Pugs often are described as a lot of dog in a small space. These sturdy, compact dogs are a part of the American Kennel Club’s Toy group, and are known as the clowns of the canine world because they have a great sense of humor and like to show off. Originally bred to be a lap dog, the Pug thrives on human companionship.
The Pug is a breed of dog with a wrinkly, short-muzzled face and curled tail. The breed has a fine, glossy coat that comes in a variety of colours, although most often fawn or black, and a compact square body with well-developed muscles. Pugs were brought from China to Europe in the sixteenth century and were popularized in Western Europe by the House of Orange of the Netherlands, and the House of Stuart. Pugs as breeding animals may have contributed to the English Bulldog, the modern Pekingese and the King Charles Spaniel. Pugs remain popular into the twenty-first century, with some famous celebrity owners. A Pug was judged Best in Show at the World Dog Show in 2004. Overview The Pug’s comical face, with deep wrinkles around big, dark eyes and a flat round face, can’t help but make you smile. It is believed that the Pug’s name comes from the Latin word for “fist” because his face resembles a human fist. Pugs are clowns at heart, but they carry themselves with dignity. Pugs are playful dogs, ready and able for games, but they are also lovers, and must be close to their humans. Pugs love to be the center of attention, and are heartsick if ignored. Pugs are square and thickset, usually weighing no more than 20 pounds. Their heads are large and round, with large, round eyes. They have deep and distinct wrinkles on their faces. Legend has it that the Chinese, who mastered the breeding of this dog, prized these wrinkles because they resembled good luck symbols in their language. Especially prized were dogs with wrinkles that seemed to form the letters for the word “prince” in Chinese.
The moles on a Pug’s cheeks are called “beauty spots.” His muzzle or mask is black, with a clearly defined “thumb mark” on the forehead and a black trace down the center of the back. His ears are smooth, black and velvety. He has a characteristic undershot jaw and a tightly curled tail. Personality-wise, Pugs are happy and affectionate, loyal and charming, playful and mischievous. They are very intelligent, however, they can be willful, which makes training challenging. While Pugs can be good watchdogs, they aren’t inclined to be “yappy,” something your neighbors will appreciate. If trained and well-socialized, they get along well with other animals and children. Because they are a small, quiet breed and are relatively inactive when indoors, they are a good choice for apartment dwellers. Due to the flat shape of the Pug’s face, he does not do well in extremely hot or cold weather, and should be kept indoors. Pugs have a short, double coat, and are known for shedding profusely. If you live with a Pug, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality vacuum cleaner! Other Quick Facts
The Pug is among the largest of the Toy breeds.
He’s lively and loves everyone, and his alert nature makes him an excellent watchdog.
This breed snores and snorts, a by-product of his flat face. Learn to think of the noise as a lullaby.
Breed standards AKC group: Toy Dog UKC group: Companion Dog Average lifespan: 12 – 14 years Average size: 14 – 18 pounds Coat appearance: Short, fine, smooth Coloration: Fawn, apricot, silver and black Hypoallergenic: No Other identifiers: Compact body frame; black face mask; wrinkles cover the face; tail is high-set and tightly curled Possible alterations: None Comparable Breeds: French Bulldog, Pekingese
Pugs can be stubborn and difficult to housebreak. Crate training is recommended.
Pugs can’t tolerate high heat and humidity because of a short muzzle. When your Pug is outdoors, watch him carefully for signs of overheating. Pugs are definitely housedogs and should not be kept outdoors.
Despite their short coats, Pugs shed a lot.
Pugs wheeze, snort and snore, loudly.
Because their eyes are so prominent, Pugs are prone to eye injuries.
Pugs are greedy eaters and will overeat if given the chance. Since they gain weight easily, they can quickly become obese if food intake isn’t monitored carefully.
Pugs need human constant human companion. If you own a Pug, expect him to follow you around in the house, sit in your lap, and want to sleep in bed with you.
Pug enthusiasts are a fun-loving bunch. They love Pug get-togethers, Pug parades, and dressing up their Pugs.
To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
Multum in Parvo, meaning “a lot in a little,” is the official motto of the Pug and sums up its description. The Pug has had various names throughout the years, including Mopshond in Holland, Chinese or Dutch Pug in England, and Mops in Germany. But the word “pug” is thought to have come from the Latin pugnus, meaning fist and attributed to its clenched fist-like head, or from the 18th-century marmoset “pug” monkey, which purportedly appeared quite similar to the dog.
Although its exact ancestry is not known, many consider the Pug as one of the first breeds miniaturized in Asia. China is the earliest known source of the breed, where Buddhist monasteries of Tibet favored the Pug as a pet. The Chinese considered the Pug’s facial wrinkles an important feature of the breed, referring to it as the “prince mark” because of its similarity to the Chinese figure for prince.
Brought to Holland by the Dutch East India Trading Company, a pug would become a pet to William I, the Prince of Orange in the mid 16th century. The Pug was also bestowed the position of the House of Orange official dog after one of its kind saved the life of William I by alarming him to the approach of an upcoming attack of Spaniards at Hermingny in 1572. Later, when William II landed at Torbay to be crowned King of England, his cortege included pugs, making the breed fashionable for generations.
By 1790, the Pug had made its way to France. Most notably used by Josephine, wife of Napoleon, her pug, “Fortune,” carried secret messages under his collar to Napoleon while she was confined in Les Carmes prison.
