Pug: Everything You Need to Know

The pug is an ancient and consistently popular breed throughout its history. It is a wonderful companion dog for city dwellers.

The Pug is one of those breeds that, due to its characteristic appearance, is easily recognized even by those who do not consider themselves an expert in dog breeding. Of course, the modest size and special benevolence do not allow assigning the functions of a reliable guard to this pet, but as a loyal friend for the whole family and a source of positive emotions, the pug is ideal.

Although visually pugs are somewhat reminiscent of English bulldogs, boxers, and the now-extinct Bullenbeisers from Germany, in fact, their roots should be found in the East. Moreover, you will have to dig deeper, because the first images of short-faced dogs that have survived to this day on ancient artifacts and references to them in historical documents date back to the 6th – 4th centuries BC. The famous ancient Chinese philosopher and politician Confucius speaks of them as companions of the nobility traveling on chariots.

For a long time, it was believed that another popular Chinese breed, the Pekingese, originated from the pugs. However, genetic studies allow us to confidently say that family ties are built in the reverse order: long-haired dogs appeared much earlier, their direct ancestors were Lhasa-apso or Chemdze-Apso, who guarded Tibetan monasteries, and pugs are either a cultivated natural mutation or the result of crossing with others. short-haired breeds. Perhaps this is why the Pekingese were considered exclusively imperial pets for centuries. But not everyone could afford to have pugs either. This was the privilege of courtiers close to the ruler. The conditions for keeping miniature dogs were truly royal, they ate much better than most ordinary subjects, often had their own chambers, servants for walking, and personal protection. For an attempt to steal such a dog, severe punishment was imposed, up to the death penalty.

Researchers suggest that the first European who happened to see the unusual pets of Chinese nobles was the Venetian merchant and traveler Marco Polo, who lived for seventeen years in an exotic country for a European. His “colleagues” from Holland and Portugal ended up in the Celestial Empire only two centuries later, during the era of the great geographical discoveries. They brought to their homeland not only silk and spices but also charming Lo Chiang Jie, soon renamed into a simpler pronunciation “pug”.

Strong men of fawn color with touching little faces and big eyes immediately attracted the aristocrats of the Old World. However, they played a special role in the fate of the Netherlands: the vigilance of the faithful Pompey helped Wilhelm the Silent to avoid death at the hands of a hired killer in the midst of the war of independence from Spain. Subsequently, the revolutionary leader of the Lower Countries became the founder of the royal Orange dynasty, and the pet accompanied the owner even after death – at the feet of the marble figure of the Dutch founding father on the lid of his sarcophagus, a sleeping dog was skillfully carved. Pugs have become a symbol and a living talisman for William’s heirs.

Through their efforts, the dogs got to Britain, where they quickly gained popularity among the local nobility, and subsequently dispersed to the royal courts of continental Europe. Especially much for the revival of interest in the breed among the British in the second half of the 19th century was done by Queen Victoria, who doted on her pets. Then the “British” pugs were taller, leaner, with an elongated muzzle, and had an exceptionally light color. But, as a result of the plundering of the Forbidden City of Beijing during the Second Opium War by officers of the English and French armies, previously unknown black individuals came to the West. The latter are still quite rare and therefore more expensive. In general, pugs are an example of a breed whose popularity is fairly stable.

The ancient breed was recognized by international organizations of dog breeders at the end of the 19th century, and the official standard for pugs was approved only in 1987. Its main criteria are as follows:

The normal weight range for an adult pug is from 6.3 to 8.1 kg. Height is not clearly stated in the standard, but the average is 25-30 cm for females and 30-33 cm for males.

The pug is a stocky dog ​​with square outlines (the length of the body is equal to the height at the withers). The musculature is well developed, gives the impression of compactness and proportionality.

Pugs have fawn (beige), apricot, silver, or black colors. In the first three cases, a prerequisite is the clearest contrast between the main (light) color and a dark “mask” on the face and ears. The so-called “belt” is allowed – a dark strip of fur running along the spine from the occiput to the base of the tail, and “diamond” – a dark spot on the forehead.

The pug’s coat is short, fine, close-fitting, smooth, and soft to the touch. Usually, it is of the same length throughout the body, however, it may be somewhat shorter on the muzzle and slightly longer at the back of the body. In black animals, the coat is coarser than in beige and apricot dogs.

A textbook example of a brachycephalic skull. Large, massive, rounded, but not “apple-shaped”, has no pronounced protrusions and dents, the bones of the skull are invisible. The muzzle is square, short, blunt, but not upturned, with deep, symmetrical wrinkles. The forehead does not protrude above the brow ridges.

The eyes are dark (no whites should be visible), large, round, rather prominent, but not protruding. Set wide apart.

The bridge of the nose is small, but pronounced, straight, with shortened rather than curved nasal passages. The nose is dark, in line with the eyes and vision is the center of the muzzle.

The lower jaw is wide, the chin is well defined. For pugs, a dense undershot is the norm (no more than 3 mm) – evenly spaced incisors of the lower jaw overlap the teeth of the upper jaw.

The neck is strong, powerful, comb-like, slightly arched, the length is in proportion to the body.

The ears of pugs are small about the head, thin and very soft. Two forms are acceptable: laid forward, the inner holes of which are closed by the edges tightly pressed to the skull (“buttons”), or folded over the head, laid back in such a way that the inner part remains open (“roses”). The first is preferred.

