The Hansens family of Waikato are four children, five pugs, a few cats, plus some friendly cattle and sheep too.

But the Hansens' beloved pugs have owner and breeder Brenda Hansen upset.

Negative portrayals of the breed have lead Trade Me to ban the sale of pugs, as well as British bulldogs and French bulldogs. Hansen said pugs were being unfairly targeted.

Trade Me's Policy and Compliance leader James Ryan said the breeds have flat faces which contribute to a medical condition.


In a statement, he said: "These breeds suffer acutely from brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) which dramatically impacts the quality of their life. In many dogs the symptoms are so severe that the dog will have trouble exercising, and find it difficult to moderate their body temperature through panting and often overheat, sometimes fatally."

Trade Me was supported by the SPCA and the New Zealand Veterinary Association.

Hansen agreed the breeds have a "squashed in face," but says it's quite normal.

She has owned pugs for 25 years and bred for 10. In that time, her dogs have never had any major health issues.

"They do snort a bit, they snuffle, but they all run, they don't look to me like they're breathing through a pillow. Saying they all live in pain... do any of these guys look like they're in pain? They're all pretty spoilt and happy," Hansen said

She understood Trade Me was trying to stamp out the "backyard breeders" but she said all dogs are at risk of suffering from various health issues.

She believed the company should be taking on all dog breeds, not just a select few.

"You've got breeders which are in there for a quick buck, they're not there for the heart and love of them. They're not looking after their pugs to start with."

Brenda didn't use Trade Me to sell her puppies but she thought the company would be better to look after breeders that have a good reputation.

Everyday Animal rescue worker Donna Young witnessed first hand the impact of animals who are being mistreated.

"I'm just sick of the amount of dogs and sick of the amount of people that breed, and don't desex their animals," Young said. "We got called up earlier on in the week, our second litter, an 18-month-old dog who's had her second litter."

The owner had wanted to euthanise them.

"It's just such a waste of life and it's just easy come, easy go."

Young said regulations would go a long way to getting rid of breeders in it for the wrong reasons.

But responsibility ultimately lay with prospective owners doing their research before buying a puppy, she said.

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