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rec.pets.dogs: Pug Dog Breed-FAQ

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/breeds/pugs
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Last-modified: 04 Dec 2000

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                                The Pug FAQ

   Marcy Heathman,
   Copyright 2000 by Marcy Heathman, all rights reserved.
Table of Contents

     * Breed History
     * Appearance
     * Why A Pug?
     * Health Concerns
     * Frequently Asked Questions
     * Resources
          + On The Web
          + Books
          + Magazines
Breed History

   The origin of the Pug as a breed probably begins in ancient China,
   although it certainly didn't look the same as today's dogs. Dogs known
   as "short mouthed" dogs are described in writings that date to about
   600 B.C. and were probably the forerunners of the modern breed that we
   call the Pug. Emperor Kang Hsi, about A.D. 950, commissioned a
   dictionary of all the Chinese characters, and in it there are two
   references which could describe the Pug: "dogs with short legs" and "a
   dog with a short head." By the 1300s there were three main types of
   dogs that are identifiable as founders of breeds of today: the
   Pekingese, the Japanese Spaniel, and the Pug.
   It wasn't until the latter portion of the 1500s and early 1600s that
   China began trading with European countries such as Portugal, Spain,
   Holland and England. Small dogs presented as gifts returned from the
   Orient with the traders, and thus began the rise of the Pug in
   popularity in Europe. The Chinese had often interbred among the three
   types of dogs they favored, and so many times breeders would find a
   long haired Pug among a litter of puppies, as well as white spots on
   the head.
   By the early 1900s, a book called Dogs in China and Japan had been
   written. This book drew heavily upon the experience of Wang Hou Chun,
   a servant who had bred and worked with the dogs in the Emperor's
   Imperial Palace for seventy five years. He used the term Lo-Sze to
   describe the Pug, noting that the differences between the Pug and
   Pekingnese were that the Pug always had a short coat, and very supple,
   elastic skin. Because of the short coat, the Pugs forehead wrinkles
   were more noticable, and the Chinese were always looking for wrinkles
   in certain patterns similar to Chinese letter characters. The most
   highly favored character that the Chinese looked for was the three
   wrinkles that together denoted the word, "Prince." Many Oriental Pugs,
   though, had a great deal of white on their bodies, and some were
   almost entirely white. These white and pinto spotted Pugs are
   documented in Europe as late as the end of the 1800s, but the lines
   that produced them were eventually allowed to be lost.
   The Pugs that were traded to Europe seem to have first landed in
   Holland, possibly as a result of the famous trading company, the Dutch
   East India Company. The Dutch named the breed Mopshond, which is still
   in use today. Pugs were known to be within the household of William
   III and Mary II when they ascended to the throne of Great Britain in
   1688. Black pugs are known to exist in the 1700s thanks to William
   Hogarth's painting of one in House of Cards (1730). The artist was a
   proud owner of pugs (a trait that seems to continue through to today),
   and depicted many in his paintings so that there is an excellent
   visual record of the Pugs appearance dating back 250 years.
   The Pugs popularity spread throughout Europe, with the breed referred
   to in France as the Carlin, in Spain as the Dogullo, at the same time,
   they were Mops in Germany and the Caganlino in Italy. In France, the
   breed was popularized by Josephine Bonaparte, owner of the Pug named
   Fortune. Goya painted Pugs in Spain in 1785, showing the breed with
   cropped ears in his paintings.
   By the turn of the century into the 1800s, Pugs became more
   standardised as a breed, with colors separating and settling into the
   contemporary "fawn" or "Isabella" and black colors. It is also known
   the the "black mask" was in place by now, too, as the breed had been
   referred to as the "Dutch Mastiff" from time to time, harking back the
   masked face of the much larger Mastiff breed.
   The late 1800s saw the beginning of dog shows in England, and Pugs
   were first exhibited in 1861. The stud book began in 1871, and there
   were sixty-six Pugs in the first volume. The English Pugs developed
   mostly along the lines of two strains: the Willoughby and the Morrison
   lines. Each had consistent breeding traits, and the lines existed for
   many years as competitors.
   Willoughby Pugs were developed by Lord Willoughby d'Eresby and had
   what is today considered a "smutty coat" because it had a mixing of
   fawn and black hairs in it. The color has been described as "stone
   fawn." The heads of these dogs were almost entirely black and they had
   wide traces, and even saddle marks on their backs (dark patches of
   hair shaped like the saddle of a horse). Their bodies were thin, and
   leggy. Mops and Nell were two prominent Willoughby Pugs that can be
   found as ancestors in Pug pedigrees even today.
   Morrison Pugs, in contrast, had rich apricot-fawn colored coats and
   stocky, cobby bodies. The trace on their backs was very light brown
   rather than black, and the coats had few, if any, black hairs in them.
   This line is much more in line with the modern Pug of today. Punch and
   Tetty were the foundation dogs of the Morrison line. It's not uncommon
   to hear dogs referred to today as "Willoughby" or "Morrison" type -
   referring to the darker color of the Willoughby, and the lighter color
   of the "Morrison."
   A major impact on the Pug breed in the 1800s occurred when, in 1860,
   two Pugs of "pure" Chinese lines were brought to England. These two
   dogs, Lamb and Moss, produced a son named Click, and Click..well, he
   clicked! Click was bred many times, and his blood helped to mix the
   Willoughby and Morrison lines making Pugs a better breed overall and
   shaping the modern Pug of today as we know it.
   Back To Table Of Contents
Appearance of Today's Pug

