Pug

Breed At A Glance

Classification
Toy

Personality
Perky, playful and loving

Life Expectancy
12-15 years

Average Height
Males 12-14 inches; Females 10-12 inches

Average Weight
Males 13-20 lbs; Females 13-18 lbs

Coat Color
Solid apricot, fawn, silver or black (lighter colors usually have darker faces)

Coat Length/Texture
Fine, soft and glossy

Shedding Propensity
Consistent year round, and seasonally heavy

Also known as Chinese Pug, Mops, Carlin, Puggu

General Temperament

Pugs are typically described as a big dog in a small space. They are loyal, affectionate and loving with a happy disposition. Perky and playful without being overly excitable, they love to romp with family members and other dogs. They are particularly good with children, but also love other household pets as well as strangers. Pugs love to announce the arrival of visitors but do not bark unnecessarily, making them good watch dogs, although they are too sweet for actual guarding.

Pugs are quite intelligent, but can be stubborn and bore easily, so they can be tough to train. They are quite sensitive to the tone of your voice, so harsh training is not warranted. Calm, firm, and consistent training techniques work best with Pugs.

Although they enjoy the company of other dogs, Pugs are mainly people-oriented and need to be close to their families. Leaving a Pug out of the fun, or depriving them of human interaction, can lead to jealousy or anxiousness. Otherwise they are low maintenance and low activity, and enjoy life in an apartment as much as a home with a yard.

Breed History

The Pug is one of the oldest breeds, although it’s origins are somewhat cloudy. Some say that the Pug is a variation of the Bulldog, others believe that they are a short-haired version of the Pekinese, and still others claim that it’s a small version of the rare Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff). But primary school of thought is that the dog is of Asian origin, and there are records of them in China dating as far back as 400 BC. Specimens were taken to Tibet, where they were the pets of monks in Buddhist monasteries. Pugs next traveled to Japan, and eventually to Europe, where they were favorites among royals in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. The breed enjoyed another surge of popularity in the late 1800’s in England, when a significant number of Pugs (particularly black Pugs) were exported from China. Around the same time, the breed was accepted into the American Kennel Club.

Since it’s inception, the Pug has been mostly used as a companion pet and lap dog, although it’s loyalty also gave it great regard as a watch dog.

Body Structure and Composition

Pugs are a sturdy, compact and muscular breed. Their most characteristic feature is their flattened, wrinkled face, which is always black despite the color of the rest of the body. The skull is flat on top between the ears, giving the head a square look when viewed from the front. The ears are velvety and often rose-shaped. The back is is level to the tail, which is carried high and curled up over the back. The legs are straight and sturdy. Pugs have a distinguishing rolling gait.

Medical Information

Due to their lack of pronounced brow ridges and their short snouts, Pugs are prone to accidents involving scratches or punctures to the eyes, as well as corneal ulcers and eyeball prolapse (when the eyeball slips out of place). Entropion, a condition in which the eyelids are folded in, is a painful eye abnormality that is prevalent in Pugs. This breed can also be prone to breathing problems, due to their compact breathing passageways. They also tend to snort and snore, and when excited, they are prone to a “reverse sneeze” where the dog will quickly, and seemingly laboriously, gasp and snort, as a result of fluid or debris getting caught under the palate and irritating the throat or limiting breathing. Reverse sneezing will not hurt a Pug, but it may scare them; talk calmly to the dog and gently rub the throat to induce swallowing to help them get through the episode.

A form of inflammation of the brain known as Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) is specific to this breed. The onset usually occurs between 6 months and 3 years of age, and is chronic, incurable and mostly fatal. Symptoms include seizures and dementia to start with, followed by circling, head tilt, and blindness. Corticosteroids may improve symptoms, but the dog almost always dies from the disease. Infected dogs are sometimes euthanized shortly after onset. Newborn Pug puppies have large heads, so many expectant mothers deliver via Caesarian Section.

Pugs are relatively inactive and therefore prone to obesity; it’s important to closely regulate their dietary intake and avoid table scraps. Additionally, the facial creases should be cleaned frequently. Pugs are also prone to allergies.

Pugs have a tough time regulating their body temperature, and therefore do not handle extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) and are generally best kept indoors. It’s also important to dry them off quickly after a bath to avoid a chill.

Anecdotal Information

The unique looking Pug has won roles in several successful Hollywood films, including Otis in Milo and Otis, Frank in Men in Black and Men in Black II, and Percy Pug in Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World.

The Pug became the official dog of the House of Orange when, in 1572, a Pug saved the Prince of Orange’s life by barking at an assassin.

Marie Antoinette owned a Pug named Mops prior to her marriage to Louis XVI.

The English painter William Hogarth was a fan of the breed, and included his Pugs in many of his paintings.

While imprisoned in Les Carmes, Joséphine de Beauharnais (wife of Napoleon Bonaparte) sent messages to her family hidden under the collar of her Pug named Fortune, who was the only individual given visiting privileges.

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