Also known as a mops hund or Chinese pug dog, the Pug strongly resembles a miniature mastiff with the black mask on its wrinkled face with a stocky, thickset body. A loyal and affectionate little dog who is energetic and good natured, you will have a friend for life. The Pug has uncertain origins with many believing that he dates back to 400 BC in Asia, whilst others believe that the Pug was brought back from the East by Dutch traders; which could also explain why he was once known as a Dutch mastiff. Pugs are excellent watch dogs although they don’t tend to yap excessively, which means that they will adapt well to life in an apartment or a huge mansion, they don’t mind.
Height: Male 12 to 14 in (30 to 36 cm) female 10 to 12 in (25 to 30 cm)
Weight: Male 13 to 20 lbs (6 to 9 kg) female 13 to 18 lbs (6 to 8 kg)
Average litter size: 2 to 6 pups
Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years
Good with children: Yes
Kennel Club classification: Toy group
Colour of a Pug
The four colours of a Pug are black, fawn, silver and apricot. The early Pugs were usually golden or apricot until the mid nineteenth century when two strains of Pugs were introduced by breeders named Willoughby and Morrison, who were distinct rivals. The black Pug originated in 1886 and is considered by some to be hardier than the fawn coloured Pug.
Grooming a Pug
Pugs shed hair all year round and so will benefit from a daily brush to keep the hair loss to a minimum. Fawn coloured Pugs have an undercoat as well as an overcoat which means that they shed a little more than the other colours, but again, daily brushing will minimise the hair loss. A double coat is unusual in a Pug as they were intended to be a lap dog, living exclusively indoors. It is necessary to clean inside the wrinkles on the dog with care as poor care in this area can cause infection and irritation. The nails and the teeth will require attention, as with any breed, to avoid problems.
Pug common ailments/health issues
Pugs are generally healthy dogs who need little more than a daily brush and the creases in their face cleaned. Pugs can be prone to many of the common problems that affect all dogs and should be avoided by the necessary screening of both parents to avoid the issue of hereditary disease. There are three areas where you should pay attention to avoid problems with your Pug. These are: body temperature, eyes and weight. The Pug has a relatively short head and flattened nasal passages, which puts them at greater risk of heatstroke or breathing difficulties. As the eyes of a Pug are prominent you have to watch that they don’t get injuries to the eye. The weight of a Pug has to be watched as they love their food and, without adequate exercise, will soon gain weight. Good quality food is essential to promote the health of their skin and coat. As with any dog, health screening, good food and care will ensure your Pug stays healthy and alert.
Temperament of the Pug
Pugs are versatile and are just as happy with one owner as with a family but are most suited to a family as they are quite tolerant of children. Their soft, velvety coat and playfulness make them ideal companions who will easily reflect the mood and temperament of their owner, being docile and quiet just as easily as being excitable and playful. Many owners of Pugs say that they love the playful antics of their pet as well as the sounds that they make, such as soft snoring and grunting sounds. A Pug will happily follow you around the house as they have a curious nature as well as some unusual traits – such as lying with their back legs stretched out behind them in a ‘frog’ position. They also tend to sit in a Buddha position with their legs open in front of them rather than tucking them underneath like most other dogs.
Training a Pug
Pugs are extremely intelligent dogs, although a little stubborn when it comes to training. It is important for you to be in control as your Pug will try to be in charge, although very rarely aggressive. As a Pug is a food lover he will respond very readily to treats to assist his training. Short 10 to 15 minute sessions are enough if practiced daily as the Pug soon learns.
Exercise for a Pug
Pugs require a daily walk and exercise to maintain their health and fitness, as well as preventing boredom and associated problems. However, it is important to keep an eye on their temperature as they can’t control their body temperature as easily as other dogs. If they start to pant it is better to let them stay in the shade until they cool down. Pugs are ideal for someone who doesn’t go for long walks each day as they require only short walks.
History of the Pug
The origins of a Pug are uncertain, with many believing that they originate from the East, probably China. The first Pugs to arrive in England were Dutch and this led to them being known as Dutch Mastiffs originally. Known to be a brave little dog, his courage was first recorded in 1572 when the King of Holland was awakened by one of his Pugs just in time to avoid being assassinated. The wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, Josephine, had a Pug who reportedly shared the marital bed upon the insistence of Josephine. Pugs retained their popularity until the early 19th century when demand for Pugs declined. Around 1860, Pugs were imported from China with shorter legs and the now popular ‘pug nose’. The most famous Pug lovers in the 20th century were the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who took their Pugs everywhere with them. America fell in love with the Pug in the 20th century as show dogs and as pets.
Famous Pug dogs
One of the most recent famous Pugs, a fawn Pug, played the part of an alien in Men in Black in 1997 – called Frank.
Willy is another famous Pug, from the BBC soap Eastenders. Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke is also a well known dog lover and Pug owner.
Chatshow host Jonathan Ross owns a Pug (as well as other dogs) named Mr Pickle.
Useful Pug Links