   Looks are what a Pug is all about. This man-made breed was created
   just to look like they do. Pugs are not French Bulldogs with fallen
   ears, and they're not miniature Mastiffs or Bullmastiffs. They're
   really not related to the Shar-Pei. About the closest thing to a Pug
   (besides another Pug) is a Pekingnese, and that's to be expected with
   their similar histories.
   Pugs in the United States are classified as a Toy Breed, even though
   they are usually the largest of all the Toys. Pugs should weigh from
   14 to 18 pounds, which makes them very sturdy dogs in the Toy Group.
   While they are described by weight, the dogs have to be in proportion
   to their height and bone. The body of the Pug is similar to that of a
   Bulldog, but not as large or as overdone. Their overall appearance
   should be square: the height from floor to top of withers should be
   equal to the length from the sternum (breastbone) to rump.
   The Pug's head is the most unique and readily identifiable feature.
   The head itself should be round when you look at it from the front.
   From the side, the face should be flat without too much or too little
   chin. Pug eyes are round, dark, expressive and full of life. Their
   ears are set widely on the head, and there are two accepted types of
   ears: rose and button. Button ears fold over with the fold of the ear
   level with the top of the skull, and should not hang lower than the
   corner of the eye. Rose ears appear to be smaller and fold with the
   inner edge of the ear against the side of the head. The rose ear tends
   to give the head a smaller, more rounded appearance. Ears must be
   black all over. Wrinkles on the Pug head should be deep and easy to
   see because inside the wrinkle the color is darker than outside. One
   large over the nose wrinkle is preferred.
   The other major identifiable feature of the Pug is his tail. The tail
   is set up high on the back, and should be curled tightly. The double
   curl (two complete loops) is the ideal tail that breeders try for, but
   a single tight loop or twist is acceptable. It is uncharacteristic of
   the breed to have a floppy loose tail that bounces over the Pugs back,
   or a Pug who carries his tail uncurled.
   Pugs basically come in two colors: fawn and black. Either is
   acceptable, although the blacks seem to be harder to come by. Many
   times over the years the fawns have been called, "apricot fawn,"
   "silver fawn," "stone fawn," etc. in an attempt to differentiate them,
   but they are all still just fawn Pugs. Apricot fawns will have a peach
   or apricot tint to the coat that can have an almost clear, cream
   colored base coat. The other fawn coat has a mixing of black-tipped
   guard hairs in it, making the dog appear darker and "cooler" in color.
   All of these colors are acceptable - it is only the very dark
   coloration over the entire body of the dog that is considered "smutty"
   and undesirable. Either color can have a few white hairs on the chest,
   and both colors will turn grey in the muzzle as they age.
   Back To Table Of Contents
Why A Pug?

