The Pug dog breed is a short-nosed (brachycephalic) toy breed that is one of the post popular family pets. Their name is derived from the word ‘Pugness’ in Latin which translates to ‘fist.’ There’s no doubt that it is their scrunched up face that earned them this name. They are affectionate and playful dogs which get much attached to their owners and consider themselves an integral part of the family.
The peculiar features of Pugs make them look like a new breed developed by intense cross breeding. But it happens to be one of the oldest dog breeds around; its origins going as far back as the 400 BC or farther. The exact lineage is not known, but it is speculated that they share their ancestry with the Pekingese. Other suggestions include Bulldog and French Mastiff bloodlines, but their early presence in Tibetan monasteries and the Imperial Palace in China point to their Asian origins.
These dogs reached many European countries by the 16th century, probably along with merchants, travelers or Buddhist monks. Wherever they went, they became favorites of the royalty, even representing the House of Orange of Netherlands (Holland) as its official dog. These dogs are excellent guard dogs, and according to one story, a Pug saved the life of Prince William II of the House of Orange by warning him of the approach of the Spanish. It is not surprising since these dogs have a history of being used in that capacity in the Tibetan monasteries and in the Chinese Palace.
Napoleon’s wife Josephine too had a trusted Pug that was used as a messenger between her and Napoleon when she was imprisoned. Many Pugs were brought to England along with Pekingese dogs when the British forcefully entered the Imperial Palace in 1860. They became instantly popular. The breed reached the United States soon after, and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.
The Pugs are small sized dogs that usually measure between 10 to 14 inches, the females being smaller in size than the male dogs. Since they are stocky and muscular, they are not as lightweight as many other dog breeds of that size. Their weight may range from 13 pounds to 20 pounds.
Their nearly flat face is full of deep wrinkles. The eyes are large and dark colored, and the ears are small and folded. The small tail is curled, often in a double curl, and carried high up on the back. The coat is short and soft to touch, with a fine, smooth feel. When the color is not solid black, it can be fawn, apricot or silver with some black coloration around the mouth, eyes and the ears.
The Pug dog breed is known for its bold yet amiable nature. They are full of life, and playful, always ready to perform before others and please their owners. They are attention seekers and love being in the middle of all family activities. They have the reputation of being difficult to train, and may show a stubborn streak by choosing to disobey orders. But their child-like persuasive behavior is often enough to pacify their owners and allow them to get away with it.
Grooming and exercise
The Pug dog has a short coat that requires only an occasional light brushing, but special attention should be given to the wrinkles on the face and the neck. If they are given a wash, the skin folds should be carefully cleaned and dried to avoid infections setting in.
Pug dog breed is high on exercise needs compared to other breeds of similar size. A daily walk, preferably at a brisk pace, is essential, but it should be supplemented with some games and activities. These dogs may appreciate having a secure yard to spend some free time in, but it’s not necessary. Care should be taken to shield the dog from the sun and extreme heat. It goes without saying that Pugs are house dogs through and through.
Common health issues of Pug dog breed
The Pug breed of dogs is known to be affected by certain health disorders specific to the breed such as Pug dog encephalitis. Other breed-related complaints include hemivertebrae, elongated palate and stenotic nares commonly seen in short-nosed dog breeds. Snoring and wheezing are also issues with these dogs.
Common canine health issues such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, keratoconjunctivitis sicca/dry eyes, and Legg-Perthes are also seen in these dogs. They are prone to skin infections in the deep wrinkles on the face and the neck.
In spite of all these potential disorders, Pugs are long-lived dogs. Although their average life expectancy is 15 years, many family dogs live much longer.