Vets Demand the End of Flat-Faced Dogs

Greetings card designers are being urged to stop using pugs and other flat-faced dogs and cats on Valentine’s Day cards as those sold by big retailers show how popular such images remain despite animal cruelty warnings from vets.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has written to the Greeting Card Association and card retailers, including Moonpig, Paperchase, WH Smith, Scribbler, Clinton’s and Funky Pigeon, reigniting a call to action it first made four years ago to ban such images.

Its #HugsNotPugs campaign is aimed at curbing a worrying demand for flat-faced pets. The BVA believes using images of pugs on cards and gifts is normalising these breeds’ short noses and big eyes, which can cause pain for the animal and prove costly for the owner to treat.

Despite raising the alarm in 2018 with its #BreedtoBreathe campaign, the BVA said there had still been no real change on the ground, and a look at Valentine’s Day cards in the shops this year throws up a similar array of animals bred for “cute” looks, it said.

The BVA’s president, Justine Shotton, said: “Flat-faced dogs and cats like pugs, French bulldogs and Persians and ‘long and low’ breeds like dachshunds continue to remain popular on greetings cards and gifts this Valentine’s Day, even four years after vets started the #BreedToBreathe campaign.

“These animals add a ‘cute’ appeal to merchandise but their looks mask a host of potential health and welfare problems. Valentine’s Day is a day for showing love, so giving a gift or card depicting an animal that can suffer because of how it has been bred is not the right message to give a loved one. That is why we are asking everyone to choose hugs not pugs to show your love this year.

“Some card retailers and associations engaged with us when we wrote to them back in 2018, but, sadly, we have yet to see any real change. While stock for this year is already in the shops, we hope that card retailers will work with BVA to reduce the visibility and, hopefully, the popularity of these breeds in the future.”

More than half of the brachycephalic dogs and a quarter of the brachycephalic cats that vets see need treatment for health issues related to how they look, according to the BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey.

In a letter sent to retailers, Shotton wrote: “Animals with extreme features who have been bred for looks over regard for their health have boomed in popularity over recent years, fuelled by the media, celebrities and the use of these animals in merchandising and advertising.

“These are breeds that struggle with serious and often life-limiting health problems. For example, dogs and cats with short muzzles (pugs, French bulldogs and Persians, among others) can struggle to breathe and can also suffer from a range of other problems including eye ulcers, skin infections and spinal abnormalities.

“We appreciate that the images on your cards are meant to be fun, however, we fear that further visibility of flat-faced dogs and cats or ‘long and low’ pets will only create higher demand for the animals.”


  • Wonderful………….
    Now you can look forward to woke greeting cards.
    Im so sorry you are offended by pugs , bulldogs , and persian cats………..
    Whats next on the not pc pet menu??????????
    Macaws…….Conures………..Baby turtles……..
    Parakeets perhaps………..
    The stupidity just never ends…………
    Its really about control and forcing your likes and dislikes upon others………..
    Perhaps you should be treating sick animals and not policing greeting cards…………

  • I agree with Joe, stop the social engineering you effing retards. People who aren’t retarded can think for themselves.

  • I had a pug when I was a tot and will always have a place in my heart for them. However, instead of policing greeting cards, maybe BVA should focus on creating an Info Pamphlet on the health issues these particular flat-faced animals have and find a way to circulate them as a warning to future flat-faced pet owners to maybe deter those who don’t want a pet that may have higher vet bills. Creating a card with their pictures certainly doesn’t say “Hey! Look how cute I am. Go buy me!” Usually, the price for one of these beloved pets is not what someone wants to pay for a pet; I prefer to save a life and will go to a kill shelter. If providing info-pamphlets to all vets, clinics, pet stores explaining the health issues these animals will endure will not only be beneficial for those considering one of these animals, but it can also serve as a deterrent to those who do not have the ability to pay for such health issues. Stopping businesses from selling a greeting card with their pictures isn’t going to deter anyone from purchasing these animals because people want what they want. BVA should focus more on the destruction of the illegal breeder farms opposed to those buying greeting cards for their stores because starting from the bottom up doesn’t do any good for these flat-faced breeds.

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