With their comical face and hilarious personalities, pugs are the jesters of the canine world. Loving, intelligent and naughty, the pug makes for a great first-time dog. They do very well with children and other animals alike, especially if socialised from a young age. They’re gluttons for love and easy to groom, always ready with an antic that will make you laugh. It’s no wonder that they continue to be amongst the most popular breeds, many centuries after they first came into existence.History
Several centuries before a popular mobile service provider made Chinese pugs famous in India through a series of endearing ads, the pug was a royal dog. Their history can be traced back to China, where they were prized by the emperors of the Han Dynasty (B.C. 206 to A.D. 200). Here, they lived in luxury, often guarded by a soldier, and spent their lives as canine companions of royalty. Legend has it that the Chinese prized the pugs’ trademark wrinkles, because they resembled good luck symbols in their language. Pugs were even known to be bred with wrinkles that spelt the Chinese letters for the word “prince”. In the 1500s and 1600s, when trade channels opened between China and Europe, the Dutch brought the first pugs to European soil. Their royal connections continued, with the breed becoming popular among royal families across Europe. Pugs were also popular muses for artists, with William Hogarth and Goya featuring the royal dog in their paintings. When the British overran the Chinese Imperial Palace in 1860, they brought back the pugs they found there and these are credited with producing several of the most sought-after pug bloodlines in England. Pugs became very popular in the Victorian era, with Queen Victoria’s fascination with the breed; she even bred several pugs. While pugs continue to retain their popularity in most countries, they shot to fame in India after an advertising campaign made them their mascot. This has led to over-breeding and inbreeding amongst unethical and backyard breeders in the country, a consequence that is fast becoming an overpopulation issue.Unique Aspects
Pugs are brachycephalic, with flat face and short noses. This means they don’t do very well in very hot weather or too much humidity. Longer muzzles facilitate the cooling of air before it reaches the lungs, a feature that pugs lack. It’s recommended that they stay indoors in very warm places. Despite their short coats, pugs shed a lot, so watch out for fur-lined furniture and clothes, if you’re not a regular groomer. They also wheeze, snort and snore rather loudly, an endearing characteristic for most and also the pug’s mode of communication with humans, but an annoyance for sensitive ears. That said, pugs are not known to be great barkers, so the most you will have to get used to is a wheeze or a snort, from an often out-of-breath dog. The way to a pug’s heart is through the stomach, but watch out for overeating. A healthy diet is best recommended for a comfortable, healthy pug. They need constant human attention and affection, so don’t mistake your pug for a watchdog who can stay outdoors for extended periods of time; neither their hearts nor their heads are willing. Pugs are affable, easy going dogs and do really well as first-time pets.
Pug marks Pugs wound their way into the hearts and homes of several Indian families, after a popular mobile service provider created a series of endearing ads with the pug as the faithful mascot, the personification – so to speak – of a ‘network that always follows’. Centuries before this, Josephine Bonaparte had a pug named Fortune, before she married her famous husband, Napoleon Bonaparte. When she was imprisoned in Les Carmes prison, Fortune was the only visitor she was allowed and she would often tuck missives for her family in his collar.
Don’t let their short coarse coats fool you: pugs need plenty of attention in the grooming department. They shed a whole lot and need regular grooming, if you don’t fancy walking around with fur stuck to your clothes. Pugs have a double coat: a soft undercoat and a coarser topcoat. It’s the latter that will keep you busy. The numerous wrinkles on their faces can be a health hazard, if they aren’t cleaned regularly. Moisture trapped in their folds is a great magnet for infections, so remember to dry after you clean. Taking a soft washcloth to your pug’s wrinkles once or twice a week should do the trick.
