Recommended for: Singles, families
Maintenance Level: Low
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Temperament: Loyal, playful
Health Risk: This breed has an average probability of having health issues in its lifetime, hence it is one of the more affordable breeds to insure.
The Pug is a small breed of dog known for its wrinkly face and curly tail. The pug is a rather old breed of dog, originating in China before bring imported to Europe in the 16th & 17th centuries.
Modern Pugs tend to have square, compact bodies with deep chests and well-formed muscles. Their coat is short and glossy, and most often is fawn-coloured, but they can come in apricot fawn, silver fawn, and black. Their coats are quite easy to groom with a firm bristle brush and only need to be bathed when necessary (although they should be dried immediately as they are sensitive to temperature). Their facial creases, however, need to be cleaned frequently. Pugs tend to shed heavily about twice a year.
Pugs have either “rose-” or “button-” shaped ears. “Rose” ears are smaller but breeders prefer “button” ears. The Pug has a tail which curls over the hip, very strong legs and ankles and small feet. Its lower teeth often rest further forward than the upper, and as a result most Pugs have under bites.
Healthy male Pugs weigh around 6 – 9 kg and stand at 30 – 36 cm tall, while females are usually 6 – 8 kg and between 25 and 30 cm tall. The life expectancy of the Pug is 12 to 15 years.
Pugs are well suited to apartments and small dwellings and will cope without a yard. However, they do not cope well in hot or cold weather and therefore should be kept indoors at a comfortable temperature.
The Pug is one of the oldest dog breeds, believed to have originated over 2,000 years ago; however there is much debate over when and where it first appeared. It is widely accepted that Pugs or similar dogs were popular during the Chinese Song Dynasty.
They began to be imported in the 16th century and became very popular among European nobility; in fact, the breed became the official dog of the House of Orange after the Prince of Orange was rescued by a Pug named Pompey in 1572, having alerted him to the presence of assassins.
Pugs were well established all over Europe – they have been depicted in England, Spain, Italy and France. They were often employed as guard dogs and the military used them to track animals and people.
English painter William Hogarth owned many Pugs, which are often depicted in his works, and Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife Josephine used her Pug to carry messages to her family while she was imprisoned.
In the 19th century, Queen Victoria bred many Pugs, and her passion for the breed was inherited by her grandson King George V and great-grandson King Edward VIII. Her breeding efforts are credited with the development of the Pug we see today.
Pugs are well-suited to many types of owners, including elderly people and families with young children. Though strong-willed, Pugs are very rarely aggressive and are very fond of children and get along well with other pets. They can be quiet and placid but also playful and lively. They are quite lazy in nature and tend to enjoy napping, which can make them a great low-maintenance companion for elderly people. They are very loyal, affectionate and loving towards their owners and often follow them wherever they go.
They tend to have rather poor road sense, so it is imperative that they are kept indoors or in an enclosed outdoor space. Even though they are a relatively inactive breed, they can be prone to overeating and so should still be taken on daily walks.
COMMON PUG DISEASES & CONDITIONS
- Pug Dog Encephalitis
Pug dog encephalitis is an inflammatory brain condition unique to Pugs, and which is inevitably deadly, causing the dog to seizure, circle, lose vision, fall into a coma and then die within a few days or weeks. Unfortunately there is no way to test for or treat the disease.
- Cheyletiella Dermatitis
Also known as “walking dandruff”, cheyletiella dermatitis is a skin condition caused by a mite. It is characterised by heavy dandruff down the middle of the back. Because these mites are transferrable, all other pets in the house need to be treated.
Pugs are prone to idiopathic epilepsy, which are seizures with no known cause. There is treatment available for Pugs suffering epilepsy.
- Nerve Degeneration
As they age, Pugs may suffer from nerve degeneration, causing them to drag their rear, stagger, become incontinent or have difficulty jumping. It doesn’t appear to cause pain and is slow advancing, but medication is available to help certain symptoms.
- Corneal Ulcers
Due to the size and prominence of a Pug’s eyes, they can become injured easily or develop ulcers on the cornea. Symptoms include squinting and red or tearing eyes. If left untreated, ulcers can cause vision loss or rupture the eye.
- Dry Eye
Dry eye is a result of the eye not producing enough tears. It can cause blindness if left untreated, but medication is available.
- Demodectic Mange
Demodex mites are passed down from mother to pup but are not transferrable to other dogs or humans. These mites are normal and present in every dog, and typically do not cause any issues. However, a Pug with a weak immune system could develop demodectic mange. Characterised by red, scaly skin and hair loss, the disease often goes away on its own, but should still be discussed with a vet.
Pugs and other short-nosed dogs may have anomalous vertebrae. Sometimes very few of the vertebrae are affected and do not impact the dog’s quality of life, however dogs with extensive hemi-vertebrae have difficulty walking and can become paralysed. Surgery is an option for affected dogs.
- Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasa occurs when the thigh bone and hip joint do not fit together properly and may cause pain and arthritis later in the dog’s life. Many affected dogs are able to live relatively comfortably with the condition.
Pugs may also experience breathing issues, staph infections, yeast infections, Legges-Perthes disease, patellar luxation and vaccination sensitivity.
INTERESTING PUG FACTS
- The Latin phrase “multum in parvo” is often used to describe Pugs. It translates as “a lot of dog in a small space”.
- Just like a group of fish is called a “school” and a group of birds is a “flock”, a group of Pugs is known as a “grumble”.
- Despite their small stature, the Pug is the largest dog in its AKC “toy” group.
- Marie Antoinette had a Pug named “Mops”, since Pugs were commonly referred to around Europe as “Mopshounds”.
- Pugs aren’t very good swimmers, so if you’re looking for a dog to accompany your aquatic adventures, the Pug may not be the dog for you.
- Even though they’re one of the oldest dog breeds, Pugs weren’t officially recognised by the AKC until 1895.
- Celebrity Pug owners include Jessica Alba, Gerard Butler, Hugh Laurie, Brix Smith (whose dogs often appear on Gok’s Fashion Fix), Paris Hilton and more.
Pug Rescue & Adoption Australia: http://www.pugrescue.com.au/
Pug Club of NSW: http://www.pugclubofnsw.com/default.asp
Pug Club of Victoria: http://www.pugclubvictoria.com/pugclubhome.htm
Pug Pet Insurance Quote
Getting pet insurance for your Pug will help ensure you can always afford the best vet care for them. Bow Wow Meow offers a range of flexible pet insurance options including cover for accidental injury, illness and routine care.
Wondering how much it would cost to insure your Pug if you got one? It’s quick and easy to get a quote.
(Note: dogs must be over 8 weeks old to take out insurance, so please enter a birth date to reflect this when getting an indicative quote.)