Pugs

Kelly Roper
Pug

The Pug is a jolly little character who loves his family with all his heart. If you're looking for a hardier-than-average Toy dog, this breed's playful and devoted nature might just win you over. Take a look at those soulful eyes and adorable wrinkles, and just try to resist. It will be more difficult than you can probably imagine.

Chinese Pug Dog Characteristics

Appearance

According to the American Kennel Club breed standard:

  • Body: This dog is very stocky in appearance with a broad chest and strong, muscular legs. The tail is carried tightly curved over the body. The dog has a square outline when viewed from the side.
  • Weight: Males and females should both weigh approximately 14 to 18 pounds.
  • Head: The head is very round with a lot of facial wrinkles and an extremely flat muzzle that is nearly identical to that of a Pekingese. The teeth should be set slightly undershot, which means the lower jaw extends slightly farther out than the upper jaw so that the bottom teeth close in front of the upper teeth. Ear leathers are short and hang down.
  • Coat: The coat is a golden/fawn color with a black facial mask and black ear tippings. However there are solid black Pugs and, even more rarely, apricot or silver.

Personality

Pugs are known for their wonderful temperaments, and they are usually a good choice for a family pet because they love children. They have plenty of energy, but they know when to give it a rest. They show a great deal of affection for their human companions and get along well with other dogs in most situations. The ideal Pug is both charming and steady-natured.

Gait

This dog moves at a jaunty gait. The front legs should be straight and show no weakness in the pasterns that would give the impression of a "Chippendale" front. The feet should point forward. The rear legs should be strong with no weakness in the hocks and stifles, and rear feet should also point forward. There is a slight roll across the rear that is an important part of this dog's signature movement.

Training

Pug face

These are intelligent little dogs that do well with proper training. Potty training is a little much for young puppies to grasp, but improves greatly with age and training consistency on the part of the owner.

Pugs are also terrific candidates for obedience training, which suits their energy level without too much physical exertion, with the exception of the jumps. However, they may not be as well-suited for agility because of their short muzzles, which put them in the category of Brachycephalic dogs. Due to this fact, they may be prone to becoming winded earlier and need a little extra protection from the heat. Ultimately, every dog is an individual, and there are likely some wonderful Pug agility dogs out there that experience none of these potential problems.

Since these dogs are so friendly and adaptable, they can also make wonderful therapy dogs.

Grooming Tips

Grooming a Pug is relatively standard.

  • A nice bath once or twice a month will keep the dog fresh and clean.
  • Wipe out the facial wrinkles once a day. They are prone to collect dirt and tears, and this combination of moisture and bacteria can produce a sour-smelling, cheese-like substance.
  • Clean the ears once a week.
  • Brush two to three times a week to collect loose hair.
  • Toe nails should be kept moderately short.
  • Brush the teeth four to five times a week.
  • If there is any sign that the anal glands need expressing, this is best left to a veterinary professional.

Exercise

Being of such stocky build, Pugs are naturally prone to obesity. It's important that they get a moderate amount of exercise, but take care not to over do it since these dogs are also prone to over heating. A daily walk of 15 to 20 minutes is sufficient. Watch carefully to make sure the dog is not becoming winded, and reduce the length of the walk during hot and humid weather.

Health and Life Expectancy

Pugs are fairly long-lived, and many live as long as 12 to 15 years. However, according to the Pug Dog Club of America, this breed is prone to some health issues that potential owners should be aware of, including the following.

A three-month-old Pug pup

General health issues:

Neurological issues include:

Eye problems include:

Orthopedic issues include:

Although this list may seem daunting, keep in mind that not every Pug will suffer from one or more of these conditions. Still, it's important to know about them if you plan to own a dog of this breed.

Pug History

According to the Pug Dog Club of America, the Pug is a very ancient breed that was a favorite of Chinese Emperors, and its existence dates back to 400 BC. These dogs lived a life of luxury alongside other Chinese breeds such as the Shih Tzu and the Pekingese.

It's believed Dutch traders were responsible for bringing the breed to Europe. Pugs became especially popular in England where Prince William II's love of the breed made them very fashionable.

The breed gained official recognition from the American Kennel Club in 1885, and although its popularity waned around the turn of the century, Pugs are once again popular pets for people who want a small but sturdy companion dog with a happy-go-lucky attitude.

Is a Pug the Right Dog for You?

It's important to research any breed you're interested in, but it's even more important to visit reputable breeders and experience the dogs first hand in order to decide if a particular breed is right for you. Pugs can make fabulous companions as long as you're not looking for an especially athletic breed. What these dogs lack in athletic prowess is made up for in comfortable companionship and affection. All things considered, it's a good trade.

Pugs