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About Pugs & Their History


The Pug is a very old breed with a known history going back to China before 400 B.C.E. Some breed experts believe the breed is even older, dating back as far as 1000 B.C.E., but as with so much ancient history, records are no longer available. The history that is known shows us a dog who traveled often, going from China to the far corners of the world. But no matter where the Pug lived, he was always a treasured companion. As far as we can tell from ancient records, artwork, and legends, the Pug originated in China. The eairliest known Pugs were kept by Buddhist Monks inTibet and quickly became the favorites of the nobility. There was a time in China's history somewhere around 200-225 B.C.E,  for reasons unknown, records concerning the Pugs were destroyed by the Emperor Chin Shih Huang.
But for most of their history in China, Pugs were treasured dogs. By law they could only be owned by nobility or Buddhist Monks. However, because they were held in such high regard, they were used as pawns in international relations. In 732 C.E., China gave a Pug to Japan as a gift to cement relations. The Japanese became infatuated with this dog, and it became the first of many given to Japanese diplomats.
The world began trading regularly with China in the early 16th Century, and these funny-looking yet exotic Chinese dogs were highly treasured the world over. Traders from all over Europe, including Portugal, Spain, Holland, and Great Britain, were known to have traded for Pugs and brought them home.
Holland became the Pugs first stronghold in Europe. William the Silent, of the House of Orange (1533-1584), had a Pug named Pompey. During a Spanish attempt to gain control over Holland, Spanish troops attacked a camp where William the Silent was sleeping. Pompey who went everywhere with his master, alerted the camp and his master of the approaching troops, thereby averting a tragedy. After that heroism, Pompey (and Pugs in general) became the honored pets of the Dutch nobility. When William became King of England in 1688, he took a great many Pugs with him. Even in death, William had his Pugs nearby; a Pug is carved at the foot of the statue of William that stands at his tomb. After Williams death, Pugs remained a favorite of the British royalty for generations. Queen Victoria and her son Edward VII kept Pugs as well as detailed records of the dogs and their progeny. Later in the 1900's, when Edward VIII abdicated his throne to marry his love; Wallis Simpson, they took refuge in France and brought their Pugs with them. By 1790 the Pug's popularity had spread to France where Josephine, wife of Napoleon, depended on her Pug "Fortune" to carry secret messages under his collar to her husband while she was imprisoned at Les Carmes.   
Pugs were probably first introduced to the United States in the 1800's. It's not known for sure because of the lack of written records; many dogs were brought into the country as pets, and were never shown at dog shows, and if bred, were bred as pets and companions. However, several Pug enthusiasts imported Pugs from Great Britain in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and these dogs became the foundation of the breed in the United States. The AKC recognized the breed in 1885, with the first registered Pug known as George. The Pug Dog Club of America (PDCA) was established in 1931.
The breed lost contact with its Chinese heritage in 1949 when the Communist Party came to power in China. People were starving all over the country, and the Communist Party leaders considered it a waste of food to feed pet dogs. All pet dogs were ordered destroyed, and dogs whose lineage went back thousands of years were killed. Luckily, enough Pugs had been imported from China previously that the breed continues today.
In recent years, the media have made the Pug breed more recognizable with commercials, several television shows and movies such as Milo and Otis. The Men In Black series made Frank, a Pug, a star, and in the process, made Pugs much more popular.

Discription: The Pug is stocky and muscular with a wide chest, straight, very strong front legs and well-muscled hind legs. They have that "smashed in" face that many of the Asian breeds posses, and a tail that curls over the back. They often have a black mask and tan fur, and they also come in black, apricot, silver, and fawn. They receive their name "Pug" from the Latin word that means "clenched fist". To communicate with humans Pugs make a grunting nasal noise, somewhat like a pig. They often snort and sneeze. Some of the Pugs favorite activities are; being snuggled down at your feet snoring or being close to you, without being obtrusive. Pugs are dogs who tend to make people smile with that expressive face and tilt of their head as if they are understanding you. They can be determined in their attitude and will not stop until they get what they want. They are affectionate, alert, and patient dogs. Pugs are adaptable, sociable and good-natured. They have a strong personality meant for a family seeking an amusing and unique companion. Pugs have been called “an acquired habit”.

Other Names: Mops (Germany), Carlin (France), Lo-Sze (China), Mopshond (Holland)

Type: Largest of the Toy Dog group. Pugs are a lot of dog in a small package.

Height: 10 - 11 inches

Weight: 17 - 22 lbs.

Colors: Silver, apricot, fawn or black. The fawn colored Pugs often have a black mask and ears and black trace along the back.
Coat: Fine, smooth, short and glossy.

Temperament: Pugs are loyal, affectionate, quiet and docile. They are often vivacious and teasing. They like to do whatever it takes to get what they want, often using playful or clever tactics. They are vibrant, very lively and love to play. They are rather independent and strong willed. Pugs are amusing, witty and rarely show any aggression. They get along very well with children and other animals, often becoming curious of odd or different beings.
Special Skills: Pugs are social butterflies, they were bred to be companion dogs thousands of years ago, and remain companion dogs today. It is what also makes them some of the best Therapy Dogs. They should never be expected to stay in the backyard for hours at a time, they need to be with their people.

Watch-dog: Medium. They are alert, but can be quiet in the home.
Guard-dog: Low. This breed may try to defend, but they are rather small and unthreatening.

Care and Exercise: Pugs need special care during hot, humid weather because of their short nose. Do not leave Pugs out in the hot sun, as they can easily overheat. Nails and teeth need weekly attention. Pugs shed a lot and need brushing at least twice a week. Bathe them as necessary. Wash the eyes two to three times a week, as their large eyes can get infection or damage easily. They also need regular cleaning of their wrinkles. The Pug needs more than the required exercise for Toy dogs. Owners warn that this breed easily becomes obese, which can be a serious health problem, especially with such a short snout. The Pug will enjoy a romp outdoors, or a walk around the block. Be aware, however, that this breed is also sensitive to strenuous exercise, and should not be over-exercised, as it is difficult for them to breathe. Daily, consistent, and non-strenuous exercise is the key.
Training: Pugs are intelligent and respond well to basic training but need a gentle hand and great motivation. Consistancy is the key. They will be sensitive to your tone of voice, so harsh punishment is unnecessary.
Learning Rate High. Obedience – Medium. Problem Solving – Low.

Activity: Low, BUT in the same vein, Pugs may be toy dogs, but they're not fragile. They are sturdy well built dogs who can do just about anything other dogs can do. Granted, they have short legs and sometimes need to catch their breath, but if you want to participate in some dog sports and activities, you can do a lot with a Pug.
Special Needs: Avoid strenuous exercise, protection from the heat and excessive cold, and wrinkle cleaning.
Living Environment: Pugs are very adaptable dogs, they are well suited to live anywhere from a castle to an apartment, provided they get adequate exercise. An owner of a Pug should be a patient leader who desires a small, loving dog as a companion.

Health Issues: Pugs can suffer from luxating patellas, skin problems, deformities of the mouth and nose, eye and eyelid problems, heatstroke, hip dysplasia, Legg-Perthes disease, epilepsy, and Pug Dog Encephalitis.

Life Span: 12 - 15 years.
Litter Size: 2 - 6 puppies.


"Bed Hog" painting by Gary Patterson

Excerpts of the history of the Pug were borrowed from expert Obedience Instructor and Author; Liz Palika 

No Adults available for adoption at this time.