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Why are there so many unwanted pugs in Korea?

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

We get this question a lot.

Why Koreans give up their pug:

  1. Pug gets too big. Koreans prefer small dogs, under 10 lbs due to small apartments and neighbors not allowing it.

  2. They shed. Because pugs start shedding at 6 months of age, you’ll see many abandoned pugs under 1yo. When relaxing at home, Koreans lounge on the floor (rather than furniture) without their shoes on. Shedding dog hair gets in the way if you’re sitting on the floor.

  3. A new husband and/or his family will reject the pug. When a woman marries, brings her dog into the marriage and then has a baby, sometimes the husband or his family will force her give her dog away. It is not common in Korea to build a family with a “grandfathered-in” dog.

Wedgie (fka Apollo) was one of five very malnourished pugs dumped on a street and then sent to a high-kill shelter in May 2018. All 5 survived with the help of all our PRK supporters!

Owning pets is a relatively new phenomenon in Korea. Previously, animals had a very utilitarian purpose in people’s lives; they were workers or food. As the society industrialized and became wealthier, disposable income became the norm for a growing number of Koreans. And the pet industry entered a boom period.

When seeking a pug, people in Korea don’t research the breed before adopting. Because of this, they don’t know that, yes, pugs grow larger than 10lbs, they shed and they are generally energetic and active puppies.

Unwanted pugs have 4 paths available to them (none of which are good):

  1. Live chained up outdoors

  2. Puppy mills (female pugs)

  3. High-kill shelters (only 10 days before euthanizing)

  4. Dog meat restaurants. There are farms that supply these restaurants. There are also numerous specialty health food shops that tout the health benefits of consuming dog meat.

We aim to rescue these pugs before they end up at the high kill shelter, puppy mills or, worst of all, a dog meat market. By combing through online sales lists where owners are unloading their pugs, we intervene at the early stages of abandonment/surrender and, ultimately, find them their forever homes.

(Clockwise from top left) Wedgie's Gotcha Day at LAX one year ago; Wedgie happily greeting his mom, Carol; Wedgie and his human sister; Wedgie's 3rd birthday celebration with his family

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