Brachycephalic Working Group assists Disney in reducing impact of Patrick film release

27 May 2018

The Brachycephalic Working Group (BWG), of which the British Veterinary Association is a member alongside leading breed clubs, welfare, veterinary and academic organisations, has expressed concern that Disney’s upcoming film, Patrick, will lead to a surge in demand for Pugs. The film, which releases on 29 June, features a Pug in the leading role.

Pugs are a ‘brachycephalic’ or flat-faced breed, and these types of dogs are prone to many health problems that can severely damage their welfare, as highlighted by BVA’s #BreedtoBreathe campaign.

In response, BWG has met with Disney to provide advice and information on how the company can manage this anticipated interest in the breed. The aim is to ensure that anyone considering purchasing a Pug carefully researches the breed and is fully aware of the potential health issues, costs, and specialist care that these dogs may need.

The actions that the BWG have assisted and agreed* with Disney that aim to mitigate the negative effects that the movie Patrick may have on the popularity and demand for the breed include:

  1. Adding a welfare message into the credits section of the film that explains the health issues of Pugs.
  2. Leaflets to be distributed to journalists and to the public at UK cinemas that describe the leading health issues of the Pug breed and suggest that ownership should not be undertaken lightly.
  3. Images of Pugs dressed in human clothing will not be used in leading marketing materials, such as the Patrick promotional poster.
  4. The film will not be accompanied by any merchandising of Patrick Pug memorabilia.
  5. BWG will support the development of any film industry initiatives to ensure that potential animal welfare implications are considered prior to future movies that prominently feature animals.

    * Correct as of 27 May, 2018

British Veterinary Association Senior Vice President Gudrun Ravetz said:

“Flat-faced dogs have seen a rapid rise in popularity in recent years, which has been fuelled by their prominence in the media, but many people are unaware that their ‘cute’ looks mask serious and often life-limiting health problems.

“We welcome Disney’s positive engagement with BWG to address members’ concerns regarding the anticipated interest in Pugs after the movie’s release.

“As part of BVA’s ongoing Breed to Breathe campaign, we would urge prospective dog owners to prioritise welfare over looks and to speak to their local vet for advice on the right dog for them.” 

Related BVA policy

BVA Media Office