Snort – Snort – Snort – Snooooort!

When I started the process of re-doing this website, I didn’t realize that the posts I’d previously written would disappear. Since I’m back online again, I see that I have some new readers – Welcome! Because I can’t refer you to past posts, I’m going to “recycle” some content about pugs. So, if you’ve followed my blogs from the beginning, some parts of my posts may sound familiar to you – starting with the one I’m posting today.

Thank you for visiting this site!

Maija Harrington

Snort – Snort – Snort – Snooooort!

DCF 1.0

Sarah and I get ready for bed.

“I can’t stand that snoring!” my husband Bill bellows, waking me from a deep, solid sleep as he untangles Sarah, the pug entwined around my neck – as he prepares to evict her from our bed. For me, Sarah’s snoring is as soothing as a kitten’s purr. I love to fall asleep with her snoring in my ear. To me, it’s like listening to a lullaby; for Bill, it definitely is not.

Bill does agree that Sarah can display a wide range of melodic sounds while she sleeps; what he objects to is being jolted awake several times a night by the snoring equivalent of the crescendo opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony: “snort – snort – snort – snooooort!” Bill claims that whenever 15-pound Sarah snores, the hanging light fixtures sway, the papers blow off his desk, and the crockery clatters in the cabinets. I sleep soundly through it all until Bill wakes me up to complain about it.

Pugs, of course, aren’t the only dogs who snore. Their flat-faced friends, such as Boston terriers and Pekingese dogs, also are known for their excellent impersonations of buzz saws. It’s the squashed-in faces of these dogs that make them top contenders for the gold medal in snoring. Technically, such breeds are brachycephalic, or “short-headed.” Unlike most dogs, whose snouts extend forward, these dogs barely have snouts at all.

Ch7-01 Sarah sit cropped no snout

(As you can see, it’s almost improper to call the area around Sarah’s nose a “snout.”)

As a result of being bred specifically for a short snout, today’s pug has a snout that barely extends beyond the eyes. The long-gone long snout was, in past generations, covered by skin that stretched across the muzzle from the eyes to the far-away nose. However, breeders couldn’t shrink all the facial skin to fit the revised, now only slightly protruding snout. The leftover skin – quite a lot of it – formed wrinkles on the pug’s face. And it’s that mashed-in, wrinkle-wrapped snout that is largely responsible for the snoring of Sarah and her brachycephalic brethren.

S&H on leaves 2004

Here, Sarah’s “brother” Harley (L.) and Sarah (R) show off their facial wrinkles.

What’s more important is that, in addition to the wrinkles that are visible on the outside of their faces, pugs have wrinkles of mucosal tissue on the inside. These wrinkles extend from the mouth and nasal passages to the throat; and pugs must breathe past these wrinkles. As the wrinkled mucosa blocks the inflowing and outgoing air, the moving air causes the wrinkles to vibrate. The resultant sound is snoring – the source of marital disagreements.

Next time, the topic will be about why pugs lost their snouts in the first place.

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