Initially known to be relatively healthy dogs, over-breeding and inbreeding to facilitate a sharp rise in popularity, has made the pug susceptible to several ailments, genetic and otherwise. They don’t fare well in hot climates and are prone to several respiratory infections, due to their brachycephalic faces. Most respiratory conditions can be treated with medication or corrected through surgery. Pugs were bred to have numerous wrinkles on its faces, which, while endearing to the eye, cause them to be prone to skin rashes and infections. Pugs have cute bulging eyes, but if you aren’t careful while handling them, especially on walks, this can turn into a serious issue. Never tug on their collars too hard; it can cause their eyes to pop right out of their sockets. This condition is called proptosis and will need surgery to be corrected. They’re also prone to distichiasis, an abnormal growth of eyelashes on the margin of the eye; progressive retinal atrophy, a degenerative disease of the retinal visual cells that eventually leads to blindness; and entropion , where the lower eyelid rolls inward, causing the hair on the lid to rub on the eye and irritate it. Amongst several other conditions, pugs are prone to Cheyletiella Dermatitis or ‘Walking Dandruff’, a contagious skin condition that is caused by a small mite; Pug Dog Encephalitis, a fatal inflammatory brain disease unique to pugs; epilepsy; nerve degeneration; congenital heart diseases; corneal ulcers; dry eye; staph infection; hip dysplasia; Legg-Perthes Disease; Patellar Luxation and vaccination sensitivity.
When training pugs, always remember that patience is a virtue. They have an even temperament and are happy-go-lucky dogs, so it isn’t too hard to train them. Not, especially, if you carry around a handful of treats. Pugs will do anything for a treat or ten! As in the case of several toy breeds, early socialisation and training will result in a content, well-rounded adult. Pugs are people pleasers and love to be around their humans almost as much as they love food, so remember to use positive reinforcement methods whilst training. So, quality time, quality food and quality training are the holy triumvirate for this adorable canine.Environment
Pugs are homely dogs, happy to be indoors and catch several loud, snoring snoozes as long as they are walked often. Don’t expect your pug to be a hunter or a retriever; theses dogs are lap sitters, entertainers and snoozers! They do really well in homes with small children as well as other animals, especially if socialised at a young age. They make great first-time pets, although they struggle in extremes of hot or cold temperatures. They’re not great outdoor dogs because of this, so make sure you consider a pug companion only if you like an indoor dog.Temperament
Pug are extremely friendly dogs and are excellent with children. Their small size and relatively few activity requirements make them perfect for apartment living. Pugs are a vivacious and fun loving breed. They are often called ‘shadow’, because of their propensity to glue themselves to their family’s side. They thrive in human attention and affection, happy to perform for a few oohs and aahs. They’re not temperamental and don’t get threatened easily by the presence of other animals, especially with early socialisation.
Pugs are perfect family pets and excellent with children. The puppies are naughty and adorable. While easy to socialise especially at a young age, be sure to housebreak them as early as you can. While they’re not quick learners, food and positive reinforcement are the best ways to get a pug’s attention.Procreation
There aren’t many complications attached to their breeding. As always, the thing to be most concerned about is having enough families lined up to adopt the puppies, so that they don’t fall into the wrong hands or get ill-treated by careless families. Pugs attain sexual maturity anywhere between six to nine months of age, though they will be too young to breed at this point. Breeding, if at all, is recommended after the dog reaches two years of age. The average litter size is about three puppies. If you’re mating your dogs for the first time, it’s recommended that you take the help of a veterinarian.
Pugs are square, thickset dogs, usually weighing between 13 to 17.5lb (6-8kg). They stand 13-15 inches tall. Their heads are large and round, with eyes that match the same description. They have deep, distinct wrinkles on their faces, which adds to their cuteness quotient. The moles on a Pug's cheeks are called "beauty spots". The muzzle is black with a clearly defined thumb mark on the forehead. The ears are black and soft to the touch. They have undershot jaws, where the lower jaw extends slightly beyond the upper jaw. They have a tightly curled tail that looks like a dollop of cream, another signature pug characteristic. Pugs usually have black, fawn, apricot fawn or silver fawn coats.