I recently encountered, and had an argument with, somebody who was talking about breeding their young pug bitch on her second season; that pug would have been around 15 months by the time the second season came. My immediate reaction was to think, aloud, "why the rush?". Different dogs have different life cycles dependent on their life expectancy, smaller dogs typically live longer, so they take longer to become adults physically and mentally. A healthy pug is expected to live for between 12-15 years, a Doberman on the other hand is expected to live for 9 years. What is older? A 15 month old Pug or a 15 month old Doberman? The answer is the Doberman, in the same way that a 15 month old pug is much older than a 15 month old human being.
When Should You Breed Pugs? (Minimum Age)
How long should you wait until breeding your pug bitch? Find out here!
Pug Breeding Age
Unfortunately you often see guidelines which state that it is OK to breed dogs at around 15 months, but those guidelines are far too broad and don't take into consideration the differences in breeds, breeding a pug bitch at 15 months is way too early. It is possible for a pug of that age to appear fully physically developed, but that doesn't mean that they necessarily are, and there is a very real risk that they are not emotionally developed enough to become a mother. What if they reject their litter? A pug can be bred until they are six years old, there really is no rush unless you are a breeder who cares only for quick cash and not for the physical and emotional well being of your animal. If waiting another six months is all that you need to do to reduce the risks involved, then surely that is the ethical thing to do? A pug should not be bred until they are at least 18 months old / had their third season, ideally they will be at least two years old and in their fourth season.
Suffice to say, the argument got heated and nasty. The breeder didn't want to be wrong, he was going to breed on second heat and that was that. It wasn't my dog, it isn't really my business, but I found plenty of support online for the argument that a pug bitch should be at least 18 months old and/or on their third season. I didn't find any reputable sources which argued strongly against this minimum. Here are some examples:
The Pug Dog Club are a prestigious UK group of pug owners, they have been around since 1883, they will expel any member who fails to comply with their code of ethics. Within that code of ethics is this rule:
"A bitch to be used for breeding should be at least 18 months of age, or on her third season, before mating for the first time. In addition, the decision to breed should depend on the maturity, both physical and mental, of the bitch to support a litter. She should not be mated once she has reached the age of 6 years."
In the US, they typically give the age as 2 years as the minimum, because this is the age at which certain health checks can be carried out; they work by the principle that you don't know if your pug is healthy enough to breed or not until they are 2 years old. This would generally take them to their fourth season before breeding!
Choose Your Breeder Carefully
I was most disappointed that a reputable breeder, that is a breeder with a good reputation, had agreed to provide a stud for a fee. Next time I buy a pug puppy, if I don't decide to adopt an adult dog, I will ensure that the breeder has Pug Dog Club membership and therefore a commitment to abide by a simple framework of ethics which should no doubt be complied to at all times. I'd also be seeking to verify the age of the bitch, I won't buy a pug which has been conceived in second heat.