   People seem to think that getting dog these days is just a matter of
   choosing one that looks cute to them. With so many different breeds of
   dogs being portrayed unrealistically in movies (Milo and Otis© comes
   to mind, as does Homeward Bound© and Pocahontas©, etc.) it's easy for
   people to think that dog ownership today is simple, a snap, a breeze,
   and that they'll have loving intelligent companions for the rest of
   their lives.
   It ain't so.
   Pugs are cute - if you love them, you think they are the cutest breed
   around. People who consider them ugly just don't see the beauty in the
   breed. Are you looking for a dog that will make you laugh? Then a Pug
   may be good for you - they are natural clowns and show offs. Are you
   looking for a dog that is good with children? Then a Pug may be good
   for you as they seem to consider children to be "pug-sized" people.
   Are you looking for a dog as a companion to your kids, to run after
   them on their bikes up the street? You should pass on Pugs - their
   sensitivity to heat and small size makes that almost a certain death
   situation. Do you want a small watch dog for an apartment situation?
   MAYBE a Pug can work - but it's not usual. Most Pugs won't know a
   stranger in their entire lives, let alone recognize a burglar. Do you
   want an easy to train dog? Pugs don't fall into that category in
   general - usually they want to please you, but sometimes it takes a
   Pug longer than other breeds to understand what you want. Do you want
   a short haired dog because it will shed less? Then run, don't walk,
   away from the Pug breed. This breed sheds copious amounts, usually
   seasonally. Do you want a dog that's almost human-like in personality?
   Then consider a Pug, as Pugs have more personality than they know what
   to do with!
   So a Pug may not be for everyone, but it may be for you!
   Back To Table Of Contents
Health Concerns

   Buying a healthy dog is important these days - so many people talk
   about "back yard breeders" and those people who "inbreed" their dogs.
   You'll find that being an informed purchaser will help you find
   caring, conscientious breeders. Breeders who "inbreed" are not
   necessarily bad breeders - but they should be able to tell you what
   their reasons are for the inbreeding that they do.
   Reputable breeders will have some sort of health agreement with you -
   they'll want you to take your new puppy or dog to your own vet shortly
   after you get it home, so that you know it's doing okay. They should
   be knowledgable or at least familiar with the problems outlined here.
   Don't be afraid to ask questions of a breeder - good ones will share
   knowledge with you so that you understand what the advantages of
   buying from them is, but also the risks.
   NO BREEDER can ever produce 100% healthy-for-life dogs. Just as in
   humans we cannot "breed out" certain problems in our own genetic
   makeup, dog breeders can only do their best to work towards limiting
   problems in a line of dogs. Line breeding and inbreeding are two of
   the tools that, when used properly, can help in identifying and
   reducing the health problems in a breed. A good breeder has a purpose
   in their breedings and can tell you why a litter was bred - something
   other than, "I own both the momma and the daddy."
   Health concerns in Pugs center primarily on two areas: their head, and
   their legs, although other problems do exist. Pug heads cause problems
   because of the smooshed in faces instead of having the normal
   elongated face of most dogs. Head problems that are fairly common
     * Cataracts
     * Corneal Ulcers
     * Dry Eye
     * Eyelids and Eyelashs
     * Elongated Soft Palatte
     * Encephalitis
     * Generalized Progressive Retinal Atrophy
     * Pinched or Undersized Nostrils
   Leg problems that occur in Pugs include:
     * Hip Dysplasia
     * Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease
     * Slipped Stifles
   Pugs also have a high incidence of demodectic skin mites (often called
   demodectic mange), especially when they are still puppies. Mange does
   require a veterinary to treat it. Some lines of Pugs do not whelp
   their own puppies well, and often require C-section surgery at birth.
   Back To Table Of Contents
Frequently Asked Questions

