Breed review: Pug puppies and dogs

Posted by Cyril. August 15th 2014.

A distinctive dog with plenty of charm, the pug has won the hearts of many dog-lovers over the years. Here we look at the breed in more detail and tell you everything you need to know about this little cutie.

Pug

Although little is known about their early history, it is highly probably that pug dogs originally came from China. Later history suggests the dogs were brought to Holland by Portuguese traders in the 16th Century before making their way to England in the latter part of that century following their popularity with Dutch royals.

Famous names including King Louis XIV, Napoleon’s empress, Queen Victoria and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor have all been strong fans of the breed which wasn’t officially recognised by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 1885.

Appearance

The unmistakable appearance of the pug is one of the main reasons for its popularity among dog owners. Their stature is short and well-muscled with compact dimensions and they have a distinctively wrinkled face and large, round eyes.

The breed should generally weigh a maximum of 20lbs – something owners should keep a close eye on as the breed’s legendary begging skills can lead them to be overfed – and have a small ring-shaped tail.

Character

A sociable and fun-loving animal, pugs are known for being active, loveable and a little mischievous. They are excellent beggars so owners need to make sure they keep feeding and treats strictly controlled to avoid overeating and obesity.

Pugs are great family dogs and usually get on well with other dogs, cats and children. Although they are small in size, they are actually quite large for a toy breed and this, combined with their gentle nature, makes them ideal companions for families with youngsters.

A cute Pug puppy

Exercise and health

Like any dog, pugs need to be exercised regularly with daily walks or playtime so it’s important you take this into consideration before buying one.

You should also be aware of a few health issues which are common among the breed. These include the condition brachycephalic syndrome which presents itself as breathing problems caused by pinched nostrils and a soft palate.

Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) is a breed-specific condition which can result in seizures and death and is caused by inflammation on the brain while other conditions which pugs are prone to suffer from include orthopaedic problems (Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease) and spinal conditions (hemivertebrae) which are caused by their short stature.

Over the years, the creases and wrinkles on the pug’s face have become a popular feature with many breeders looking to emphasise this characteristic. Unfortunately, an overabundance of wrinkles can cause health risks, particularly in hot conditions, so you must take this into account when leaving pugs alone in any environment.

Finally, pugs are known for dental problems which should be monitored and can also suffer from luxating patellas on their kneecaps which means they can easily slip out of place.

Owners shouldn’t be deterred from owning a pug because of these conditions though. Many of the ailments are easily treatable and the love you’ll receive from your four-legged friend will more than make up from any potential health problems they may develop.

Grooming

Looking after your pug is very easy and their coats are very easy to groom. Use a rubber curry brush to remove dead hair by brushing at least once a week – pugs shed a lot of hair all-year through so don’t worry if you seem to brush out a lot of dead hair in one sitting.

You should also wipe your pugs facial wrinkles as regularly as needed, using a damp cosmetic sponge or unperfumed facial wipe before drying them thoroughly so they don’t get infected from the damp.

Nails and teeth should also be cared for weekly and you should play close attention to their teeth and mouth to look out for any dental conditions that may develop.

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