Why you shouldn't buy French bulldogs or pugs as a Christmas present
They’re cute, but French bulldogs suffer from severe breathing problems (Picture: Getty)

People should not buy pugs or French bulldogs as a gift this Christmas, a vet has said.

An ‘explosion’ in demand for the popular breeds has left the dogs with deformities and health problems, Lindsay Hamilton said.

MP breaks down in tears at universal credit impact speech

She has urged people to avoid buying the breeds, which suffer from ‘serious life-long issues’ because they ‘can’t pant, exercise, eat or sleep properly’.

This is due to an increase in irresponsible breeding caused by a 300% rise in the number of French bulldogs in the UK in the last 15 years.

Dr Hamilton also explained that the snuffling sound they make indicates they are in distress.

Why you shouldn't buy French bulldogs or pugs as a Christmas present
Dr Hamilton posted pictures showing a normal dog’s airway (left) compared to a pug or French bulldog (right) (Picture: Mercury Press)
Why you shouldn't buy French bulldogs or pugs as a Christmas present
Celebrities such as Holly Willoughby are among the famous dog owners (Picture: Holly Willoughby/Instagram)

She said: ‘Everybody says ‘look at those dogs, they’re so cute’ but don’t realise just how much they are struggling.

‘As an emergency vet, I used to see dogs that had been run over. Now I see more that can’t breathe.’

Child abuse survivor’s powerful statement to attacker in court

Many of the animals suffer from brachycephalic syndrome – meaning they can’t breathe through their windpipes and nostrils.

But because the animals are ‘cute’, and as several celebrities own them, demand continues to soar.

Dr Hamilton has publicised photos showing how extreme the difference in their airways is, and has advised people to write to their MPs about legislation for severely deformed dogs.

Why you shouldn't buy French bulldogs or pugs as a Christmas present
People have been advised to avoid buying flat-faced dogs like pugs (Picture: Getty)

She added: ‘The pictures on my post are actually what vets see when they open the mouth of a flat-faced dog.

‘Their respiratory rate is so high that you wouldn’t usually have time to take images like that. If they miss a couple of breaths they turn blue because they don’t have an oxygen reserve.

‘My advice for people looking to get a dog is find an ordinary breed or just a dog that can breathe basically.’

Dr David Sargan, a senior lecturer at Cambridge University, heads up a research group which looks at why flat-faced dogs are predisposed to cancer and eye disease.

Why you shouldn't buy French bulldogs or pugs as a Christmas present
So-called flat-faced breeds can suffer life-long health problems (Picture: Getty)

Giving advice to people who have opted to buy one of the breeds, he said: ‘When looking to buy one of these dogs, make sure they are not making an excessive amount of noise by snorting or snuffling. Are they able to breathe easily?

‘If they’re going to sleep sitting up, this isn’t cute. It’s a sign that the dog cannot sleep properly. These dogs suffer with sleep apnea because they can’t get enough oxygen in their blood.

‘This isn’t all of the dogs but a high percentage. Research groups are looking into how they can improve them and help them to be healthier.

‘They are very good companion dogs and no longer aggressive but have other problems now and we really need to reflect on how this can be resolved.’