The Pug is a dog breed characterized by its stocky, squat body, playful nature and short coat. The Pug name is derived from a Latin word meaning "clenched fist," and the Pug resembles this description quite well, just as it does the Latin phrase "multum in parvo" which translates to "a bunch of dog in one tiny space." A densely packed body with firm musculature is a characteristic of the Pug. They appear boxy in shape but their overall form is still stout and somewhat symmetrical. Because of their muscles and tightly packed pounds, this dog breed is counted as the largest in the toy category.
The head of the Pug is immense with a round, large indention less skull. Their orb-shaped eyes are quite expressive and dazzling with their dark, soft stare. These large eyes sparkle with excitement when happy, agitated or energized. The ears are small and soft with a silky texture and may be presented in the button or rose shape. The rose shape involves the front rim of the ear being folded at an angle toward the face while the button shape involves the rim of the ear being folded in an "L" shape even with the top of the forehead.
Wrinkles are present in the face of the Pug along the forehead and deep ones are preferred on the breed. This dog breed should have bottom teeth that stick out a bit further out than the top teeth, resulting in a slight underbite. Their muzzle area should have dark markings and not be upturned but rather boxy, squat and blunt. Pugs may have beauty marks (moles) on their cheeks or trace lines which are faint black lines that extend from the tail to the back of the head.
Pugs have a strong, substantial neck with a slight arch so they have plenty of strength and span to hold their heads high. The body of the Pug is stout and squat with defined rib cage, wide chest and a short back. The tail is another telling characteristic of the Pug, curling tightly, sometimes twice and often held to the side, over the hip area. The hindquarters of this large toy breed are strong with a slight bend while their front legs are strong and straight. This combination contributes to the laid back undulation of their walk and bearing.
The coat of a Pug is typically one short length but dense because of the overcoat and undercoat. While their coats are short, this dog breed is very prone to shedding, typically all year long with the summer months being more prolific. There should be a fine sheen with a silky look to their coats and devoid of waviness or curl. Several varying colors exist when it comes to the Pug with black, fawn, apricot and silver being the popular colors. The fawn colored Pugs are particular prone to excessive shedding.
The Pug can trace its origins back to the Chinese Shang dynasty around 1600 BC where they were bred to grace the laps of Chinese royalty and monarchs. Because of their similar looks to the mythical Buddhist Foo Dogs, they were also revered in Tibet where monks cared for them. The Chinese viewed the deep wrinkles on the Pug's forehead as the mark of a prince which accounted for the dog's popularity among the royal rulers. Eventually, this dog breed found its way to neighboring Japan and Europe thanks to explorers traveling on behalf of the royalty in those places. Pugs have notable places in history with such stories as one saving the life of Prince William of Orange in the late 16th century and another belonging to Josephine, Napoleon's wife in the late 18th century that spirited messages between the two while she was in prison.
Social butterflies of the doggie set, the Pug can be quite charming indeed. They love to play and show off for their humans which earn them the title of "clown." These dogs can be quite dignified and also stubborn which makes obedience training quite a trial for both the owner and the dog. Pugs are interested in their owner and families as well as any people who come to visit which plays into their extraverted personality.
Pugs are great companions and interact well with children, loving their sense of play and energy. Not very aggressive or anxious, this dog breed is more a lover than a fighter. They even get along with other pets such as birds and cats. The Pug communicates through snorting of snuffing sounds due to the shape of its flat muzzle. These dogs are quite attentive and may be a bit pushy about garnering attention if they feel their humans are slacking in their duty.
The Pug breed is prone to eye injuries as well as eye ailments due to the lack of a prominent brow bone and longer snout. Protruding objects could puncture an eye and debris could easily scratch their corneas. Owners need to gently wipe the face of the Pug, especially around the eyes region to help stave off infection.
Due to their squashed looking noses, Pugs have occasional problems with breathing on occasion and are particularly prone to colds. They snore and snort and sneeze, only in reverse. In addition, their ability to control their body temperature is hampered by their squashed looking noses which compress the air passageways which in turn affects the cooling evaporative effects of panting. Because of this cooling problem, Pugs should not be up and about in hot weather.
Pugs are not very athletic and therefore are prone to weight gain so it is important to keep them on a special diet. Owners should brush the dog's teeth regularly to avoid gum disease due to teeth overcrowding. Allergies are common in Pugs but dietary changes and medications can help the symptoms. They are susceptible to a special skin condition called mange which is easily treated by problematic.
Encephalitis is a problem in the Pug breed as displayed by its symptoms such as blindness, seizures and eventual coma and death. Epilepsy can occur as well as spinal disease. If breeding, Pugs need assistance in birth such as a c-section in a veterinarian's office.
The short undercoat and top coat can shed with frequency so owners should brush daily with a sturdy bristle brush to reduce this problem. Washing a Pug need not be a regular occurrence because they become chilled quite easily. Dry shampooing is fine to get rid of any strong dog odor. The wrinkles in this dog breed's face needs frequent cleaning as debris could become caught in them and cause infection.
Pugs are not exercise lovers but they don't mind daily walks with their humans. Exercise is important as these dogs are prone to obesity. Because they are prone to breathing problems and are heat intolerant, owners must watch for signs of fatigue. Pugs love cooler temperatures so choose a time after sunset or a sunny winter day to take them on a walk for exercise.
Pugs love to show off and impress their owners so they are highly trainable. However, these dogs can end up as the class clowns in obedience school when their stubborn streaks kick in. When they deign to learn, Pugs catch on quickly but will need constant support and attention to repeat their performance. The best time to train Pugs is just after puppyhood and before they are fully mature adults when curiosity outweighs obstinacy.