Pugs are small dogs with great personality who love attention and affection. Of all dogs, they need human company so they do not do well if left alone all day.
Pugs are interesting to look at, with their funny fat faces, big eyes and curly tails. The origin of the name is thought to have come from old English “pugg” or “puge” which means a playful little devil or monkey. Pug Puppie are called puglets.
The Pug is a very old breed dating back the Shang Dynasty of China in 400BC where it adorned the Chinese Emperors’ laps. Pugs are sometimes referred to as a “Lion Dog”. They then travelled to Tibet and Japan before arriving in Europe from the crews and merchants of the Dutch East Indies Trading Company. It was soon established as a royal dog in Europe as well with the House of Orange and King William III and Queen Mary II. In this period of history, they were used by the military as guard and tracking dogs.
The original Pugs from the 18th century appeared to be quite lean and long. Over the years, the breed has evolved into a squarer, compact, deep chested form with well developed muscles. There is the famous painting of Hogarth with Trump, one of his Pugs, in 1745 in the Tate Gallery. Napolean Bonaparte’s “Josephine” had a Pug. Queen Victoria had many Pugs. During the 19th century, they arrived in the United States.
Whilst intelligent, they are stars of numerous films and TV series, such as Frank the Pug in “Men in Black “, and are often trained in circus acts although they can be notoriously difficult to train.
They rank 57th for intelligence in “The Intelligence of Dogs” by Stanley Coren, being of fair working / obedience intelligence. Whilst Pugs generally get on well with other dogs and animals, it is human company they seek and they show anxiety disorders or become agitated if they do not get this human attention.
They are relatively straightforward to look after. Daily brushing and wiping of the wrinkles over the nose. The drainage from the eyes needs to be cleaned from the wrinkles as this can attract dirt and debris from their sniffing of the ground. The eyes and ears need to be checked. You need to look after their teeth, something that should be started as a puppy.
Pugs have a fine glossy coat in apricot, silver or fawn colours. They shed their fur during the year. The fawn coloured are the most prolific shedders due to them having both an under and overcoat. However, this can be minimised by regular grooming and shampooing.
Pugs love their food and can easily gain weight so keep track of their foo. Small, regular meals are good, combined with regular exercise.
Pugs have short snouts and lack a prominent skeletal brow ridge so are liable to eye injuries. Pugs also have difficulty breathing due to their compact breathing pathways. This can also cause difficulties in regulating their body temperature through evaporation from their tongue so be careful about leaving them in hot areas.
Pugs can also suffer from an inherited disease, Pug Dog Encephalitis, a chronic form of granulomatous meningoencephalitis (an inflammation of the brain). Pugs normally show this from 6 months to three years of age. There is no known cure and they die within a few months of the onset of clinical signs.
Pugs, along with other broad headed dogs such as boxers and bulldogs, are also prone to hemivertebrae. This is a deformation of the spine, typified in a screwtail, but if it occurs elsewhere in the spine it can be devastating, causing severe paralysis.
The Pug has an elongated palate like many short-snouted breeds,. This can lead them to a “reverse sneeze”, especially when excited, where the dog will quickly and seemingly laboriously gasp and snort. This is because the fluid or debris gets caught under the palate and irritates the throat or limits breathing. These “Reverse sneezing” fits are not harmful to the Pug.
Pugs are one of several breeds that are more susceptible to Demodectic mange, also known as Demodex, which is caused by a weakened immune system. Whilst the tendency is genetic and good breeders will not breed with such animals, it is also brought on if the dog in undernourished or under stress.
The breed may be suffering from intensive inbreeding and, in a study by Imperial College London, it was shown that 10,000 Pugs had a gene pool equivalent to only 50 individuals.
“My husband and I were very happy with the care Sarah gave our two cats and we have asked her to look after them again in Feb.” Mrs C.R. and Nina and BB of Dulwich