These diminutive dogs are small in the stature, but big in personality. Don’t be fooled by the cute faces, Pugs are smarter and more mischievous than they look.
The Pug has boomed in popularity with city dwellers recently, their low maintenance and compact size makes this breed ideal for small apartments. Celebrity owners and movie cameos have given the Pug something of a pop culture status, but it’s worth noting this breed has been a family favourite for centuries, with Ancient Chinese Emperors, William of Orange and Queen Victoria amongst its fanbase. The Pug is known by many different names across the globe which is a direct result of its far reaching popularity, you may hear the following names for this breed; Dutch Bulldog, Dutch Mastiff, Mini Mastiff, Mops (Germany), Carlin (France), Mopsi (Finland), Doguillo (Spain).
The general consensus amongst historians is that the Pugs dates back to 400 BC in Ancient China and were bred as companion dogs for the Emperors of the time. Pugs weren’t the only flat faced, wrinkly dogs bred in China during this era, with the Pekinese, Chow Chow and Shar Pei also became well established breeds right up to modern times. The royals in China lavished their Pugs in a lifestyle befitting any Emporer, with their own palace quarters and their own servants to wait on them hand and foot. The breed was held to such high esteem that no one outside of the royal family was allowed to own one, a crime punishable by death.
It was Dutch explorers in the 17th Century, while trading with the Chinese, who brought the breed to the Western world, with William of Orange falling in love with these cute companion dogs. From there the Pugs became the dog breed of the Dutch Royal family, which in turn catapulted the Pug into the level of stardom we recognise today in the West. From there they boasted aficionados such as Queen Victoria of England, the Spanish painter Goya, and are regularly seen in TV and cinema across the globe.
Pugs are a small and compact brachycephalic breed, with large heads in comparison to their body. Typically they come in varied coat colours, with the most popular being a fawn body and black mask. Other colours officially recognised are silver with black mask, apricot with black mask, and black.
Behaviour & Personality
- Pugs are well known for the adoration for their owners, an extremely loyal companion dog who will form strong ties to their owners and family
- This socially intelligent dog loves to be the centre of attention, a reason as to why Pugs are affectionately known for clowning around well into old age. With that in mind make sure you’re able to spend a lot of time with this breed by your side, they suffer from severe separation anxiety which can lead to unwanted destructive behaviours and barking
- Pugs are ideal for first time owners as they have little prey drive, do not need excessive exercise and form close bonds with their owners, although they are known to bark (or yap) for no reason so ensure you train from a young age
- Gentle grooming is a favourite way for Pugs to form strong bonds with their owners, this should be done every 1-3 days as they do shed frequently. Fawn Pugs have a double coat which will likely require daily brushing, with black pugs only having one layer
- Pugs only need to be bathed infrequently, once every 2-4 weeks depending on the time of year, due to poor thermoregulation they may need to be bathed more frequently in summer. Excessive bathing will dry out their skin, stripping it of the essential coat oils that would otherwise leave it with a healthy shine
- Being a flat, wrinkly faced dog, ensure you wipe between the skin folds of your dog’s face while bathing and remove any moisture between the folds after bathing. Any excessive moisture in the fold will lead to skin irritation and infection
Exercise and Training
- As with many brachycephalic dog breeds, it’s important not to over exercise Pugs as they struggle with breathing and are at high risk from overheating as a result. A brisk 20 min walk twice a day is an ideal amount of exercise for Pugs.
- If you have a garden or yard this is a great way for Pugs to exercise, exploring the space at their own pace and expressing themselves while exploring surroundings
- Although fetch games or other athletic pursuits aren’t ideal for this breed, using other games and toys to keep their mind curious and exercise will be key to avoid any boredom that often leads to destructive or stubborn behaviour
- Poor and excessive breeding has sadly caused many issues for pugs meaning it’s important to research good breeders, and get your puppy screened using a DNA test for any genetic issues.
- Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) is a concern for this flat faced breed, which can often require surgery to fix
- Eyes cause a lot of issues for Pugs, with conditions such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), corneal ulcers and are prone to eye infections
- Luxating patellas is a common issue for this breed due to their large bodies and small, bowed legs
- Hemivertebrae, which is deformation of the spinal bones and can cause compression, inflammation and pain
- Hip dysplasia is also an issue with Pugs, which can be scanned for with DNA testing