Dog Review: Pugs


Pugs.  There’s so much to be said about these small dogs.  At first glance they seem to be ugly, almost hideous, but then when you take a second look, you will find something strangely cute about them.  It;s hard to avoid these popular dogs as they have a very strong presence in America. Not only are the a popular breed for families to own,  They are very popular in the media and film business.  Many famous celebrities are the proud owners of pugs.  Love them or hate them, pugs are an iconic show dog, even winning multiple best in shows in the popular Thanksgiving Day Westminster Dog Competition, and they are here to stay.

Pugs usually range from between 10-12 inches in length and weigh between 13 – 15 pounds.  They have a short, wrinkly face and a curled tail.  The breed has a fine, glossy coat that comes in a variety of colors, most often fawn or black, and a compact square body with well-developed muscles.  Pugs have two distinct shapes for their ears, “rose” and “button”. “Rose” ears are smaller than the standard style of “button” ears, and are folded with the front edge against the side of the head. Breeding preference goes to “button” style ears.  They are known for their friendly and fun-loving nature.  They are notably good companion dogs for families or the elderly.  They are known by many names around the world, including, but not limited to: Chinese pug, Dutch bulldog, Dutch mastiff, Mini mastiff, Mops, and Carlins.

Pugs were originally the dogs of royalty, so it makes sense they are the favorites of movie stars, who are somewhat royalty.  In ancient times, Pugs were bred to be companions for ruling families in China. The pet Pugs were highly valued by Chinese Emperors, and the royal dogs were kept in luxury and guarded by soldiers.  In the 16th century, they were brought to western Europe and gained popularity within the House of Orange, where they eventually became the official dog of that house.  They also gained favor with Queen Victoria and the House of Stuart.  Queen Victoria even partook in the breeding of these dogs.  In paintings and engravings of the 18th and 19th centuries, Pugs usually appear with longer legs and noses than today. Specific breeding has led to the features we know and recognize today.  The Pug eventually came to the United States in the late 19th century.

Unfortunately, Pugs suffer from a myriad of health problems due to years of inbreading.  Pugs, like other short-snouted breeds, have elongated palates. When excited, they are prone to “reverse sneezing” which causes them to quickly gasp and snort.  Some pugs are also born with stenotic nares which can also inhibit their breathing. In serious cases, the pinched nostrils make breathing even more difficult for this breed and put added pressure on the larynx.  Pugs have many wrinkles in their faces, so owners will often clean inside the creases to avoid irritation and infection.  An abnormal formation of the hip socket, known as hip dysplasia, affected nearly 64% of Pugs in a survey performed by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals; the breed was ranked the second worst-affected by this condition out of 157 breeds tested.  If you do not mind these health conditions, and are willing to pay a lot in order to keep your pet pug happy and healthy, this may be the companion for you!