Dog Breed Group:Companion Dogs
Height:10 inches to 1 foot, 2 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:14 to 18 pounds
Life Span:12 to 15 years
The Pug's comical face, with deep wrinkles around big, dark eyes and a flat round face, can't help but make you smile. It is believed that the Pug's name comes from the Latin word for "fist" because his face resembles a human fist.
Pugs are clowns at heart, but they carry themselves with dignity. Pugs are playful dogs, ready and able for games, but they are also lovers, and must be close to their humans. Pugs love to be the center of attention, and are heartsick if ignored.
Pugs are square and thickset, usually weighing no more than 20 pounds. Their heads are large and round, with large, round eyes. They have deep and distinct wrinkles on their faces. Legend has it that the Chinese, who mastered the breeding of this dog, prized these wrinkles because they resembled good luck symbols in their language. Especially prized were dogs with wrinkles that seemed to form the letters for the word "prince" in Chinese.
The moles on a Pug's cheeks are called "beauty spots." His muzzle or mask is black, with a clearly defined "thumb mark" on the forehead and a black trace down the center of the back. His ears are smooth, black and velvety. He has a characteristic undershot jaw (the lower teeth extend slightly beyond the upper teeth) and a tightly curled tail.
Personality-wise, Pugs are happy and affectionate, loyal and charming, playful and mischievous. They are very intelligent, however, they can be willful, which makes training challenging.
While Pugs can be good watchdogs, they aren't inclined to be "yappy," something your neighbors will appreciate. If trained and well-socialized, they get along well with other animals and children. Because they are a small, quiet breed and are relatively inactive when indoors, they are a good choice for apartment dwellers. Due to the flat shape of the Pug's face, he does not do well in extremely hot or cold weather, and should be kept indoors.
Pugs originated in China, dating back to the Han dynasty (B.C. 206 to A.D. 200). Some historians believe they are related to the Tibetan Mastiff. They were prized by the Emperors of China and lived in luxurious accommodations, sometimes even being guarded by soldiers.
Pugs are one of three types of short-nosed dogs that are known to have been bred by the Chinese: the Lion dog, the Pekingese, and the Lo-sze, which was the ancient Pug. Some think that the famous "Foo Dogs" of China are representations of the ancient Pug. Evidence of Pug-like dogs has been found in ancient Tibet and Japan.
In the latter 1500s and early 1600s, China began trading with European countries. Reportedly, the first Pugs brought to Europe came with the Dutch traders, who named the breed Mopshond, a name still used today.
Pugs quickly became favorites of royal households throughout Europe, and even played a role in the history of many of these families. In Holland, the Pug became the official dog of the House of Orange after a Pug reportedly saved the life of William, Prince of Orange, by giving him a warning that the Spaniards were approaching in 1572. When William of Orange (later called William III) went to England in 1688 with his wife, Mary II, to take the throne from James II, they brought their Pugs with them.
It is known that black pugs existed in the 1700s because the famous artist, William Hogarth, was a Pug enthusiast. He portrayed a black Pug and many others in his famous paintings. In 1785, Goya also portrayed Pugs in his paintings.
As the Pug's popularity spread throughout Europe, it was often known by different names in different countries. In France, it was called Carlin; in Spain Dogullo; in Germany Mops; and in Italy, Caganlino.
Marie Antoinette had a Pug named Mops before she married Louis XVI at the age of 15. Another famous Frenchwoman, Josephine Bonaparte, had a Pug named Fortune. Before she married Napoleon Bonaparte, she was confined at Les Carmes prison. Since her beloved Pug was the only "visitor" she was allowed, she would conceal messages in his collar to take to her family.
In the early 1800s, Pugs were standardized as a breed with two lines becoming dominant in England. One line was called the Morrison line and, reportedly, was founded upon the royal dogs of Queen Charlotte, wife of George III. The other line was developed by Lord and Lady Willoughby d'Eresby, and was founded on dogs imported from Russia or Hungary.
Pugs were first exhibited in England in 1861. The studbook began in 1871 with 66 Pugs in the first volume.
Meanwhile, in China, Pugs continued to be bred by the royal families. When the British overran the Chinese Imperial Palace in 1860, they discovered several Pugs, and brought some of the little dogs back to England with them.
Two Pugs named Lamb and Moss were brought to England. These two "pure" Chinese lines were bred and produced Click. He was an outstanding dog and was bred many times to dogs of both the Willoughby and Morrison lines. Click is credited with making Pugs a better breed overall and shaping the modern Pug as we know it today.
Pugs became very popular during the Victorian era and were featured in many paintings, postcards, and figurines of the period. Often, they were depicted wearing wide, decorative collars or large bows around their short, thick necks.
Queen Victoria had many Pugs, and also bred them. The queen preferred apricot-fawn Pugs, whereas another Pug fancier, Lady Brassey, made black Pugs fashionable after she brought some back from China in 1886.
Pugs were introduced to the United States after the Civil War, and the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. At first, Pugs were very popular, but by the turn of the century, interest in the breed waned. A few dedicated breeders kept breeding and, after some years, the breed regained popularity. Founded in 1931, the Pug Dog Club of America was also recognized by the AKC that year.
Pugs weigh between 14 and 18 pounds (male and female). Generally, they are 10 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder.