Pug is a little clown. They have a long and rich history in China going back at least 2,000 years, although some breed historians believe they’re much older than that. Pugs were so admired that diplomats, ambassadors, explorers, and travelers used them as barter or gifts to gain favors. This practice spread the Pug throughout the world, going first to Japan and then to Europe. In 1572, a Pug warned William, Prince of Orange, of an approaching enemy, so when William was crowned King of England, they were included in the royal procession. Legend has it that when Napoleon married Josephine, one of her Pugs bit him in their honeymoon bed! Pug fanciers say the motto of the breed is “multum in parvo,” which means “a lot in a little.” Pugs are definitely a lot of dog in a small package.
Pugs are great companions for people of all ages.
The Pug is the largest of the toy dog breeds. They stand 10 to 11 inches tall and weighs between 14 and 18 pounds, although some dogs are heavier. One of the key features is its head. It is large and round, with a very short muzzle. The skin over the muzzle is wrinkled, as is the forehead. The eyes are dark and expressive, and the ears are carried high and folded. The body is compact and sturdy. The tail is curled tightly over the hips. The Pug’s coat is short and smooth and can be silver, apricot-fawn, or black. The face and ears are black. Grooming is not difficult. The short coat can be brushed with a soft bristle brush or curry comb twice weekly and it will look wonderful. The wrinkles in the face should be cleaned daily, especially if it gets food or dirt in them.
The Pug often has breathing difficulties due to extremely short muzzle.
The Pug is a brachycephalic breed, meaning that the muzzle is extremely short. This can cause breathing difficulties, especially during hard exercise or in hot, humid weather. The Pug dog breed does need exercise to remain strong and healthy, but care must be taken to exercise the dog wisely. A long walk morning and evening is great, as is a good game of ball in between. When well-socialized as Pug puppies, Pugs are friendly, playful extroverts. Although small when puppies, they should not be overprotected, as this could cause them to become fearful. Training should begin young, as Pugs do have a mind of their own. The training should be firm yet fun and should include games to keep the dog interested and focused. Housetraining can be a challenge, but with consistency and patience, it can be accomplished. Because of their potential breathing problems and their small stature, Pugs are limited in the canine sports in which they participate, but they enjoy agility and trick training and make wonderful therapy dogs.
Photo: Fawn Pug and Black Pug
Pugs are great companions for people of all ages. Although they are sturdy and will take some rough handling, small children should be taught to be gentle. Pugs usually get along with other dogs quite well, but interactions with larger dogs should be supervised so the smaller Pug is not hurt. Pugs and the family cat can become great friends. Health concerns include eye disorders, knee problems, allergies, hip dysplasia, and encephalitis. Because they enjoy eating, obesity is also a potential problem.