Originating in the Far East as early the 1st century BCE (which means a very, very long time ago) they were bred as companions for ruling families in China, highly valued by Chinese Emperors and even guarded by soldiers.
Anyone who has met or owned a pug will know they are a lively, affectionate little dog that loves people of all ages and generally all other dogs, although they can be somewhat stubborn at times. They are a loving, easygoing companion pet.
They pretty much suite any family, from those with children or the elderly and any sized home or apartment, as long as they get plenty of attention and lots of cuddles.
For the house proud, be warned, Pugs have a short and smooth double coat that can shed a LOT so regular brushing and a good vacuum will be required. Pugs appear in a range of colors including fawn, black, apricot and silver. Other key physical characteristics of pugs include their flat, wrinkled face, curled tails, broad chest and big round brown eyes that bulge slightly
The Pug is a very intelligent dog, but being quite wilful it can mean training is a challenge at times, so get onto it early, work on toilet training and setting boundaries. If trained and well-socialized, they get along well with other animals and children.
The Pug pretty much suites any family, from those with children or the elderly and any sized home or apartment, as long as they get plenty of attention and lots of cuddles.
As they were bred for companionship, the Pug is definitely an indoor dog and is not a breed for being left alone for long periods of time or they will suffer separation anxiety.
They are more than happy to just sit around on your lap, but they still have lots of energy to burn so will need daily walks and lots of playtime. However, because of their flat faces they should not be over exerted or taken out in the heat.
It’s also important to clean their skinfolds daily with a natural wipe and keep them dry and nourished to stop any bacteria or infections that can also make them very smelly.
Keeping a Pug active is important given their love of food and small and stocky stature, as many pugs are prone to being overweight – which will negatively impact on their health.
Unfortunately, the Pug’s appearance has changed radically over the centuries. Their body and nose were once much longer, but as humans manipulated their looks, they now have the wrinkled, short-muzzled, flat face of a brachycephalic breed, which results in breathing issues due to a narrowed airway.
These abnormalities are collectively known as brachycephalic airway syndrome and are best rectified with surgery early in life to prevent further progression and exercise intolerance.
Their oversized eyes also require extra care and can be prone to several conditions such as cherry eye, corneal pigmentation which can lead to blindness and dry eye.
Rolling in of the lower eyelid – known as entropion as well extra eyelashes can further irritate the eye. If left untreated, these problems can rapidly result in ulceration of the cornea and loss of the eye.
If you notice your pug has discharge around the eyes, or is squinting, then they should be seen by your Vet straight away.
They are also quite prone to skin problems associated with allergies and all those skin folds. As well as spinal deformities which can cause neurological symptoms.
This is why it is important to fully research and understand a breed before getting a puppy, so you can be well prepared for any lifestyle and health consideratioins.
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About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love Your Dog