The Pug is thought to be one of the oldest breeds in existence, tracing its history back as far as 400BC. Often described as multum in parvo ("much in little"), this toy breed is prized for its temperament which pulls together all that could be desired in a dog
Few facts are known about the origin of the Pug, but it is certain they originated in China many centuries ago. They make an appearance on many ancient Chinese artworks, (paintings, pottery, writings). Pugs, along with other short-nosed breeds, were popular, especially with Chinese nobility as early as the 1st century.
The breed appearance as we know it today has its origins in England. The earliest Pugs to arrive in England around the16th century were referred to as Dutch Mastiffs, but are no relations to the actual Mastiff breed. Paintings at the time shows Pug with cropped ears, black mask and the characteristic tightly curled tail. Cropping the Pug's ears, for purely aesthetic reasons, was a custom practised when the dogs ears were cut off close to the head. This continued until the 1800's when it was outlawed.
The Whilloughby family of England is credited with creating the Whilloughby strain of Pugs. Whilloughby Pugs were a silver-fawn colour with a distinct dark streak or trace along its back, from the base of the head to its tail, date from 1843 when the Whilloughbys acquired two dogs and successfully bred them. The Pugs we see today are physically and behaviourally the same as existed during the 1800's in England with the exception of the cropped ears.
Average height to withers: Males around 12 inches, females around 10 inches.
Average weight: Males 6-9kg, females between 6-8kg
Pugs have a characteristic square shape, with 'stout' bodies in proportion and they have a well defined muscle structure and a broad chest. The Pug's muzzle should be short and blunt. Their legs are strong and straight and in proportion to their bodies. The head should be large with extensive wrinkles. The eyes should be very dark in colour, large, round, and pronounced. Owner of Pugs often say that one look into the eyes of a Pug and you will fall in love with them immediately! The mask (muzzle area) should be as dark black as possible. The ears are very small and two distinct shapes can be found with regards to the ears, known as the "rose" and "button." The "button" shape, where the ear is folded over is the breeder's optimum shape, although the other is also acceptable. The tail should be as tightly curled as possible and up and over the hip falling to one side. A double curl is the preferred and desired.
A Pug's coat should be a fine and short. It should be smooth and silky and can be silver, apricot-fawn or black. For silver and apricot-fawn colours the dog's mask, muzzle, ears and trace line which extends along the dog's back from the head to the tail should be as dark as possible.
The Pug's temperament is probably one of its most sought after features. They are decidedly friendly and outgoing even to strangers and especially seem to like children. But they are a tough breed, despite appearances, and seem to love the 'rough house' play that children, and some adults, like! However, they are determined and know their own minds and when they have had enough, they will wander off. With this determination of mind comes the need of this dog to have a strong pack leader and as a result, Pugs are very loving and loyal. While they may, in families, have a favourite, (usually the hand that feeds); they are not a one person dog and will happily spend time with many people or few.
They are a very sociable breed with other animals and will live very happily with many other species. They are of a playful disposition when they want to be and very rarely display any sort of aggression making them a very suitable family pet.
The average life span of a Pug is 12-14 years. The relatively small gene pool from which pugs have been bred is thought to have lead to some serious hereditary issues.
Pugs have compacted breathing passageways, leaving many unable to breathe properly or regulate their temperature properly in the ways all dogs do - panting. A Pug's normal body temperature is between 38 Â°C -39 Â°C. If the temperature rises to around 41 Â°C they are unable to cope physically and require immediate attention and intervention to help them cool down. Their condition may become critical at 42 Â°C, when the internal organs begin to break down and which can lead to severe long term health issues, even death.
Pugs are a breed which can lead a very sedentary life and can therefore be prone to obesity, though this is avoidable with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Pugs can suffer from a condition called Necrotizing Meningoencephalitis (NME), also known as Pug Dog Encephalitis', an inflammation of the brain, that is also known to occur in other small dogs breeds. It is believed to be an inherited condition. All dogs usually die or are euthanised within a few months after the onset of clinical symptoms as there is no known cure for this condition.
It is imperative that you do not over feed your Pug. When it comes to eating most Pugs will eat as much as they can as they are a food motivated breed and when this is coupled with a lack of exercise can easily become obese. A regular exercise and play routine is imperative to maintain a healthy dog and a prolonged life. They do enjoy walks and a not a breed prone to wander so can usually be let off their lead for a run, when trained adequately. While Pugs have a short coat, they are quite prone to shedding so regular grooming will benefit this breed as well as regular cleaning between the folds of skin and wrinkles. Do this with a damp clean lint free cloth and ensure that the area is dry and free of any detritus.