Did you know a baby platypus or echidna is called a puggle?
I think this is arguably the best word we as humans have ever come up with. I was actually kind of delighted the first time I heard there was a dog with the same name.
I almost giggled the first time I saw one, too. Like baby platypuses, puggles are small and wrinkly and begging to be picked up and held. Unlike platypuses, they look for all the world like miniature mastiffs, putting the efforts of Dakota Winds to shame. A puggle is the offspring of a beagle and a pug, if you didn't know, and with those chests and little barrel bodies pugs actually are part of the molosser family, which accounts for that mystery. But the puggle doesn't strongly favour either parent, and if you didn't know any better, you could almost swear it was some obscure, adorable purebreed.
And I think we should all know by now that I like cute dogs.
THE PROS: Note that the puggle actually has a muzzle to speak of. I knew somebody who had a pug that would follow me all over her place, snuffling nonstop. I would have to shove it out of the bathroom with my foot and I could hear it snorting away outside the door the whole time. When I showed up at her house, the dog would practically go into respiratory arrest. I don't know what his fixation with me was, but it's nice to think that if I ever picked up a puggle stalker, I wouldn't hear that sinister, snuffly wheezing sound lurking just behind corners.
In short, the beagle genes make it easier for the offspring to breathe. Which is good.
I'm hearing that puggles are quite healthy, but I'm not sure I believe it. It is true, however, that, like beagles, they don't seem to suffer from the dreaded hip dysplasia. And in my personal opinion, a puggle sounds healthier than a pug.
Lastly, you get some degree of predictability (which I am always always advocating), at least in appearance. The puggle has a pretty uniform look: namely, that cute li'l squashed-molosser look. (Although Wikipedia does say otherwise.)
THE CONS: Unfortunately, both beagles and pugs tend to suffer from "cherry eye", epilepsy, skin infections, luxating patellas, and back ailments, among other things. Puggles can also have problems with harsh weather, like extreme heat or cold, and since you can never quite know what you're getting with a mutt, your pup may have just a little difficulty with his breathing, or he may inherit the pug's compacted airways and struggle to breathe efficiently. Combined with the beagle drive to run run run, this can spell disaster for puggles. Some people are saying they've known these dogs to run themselves to death. Yikes.
Nobody knows where the puggle came from, but the theory is that it was an "oops" puppy. I can certainly believe that, because if you're breeding pugs, you want to be very very careful. A slapdash approach to breeding will give you extremely unhealthy dogs. I imagine much the same goes for Pekingeses and other "bricked-in-the-face dogs" (my affectionate term). If you have to have a puggle, you will definitely need to get a close look at the pug parent, but that won't tell you everything about the health of your baby. I'd say I hope we have some really responsible breeders out there, but to be perfectly honest, if they were truly responsible they wouldn't be breeding puggles. Landing other dogs with pug breathing issues is a bad idea. How about we take the UK's lead, and start developing healthier pugs before we start experimenting?
Moving on: They have no purpose. Whatsoever. I won't even bother with the last section, regarding the dog's function. People breed them to be family dogs, and we've got way too many of those running around already. They're not hypoallergenic, even though some confused people will tell you they are, because ... apparently all hybrids are hypoallergenic. This must be some magical muttpuppy gene, because pugs and beagles sure aren't!
Some owners will say they're high maintenance, others will say they're not. Some say they shed a lot and some say they're very low-shedding. Who knows! Most owners are in agreement, though, in that these puppies are not the easiest to train or housebreak. They say the extra time spent training them is worth it, though I'm not so sure.
I wanted to go easy, puggles. I really did. You've got cute cute faces and big eyes. But you are a fad breed. Left alone, you will disappear quietly, I'm afraid. I hope.
Readers, just stay very still and quiet ... if it doesn't see us, it will go away on its own. Shh...