Pugs – Choosing a Pug

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The pug has been referred to as "Multo in Parvo," which means "a lot of dog in a small space." In their little bodies, pugs pack a lot of love and boundless enthusiasm. This small, affectionate oriental breed began as guard dogs in ancient Chinese temples.

History and Origins

As with many breeds, the true history of the pug is uncertain. What is known is that dogs resembling the pug we know today were part of Buddhist monasteries in Tibet before 400 BC. They then appeared in Japan and Europe, becoming the favorite for the royal courts. By the mid-1500s, the pug was a popular dog in Holland.

Throughout history, the pug has played many important roles. In 1572, the pug became the official dog of the House of Orange in Holland after saving the life of William, Prince of Orange, by giving alarm at the approach of the Spaniards at Hermingny. In 1790, the pug became an important pet of Josephine, wife of Napoleon. While imprisoned at Les Carne, Napoleon received secret messages from Josephine hidden within their pug's collar. Eventually, after British soldiers attacked the Imperial Palace of Peking in 1860, the pug was brought to England. The breed's popularity continued to rise and was soon imported to the United States.

The pug was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1885.

Appearance and Size

Despite being an ancient breed, the pug hasn't changed much over the years. The breed is the largest of the toy breeds with a compact body and well-developed musculature. Pugs have round massive heads with short, square muzzles and deep wrinkles on their foreheads. Pugs have prominent eyes, straight legs with a tightly twisted tail over the haunches. They have a sleek soft coat that comes in apricot, black, fawn and silver with as dark a mask possible. From the top of the shoulder the pug stands between ten and eleven inches tall and weighs between fourteen to twenty-two pounds.

Personality Traits

Not at all pugnacious, the pug is an affectionate, loveable, even-tempered breed with great charm and dignity. They are clever and mischievous with an outgoing disposition. Pugs love company and want to be everyone's best friend but they will sulk when left out of activities.

Home and Family Relations

Pugs have always been friendly companion housedogs. They love being part of the family. Pugs are great watch dogs, playful companions for children and will happily curl up on your lap for a nap.


Pugs have a smooth, slick hair coat that is easy to groom with a firm bristle brush and comb. You should shampoo only as necessary and clean the wrinkles on their forehead to prevent moisture accumulation and facial fold dermatitis.


The pug is intelligent and easy to train using standard obedience commands. Their primary reason for living is to stay near the family and to please their owners.

Special Care

Pugs are miserable in hot, cold or humid weather due to their short, square muzzles. They should not be left outside or in closed cars in the summer or winter months.

Common Diseases and Disorders

  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Patellar luxation is a disorder affecting the kneecap.
  • Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.
  • Demodectic mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by a mite. Hair loss and itchiness are common.
  • Atopy is a disease associated with allergies.
  • Melanoma is a tumor arising from melanocytes, which are the cells that produce pigment.
  • Mast cell tumors are malignant tumors than can occur in the skin or within the body.
  • Heat stroke is a serious concern for the pug due to his short muzzle.
  • Pug encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain that often causes seizures.
  • Dystocia is the term used to describe difficult birthing. Due to their large heads, it is difficult for the mother to pass the puppies vaginally and most bulldogs have cesareans to deliver their babies.
  • Distichiasis is a condition in which there is growth of extra eyelashes from the glands of the upper or lower eyelid.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a disorder of the eye that results when tear production is decreased.
  • Proptosis is the displacement of the eyeball out of the eye socket

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