Pugs are actually one of the oldest breeds of dog. The AKC officially recognized the Pug in 1885 – only one year after the organization was founded! The popularity of the Pug comes and goes. Currently these little balls of energy are the 34th most popular breed in the United States. But how much do you know about the Pug? Check out our 6 incredible facts about this ancient breed!
- They Used to be Guarded by Soldiers
They Pug has a long and noble history. The breed can be traced back to ancient China during the pre-Christian era, according to the Pug Dog Club of America. The AKC dates their origins as far back as 400 BC – though their true origins are a bit of a mystery, as they were likely thriving before even the earliest known records!
Many Pugs were pets in the Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. But many were also the prized possessions of Chinese emperors. These royal dogs lived a luxurious lifestyle. And because they were such prized animals, they were sometimes even guarded by soldiers!
Pug dogs weren’t the only dogs prized by the Chinese emperors however. Both the Pekingese and the “Lion Dog” were popular among Chinese royalty. What we know as the Pug today, was actually called the Lo-sze or “Foo Dog.” Today, we can see physical similarities between the modern Pekingese and the modern Pug, due to their common ancestry.
- Napoleon Bonaparte’s Wife Used a Pug to Deliver Secret Messages
Before she was even married to Napoleon, Josephine Bonaparte used her dog to send secret messages. During the French Revolution, Josephine was imprisoned in the Les Carmes – one of the most brutal and terrible prisons in France. In order to communicate with her loved ones, she needed to do so discreetly. So she used her pet Pug named Fortune.
Fortune had been her beloved pet for quite some time, and he was the only one who was permitted to visit during her imprisonment. Conflicting reports state that Fortune delivered messages to Napoleon himself, though it wasn’t until after Josephine was released from prison that she married Napoleon. Regardless of who the Pug was delivering messages to, it is certain that this brave little dog was the one real link to the outside world for Josephine!
- Pugs are ‘Pigs’
One of the pugs favorite activities? Eating! Perhaps it is due to their royal heritage that they enjoy indulging themselves in the finer things. But whatever the reason, there is no doubt that Pug dogs love their food.
The PDCA cautions that Pug owners must be very careful to monitor their feeding as they grow older. Due to their small stature and voracious appetite, it can be easy to overfeed a Pug. Young Pugs can eat three meals a day, but after 6 months of age this can be decreased. Some owners only feed their Pug once a day when they reach adulthood, which is sufficient.
It can be very tempting to feed your Pug treats and table scraps when they give their owner the wide-eyed look – but it’s important to resist! Again, it’s easy to overfeed a Pug, so treats should be limited and table scraps should never be given to them. A healthy portion of dry dog food is really all they need! Consult with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Pug’s weight or eating habits.
- They Only Come in Two Colors
Unlike some breeds that come in a vibrant array of colors such as the Australian Shepherd, Pugs only come in two colors: black and fawn. And no matter the body color, the “mask” on their face should be black. This is all according to the AKC breed standard. Any other color used in a competition will result in a disqualification.
Any color that is not within the breed standard is a sure sign of poor breeding practices. Any breeder who is reputable will only breed healthy Pugs who meet the AKC standards.
White, blue, or brindle Pugs may seem “trendy” or “rare” to potential Pug owners, but in order to achieve these colorations unethical breeding practices are often used. Pugs with non-standard colorings or markings often have genetic defects that could prove harmful. Dogs with these colorations may also experience increased health problems because of the defect.
The PDCA urges anyone who is interested in “unique” colorings on pugs to consider an alternative breed – such as the French Bulldog – where high variations in colors are natural and healthy.
- They are Perfect House Dogs
Pugs may be the largest breed that is classified in the toy group, but their compact size still has many advantages. Their weight should fall between 14 and 18 pounds. And their small but sturdy stature makes them equally suited for apartment or country life.
These little dogs also really appreciate the comforts of home. Pug’s have a difficult time tolerating extreme weather conditions. They thrive as indoor pets in moderate climates. But with proper attention to hydration in the summer and proper outerwear in the winter, a Pug can live almost anywhere.
In fact, they can live with almost any person too! As the AKC puts it, “they live to love and to be loved in return.” With their excellent people skills and less-than-intimidating appearance, they make a wonderful pet for people of any age. The PDCA also calls them “clowns at heart” making them wonderfully entertaining and fun for both children and adults.
- Be Careful How Much You Exercise Them
It’s easy to think that the more exercise a dog gets the better. For some breeds this may be true, but for the Pug it couldn’t be further from the truth.
This is primarily due to the Pug’s brachycephaly. Brachycephaly simply refers to the shortened skull and flattened muzzle found not only in Pugs, but in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs as well. This physical trait is sometimes accompanied by changes to the upper respiratory tract, according to The Pug Dog Club of the United Kingdom. These changes are known as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS).
Symptoms of BOAS can include snoring, panting, and yes, even exercise intolerance. If you exercise your Pug to hard, it could lead to difficulty breathing. Always start small with a Pug’s exercise routine. Some Pugs will have a higher tolerance than others, so it’s important to go slow and watch for signs such as snorting or breathing difficulties. For some Pugs, short walks around the block is all they will need to stay healthy and happy.
We’d love to meet the Pug in your life! Share a photo, tell us a story, or leave a comment about these fun, and lively little dogs!