Pug Breed and Health Information

Pugs are one of those breeds where you just simply go “awww”. Those wrinkly faces and bulging eyes that seemingly look into your soul, it’s almost impossible not fall for one. If you’re thinking that you might want to settle in with these cute, lovely, little canines, then read on to find out if you have what it takes to take care of them.

 

Pug Characteristics

Pugs are well adaptable dogs. They can thrive in both a sprawling country home and an urban apartment/condominium setting. They’re also good for new dog owners because they only need moderate amounts of grooming and they are absolute charmers, quite stubborn but not to the point of aggressiveness – great with children, other dogs, and even other animals.

Pugs are an easygoing, owner-pleasing breed. They have a moderate level of sensitivity when it comes to tolerating a rowdy environment and assertive/strict owners. As per the United Kennel Club (UKC) Standards, they are classified under the “Companion Dog Group”, hence the easygoing nature and moderate level of sensitivity.

But needless to say, despite its moderate level of sensitivity to its environment, it still loves its human companionship more than anything else. Pugs generally don’t adapt well in extreme temperatures in either direction. Having a short coat makes them easily vulnerable to the cold.

And despite having a short coat, they also don’t do too well in very hot and humid conditions because of their short noses – panting is a form of evaporative cooling that help dogs regulate their body temperature in cases of hot and humid environments.

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Since Pugs are known to be under the Companion Dog Group, they are known to be affectionate to the family it belongs to. They are incredible with the kids, other people, and even other animals – if you happen to have other pets aside from dogs.

Pugs have short, fine, and smooth hair. Having short hair does not translate to less amount of shedding though. But worry not for they need just a moderate level of grooming. Due to breeding practices spanning thousands of years ago, all dog breeds have developed some kind of genetic health problem.

 

Like most dogs, as long as they’re not feeling sick, they have healthy appetites. But remember to regulate their food and weight gain because despite having a nickname of “Dutch Mastiff”, they’re neither Dutch nor a Mastiff – they’re small lap dogs.

Since Pugs are known to be quite stubborn, you’d want to have quite the patience when trying to train this particular breed. In fairness, they are a pretty intelligent breed, but because of their willfulness, it becomes quite a challenge to train them especially when it comes to housebreaking.

As most of the playful breeds, they have a tendency to chase objects around. Pugs are not quite keen on barking which indicates that they may not be a good dog for looking after the house – yes they do bark, but it may be for other reasons like food or belly rubs. Since Pugs are bred for companionship, they don’t tend to wander around on their own. They prefer to stay by the side of their humans as much as possible.

Despite being playful, Pugs has a habit of being snoozy. Pug puppers sleep around 20 hours a day, give or take. Adult ones obviously are more active than the puppies but still sleep for quite a big chuck of their time at around 14 hours a day.

 

Pug Size

The Pug’s body structure is very distinctive as compared to its fellow toy dogs. It has a compact, square body with well-developed muscles. At maturity, it stands at around 10 to 12 inches (25.40 to 30.48 centimeters) and weighs in at around 14 to 18 pounds (6.36 to 8.18 kilograms).

Pug Personality

Like humans, each dog is different from one another. The basis for their temperament and personality would almost always be how they are nurtured. Needless to say, breeds come with their own set of personalities and quirks. But what affects a dog more than anything is how it is being treated by its owners and how it is being exposed to socialization as early as being a puppy.

Let’s get one thing clear – Pugs are companion dogs. They were bred for this particular endeavor, to stay by your side. And that’s what you should expect from them. Although being known as a playful dog, it is quite sedentary since it is a companion dog – it would be content sitting around with you the whole day because it thrives on your companionship.

They will whimper if you leave and they sure as are going to go crazy once you get back. In general, Pugs are pretty laid-back. They just love chilling around with you, eating, and napping throughout the day. At some point, your Pug might test your patience but don’t be dismayed. They may sometimes be stubborn but they’ll never be aggressive towards you. They’re good with everyone – family members, kids, other dogs, even to other animals!

 

Pug Exercise

Basically, Pugs don’t need too much exercise. Just a moderate amount will do, so long as it stays fit and healthy. A quick 15 to 20 minutes of walk in the morning and another one in the afternoon may suffice. Be careful when taking them out though, because they don’t do too well in both extreme hot and cold conditions.

Although having short hair, it does not do too well in really hot conditions because of its short nose. It also does not do well in the cold due to it being small and having short hair. If you take them out for a walk on a sunny day, check the pavement first. If it is too hot for you to touch, it is too hot for them to walk on. If it is too cold for you, it definitely is too cold for them. Bottom line is, don’t subject your dog to something you yourself would not do.

