A Multo in Parvo, "a lot of dog in a small space", that has an even temperament while also being playful, outgoing, dignified, and charming. This breed is supposed to be compact, proportioned and muscular. It is supposed to be square in proportion and appearance as well. The pug is one of the largest breed in the Toy Group with a weight of 14 to 18 lbs (both sexes). The Pug shares the same origin as the Pekingese but is not related to the Bulldog.
The head should be large, massive and round, but without indentations in the skull. The face if viewed from the side should appear rather flat no over protrusion of the muzzle or chin. The eyes should be dark, but prominently large and bold. The ocular shape should be globular. A pug's expression should be ever changing from soft, solicitous, and lustrous to full of fire and life when excited. The bite should be slightly undershot. The ears should be black, thin, small, and soft with a feel of velvet. The ears should either rose or button, with the latter being preferred. Button ears fold over with the fold being level with the top of the skull but the tips should not hang pass the corner of the eyes.
The pug should have large and deep facial wrinkles, with the color making the wrinkles more prominent by being darker on the inside rather than the outside. Over the nose should be one large, major wrinkle.
The gait of the pug should square, strong, and free. The body is short and cobby, wide in chest and well ribbed up. The slight roll of the hindquarters typifies the gait which should be free, self-assured, and jaunty.
The tail of the Pug should be high set on the back. The ideal tail has two tight curls but one tight curl is acceptable. A loose curled tail or one that hangs down is not desirable.
The markings of the pug should be an intense black with clear definition on the muzzle mask, moles on the cheeks, thumb mark or diamond on the forehead, and on the back trace. The trace is the black line extending from the back of the head to the tail.
The coat is short, dense and one length with an overall smoothness over the body. The coat should be straight with no waves or curls and should be no longer than 1 inch. No fringe is allowed anywhere. It is often described as "fine", smooth, soft, short and glossy, neither hard nor "woolly" by its AKC standard.
The mystery of the Pug seems to have links all the way to before 400 B.C. and the Orient. China was the first to be the source of the breed by providing pets to the Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. Consequently, in Chinese art and paintings, three dogs dominated the era: the Pekingese, the lion dog, and the Lo-sze. It is believed that the pug is descended from the Lo-sze which was distinguished by its short muzzle, short hair, elastic skin, and the prince mark on its forehead. The prince mark has three horizontal wrinkles crossed by a vertical bar on the forehead which makes the Chinese character for "prince". The breed soon spread to Japan and then to Europe, with many appearing in various royal courts.
In 1572, a pug named Pompey saved William, Prince of Orange by alarming him to the approach of the Spaniards at Hermigny. Because of such allegiance, the pug became the official dog of the House of Orange. Later, William II would bring an entourage of Pugs to Torbay for his coronation as the King of England which began the popularity of the breed as a fashion statement.
By 1790, Napoleon's wife, Josephine, raised the popularity of the breed especially through the antics of Fortune. Fortune bit Napoleon on their wedding night but was highly dependable because he would carry secret messages to Napoleon while Josephine was imprisoned at Les Carmes.
In 1860, British soldiers overran the Imperial Palace in Peking and found dogs of the Pug and Pekingese influence. These were brought back to England and began to gain interest of certain fanciers. Black Pugs were imported from China (yet there is speculation that the Japanese may have developed and bred the black pugs first) and promoted in England in 1886. The American Kennel Club, AKC, accepted the Pug in 1885.
Pugs are clowns with a lot of personality. However, they can be a little headstrong and stubborn when it comes to obedience. They are good with children; however, they do not take for constant playing and running with the children for long periods of time. This dog is made to be a companion not a guard dog. Many pugs are highly interested in strangers and making them their new best friends. They may alert you to the presence of a stranger; however, you may not hear them because their bark is usually muffled by their lips and short, flat muzzles.
In this breed, the males tend to be more easy going, and loving of people and children. The females tend to be more independent, alert, and observant. The pug is supposed to be friendly and able to love everyone human and animals equally and as energetically. There are usually no problems integrating them into homes with children and other pets like cats, rodents, or birds.
This is an even-tempered stable breed with a lot of playfulness, charm, dignity, love, and an outgoing extravert. They are mischievous, willful, self-confident, and cheerful. They are not nervous or high strung and should not display aggression.
Pugs are usually healthy and hearty dogs. The most common problem is that the pugs suffer from obesity because they seem to love to overeat even when fed an excellent Diet. Feed not by what is on the bag or by filling up the bowl. Feed only what is necessary to keep your Pug at a healthy weight where you can just feel the ribs.
Occasionally, the face and nose wrinkle should be cleaned to prevent infection. The teeth must be brushed regularly especially since many of the teeth are overcrowded in the small, flat muzzle and mouth of the Pug.
Pugs, because of their short noses, are also prone to breathing, respiratory, and Snoring issues. Be particularly vigilant and cognizant when the weather or temperature is hot, humid, and cold. Most of the respiratory issues revolve around elongated soft palates and pinched nostrils. Both can be corrected with surgery; however, owners must remember that these dogs were bred to be indoor companions. If the condition is exacerbated when exercising or being outside during these circumstances, then ensure shorter timeframes while outdoors.
Pug dog encephalitis is a condition that is being researched because it seems to be related to genetics. Its symptoms are seizures, circling, blindness, coma and death. It is a rapid degenerative disease that can be fatal in a matter of weeks. However, pugs can suffer from Epilepsy and these seizures can be totally unrelated to encephalitis.
Some pugs have seasonal Allergies which will be displayed by weepy eyes, sneezing, etc. Food allergies are not as common; however, some veterinarians will suggest a change in Diet to combat seasonal Allergies.
This is not a breed recommended to be bred to other breeds because of the Health concerns that they are susceptible too. Many other breeds especially Beagles are introducing other diseases like Progressive Retinal Atrophy which is a degenerative eye condition that leads to blindness. The pugs' respiratory and encephalitis conditions also do not make it a likely candidate because these conditions are still being researched since its origins have not been pinpointed.
Owners must be prepared to deal with a lot of shedding. Pugs have both a top coat and an undercoat, with the top coat having long straight hairs and the undercoat having softer, straight hairs. Normal hair length on a pug is about 3/4 of an inch, although they can be longer.
Pugs require regular exercise in order to keep their muscle tone; however, it is very important to ensure that the pug does not overheat. Daily walks is good for the pug-just listen to his breathing and ensure that he does not get overly tired or winded. The ideal temperature for exercise is 30 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pugs will be eager to learn because of their desire to please you, but they are clowns and occasionally stubborn. They are famous for quickly learning commands but repeat performance later may be difficult or needing encouragement to repeat. However, many do go one to compete in obedience, conformation, and agility trials. Pugs will benefit from learning at an early age the basic obedience commands when most of the "non-performance" is due to clowning rather than stubbornness.