   QUESTION: What's the difference between a Pug and a Chinese Pug?
   ANSWER: Absolutely nothing. Pugs are known as Pug Dogs, Pugs, and
   Chinese Pugs interchangably. The American and English Kennel Clubs
   register the breed as the Pug, as does the International registry, the
   QUESTION: Do Pugs really snore that much, or that loudly?
   ANSWER: In a word, yes. Almost every Pug snores, and usually it's not
   as loud as a person, but it can easily be mistaken for someone
   snoring. Pugs snort, snarfle and snore and often will pass a lot of
   gas too. Just expect them to be noisy dogs, but not barkers.
   QUESTION: Pugs have short hair so they don't shed very much, do they?
   ANSWER: Pugs shed tons of hair! Pugs have both a top coat and an
   undercoat, with the top coat having long straight hairs and the
   undercoat having softer fluffy straight hairs. Normal hair length on a
   Pug is about 3/4 of an inch, although they can be longer. Don't let
   anyone tell you that Pugs do not shed - they are more interested in
   getting you to take one than telling you the truth.
   QUESTION: I don't want a dog in the house. Why can't Pugs stay out of
   ANSWER: Pugs cannot tolerate high heat and humidity for very long.
   Dogs cool off by panting and their long tongues and noses give them
   more cooling area. Pugs have virtually no cooling area for their
   bodies, so they can (and will) literally over heat and die in less
   than 30 minutes outdoors in high heat and/or humidity.
   QUESTION: Why do Pugs have flat faces and lots of wrinkles?
   ANSWER: Because a long time ago someone decided that Pug faces should
   be as flat as possible. The wrinkles are there because the Chinese
   emperors wanted lucky symbols on the dogs foreheads, and wrinkles were
   the best way to get them.
   QUESTION: With all those wrinkles, what special care do Pug faces
   ANSWER: Care of wrinkles in Pugs varies, as some dogs are prone to
   holding moisture in the wrinkles, while others do not. In general,
   wrinkle care is as simply as using a tissue (don't use a cotton swab
   as you can poke too hard with it) and wiping out the wrinkles on a
   weekly basis. Pugs, while having no-noses, are some of the nosiest
   dogs out there, and tend to gather a lot of grungy stuff (that's the
   technical term for it) in their wrinkles. If the wrinkles also trap
   moisture in them, then the moisture and grungy stuff combine and the
   wrinkles can quickly be infected. This is like having athelete's foot
   but on the Pug's face. It needs to be treated and watched for.
   QUESTION: How much daily care do they actually require then?
   ANSWER: Really not that much. On a weekly basis, you should brush
   their coat, keep their faces clean and check their eyes for problems.
   Must Pugs take about 20 minutes a week per dog. Monthly, you should
   also trim their toe nails, and maybe give them a bath if they need it.
   Many owners find using a shedding comb monthly greatly reduces the
   amount of Pug hair on their clothes and carpets.
   QUESTION: Which is better for just a pet - a male or a female Pug?
   ANSWER: In general, males are more laid back, loving and people
   oriented than females tend to be. Females, on the other hand, make
   better alert dogs (they watch for strange things going on at "their"
   house) and are more aloof and independent. If you're looking for a
   couch-potato type dog, then a male would be better suited. If you're
   wanting a dog who's pretty independent and not as demanding, then a
   female is probably better. These are generalities, of course. There
   are some males who are independent and some females who are more
   people oriented - but for the most part the characterizations hold
   QUESTION:How long do Pugs normally live?
   ANSWER: Being a small breed, healthy Pugs normally live from 12 to 14
   years, but can live for many more. Becoming a Pug owner becomes a
   long-term commitment when you realize that you can have a Pug for as
   long as your children are going to school!
   QUESTION: Do Pugs make good watch dogs or guard dogs?
   ANSWER: Not usually. Some pugs may alert you that someone is nearby by
   barking gently (Pugs don't bark loudly, in general, because it's
   muffled by the lips), but most Pugs are more interested in greeting
   new people rather than scaring them off. The look of the Pug often
   will scare people - especially if you have a Bullmastiff in the yard
   too. Then you can just say that the Pug is a puppy and it grows up
   into the Bullmastiff (sorry, that's Pug humor).
   QUESTION: Do Pugs really like to dress up in costumes like I see in
   all the pictures?
   ANSWER: Actually, they usually do. Pugs are very extroverted dogs, and
   do just about anything for a laugh from their people. If they discover
   that wearing a costume makes you happy, they'll do it. If it gets them
   laughter and applause, that's even better!
   QUESTION: Pugs are so cute, everyone wants one, and mine cost so much,
   I can really make some money if I breed my girl Pug, can't I?
   ANSWER: That's very doubtful. The costs of raising Pugs are pretty
   high. Start with the breeding: Pugs should be at least two years old,
   and need to be tested for eye problems, hip problems, and brucellosis
   before they're bred. Your girl should be up to date on all her shots
   before you go into this, as well as wormed. Then pay the stud fee,
   which is usually the price of a puppy or more. If you ship your girl,
   add a few hundred more there too to get her to him and back. Then
   there's the waiting time, and hoping she's bred. If she is, consider
   that she may require a C-section. Many female Pugs have narrow hips,
   and with their big heads, Pug puppies can't fit into the birth canal.
   If you're lucky, you'll have an average litter of four or five
   puppies. But if they were born by C-section, the dam may not be able
   or willing to nurse the pups. So, you'll need bottles and formula, a
   way to keep the pups warm, and round the clock feedings for the first
   few days at least. Will you have to take a week off from work to raise
   the puppies at first? Add that cost into the figures. Then being a
   responsible breeder, you will offer a health guarantee on your
   puppies, and take them back if anything is wrong with them, yes?
   There's much more than putting two dogs together. And rarely do
   breeders show a profit in doing so when they count up time and actual
   QUESTION: Will everyone tell me my Pug is "so ugly it's cute?"
   ANSWER: Yes, probably many times. Some people just don't appreciate
   the good looks of a nice pug. Some people don't appreciate Picasso's
   works, either.
   Back To Table Of Contents
Further Resources

