What has a wrinkly short-muzzled face, is the dog of royalty all over the world and name is believed to mean ‘fist’ in latin? It’s the pug! And for those of you wondering why fist...apparently a pug’s face resembles a human fist… I’m just here to report the facts so don’t shoot the messenger on that one!
The Emperor’s New Groove
The Pug dates back to the Han Dynasty which was between 202 BC and 220 AD which means they’re one of the oldest canine breeds in the world! They lived in luxurious accommodations and were prized by the Emperors of China, sometimes even being guarded by soldiers. Imagine being a dog and having your own soldier- some solid emperor connections there.
In the early 1600s, China began trading with Europe and the Dutch were the first to introduce the Pug to European territory. They named the breed ‘Mopshond’ and it’s still a name that is used today.
Across Europe, the Pug became popular in royal households. In Holland, a pug reportedly saved the life of William, Prince of Orange, by giving a warning that the Spaniards were approaching. The pug then became the official dog of the House of Orange and when they went to England in 1688 to take the throne from James II, they brought their pugs!
Mary Antoinette, before she married Louis XVI, had a pug; Queen Victoria owned lots of pugs and even bred them, George III and his wife Charlotte also had pugs… they royals liked their pugs and many of them were involved in their development and breeding which we now have across modern day Europe today.
Clown of the Dog World
So from a life of royalty to being the class joker, pugs are often referred to as the clown of the dog world. They have a great sense of humour and love to show off- they’re a whole lot of dog in a small space. They’re playful and always ready for fun and games- don’t be fooled by these highly intelligent dogs though as they hold themselves with dignity. With their intelligence, comes with them the ease to learn new tricks. As with all dogs, they can easily lose interest and be distracted but with persistence, you can easily teach a pug a few tricks; food and patience goes a long way to get a pug performing for you.
Pugs have a fine glossy coat that comes in various colours; most commonly a fawn or black colour. Despite the short smooth coat, Pugs shed profusely and shedding can occur more often in Spring and then in Autumn when the seasons change. Interestingly, fawn coloured Pugs are double coated meaning they shed more than a black coloured Pug who only have one coat of hair! Their coats must be brushed everyday which isn’t a problem as they love the attention and one to one time.
It’s advised that the grooming process with a Pug should start from when they are a puppy so they are used to it and also helps build the bonding connection with owner and Pug!
Your best friend
On that, pugs were made to be companion dogs and companions will they be. They need constant human attention, and like some of your favourite extroverted human friends, they will not want to be left alone all day. They are lap dogs and are happiest curled up next to you. Pugs are great with children and as they like the attention, they’re good when meeting strangers.
They are purebred dogs, but due to some medical problems they may have, they are often found in dog shelters. Make sure to check your local dog homes if you’re looking to adopt a new Pug best friend.
Blame the dog
The pugs are very loud snorers and suffer from flatulence… both great features if you want to blame the dog!
However on a more serious note, Pugs are known for their breathing issues ...which is otherwise known as Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome and it occurs in all breeds with significant brachycephaly. Brachycephaly is an abnormally short head shape which the Pug has. The soft tissues inside remain unchanged despite the facial bones being shortened so it’s all squeezed into an abnormally small space. The permanent narrowing and obstruction of the airways makes breathing much harder. BAOS leads to snoring, respiratory noise, mouth breathing, and respiratory distress with rapid breathing and struggling for breath, and can lead to collapse and death. Dogs with BAOS are unable to take moderate amounts of exercise, will have disrupted sleep and are very prone to heat stroke. Despite their great companionship, they are often known as a walking medical bill. These dogs are best in cooler habitats where they won’t have problems breathing.
Pugs are people orientated and remain one of the most popular breeds to own. They’re great to have in small apartments and will be your reliable dog companion. Give them the attention they need, and they’ll be a great trusty dog companion to have by your side.