A Breed Profile of Pugs
The pug is a big dog in the body of a small dog. They truly don’t realize they are not the size of a lion. They have a fun personality, being both playful and very interactive with their family. They are intelligent and enjoy a lot of attention.
Their wrinkled heads, short snouts, and big brown eyes are hard to ignore. Pugs know they are cute too. Pugs are muscular but prone to getting heavy and out of shape if their owners aren’t diligent with diet and exercise.
Pugs are readily adaptable. They will happily live in a small apartment with you or make themselves right at home on the farm. They do better if kept in a climate zone that isn’t too hot. They do not do well in very intense heat because they have a very short and pushed up nose. This makes breathing difficult for them and other breeds with this sort of face have the same issue.
They do great on high-quality dog food and are happy to eat almost anything. As mentioned, they can get too heavy so you must be careful to not overfeed your Pug. When you are training, use the tiniest treats that you can find or make yourself.
Pugs are a breed that goes back as far as 2000 years ago. They share history with the Shih Tzu and the Pekingese. Apparently, the Emporer of China preferred flat-faced dogs. Perhaps because it tends to give them more human-like expressions?
In the 1500s the Dutch traders began bringing Pugs back to their homeland and this began the world’s relationship with this breed of dog. The Pug has even been kept as a pet in the Buddhist monasteries of Tibet.
The Way They Should Look and Act
They should be black or fawn, however, there is a silver color that is becoming popular.
They should weight 14 to 18 pounds.
Their tail should curl up over their back into a tight curl.
The pug should have a smooth, short and glossy coat.
They should have a mask of black and it should be as black as possible.
They are known to have a playful personality and to be very friendly and loving.
The life expectancy of the Pug is 12-15 years.
How to Take Care of Your Pug
Pugs are bred as companion dogs. They do best when they have a human around most of the time and prefer not being alone. They are social little dogs. If you can take your Pug with you, they will thrive.
A Pug won Best in Show at the AKC World Dog Show in 2004. They are an extremely popular and family friendly breed.
Pugs are not known for obedience though they are very smart. They are sometimes used for acting roles on television and in artwork because of the way can take on human-like expressions. Some compare them to little monkeys because of the facial features they seem to share with the primate.
Pugs are a robust little dog that needs to eat a balanced diet and get exercise daily in order to stay fit and trim. Walks and short games of fetch will suffice but use caution not to do this during the heat of the day. Your Pug can get overheated easily because of their brachial facial features that shorten their snout.
The fact that they have such a short snout and a lack of prominent skeletal eye ridges, they are prone to eye injuries. They can also experience difficulty breathing. If they cannot cool themselves, and their body temperature reaches an internal temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit, they must be cooled immediately to stop heat stroke. Pugs shouldn’t be placed in the cargo holds of planes or travel in ways that can prevent them from getting cool fresh air.
The median lifespan of Pugs is approximately 11 years and this may be due to obesity in large part. They’ve become a popular breed for those who live in small spaces and those who are not overly active themselves. This can be detrimental to the Pug. It will take years from their life if you allow them to carry around too much weight. They already have breathing issues and obesity will exacerbate that condition.
Pugs are not avid swimmers and if you take them boating with you, it’s highly advised to have them in a life preserver for dogs. Their shape lends to acting as lead weight in the water. They do really enjoy getting out and being active if you allow them to and give them opportunities for exercise. Pugs love children and will run around in the yard with kids all day.
Problems for Pugs
Pugs, when excited, are known for “reverse sneezing” which causes them to gasp and snort. It sounds terrible. The technical name for this is pharyngeal gag reflex. It’s caused when fluid or debris manages to get caught under the roof of their mouth and it irritates the lining of the throat. Reverse sneezing episodes are harmful but they sound awful and may be uncomfortable to the dog. Rubbing their throat or covering their nostrils for a moment to get them to swallow will typically stop the gasping and snorting.
Some pugs are born with stenotic nares. This condition can require surgery in the worst cases. It is basically pinched nostrils that restrict airflow.
Eye prolapse is a common issue. It happens by nearly any sort of sudden bump, fall, impact, etc. Even pulling too hard on a harness connected to their lease. The eye can pop right out of the socket and typically gets popped right back in by a veterinarian. If it happens frequently, the vet might suggest corrective surgery.
You must clean under and between the many wrinkles of the Pug’s face to keep them from having skin issues develop.
Pugs are one of many breeds that are prone to hip dysplasia and you will want to have them seen by a veterinarian if they start limping or favoring one leg over the other. This condition can have varying degrees of severity and may require surgery in the worst cases.
Pugs are more susceptible to demodectic mange than most other breeds. Skin conditions are their Kryptonite. I
A research study in the UK proved that over 10,000 Pugs in Britain shared ancestry with only 50 individual Pugs. This may be the reason for so many health issues as they are terribly inbred as a breed.
Pugs Are Great Dogs But Require Care
You should simply understand that Pugs are great dogs; they’re good with kids and have wonderful traits. Sadly, they are prone to a plethora of health problems that are genetic in nature. Don’t get a Pug with expectations that they will live over 10 years of age. They have the ability to live much longer, but only if they are kept very healthy.
Much of this depends on you. They rely on humans to care for them by not just feeding them whatever they want. They need proper nutrition and exercise. They may be a costly breed to have if they turn out to be the dog with a lot of health issues. This makes them a real commitment. Dogs are children with fur. The Pug will reward you mightily with all the love he can muster. They are loyal and sweet dogs. Sadly, they can also be very sick dogs from time to time and they require owners who understand this and have the resources to commit to taking good care of them, no matter what.
You can avoid some problems by thoroughly researching the bloodlines of the litter you are thinking of purchasing a pup from. Good breeders choose dogs for the best genetics. If you choose a reputable breeder, they’ll have testing done on the parents prior to breeding them. Only dogs who are free of genetic problems should be bred.
Dogs that are on sale sites online may not be the best dogs to purchase. You could be buying a problem. You will pay more for a Pug from a good breeder but you’ll also have some health guarantees. In the end, you may spend a lot less on the medical costs you’ll save if you take a $100 puppy home and find out that he needs hip surgery at 2 years of age.
Dawn Greer is a passionate blogger and animal rights activist. She is a pet lover, certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, pet nutritionist, and former veterinary technician. She continues her work while writing blogs for pet lovers around the globe.