Short and massive, with a broad chest and well-defined, well-arched ribs laid back. The topline is straight.

Strong, straight, of moderate length, well placed under the body. The feet are neither overly elongated nor well-rounded, the toes are well-spaced and the nails are black.

The hind legs of the pug should be well developed, strong, straight, parallel to each other when viewed from behind, of moderate length. The knee and hock joints are well angulated. The shape of the paws is elongated, but not long. The toes are well separated at the top.

The pug’s tail is short, thick, densely covered with hair, set high and close to the body. Twisted into a ring, with a double turn preferred.

Springy, free, elegant, confident. The pug’s gait is characterized by light rolling movements.

Possible vices

  • bulging or “apple-shaped” skull;
  • protruding forehead or gaps between the eyes;
  • lack of nose bridge;
  • upturned or drooping nose;
  • drooping flews;
  • disharmonious fold over the nose;
  • lightened nose;
  • narrow nostrils;
  • close-set, light-colored, almond-shaped, oblique, too small, protruding or with visible whites of the eye;
  • crooked mouth, exposing teeth and tongue;
  • sagging or arched chest;
  • disproportionately long or short neck;
  • long and/or fluffy coat;
  • straightened articulation angles.

As noted above, all pug owners characterize them as friendly and lovable companions. Puppies are quite playful, however, as they grow older, the need for active leisure fades away, and the main joy in the pet’s life is quiet hours on the couch in the company of the owner.

Pugs are extremely attached to people, so it is not recommended to leave them alone for a long time, so as not to provoke stress. If you are planning a vacation or another trip, feel free to trust your pet with the care of neighbors or friends – these dogs easily make contact even with strangers who show interest and good feelings towards them. The love of the “little tank” is enough even for children, but their communication is worth keeping an eye on, since during the game, through negligence, they can seriously injure the large and bulging eyes of the animal.

Unlike other decorative breeds, pugs are calm and level-headed. They do not have the “spoiled child” syndrome, which is often encountered when dealing with “ladies” dogs. If a pug wants your attention, he’ll just walk up and sit next to you.

The owners of pugs will not have to listen to complaints from neighbors about obsessive barking, which, of course, does not guarantee a regime of silence. Your pet will constantly sniff loudly, wheeze, and experience bouts of flatulence. And pugs are also absolute champions in dog snoring, which you would hardly suspect given their modest size. However, the latter is considered by many to be more of a fun feature than a disadvantage.

Despite their friendliness and sociability, pugs are quite stubborn, so their training seems to be difficult, without a guaranteed result. If you nevertheless decide to teach your pet simple commands, please be patient and … goodies. The carrot-and-stick method is simply not applicable here. Completely non-aggressive dogs do not tolerate hostility towards themselves, they can only be trained with the help of rewards.

Caring for a pug does not require superfluous efforts from the owner. The short and smooth coat does not need professional grooming, it is enough to brush it at home. During the molting period, which happens twice a year, it is recommended to do this daily, and less often the rest of the time. By the way, the future owner should know that the pug sheds surprisingly abundantly, and be prepared for frequent cleaning. But experts advise bathing a pet as rarely as possible, so as not to violate the natural protective barrier on its skin. Bath procedures are considered the best option once a month.

Creases and wrinkles on the face require constant and close attention. They must be regularly and thoroughly cleaned of food particles and debris that gets there while outdoors. This will avoid inflammation and infections.

The length of your daily walks depends on the intensity. A leisurely walking step can take up to an hour and a half, but an easy job should not exceed 10-15 minutes, since your pet’s respiratory system is not designed for marathon races. In addition, it is imperative to take into account the temperature and humidity of the air – for a pug, hypothermia or overheating can become fatal without exaggeration. A short coat without a strong undercoat does not protect it from low temperatures, so in the cold season, it is important not to forget about special clothing. The peculiarities of the structure of the muzzle do not allow to effectively remove excess heat, and even when the body temperature rises by 3-4 ºС, your pet may die. In this regard, it must be kept in an air-conditioned room in the summer.

To our great regret, we have to admit that pugs are far from the healthiest dogs. Throughout their lives, they have to deal with both congenital and acquired diseases. The most serious of the first category are encephalitis, the cause of which has not yet been fully elucidated by veterinarians, and epilepsy.

The most vulnerable places in the body of representatives of this breed are the eyes and the respiratory system. Many pets are partially or completely blind as a result of mechanical damage, infections, and other diseases. Cases of seasonal or chronic allergies are not uncommon. But the most common problem of this breed is undoubtedly obesity against the background of excessive appetite and low physical activity. By itself, it is not lethal, but it shortens life expectancy, exacerbating existing health problems.

How to choose a puppy?

The main advice when choosing a pug is not new: contact kennels with an excellent reputation or experienced breeders, because animals purchased “from hands” or from private advertisements can have not only external or disqualifying disadvantages but also significant health problems.

Before buying a pug, carefully study the pedigree of the parents, look at the conditions of keeping the animals, get to know the puppy. A healthy baby, in addition to a well-formed skeleton, standard color and characteristics described in the breed standard, must have a lively friendly disposition, not be afraid of people and not show aggression, and not be apathetic.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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