Origin and Brief History:
As one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, pugs have long been a favorite companion animal. Pugs date back to as early as 400 B.C. when they were the pets of Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. Later they were common pets in other parts of Asia, such as Japan. In the seventeenth century the Dutch East India Company imported pugs to Europe. One such pug, named Pompey, became the official pug of the House of Orange in England. Legend has it that he saved the life of his master, the Prince of Orange, by barking at a would-be assassin. Pugs became popular among the masses later when Prince William II of England famously kept pugs by his side during his entire reign. They are thought to have contributed to the breeding of several other distinct breeds, including the English Bulldog, Pekingese, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
One of the major reasons behind the pug’s popularity today is its ideal temperament. Pugs are known for being sturdy animals, and their compact size makes them ideal for apartments or small living conditions. They are referred to by the Latin term “multum in parvo”, or “much in little”. They may be small, but they are known for having big personalities. While they can be described as “strong willed” or even “outgoing”, pugs are rarely aggressive towards people or other animals. The combination of sturdiness and playfulness makes them ideal for families with young children as well.
One of the defining features of the pug is its short coat complete with adorable wrinkles on the face and neck. This coat may be an inch long, but it is really composed of two separate layers of fur, both of which shed frequently. Due to the shedding, dog owners are generally encouraged to brush pugs frequently, even daily. It is also important to keep the folds in the pug’s face clean. This can be accomplished by taking a wet tissue or cotton ball and wiping the folds clean weekly. Other grooming tasks include cleaning the ears once a week, brushing the teeth twice a week, and the occasional bath as needed, about once or twice a month. Pug owners can enjoy the fact that pugs rarely need costly professional grooming as most of these tasks can be done at home.
Specifications of the Breed:
Pugs are defined by breed standards as have a square body with a short, blunt muzzle. The muzzle should be darker than the rest of the body and well defined. The body can be silver, apricot, fawn or black in color with any other color resulting in immediate disqualification at dog shows. The eyes are to be dark and globular, and the wrinkles are to be deep and pronounced. The ears of the pug come in two varieties: the “rose” or “button” forms, but preference is given to the “button” ears. The males are to be 12-14 inches tall and weigh 13-20 pounds; females are to be 10-12 inches tall and weigh 13-18 pounds.
Those that are interested in purchasing or adopting pugs should keep in mind that pugs are prone to a variety of health problems. The stature of the pug with its compressed muzzle and bountiful wrinkles make it susceptible to both breathing problems and skin conditions. This means that pugs are prone to colds, allergies, snoring, wheezing, and other ailments. Additionally, pugs suffer from Pug Dog Encephalitis, a disease in which the membranes of the brain become inflamed when the dog is two or three years of age. Those with an interest in purchasing a pug puppy should research the health and genetic testing of the parent dogs and ask the breeder for health records in order to ensure that the puppy is as healthy as possible.
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