“Life without a pug is possible, but pointless,” said Loriot. In fact, the pug is a lovable companion dog who, with a sense of humor and unmatched emotional facial expressions, represents a unique breed.
The pug is one of the oldest dog breeds, it probably originated in East Asia. There are records similar to today’s stud books from the Chinese Tang Dynasty (950 AD) about a Lo-Sze dog.
This forerunner had many characteristics that also shape today’s breed standard. During the Empire, special emphasis was placed on the formation of wrinkles on the forehead, which should look as similar as possible to the Chinese character for “prince”. In addition to the Lo-Sze Pug, the Loong Chua Lo-Sze became popular in the 17th century. This line had feathering on the otherwise short coat and was bred as small as possible so that the dogs could be carried in the sleeves of the imperial robes when traveling outside the “Forbidden City” to protect them from prying eyes.
Pugs were kept in the palace as a privilege of the emperors and given to other ruling houses as a valuable gift on special occasions. All other people were prohibited from owning or even touching an imperial dog.
After the discovery of the sea routes to India and China, agreements followed with the seafaring nations of Portugal, Spain, England and the Netherlands. Starting with the East India Company founded in 1602, the member of the royal family Wilhelm the Silent brought the first pug to the Netherlands. The little dog conquered the European royal houses, so Georg IV, Queen Charlotte Mecklenburg-Strelitz or Napoleon’s first wife are among the proud owners. Constant breeding began in England when Wilhelm III, great-grandson of Wilhelm the Silent, brought a pack of pugs into the country to ascend the throne in 1688. The first stud book of the Kennel Club, founded in 1871, already had 66 entries relating to the Pug breed.
In England at the beginning of the 19th century, two types of pug competed with each other, the Morrisons and the Willoughby. The Willoughby line featured larger and lighter builds, smaller eyes, and stone gray fur with white markings. The Morrison line comes from the Dutch Pugs, which were characterized by a stocky build, apricot-colored fur and a very expressive face. Later, breeders crossed both lines with each other in all variations and created the Alicante dog by breeding in a spaniel, which has since become extinct. Black pugs were also born, as depicted on paintings from 1653 onwards. However, the breeders selected these animals until Lady Brassey brought two black pugs with her from her trip to China and made them socially acceptable at the end of the 18th century. From 1860, a third breed added to the pug breeding: During the English siege of Beijing, two pugs were stolen from the palace and brought to England. Both animals had pure apricot-colored fur with no white markings. The mating resulted in the male “Click”, who is considered the progenitor of all pugs living in Great Britain and the USA and, together with the lines Morrison and Willioughby, coined the characteristic pug.
The head is strong, round and short with pronounced wrinkles on the forehead. The stop is well defined and the large, dark eyes shine and protrude. Both small, tight-fitting button ears that fall forward and so-called rose ears are allowed. The muzzle is flattened and rectangular in shape, but has no snub nose. The slightly arched, thick neck sits on an equally stocky body with a broad chest and strong, medium-long legs. The pug carries its high-set tail curled up as tightly as possible on its back. The pug skin is fine, short and with a silky sheen in the colors silver, black, apricot and fallow. The eel line on the back as well as the ears, the moles on the cheeks and the muzzle should be deep black.
The previous breed standard was changed on October 13, 2010, as massive health impairments occurred. A thick fold completely covered the nose and the muzzle was so degenerated that it was barely visible in the extremely flat side profile and its natural function was severely restricted. According to scientific knowledge, new clubs conduct back-breeding by breeding other breeds into the so-called retromops. With a longer skull, more neck, more protected eyes and longer back, the new line approximates the look of historical pugs as seen in old pictures.
Young pugs are almost bursting with energy and that is why the owners should intervene to regulate when the romping is enough. The little charming personalities try again and again by clowning to undermine their upbringing, so gentle consistency is the order of the day. After about 2 years, the pug will grow up and become calmer – an ideal apartment dog that gets along well with other pets or children. He is very affectionate, always in a good mood and cannot imagine anyone doing him harm. The pug does not ask for an employment program, but simply for attention. He loves company and always wants to be there, he likes to lie on his lap or at least very close to his person, he seeks physical contact. If its owner turns to something else, the pug reacts jealously and can also hide its high intelligence very well. His unique facial expressions speak volumes and every emotional movement is underlined by puffing, grumbling or grunting noises.
The pug sheds all year round. To prevent corneal inflammation, which is often caused by facial hair, the sensitive eyes should be cleaned daily with a damp cloth, just like the nasal folds. Regular brushing with a rubber curl makes it easier to change fur and reduces stinging hair on clothing and upholstered furniture. Walks can be longer in cooler temperatures, although there may also be a preference for water. The pug does not tolerate heat so well and the need for exercise decreases noticeably. Being overweight can cause shortness of breath and spinal discomfort, so endurance sports are generally unsuitable, and climbing stairs should also be avoided if possible. A disease of the central nervous system that causes convulsions and epilepsy can occur as a breed-specific hereditary disease. The pug is also prone to demodicosis, an excessive proliferation of Demodex mites on the skin. Serious breeders exclude these genetically predisposed animals from breeding.
The pug at a glance
Origin: ChinaFCI Breed Standard 253, Group 9, Section 11: Retriever dogs, water dogs, rifle dogsAlternative names: Pug, Carlino, Carlin, DoguilloSize: smallWeight at withers: approx. 30 cmWeight 6.5 – 8kgFur color: silver, black, beige or apricot with black MaskEyes: dark brown, protrudingUsage: companion and companion dogCharacter: affectionate, happy, sometimes extravagantHealth risks: breathing difficulties, eye inflammation, pug dog encephalitisLife expectancy: approx. 12 – 15 years
Image: © Depositphotos.com / liukov