Everything You Need to Know about the Pug
One of the first times I met a pug, I couldn’t help but laugh at him. Known as Sgt. Pugsley, he was goofy, friendly and all-around a wonderful little creature who loved the attention thrown on him. And that is really what the breed is in a nutshell.
Known as an excellent companion breed for young and old alike, the pug is a charming breed that is full of personality. Whether they are snoring on the couch or playing a fun game of fetch, these pups will fill your life with a lot of fun and laughter.
They are truly a gem amongst breeds and there is much to learn about them. So, let’s take a look at this wonderful breed. Not only will you find things to laugh about, but you may also even realize that this is the breed you’ve wanted all along.
Funny Face: The Wonderful Appearance of the Pug
Males and Females: 10 to 13 inches (25.40 to 33.02cm)
Males and Females: 14 to 18 pounds (6.35 to 8.16kg)
Accepted Breed Standard Colors
- Black: Solid black dog
- Fawn: Ranging from light silver fawn to dark fawn
It should be noted that pugs have a black mask on their face and ears, even black pugs, however, it is harder to notice on a black dog.
Disqualified Breed Standard Colors
Many breed clubs, including the American Kennel Club, only accept the two colors with pugs, however, they can be found in other colors.
It should be noted that many breeders debate whether these colors are purebred or the result of other breeds being crossed into the breed. In addition, there are no “rare” colors and puppy buyers should never pay extra for these colors.
Finally, some health problems have been linked to coat color but we will cover this when we look at the health of the pug.
- Silver: A grey dog with a silver color to the coat.
- White: White dog, usually without a black mask but still has a black nose
- Merle: A coat that is mottled colors in a solid or piebald coat. Merle’s can also have miscolored eyes.
- Brindle: Black with brindling of fawn or apricot
Short, stocky and thickset are three words that describe the appearance of this small breed. They should have a square appearance to their build with their height being equal to their length.
The chest should be broad and the legs should be muscular and thick. While they are a small breed, they should not appear fragile or delicate.
The head of the pug should be large with a round shape to it. It should have large, round eyes that are always dark brown in color. Light eyes or miscolored eyes are not accepted but can be seen in some of the disqualified colors.
The muzzle of the pug should be very short. In fact, the breed is a brachiocephalic breed and should have an extremely flat muzzle.
That being said, there should be a muzzle and the lower jaw should be slightly longer, extending out more, than the upper jaw.
Teeth should have a slightly undershot bite and there are often moles on the cheeks of pugs and they should have prominent wrinkles on the face. Finally, the ears of the pug should be small that are rose or button-shaped.
Pugs should have a level topline and should be a sturdy dog. The breed should have a tail that is carried over the body and is curled tightly.
The coat of the pug should be short and it should have a smooth and soft texture to it. As mentioned above, the only accepted colors are black and fawn, however, in some countries, apricot is another accepted color.
Goofy and Endearing: The Temperament of the Pug
Happy, affectionate and all-around funny, the pug is an affable breed that can charm the socks off of just about anyone. They are known for being very intelligent but that can also be a downside to the breed since they are great at getting into trouble.
In all actuality, the breed can be quite mischievous, which can make them clown-like in some of their antics. But even with this funny side of them, the pug is happiest when he is with his owners. He loves being on a lap and they can be quite the couch potatoes if you let them.
During training, the pug can be a bit stubborn and wilful. This can make it hard to train them but once they get something, they will remember it…however, they may not always listen.
The breed loves being the center of attention and they love meeting new people. This means that they aren’t a great guard dog but they will bark to alert their owners to anything suspicious.
An Excellent Family Companion
While they are small, the pug is definitely not a delicate breed and that makes them an excellent choice as a family pet. They don’t mind the rough and tumble ways of children; however, care should still be taken when they are interacting with kids.
The breed does exceptionally well with children of all ages and they love to play with them. In fact, they are happiest when they can be goofy with their child companions. The breed can be very patient with kids as well.
With other pets, the pug generally gets along well with everyone. They do very well in multi-pet households and get along with animals and dogs of all sizes.
A Long and Distinguished History
Originating in China, the pug is believed to be an extremely old breed. In fact, it was documented as early as the Han dynasty (B.C. 206 to A.D. 200) and is believed to have been developed from short-haired versions of the Pekingese, however, there is some evidence that the breed may be related to the Tibetan Mastiff and other Tibetan breeds.
However, regardless of what the breed was developed from, there is significant evidence that the pug was a prized dog in the Imperial court of China. They were often kept by the Emperors and were often given their own accommodations and personal soldiers to guard them.
While the breed was cherished in China, it wasn’t until the early 17th century that it started being exported to other countries. Pugs were often used for trading and many came back with Dutch traders that traveled to the country.
The breed became known as Mopshond in Holland and as its popularity grew throughout Europe, it was also known as the Dogullo in Spain, Caganlino in Italy, Mops in Germany and Carlin in France.
The pug was quickly noticed by the European nobility. In fact, in 1572, after a Pug saved the life of William, Prince of Orange, the breed became the official dog of the House of Orange. In addition, Marie Antoinette, Josephine Bonaparte, and Queen Victoria all had pugs that were prized as both companion dogs and for breeding.
As the showing became a popular choice for dog enthusiasts, the pug excelled in the ring. In fact, the breed was first shown in 1861 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. Today, pugs were the 28th most popular breed in America in 2018.
The Health and Lifespan of the Pug
Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
Pugs, like many brachycephalic breeds, are prone to a large number of health problems. Potential owners should be aware of this and make sure that they are choosing a breeder that is breeding for health as well as other traits desired in the breed.
The breed is known for having a long life span and starting with a puppy from a responsible breeder will ensure that it continues to be long.
As with all breeds, make sure that you choose a puppy that comes from health tested parents. In addition, finding a breeder who offers a two-year health guarantee will ensure that your puppy has the best start in life.
While only two colors (three in some countries) are accepted, there has been a sudden interest in miscolored pugs that are not breed standard. While some of the unaccepted colors offer no health problems, a few of them do and we will go over those health problems before we move on to health problems seen in the pug.
Color Related Health Problems:
- Deafness: White coats often increase the risk of deafness in all dog breeds, including the Pug.
Breeding merle to merle causes many health problems and should be avoided. Never purchase a pup from a breeding of two merles.
In addition, Merles are believed to have occurred by crossing Chihuahuas into the pedigree so there is a lot of debate on whether these pugs are purebred or not. Health problems they are known to have are:
- Structural Defects:
- Eye Anomalies and Abnormalities
- High Birth Mortality Rates
Conditions that are seen in pugs, regardless of color are the following:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Vaccine Sensitivity
- Corneal Ulcers
- Cheyletiella Dermatitis
- Demodectic Mange
- Pigmentary Keratitis
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Nerve Degeneration
- Staph Infections
- Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
- Patellar Luxation
- Pug Dog Encephalitis
- Elongated Soft Palate
- Stenotic Nares
- Legg-Perthes Disease
- Yeast Infections
Although there is a long list of health problems listed, it is important to note that not every pug is going to suffer from these. However, always be aware of the risk that your pug may develop one or more of these conditions.
In addition, owners should realize that pugs are a brachycephalic breed. What this means is that their short snouts can make breathing difficult. They are prone to heat exhaustion and can collapse from heat stress and heat stroke with very little exposure.
For that reason, it is important to keep them cool in the warmer months and to avoid a lot of exercise during the hottest parts of the day.
Finally, like many breeds, the pug can become obese quite easily. Always make sure that you monitor their weights and always factor in treats when you count your pup’s daily calories.
Fun Times: Life with Pugs
Pugs are definitely going to bring a lot of fun into your life. With their affectionate and playful nature, these pups are always making their owners laugh…even when they are sleeping. And when it comes to caring, the pug is actually pretty easy to care for.
Despite being full of fun, they don’t require a lot of exercises and much of it can be done down a hallway with a great game of fetch, which makes them excellent for seniors. However, they should still get outside for a 10 to 15 minute walk once or twice a day.
When they are outside, be sure to keep them in a secure area or leashed. This isn’t a breed with a great street sense and they can easily run out into traffic.
As with all breeds, the pug does require some puppy proofing since they can be quite mischievous when they want to be. Finally, be cautious with high temperatures. Like all brachycephalic breeds, the pug can suffer from heat exhaustion very easily, which can be fatal.
Another part of live with a pug is that these pups thrive when they are with their owners. They love being the center of the world and prefer to go to everyone with their family. This can mean that the breed is prone to separation anxiety and can be quite destructive. They are not great for people who will be home for extremely long hours and they should be crate trained to keep them from getting into things when you are away.
When it comes to grooming, the pug is a wash and wear breed for the most part. The short, smooth coat can be kept clean and free of dirt and debris by wiping it down with a damp cloth. Brushing should be done once a week. Since they have a lot of wrinkles, it is very important that you wipe the wrinkles down on a daily basis and keep them dry. In addition, since eyes are quite large, they should have eye drops administered to keep eyes moist.
Bathing can be done on a monthly basis and you can apply powder to the wrinkles to keep them dry and clean smelling between bathing. Ears should be cleaned weekly and nails should be trimmed once or twice a month.
As with all breeds, pugs do very well with high-quality dog food. They don’t eat a lot per day, usually 1/2 to 1 cup depending on the type of food, however, always watch your pup to make sure that he doesn’t overeat. They are prone to obesity and will happily share table food whenever it is offered.
The pug, clownlike, funny, playful and an amazing companion, this is definitely a breed for someone who is looking for laughter in their life. They are excellent family companions and will make sure that a lot of the moments in your life are filled with fun times.