Pugs have been around for millennia. Originally bred in China as pets for royalty, these friendly pooches can be traced back well over 2000 years. These dogs were prized and lived in luxury, often guarded by soldiers.
The breed also gained popularity in the 1500s in parts of Asia such as Tibet before being brought to Europe by the Dutch. The Dutch traders, reportedly, named the Pug Mopshond, a name that can still be heard today.
Pugs became very popular with European royalty and played an especially big role in the House of Orange in Holland. It became the official dog of the House of Orange after saving the life of Prince William. The pug reportedly warned the prince of Orange that the Spaniards were attacking in 1572.
When Prince William of Orange (later known as William III) went to England to assume the monarchy in 1688, he and his wife Mary II brought their Pugs with them. Their actions started a Pug craze among the British.
Other famous Pugs are Marie Antoinette’s Pug named Mops which she owned before marrying Louis XVI at the age of 15 and Josephine Bonaparte’s Pug named Fortune which carried messages for her family from her prison cell in Les Carmes prison before she married Napoleon Bonaparte.
Pugs became a standardized breed in England with two dominant bloodlines in the early 1800s. One line was created by Queen Charlotte, wife of Goerge III, and called the Morrison line. The other, called the Willoughby line, was created by the Willoughby d’Eresby’s lord and lady, by using imported dogs from Russia or Hungary.
In 1861 Pugs were exhibited in England and 66 Pugs were added to the first studbook that began in 1871. Pugs became extremely popular in the Netherlands and after being introduced to Britain, where the love for this breed was shared, pugs are known to have become the favorite breed of Queen Victoria.
Black Pugs became fashionable after being brought back from China in 1886 by Lady Brassey. Pugs were introduced to America after the Civil war in the United States. The pug was officially accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885. A few years later the Pug Dog Club of America came into existence and was officially recognized by the AKC in 1931.
Unfortunately, as with all breeds, pugs are not immune to health problems, and there are some conditions that can affect your pet quite seriously. Here are some of the health conditions you should be aware of:
Unfortunately, this distressing condition is most popular in short-faced (brachycephalic) dogs like pugs. This condition is usually brought on by trauma and requires medical treatment as fast as possible.
In most cases, the dog will not lose the affected eye but a full recovery of eyesight only occurs in around half of all cases. Treatment is through surgery and the use of antibiotics to prevent infection.
Hip dysplasia is a common condition affecting mans’ best friends. While more commonly associated with large and giant breeds, pugs are in fact the second most highly affected dog breed, with more than 60% of individuals developing this condition.
Fortunately, pugs rarely require surgery for the treatment of this condition and the single most important prevention is keeping these dogs in good shape by avoiding overfeeding.
Unfortunately, those lovely dark wrinkles on your pug’s face will require some special care. The warm, moist conditions between the skin folds are perfect breeding grounds for yeast and bacteria to grow.
This condition can be identified by an unpleasant smell, yellowish discharge, and inflamed skin in and around the wrinkles. Take care to keep the skin between your pugs face clean and dry, particularly after bathing, to prevent flare-ups.
This condition is caused by a proliferation of the demodex mite, a parasite present on all dogs. In cases where a dog’s immune system is compromised, these mites may affect areas all over your precious Pug’s skin, causing redness, hair loss, and irritation.
This is another condition that most often affects the brachycephalic breeds. Unfortunately, quite a large proportion of pugs are born with stenotic nares or pinched nostrils.
Dogs with pinched nostrils struggle to draw enough air into the lungs. This condition may not seriously affect pugs until their adult years and in many cases, surgical intervention may not be necessary. Non-surgical treatment basically revolves around not restricting your pet’s ability to breath in any other ways, like excessive exercise, the use of collars, and overfeeding which results in obesity.
This condition, also known as reverse sneezing, is particularly common in brachycephalic dogs like the pug. It generally is not particularly serious and resolves itself within minutes but can be quite traumatic for the dog and owner.
Reverse sneezing is a spasming of the soft palate caused by irritation and presents with the dog elongating its neck, expanding its chest, and making upsetting honking and breathing noises. If this happens regularly or begins to happen more frequently to your pug, consult your vet for further advice.
Pugs are a pretty low-maintenance breed. They don’t need a huge amount of exercise or grooming. The adorable look these dogs have with their huge bulging eyes, wrinkled faces, and short snouts do come with a few issues, however.
One important thing to know about pugs is that they are very much a house dog. Any harsh weather conditions, including hot, cold, and humid conditions, are not good for these dogs and they should never be exercised in hot conditions.
When buying a puppy, it is very important to find a reputable breeder to avoid some of the harsher health problems in Pugs from low-quality stock.
Pugs should be fed a total of between ½ and 1 cup of good quality, nutritionally balanced dry food per day. Divide this into two equal portions of ¼-½ cup and feed in the morning and evening.
Pugs love to eat, and if you let them, they will quite happily become overweight, which is not good for their health. The amount your pug will need to be fed will be dependent on a few factors so a one size fits all approach is not recommended for this breed.
These factors are:
- The size of your pug – Naturally, with all else being equal, a small pug will need less food than a larger individual.
- The activity level of your pug – A pug who gets little exercise will need less food than one who is walked to the park twice a day.
- The energy content of the food – Not all dog foods contain the same amount of energy per pound.
There aren’t too many bad things to say about this wonderful breed, but you should know that pugs shed, and they shed a lot. If this is a problem for you then perhaps the pug shouldn’t be your first choice when looking for your new best friend. This is because pugs are indoor dogs and they just love to be on laps, sofas, beds, and other places where you may not want pet hair to collect.
While regular bathing isn’t strictly necessary for the breed, this and brushing is your first line of defense in managing shedding. Weekly brushing in particular will be helpful in keeping as much hair off your furniture and clothes as possible. This breed sheds most heavily in summer and you may consider bathing your pet more frequently around that time of the year.
As mentioned, this breed is prone to skin fold dermatitis if good hygiene isn’t practiced. This kind of infection thrives in warm moist environments so keep your pet’s face clean and dry. It is advised to wipe the skin folds at least once a week to remove any debris that may collect there and cause irritation and infections.
Unless you walk your pug regularly on a rough surface like the sidewalk, its nails are likely to require regular trimming. Check your Pug’s nails regularly and trim them at least once a month if they haven’t worn down on their own. Long nails can make walking quite uncomfortable and pose a risk of being ripped off when getting snagged in blankets or on carpets.
Gum disease and bad breath are definitely not what we want for our pets so take the time to brush your dog’s teeth with an approved dog toothpaste, and a small soft brush. Your pug will probably love the taste of the toothpaste. Introduce this routine early on to get your pup used to being handled.
It is recommended to get a puppy from a reputable breeder. This will mean paying a bit more, but you’re more likely to get a healthy puppy. Buying from a backyard breeder may lead to lots of future veterinary bills.
Adopting from a shelter is another option. The adoption fee is reasonable and you will be saving a dog from a possibly uncertain future.
Besides the adoption costs, you will need to consider general expenses on food, other accessories, and routine veterinary visits. Lucky these costs should be fairly low due to Pugs being a small breed that doesn’t need much to stay healthy.
- Pugs were the favorite pet of Queen Victoria.
- In 2004, a pug by the name of Double D Cinoblu’s Masterpiece won best in show at the prestigious world dog show.
- Frank, the alien from the Men In Black movies was portrayed by a pug named Mushu.
- Three or more pugs is a grumble. That’s right, grumble is the official collective noun for pugs.
- Pugs are an ancient dog breed, dating back over 2000 years.