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The Pug, also called the Chinese Pug, Dutch Mastiff and Dutch Bulldog, is a very old dog breed that was developed in China at least 2400 years ago. The meaning of the breed's name is unclear, although it is possibly slang for the word "monkey" or is derived from the Latin "pugnus," meaning "fist." Easily recognizable due to their stocky bodies and prominent eyes, these popular companion animals were often favored pets of monks and royal families in Europe and China. The small size and relatively low exercise requirements of the Pug make it suitable for living in apartments. Spirited, willful and affectionate, this breed possesses a sturdy, compact build that enables it to play safely with children. Pugs are lively, alert animals that behave lovingly toward people of all ages and get along well with other dogs. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Pug in 1885, and the breed is part of the Toy Group.

History & Health

History of Pug

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.

Health Characteristics of Pug

The average lifespan of a healthy Pug is between 12 and 14 years, but the breed is prone to several health conditions that can dramatically affect the life of these animals. The lack of a prominent snout in this breed puts the Pug at risk for several eye conditions and injuries, such as entropion and proptosis. Dogs of this breed that are not given opportunities for exercise and a proper diet have a higher risk of developing obesity than other dogs. Also, the dog's quintessential wrinkles on its face require special cleaning because of the risk of infection and irritation developing in that region.
There are several hereditary disorders that commonly afflict the breed. A major condition known as necrotizing meningoencephalitis, or NME, commonly presents itself in dogs of this type, and it leads to an incurable inflammation of the dog's brain. This condition usually shows itself before the dog is seven years old. The Pug is also prone to the development of a condition known as hemivertebrae. It is this property that gives the breed its distinctive screwtail, but it is possible for this curvature to develop in other parts of the spine when a Pug puppy's body is growing.

Temperament & Personality


Happy-go-lucky and full of energy, the Pug is a vivacious, fun-loving breed, with loads of personality packed into a small package. Pugs are often called "shadows," as they love to glue themselves to their owners' sides and stay close to the action. While they do have a stubborn streak, they are generally not aggressive, and despite their small frames, they are stout little dogs, making them great pets for families with children. When they are not napping (which happens frequently), Pugs are almost always charming, animated and ready to play (or eat). Pugs do best in homes where they receive plenty of attention and are treated like members of the family, and in turn, they offer heaps of devotion and affection.

Activity Requirements

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.


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.

Behavioral Traits

Some Pugs have a tendency to make noise, whether barking, yapping, snorting, grunting or otherwise. Owners can discourage excessive "yappiness" with early training, and some Pugs actually make excellent watch dogs, so long as they are trained properly about when barking is appropriate.
Pugs love food, and begging can easily get out of hand if family members are in the habit of feeding their dog from the table or offering scraps from plates. It is important that owners only offer treats (especially "people" food) after the dog performs a specified action, like sitting. They can also feed the Pug before the rest of the family eats, which makes the dog less likely to beg. Given Pugs' short statures and tendency to do cute things, it is important that their owners do not inadvertently encourage undesirable behaviors by laughing or giving in to their Pugs' demands.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
Symmetry and general appearance are decidedly square and cobby. A lean, leggy Pug and a dog with short legs and a long body are equally objectionable.

Size, Proportion, Substance
The Pug should be multum in parvo, and this condensation (if the word may be used) is shown by compactness of form, well knit proportions, and hardness of developed muscle. Weight from 14 to 18 pounds (dog or bitch) desirable. Proportion square.

The head is large, massive, round–not apple-headed, with no indentation of the skull. The eyes are dark in color, very large, bold and prominent, globular in shape, soft and solicitous in expression, very lustrous, and, when excited, full of fire. The ears are thin, small, soft, like black velvet. There are two kinds–the "rose" and the "button." Preference is given to the latter. The wrinkles are large and deep. The muzzle is short, blunt, square, but not upfaced. Bite-A Pug's bite should be very slightly undershot.

Neck, Topline, Body
The neck is slightly arched. It is strong, thick, and with enough length to carry the head proudly. The short back is level from the withers to the high tail set. The body is short and cobby, wide in chest and well ribbed up. The tail is curled as tightly as possible over the hip. The double curl is perfection.

The legs are very strong, straight, of moderate length, and are set well under. The elbows should be directly under the withers when viewed from the side. The shoulders are moderately laid back. The pasterns are strong, neither steep nor down. The feet are neither so long as the foot of the hare, nor so round as that of the cat; well split-up toes, and the nails black. Dewclaws are generally removed.

The strong, powerful hindquarters have moderate bend of stifle and short hocks perpendicular to the ground. The legs are parallel when viewed from behind. The hindquarters are in balance with the forequarters. The thighs and buttocks are full and muscular. Feet as in front.

The coat is fine, smooth, soft, short and glossy, neither hard nor woolly.

The colors are fawn or black. The fawn color should be decided so as to make the contrast complete between the color and the trace and mask.

The markings are clearly defined. The muzzle or mask, ears, moles on cheeks, thumb mark or diamond on forehead, and the back trace should be as black as possible. The mask should be black. The more intense and well defined it is, the better. The trace is a black line extending from the occiput to the tail.

Viewed from the front, the forelegs should be carried well forward, showing no weakness in the pasterns, the paws landing squarely with the central toes straight ahead. The rear action should be strong and free through hocks and stifles, with no twisting or turning in or out at the joints. The hind legs should follow in line with the front. There is a slight natural convergence of the limbs both fore and aft. A slight roll of the hindquarters typifies the gait which should be free, self-assured, and jaunty.

This is an even-tempered breed, exhibiting stability, playfulness, great charm, dignity, and an outgoing, loving disposition.

DISQUALIFICATION- Any color other than fawn or black.

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Sources: American Kennel Club


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