Nicknamed the "Dutch mastiff," the Pug is a small dog with a wrinkled face, short legs and barrel chest. In addition to being one of the world's most physically distinctive dogs, the Pug is also well loved for its charismatic personality and effortless charm.
The Pug’s attentive and soft expression is its distinguishing feature. Its coat, which is fawn and black in color, is short, fine, and smooth. A compact and square-proportioned dog, the Pug moves with a jaunty and strong gait; its hindquarters roll slightly. The Pug also has clearly defined black markings on its muzzle, ears, cheeks and forehead, which has deep and huge wrinkles.
The Pug is a playful, confident, and friendly companion that magnificently combines comedy with dignity. It is usually pleasant and willing to please, but it can be headstrong and adamant at times. The breed is also known to frolic and flaunt about.
Coat care for the Pug is minimal, requiring only occasional brushing to remove the dog's dead hair. Meanwhile, regular cleaning and drying is necessary to prevent skin infections, especially in the dog's facial wrinkles.
As far as exercise requirements, the Pug's needs can be met daily with a moderate leash-led walk or an energetic game. Sensitive to humidity and heat, the Pug should be kept indoors. The breed is also prone to snoring and wheezing because of their flat, small muzzles.
The Pug has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years and is prone to major health problems like Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) and canine hip dysplasia (CHD), as well as minor concerns like elongated palate, patellar luxation, stenotic nares, Legg-Perthes disease, entropion, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), hemivertebra, obesity, and skin infections. Nerve degeneration, demodicosis, seizures, distichiasis, and allergies are occasionally seen in this breed of dog.
Its facial wrinkles must be kept clean to prevent skin fold dermatitis, a form of skin inflammation. The Pug is also sensitive to heat and anesthesia.
Multum in Parvo, meaning "a lot in a little," is the official motto of the Pug and sums up its description. The Pug has had various names throughout the years, including Mopshond in Holland, Chinese or Dutch Pug in England, and Mops in Germany. But the word “pug” is thought to have come from the Latin pugnus, meaning fist and attributed to its clenched fist-like head, or from the 18th-century marmoset "pug" monkey, which purportedly appeared quite similar to the dog.
Although its exact ancestry is not known, many consider the Pug as one of the first breeds miniaturized in Asia. China is the earliest known source of the breed, where Buddhist monasteries of Tibet favored the Pug as a pet. The Chinese considered the Pug's facial wrinkles an important feature of the breed, referring to it as the "prince mark" because of its similarity to the Chinese figure for prince.
Brought to Holland by the Dutch East India Trading Company, a pug would become a pet to William I, the Prince of Orange in the mid 16th century. The Pug was also bestowed the position of the House of Orange official dog after one of its kind saved the life of William I by alarming him to the approach of an upcoming attack of Spaniards at Hermingny in 1572. Later, when William II landed at Torbay to be crowned King of England, his cortege included pugs, making the breed fashionable for generations.
By 1790, the Pug had made its way to France. Most notably used by Josephine, wife of Napoleon, her pug, "Fortune," carried secret messages under his collar to Napoleon while she was confined in Les Carmes prison.
In England, the Pug gained popularity during the Victorian era. These pugs sported cropped ears, which further enhanced their wrinkled expressions. And in 1885, the American Kennel Club would recognize the Pug. Since then, the Pug has become not only a popular show dog, but a wonderful family pet.