for him.

Basket dogs
A pug-type dog was found dumped in a metal basket with a mastiff cross in a park in Swansea, Wales, on 30 October.

The two dogs were found at Ravenhill Park and were rushed to a vets nearby for treatment but, sadly, the pug had to be put to sleep to prevent her from any further suffering.

The eight-week-old pup had problems with her heart as well as a serious skin condition. The mastiff cross, named Henry, was treated for a skin condition.

Petrified puppies
A pair of frightened French bulldog puppies were found in a cardboard box in Pontypool Park, Wales, on 12 November.

The male pups were very emaciated and had severe skin conditions so required veterinary treatment after being rescued by the RSPCA.

Neither dog was microchipped and it was unclear why the youngsters had been abandoned in such a sorry state.

Breeding bulldogs
Just a few weeks later - on 25 November - the RSPCA was contacted again when two French bulldogs were found in a park in Burton.

The three-year-old males, neither of which was microchipped, again had severe skin conditions and both had badly overgrown claws - with one of the dogs with claws so long that they curled under and into the pad of his foot.

Keith and Albert, as they were named by RSPCA staff, were taken into the charity’s care after being found by the member of the public in Stapenhill Gardens.

RSPCA inspector Nicola Johnson said the dogs had been suffering for “some time” and were in a “despicable condition”.

She added: “Neither of them have been neutered and therefore we can’t rule out the fact that they have been used for breeding and then dumped when they were no longer needed.”

Pug thrown out of car
The RSPCA were contacted on 4 December after a pug was found lying by the side of the road with serious injuries, having been thrown out of the window of a moving car.

The three-year-old, named Crumble, was found collapsed in Writtle, Essex, and rushed to the vets. The poor little pug was paralysed and had organ failure so had to be put to sleep a few weeks later to end her suffering.

It is believed the bitch had previously been used for breeding as veterinary staff said there were signs she’d had several litters and the RSPCA feared she’d been cast aside as she could no longer produce pups to sell.

‘The price of poor puppy breeding’
RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs, who leads the charity’s special investigations into the puppy trade, said: “There’s huge demand in England and Wales for certain breeds of dogs that have been popularised and glamorised by celebrities, social media and popular culture.

“In this country, we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of people buying pugs and French bulldogs and now the RSPCA is starting to see that trend first-hand.

“Unfortunately, as responsible and reputable breeders of these types of dogs cannot keep up with demand, underground breeders and traders are filling the gap in the market and are offering buyers the chance to buy puppies at cheaper prices and without waiting lists - often with disastrous consequences.

“This is the price of poor puppy breeding - consumers faced with sick and dying puppies who need expensive veterinary treatment or lifelong behavioural support; a surge in these breeds coming into the care of rescue centres and charities from people who did not do their research before taking on a dog that requires a lot of time and commitment; and an increase in the number of these breeds being abandoned either because, as puppies, they didn’t sell or became poorly, or as breeding stock they couldn’t produce litters anymore.

“Once again, organisations such as the RSPCA are left picking up the pieces, and the animals are paying the ultimate price - often with their lives.”

In England, the RSPCA has a Scrap the Puppy Trade campaign, and is calling for stricter legislation concerning the breeding and selling of dogs. To find out more and to learn how you can support the campaign, visit


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