- Group – Toy
- Height – 10-14 inches at the shoulder
- Weight – 6-8 KG
- Life Span – 12-14 years
The Pug is one of the oldest breeds of dogs and has flourished since before 400 BC. China is the earliest known source for Pugs, where they were pets of the Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. The Pug is a family favorite. Full of confidence and always eager to please, this dog makes a great playmate for children and a loyal addition to the family.
The Pug is an ancient breed with its origin in China sometime before the 6th century BCE. A short description of a dog that resembles the Pug exists in the 6th century BCE writings of Confucius, and sources from the 5th century BCE suggest that dogs of this type were a favorite of the Shang dynasty rulers, who used them as lap dogs and frequently presented them to others as gifts. It is likely that this early Pug is also the predecessor of the Pekingese. From China, the popularity of the Pug spread to Buddhist monks in Tibet. There are also sources that suggest the Pug encountered similar treatment in Japan. While some sources do exist, much of the artwork and writing that described these early dogs was destroyed in the 3rd century BCE by China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. Accordingly, the exact nature of the Pug’s origin and its spread through Asia is unknown.
By the 16th century, the Dutch East India Company had imported the breed to Europe. In 1572, the Pug emerged as the House of Orange’s official dog, after a Pug named Pompey allegedly saved the Prince of Orange’s life by warning him of oncoming assassins. Accordingly, when William and Mary of Orange ascended to England’s throne in 1688, they brought their favored breed with them. It was during this time that the Pug was bred with the English Toy Spaniel, which had a profound effect on the course of that breed’s history. By the end of the 17th century, the Pug had gained popularity throughout Europe, evidenced by the appearance of the Pug in Spanish and Italian artwork. It Italy, a custom arose that called for dressing a dog of this type in matching pantaloons and jacket. Additionally, some records suggest the use of the Pug as military trackers and guard dogs.
In the 19th century, the Pug continued its relationship with the British monarchy, having gained the favor of Queen Victoria, who kept many Pugs that she also bred. It was Queen Victoria’s involvement with Pug breeding that led to the establishment of the Kennel Club in 1873. The Pug of this era had cropped ears and longer legs than the standard Pug of today. It is likely that the introduction of Pugs imported from China in the late 19th century led to the creation of the breed standard that exists today.
Personality and Temperament
Pugs are social and very easy-going. Known for their intelligence, these dogs are generally calm and reserved.
This breed gets along well with children, other dogs, and most household pets. They may become jealous if their owner diverts attention to another animal or child.
Hair, Care and Grooming
The short coat of the Pug makes for easy maintenance, and as such, require little grooming. This breed can be everything from a light beige color to black. The Pug requires occasional grooming with a rubber brush to remove loose hairs. Special lotion can be used on the facial creases to clean and nourish the skin.
This breed tends to catch colds easily and is stressed by weather extremes. They may be prone to allergies, breathing problems, and skin problems.
Training and Activity
Since Pugs are stubborn, independent and smart enough to get bored quickly with repetitive exercises, they are not always easy to train. With their silly, distracting antics added to the mix, training a Pug may seem downright impossible at times. Thankfully, Pugs are exceptionally eager to please their owners, and owners who are consistent and patient can usually train their Pugs to exhibit the desired response to his or her prompts. Heaping praise upon them can also help tremendously, since they thrive on attention from their owners. It is also very important that owners do not inadvertently praise behaviors that, while cute, are not the point of the training exercise. This breed is very fond of food and treats, so using treats as rewards may provide some additional motivation for dogs that are especially strong-willed. Working with Pugs during the first six months of their lives is crucial where training is concerned, as it is much more difficult to change dogs’ behaviors after this point. Some owners express concern about how long it takes to house-train Pugs, but puppies of this breed do not develop the muscle strength to control their bowels and bladder completely until they are around 6 months old. As with other commands and skills, Pugs learn to house-train with plenty of positive reinforcement in the form of treats and praise. This breed requires gentle training, as they are very sensitive to the tone of the trainer’s voice.
Pugs love to romp and play outdoors on a regular basis. Due to their small size and rather lazy nature, Pugs do not require a lot of physical activity to stay healthy and in-shape. A daily walk around the neighborhood or a romp in the backyard should easily meet these dogs’ exercise requirements; in fact, too much exercise can exacerbate Pugs’ tendency to wheeze. While Pugs do love to play, especially with children, it is important to prevent them from jumping off high surfaces like sofas or other furniture, since doing so can cause joint damage. Since they do not require much exercise, Pugs make great companions for those who live in apartments or homes without large backyards, including the elderly.
Pugs don’t have a highly specific diet as far as dogs go – meats, vegetables and unprocessed foods generally work the best. Be sure to watch your dog’s weight, however, as its short legs can lead to joint problems down the line. A Pug should have a slightly odd torso-to-leg ratio, but it’s best not to exceed this to the point that your Pug is overweight.