Most people would agree that genetics are important. It's who your pug becomes..generation after generation. Sometimes knowing that can all fly out the window when it's time to buy a puppy. You just want a 'pet'...and all puppies are cute...and you have a budget to consider. I want to take a little time to try and explain some things....so I'll share with you my process into owning and breeding these wonderful little dogs.
Years and years ago, I researched the different dog breeds and decided a pug was for me. I knew right away that I wanted to become a breeder. I went to the newspaper and found a baby girl puppy and then found a baby boy puppy. When they grew up, they bred. I was so excited! I had full A.K.C rights ( to breed) for those puppies, as the people that sold me my pugs didn't really care what I did with them. Once I was out the door, they had no more interest in anything having to do with that puppy. I had no idea that alarm bells should have been going off in my head. After I bred those two pugs, and when my puppies were ready to go home, I placed an ad in the newspaper. People were happy to come and get their puppy...so I was happy....for about a few months. That's when the phone calls started coming in with complaints. Everything that could ever be wrong with a pug puppy seemed to be wrong with my puppies. I had no idea what some of these issues even were. I couldn't understand how there could be any issues at all as the parents seemed healthy. I was a backyard breeder (but didn't know it)..and I bought my parents from backyard breeders. A 'backyard breeder' doesn't mean you keep your dogs in the back yard. It means you breed for no reason other than to produce puppies. You have no idea what the genetics of the breeding pair are. Frankly some people really don't care....but I did. I had heard of a pedigree, but had no idea what it was for. A pedigree has a purpose..it traces the lineage of your dog so you can decide how to breed better genetics. A pedigree with all pets on it (no Champions) will do nothing for you...as you can't find out anything about the dogs on it. You can't google Elvis Pugsley...or Muffy and learn anything. But you can google any Champion and find out via pictures and kennel name what those breeders are producing. If you don't like your dogs head, you can breed to a line that has better heads (lets just say). The problem is that no reputable breeder (with great genetics) places 'pet' puppies that can be bred. The good genetics are kept out of the hands of backyard breeders and puppy mills. If someone does scam a reputable breeder out of a puppy (that was supposed to be spay/neutered) and breeds it anyway...what they breed it with, will bring in undesirable traits and a host of genetic health issues with it. Some of these issues crop up later...and then what? Backyard breeders aren't committed to long term anything..here today and gone tomorrow.
The other thing that happened to me when I placed the ad for my puppies in the newspaper was that an elderly lady called me from Tampa. They had misprinted my ad to read "champion puppies for sale." This feisty little lady (Florence Prelwitz..who has since passed away) was sort of snippy with me. How could my puppy or any puppy be a champion? She told me if I wanted to see a Champion pug to come to her house....so I immediately drove two hours to get there..as I had never seen a Champion pug before. Her dogs looked nothing like mine. I was in awe! I went home and made the decision to place my pug parents in a loving home (after getting spay/neutered)... and I started over. She sold me my first genetically sound pug (for thousands) and introduced me to the people that breed great dogs. After they started trusting me, I was able to buy more great dogs. I bought one little girl and paid a handler $13,000 to get her finished to her Championship (not counting the cost of the little girl.) After she became a Champion, I was allowed to send for frozen semen (not cheap) from a top Champion boy, for a breeding. Everyone of these show breeders has a good reputation to uphold and they spend thousands upon thousands of dollars toward 'bettering the breed" and passing on the best genetics. All this to make sure this breed continues to thrive...without health issues. They personally know the breeders ( or know someone that knows someone ) that they will contact, to improve their breeding program and can check the pedigrees in order to make the best possible match. Of course you have to have references yourself. No one wants their genetics being used by unscrupulous breeders so everyone is committed to spay/neuter contracts for all puppies that won't be used to further the breed. They have no need to ever put an ad in a paper to place a puppy (it's actually against the Pug Dog Club of America's bi-laws to do so). Reputation counts.
Now I'll share with you a typical e-mail that I receive on an almost daily basis:
Hello... Our little muffy just died and we are grief stricken. She was only two years old and it was from (pick a problem...I hear it all)(pug dog encephalitis, collapsed trachea, needed a liver shunt, died in the air while on a flight...heart issues...). We paid thousands in Vet bills trying to save her.
When I respond to the e-mail and tell them what a nice (pet) puppy will cost, 9 times out of 10, this is what they reply: "That's way out of our price range for a puppy! Do you know of anyone else with cheaper puppies?" My response is now going to be "Have you checked the newspaper?"