   There are many other places to find additional and more indepth
   information about Pugs in general and very specific information too.
   They are split up here into three categories: informative sites on the
   World Wide Web; resources available through bookstores; and magazines
   normally available only by subscription.
  On the Web
   Websites come and go often. Start at, the home
   site of the Pug Breed FAQ, where more information is available. Two
   great resources are the home pages of the Pug Dog Club of America, and
   the Pug Dog Club Home Page for the United Kingdom. There is also an
   online Pug forum as well where interactive information and discussion
   can be found.
   Back To Table Of Contents
   There have been many books published about Pugs over the years, but
   there are only a few currently in print, ranging from small helpful
   booklets to full sized hard cover books. The information found within
   will range accordingly. Good information specifically about pugs has
   become available through some recent books. All of the following can
   be ordered online at - the Pugs.Com Bookshelf
   The newest serious Pug book available was written in England by Ellen
   Brown and is called "The Complete Pug." As the Pug Dog Club Historian
   from England, Mrs. Brown covers topics from history to choosing a pug,
   caring for your pug to training and showing. Not ALL Pug lines in
   England are covered, though. Lots of good pictures, and she spends
   plenty of space on Pugs around the world. .
   Pug Breed Books come in many flavors. The well known, late great
   breeder, Louise Gore published a book called "Meet The Pug, For Years
   Of Happiness." Chapters include Background, The Standard, Heredity,
   Breeding, The Versatile Pug, Famous Dogs and People, Winning Dogs
   (with brief pedigrees on each one), and top Sires and Dams.
   Another recent book is called "The New Pug" by breeder-judge Shirley
   Thomas. Chapters here include Origin and History, Judging, Caring for
   a Puppy, Grooming, Care and Training, Breeding and Whelping, Problems
   of Pugs and Pug in Obedience. This book, and the one above, are both
   great references for anyone getting started in pugs.
   Another "new" Pug book is actually a modern (1996) reprint of two
   classics combined into one book and reissued. Called, "The Goodger
   Guide to the Pug" it combines the original books, The Pug Dog, Its
   History and Origin (1930) and The Pug Handbook (1959), both written by
   Wilhelmina Swainston-Goodger. This book is valuable for the Pug
   historian, but the methods of caring for and raising Pugs are well out
   of date.
   Other Pug books:
   PUGS, by Phil Maggitti, Pug owner.
       YOUR PUG, by Esther Wolf, a Pug breeder, exhibitor and former AKC
       THE BOOK OF THE PUG, by Joan Brearley, Pug owner.
       THE COMPLETE PUG, by James Trullinger, a Pug breeder, exhibitor,
       and former AKC judge.
       HOW TO RAISE AND TRAIN A PUG, by Evelyn Miller.
       KNOW YOUR PUG, Pet Library, Ltd. books on dogs.
   Fun books - photos or fiction:
       PUGS IN PUBLIC, by Kendall Farr and George Bennett.
       PUG SHOTS, by Jim Dratfield (Photographer)
       CLARA, THE EARLY YEARS, by Margo Kaufman.
   The following are available only through the Pug Dog Club of America:
       The 1995 PDCA Handbook, which contains photographs of many of the
       top dogs today and also general information on pugs, pug rescue,
       and pug health.
       The Celebration of the Pug, 1885-1985, available to the public.
       Write Charlotte Corson at 12711 Mo. Bottom Rd., Hazelwood, MO
   Back To Table Of Contents
   Pug Talk Magazine is an independent breed magazine printed six times a
   Pug Talk Magazine is an independent breed magazine printed six times a
   year: Pug Talk Magazine
   5031 Plover Road
   Wisconsin Rapids,WI 54494
   715-424-pugs (715-424-7847)
   The Pug Press Newsletter is a quarterly newsletter with tips, vet
   articles, photos, and fun pug stories. They also offer caresheets
   about the pug, and pug fiction. More information is available by
   writing Pug Press Newsletter.
   The PDCA Bulletin, is published by the Pug Dog Club of America 3 times
   a year, and is available to members of the PDCA only.
   Back To Table Of Contents
   Pug FAQ
   Marcy Heathman,

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