The Pug is a small breed belonging to the toy group characterized by a wrinkled face; compact, heavy-boned and well-muscled. This cobby breed has a large round head, short, blunt and square muzzle with clearly defined wrinkles. It has dark, very large round eyes which give an anxious and concerned expression, small and velvety black ears that come in two types and a slightly undershot mouth, wide lower jaw with incisors almost forming a straight line. Pugs with “rose” ears have small dropped ear that folds over and back to reveal the burr (giving the head a more rotund shape) while Pugs with “button” ears have forward-folding flaps with the tip lying close to the skull to cover the opening. The neck is slightly arched and is long enough to carry the head confidently. The Pug’s legs are short but very strong cushioned by rather long feet with well split up toes. The highly set tail is tightly twisted over the hip. The coat is fine, smooth, short and glossy and comes in silver, apricot, fawn or black.
The Pug is one of the oldest breed of dogs and its origin is a debatable matter. Some say it may have been a miniature variant of the rare French mastiff or a result of other Oriental breeds such the shorthaired Pekingese. Others claim that it might have developed from a small bulldog. The lineage may seem to be unclear but one thing is for sure: the Pug originated somewhere in Asia and has a similar history with the Pekingese. Although the ancient Pugs might have looked slightly different compared to today’s Pugs, writings that date back to 600 B.C. described a “short mouthed” dog. In 950 A.D. a Chinese dictionary was commissioned by Emperor Kang Hsi and in it were included two references that described a “dog with short legs” and “a dog with a short head.” By the 14th century, there were three main types of identifiable dog breeds which constituted the ancestors of three of today’s modern dogs: the Pekingese, the Japanese Spaniel and the Pug. When China began trading with several European countries in the late half of the 16th century to the early part of the 17th century, the Pug was presented as a gift to European sailors thus, starting a rise of the Pug’s popularity in Europe. Described as “Lo-Sze” in the early 1900s, the Pug is thought to have set afoot in Holland, the home of the famous Dutch East Indies Company. It was named “mopshund”, a name that is still used today. It was made popular in France by Josephine Bonaparte who owned a Pug named “Fortune.” Goya also painted the breed in Spain in 1785 depicting a cropped ear Pug. It was first exhibited in England in 1861 and was included in the first stud book volume in 1871.
The Pug is a natural clown and a show off. The Pug is a friendly, sociable breed and does not bark excessively, but will typically announce any visitor which makes it a qualified watchdog. Early socialization is required to raise a well-balanced temperament.
The Pug is a sensitive breed so that harsh approach or shouting has no room in training this breed. Repetitive training will also bore this clever and intelligent breed. It loves human companionship and needs plenty of attention or it will become aggrieved. It is smart, loyal, and always eager to please but can be quite stubborn and it can be a slow learner. Sometimes it takes a Pug longer than other dogs to understand what the owner wants. It is generally sensitive to the tone of the human voice.
Grooming is also very straightforward as the coat only needs occasional brushing or combing, bathing only when needed. This breed is a seasonal heavy shedder and may require more grooming attention during these seasons. The wrinkles on the face must be checked and cleaned regularly.
The Pug’s ideal diet is high in animal fat with low protein content. Grain foods may include some barley, wheat and rice. It should not be overfed since it has the tendency to eat more that it needs, making it obese and live a much shorter life.
A Pug has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. It is generally sensitive to extreme hot or cold weather and is prone to eye problems (such as keratitis or inflammation of the cornea, and eye ulcers) due to the fact that it has a short snout and it has no skeletal brow ridges which can easily scratch or injure its cornea. It is also susceptible to allergies and its short muzzle also can cause the Pug to develop breathing problems. It can also suffer from a specific chronic disease called Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) which causes inflammation of the brain and has no known cause or cure although it is believed to be inherited. Like other brachycephalic dogs, it is also susceptible to congenital vertebral anomaly which is a malformation of the spine. Pug puppies are born through caesarean section.
It has a low exercise requirement but like all dog breeds, it will enjoy a nice short walk or a session of play in an open space.
It is generally good with children and gets along well with them. Although it is a natural companion, it can not tolerate extreme heat which can be fatal to the breed. This breed gets along well with other dogs and pets, but will usually require a lot more attention than other pets or it will get jealous.