In England, the Pug gained popularity during the Victorian era. These pugs sported cropped ears, which further enhanced their wrinkled expressions. And in 1885, the American Kennel Club would recognize the Pug. Since then, the Pug has become not only a popular show dog, but a wonderful family pet.
Temperament and Personality
People may initially be attracted by the Pug’s unusual appearance, but they are quickly won over by his personality. He is a charming, fun-loving clown of a dog who doesn’t mind wearing a costume. It’s all in good fun, after all. Even dressed as a bumblebee, the Pug has a knack for retaining his dignity even while making people laugh.
Pugs take well to training, too. That is, they will train you to spoil them appropriately. They love to eat, and it takes the strength of ten to resist a Pug’s pleading face when he wants one of your tater tots.
Pugs have a reputation for being difficult to housetrain. But if you learn to read their body language, they will tell you when they need to go out.
Is the Pug perfect? Well, no, not always. Any dog, no matter how nice, can develop obnoxious levels of barking, digging, food stealing, and other undesirable behaviors if he is bored, untrained, or unsupervised.
Start training your Pug puppy the day you bring him home. He is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Don’t wait until he is 6 months old to begin training or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see their puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality.
The perfect Pug doesn’t spring fully formed from the whelping box. He’s a product of his background and breeding. Whatever you want from a Pug, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.
Since Pugs lack longer snouts and prominent skeletal brow ridges, they are susceptible to eye injuries such as proptosis, scratched corneas, and painful entropion. They also have compact breathing passageways, leaving many prone to breathing difficulties or unable to efficiently regulate their temperature through evaporation from the tongue by panting. A Pug’s normal body temperature is between 101 °F (38 °C) and 102 °F (39 °C). If this temperature rises to 105 °F (41 °C), oxygen demand is greatly increased and immediate cooling is required. If body temperature reaches 108 °F (42 °C), organ failure can occur. Their breathing problems can be worsened by the stresses of travelling in air cargo, which may involve high temperatures. Following the deaths of Pugs and other brachycephalic breeds, several airlines either banned their transport in cargo or enacted seasonal restrictions.
Pugs that live a mostly sedentary life can be prone to obesity, though this is avoidable with regular exercise and a healthy diet. The median life span of Pugs is 11 years, which is in line with other breeds of the same size.
Coat care for the Pug is minimal, requiring only occasional brushing to remove the dog’s dead hair. Meanwhile, regular cleaning and drying is necessary to prevent skin infections, especially in the dog’s facial wrinkles.
As far as exercise requirements, the Pug’s needs can be met daily with a moderate leash-led walk or an energetic game. Sensitive to humidity and heat, the Pug should be kept indoors. The breed is also prone to snoring and wheezing because of their flat, small muzzles.
The Pug is good for apartment life. It is relatively inactive indoors and will do okay without a yard. Cannot withstand hot or cold weather and should be kept indoors at a comfortable temperature.
Pugs are strong dogs with short, straight legs. They need to be taken on daily walks. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as instinct tells a dog the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. They enjoy energetic games and will keep in better health if given regular exercise. But be careful not to overdo it, especially if you see them start to wheeze.
Grooming a Pug’s coat is easy. Brush his smooth double coat weekly with a rubber curry brush to remove dead hair. And you will remove lots of it, because Pugs shed. A lot. They shed year-round, so it’s something you should expect to live with.
The Pug’s facial wrinkles, especially the deep nose roll, must be cleaned. Each Pug is an individual, so you may have to clean them daily or only weekly. Wipe out the crud with a dampened cosmetic sponge or baby wipe, then thoroughly dry the wrinkles so they don’t mildew or become infected, a condition known to Pug people as “swamp face.”
Bathe the Pug as needed. With the gentle dog shampoos available now, you can bathe a Pug weekly if you want without harming his coat.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails every week or two, and brush his teeth often — with a vet-approved pet toothpaste — for good overall health and fresh breath.
Is this breed right for you?
Pugs make the best family pets — just make sure your toddler knows the difference between hugging and squeezing for the sake of those bulging Pug eyes. This breed requires low levels of exercise and makes a great apartment dweller. Although Pugs don’t require multiple daily walks, they live for constant companionship. Pugs thrive with lots of human interaction so busy bees and travel enthusiasts might choose to opt out. Despite their short coat, Pugs shed like crazy so get ready to find little Pug hairs everywhere. Allergy suffers and neat freaks, this may not be the breed for you.
Children and other pets
Pugs love kids. Though small, the Pug is not delicate like some toy breeds, so he is a good breed choice for families with children. However, children who want an active pet to retrieve balls or play soccer will be disappointed with a Pug. Adults should always supervise interactions between children and pets.
Properly trained and socialized, the Pug enjoys the companionship of dogs, and can be trusted with cats, rabbits, and other animals.
Did You Know?
Among the Pug’s rich and famous admirers are King Louis XIV; Josephine, empress to Napoleon; Queen Victoria; the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; and fashion designer Valentino.
A dream day in the life of a Pug
No other dog provides a cuddlier shoulder to lean on as loyal Pugs make themselves available to you through thick and thin. They live to make you laugh with a mere glance at their goofy faces and their little curly tails. With an equally comical personality, don’t count on this breed to sit in silence for too long; snorting, snoring and a multitude of questionable noises complete the Pug package and are a sure sign of a perfect day in the making.