 

Pug Training

Pugs are pretty intelligent, but due to their willfulness, they become a bit challenging to train. They are stubborn and they can get bored pretty quickly. It may be a challenge but remember, they have a strong desire to please their owners, so use that to your advantage. Overall, combining its innate traits like its reluctance to wander around on its own, its moderate prey drive, and its laid-back attitude, it’s no wonder why there’s quite a number who find it challenging to train Pugs.

 

Pug History

These tiny majestic creatures called Pugs originated from the Orient, in China specifically. Pug legend has it that the ancient Chinese bred Pugs to have wrinkles. They aimed to create a pattern of wrinkles which resemble the characters for “prince”.

Pugs were originally bred as lap dogs for the Chinese emperors, history says that they even had their own guards. During the 16th and 17th century was the time when the Pugs popularity was on the rise in Western Europe. A Pug became the House of Orange’s official dog after a pug saved the life of the prince by alerting him when they were under attack by the Spaniards.

Also during this period, a Pug was reportedly bred with the original King Charles spaniel, giving the latter’s modern day variety their Pug characteristics. The breed eventually became more and more popular throughout Europe – to the point where they were included in the portraits of their masters and for them to ride up front on private carriages dressed similarly to that of the coachman!

When Pugs got to Europe, they were eventually given the nickname “Dutch Mastiff” – though originally, they were neither Dutch nor a Mastiff. The Pug continued to be dogs of royalty, true to what it was originally bred for. Pugs arrived in the United States in the 19th century. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1885.

Since its first appearance, the Pug has continued to be a favorite with its charm and cute looks. Throughout the centuries, the breed has been able to sustain its best trait – its great love and affection for its owner.

 

Pug Health Problems

The Pug is a generally healthy breed, though like all the other breeds, it comes with its own predisposed health risks. Reportedly, the breed comes with health risks such as ocular, respiratory, and dermatological problems.

Portosystemic Shunt (PSS) is more often seen in Pugs than in other dog breeds. It is a disorder that deprives the liver of blood flow. A dog with PSS cannot remove toxins from his bloodstream effectively. If your dog develops symptoms like seizures and slow growth, you may very well take your friend to the veterinarian for a proper checkup to be sure.

Pugs can get a number of eye problems, some of which can lead to blindness. A Pug’s eyes are naturally protruding, meaning it is more exposed to external threats.

Another condition is called Entropion. It is a condition wherein the eyelids roll inward, resulting in the eyelashes rubbing against the cornea. Entropion can occur on any dog breed, but the Pug is much more at risk because of the physical structure of its eyes.

Another one of the Pug’s dreaded eye problems is the Dry Eye or scientifically known as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS). It is pretty common condition for Pugs. What happens is that KCS reduces the fluid produced by the tear gland to the point that they are no longer able to keep the eyes moist. It results in dry, itchy eyes which exposes it to further infections.

Diabetes is a pretty common problem with Pugs as well – all dogs for that matter. Any dog can be affected but it is reported that Pugs have an above average incidence of dog diabetes.

Allergies are quite common – even for humans, actually. For dogs, skin allergy is called atopy. It mostly affects their feet, belly, areas with folds of skin, and ears. It is advisable to regularly clean these areas to prevent allergies from occurring.

Lip-Fold Pyoderma is likewise a problem among Pugs. It occurs on the lower jaw area of your dog which is wrinkly, therefore moist. It causes a reddish, smelly area which would be very uncomfortable for your dog. If it gets to the point where the symptoms get so severe, the excess skin folds would have to be surgically removed.

Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis or GME, is an acute, progressive inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system. It causes severe and oftentimes irreversible brain damage. Small breed dogs, like the Pug, are more susceptible to this illness. The symptoms may be acute which could rapidly lead to death, develop and worsen throughout the months, or occasionally manifest and only affect the eyes. It is a fatal illness that is why a generally healthy diet and activities are encouraged.

Bone and joint problems also another common occurrence with Pugs. Pug puppies may get Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which is a painful degenerative condition. The exact cause of this remains a mystery. Studies suggest that disruptive blood flow to the hip may be involve. The bones then begin to weaken and deteriorate resulting to small fractures.

Another one of the common Pug problems is called Patellar Luxation. It is when their kneecap slips out of place. If symptoms get too severe, surgery may be needed to realign the kneecap and keep it from luxating further.

Pugs are also more likely to be born or develop spinal deformities (hemivertebrae). This may cause severe spinal damage resulting in either instability or disability – or worse, both!

Mast cell tumors are another one of those nasty type of skin cancer which develops more often in Pugs. These tumors almost always look like your regular lumps and lesions which are not harmful. It is always advised to bring your friend to the veterinarian when you see lump and lesions developing. Early detection is critical because most of the time, cancers are cured by surgical removal.

In humans, we have the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or the Lou Gehrig’s Disease. For dogs, they have the Degenerative Myelopathy. It causes weakness and poor nerve function in the hind legs. Pugs get inflicted more frequently than other dog breeds. Dogs with this disease become weak and ultimately leads to paralysis in their hindquarters and incontinence.

There is no cure for this disease. A genetic test is available to determine whether your Pug is at risk of developing this disease.

Pugs are likewise susceptible to the Respiratory Distress Syndrome or also known as Brachycephalic Syndrome. It basically affects dogs with short noses – brachy is a Greek word meaning short. These kind of dog’s nostrils are too small and oftentimes the trachea or windpipe is narrow as well. This means that the Pug’s airways are narrow resulting in difficulty in breathing.

With a short nose, Pugs are more likely to get flatulence from taking in too much air, pneumonia from accidently breathing in food, and heat stroke. In more severe cases, surgical procedures might be recommended to alleviate airway obstruction.

 

How to Care for Your Pug

The Pug is a fairly low maintenance breed. Since they love to be by your side most of the time and just chill with you, they might be more inactive inside the house hence not needing much looking after. Aside from the food and shelter that you provide them, they just need their owner’s tender loving care to be happy.

 

Nutrition and Feeding for a Pug

If given the chance, any dog would overeat. Dogs love to eat. Pugs love to eat. The amount of nutrition you give your dog depends on its age, size, weight, and other variable factors.

Generally, you should keep an eye on how much your Pug eats and avoid gaining too much weight because of its small body. You should not let it overeat because it would be prone to physical disorders. It is advisable to visit your veterinarian to develop the best and most proper nutrition and feeding program for your dog.

 

Grooming Your Pug

The Pug is a double coated, short haired breed. Their color ranges from fawn to black. Their coat is fine and smooth but they shed a lot. They require a regular brushing of their majestic short fur. Just enough to keep the coat in good condition and the shedding to a minimum. Frequency of baths would depend on the weather. But in most cases, once to twice a month would suffice.

Their size comes in very handy when giving them a bath – you could just put them in the sink and bathe them there. It is imperative that you accustom your dog to grooming practices early on in their puppyhood. Brush them frequently, check their paws, and look inside their mouths and ears. As you accustom them to regular grooming practices, you are already laying the foundations of a healthy lifestyle for you and your dog.

 

Children and Other Pets

Pugs are companion dogs. They’re great around people, whether it be children, middle-aged, or old.

Their laid-back attitude makes them pretty chill with other dogs too or even other animals. Their calm demeanor usually makes it easier for them to be liked not just by people but also other kinds of animals. Although they have got that easygoing attitude, it is still very important to train them early on especially with regard to socialization with other people and animals.

Rescue Groups and Breed Organizations

There are a lot of Pugs, dogs of any breed for that matter, in shelters. Rescued from abusive owners and those that have been left behind because of their owners not having the proper understanding of what goes into having a dog. Having a dog is a commitment.

Taking care of it is something you do full-time. It is not just some simple hobby that you can do whenever you please or whenever it is possible for you. It takes time, effort, and understanding to take care and raise a dog. There are a lot of rescue groups in particular areas who have dogs for adoption. If you want to have a dog, it is highly advisable to think about adopting one before considering to buy one.

Sure, it would take time and effort for you to be able to make the dog open up or in more severe cases rehabilitate it. But that is the beauty of it. Taking care of it, making it feel that it has a home that it belongs to. Building that relationship, that trust in each other. That is what makes raising a dog special.

It is not just having a cute pet that you can display wherever you go. It is about having someone, who you know that whatever happens will be there for you. Dogs are loyal, and if you give them love, they will, without a doubt, love you back a hundredfold. Animal rescue groups or organizations are serious about helping dogs get adopted.

These groups take in unwanted, abandoned, abused, or stray pets attempting to find a home. If you cannot find anything about a rescue group available in your area, you can contact your local breeders and they can lead you to a towards a rescue group. You may also contact agencies (both government and non-government) and ask if they can point you towards an animal rescue group or organization.

Breed Organizations

There are organizations dedicated to advancing the study of dog breeds. They advocate for dog welfare and responsible dog ownership. There are all kinds of organizations all over the world – both local and international.

The three main breed registries are United Kennel Club (UKC), American Kennel Club (AKC), and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC). The difference between these three is that the UKC is an international breed registry while both AKC and CKC are for dogs from only their respective countries. They also differ on the way they categorize dogs. Albeit their differences, all the dog breed organizations make canine health and well-being a top priority.

More about this Breed

Overall, Pugs are very loveable dogs. Bred throughout the years for their charm. Pugs are never happier than when they are spending time with their humans. With that handsome, wrinkled face; smooth, fine hair that comes in a variety of shades – from fawn to black; that compact body with a touch of their curled short tail, they proved to be irresistible all throughout the centuries.