A Pug is a toy dog breed with a wrinkly face and medium-small body. Pug puppies are often called puglets. The word "pug" may have come from the Old English pugg, which was an affectionate term for a playful little devil or monkey.
The breed is often summarized as multum in parvo ("much in little"), describing the Pug's great personality and small size.
While most Pugs appearing in eighteenth century prints tended to be long and lean, the current breed standards call for a square, cobby body, a compact form, deep chest, and well-developed muscle. Their heads, carried on arched necks, should be substantial and round, the better to accentuate their large, bulging, dark eyes. The wrinkles on their foreheads should be distinct and deep. The ears should be smooth and soft, like black velvet and come in two varieties: "rose" (small, round and folded with the front edge angled toward the mask, giving the head a more rotund shape) and "button" (level with the top of forehead and folded at a sharp ninety degree angle). Breeding preference goes to "button" Pugs. The lower teeth should protrude farther than their upper, meeting in an under-bite.
Coat and color
A black PugTheir fine, glossy coats can be apricot, fawn, silver or black. A silver coat is characterized by a very light coloured coat, absent of black guard hairs. Some unscrupulous breeders call "smutty" Pugs silver. A "smutty" Pug typically has a very dark head, with no clear delineation at the mask, and dark forelegs. The tail should curl tightly over the hip; a double curl is considered perfection.
Pugs of different coat types shed to varying degrees, but they all shed quite a bit year round. Fawn Pugs, which have both an undercoat and an overcoat, are the most notorious for shedding. Pug owners have gone to great lengths to control this Pug characteristic. Partial solutions to the problem involve using special shampoos, supplementing or changing the Pug's diet, or even trimming the Pug's coat. Alternatively, regular coat grooming can keep the shedding down.
The silver variety of a Pug is much less common in the United States with Black and Fawn being the dominant colors. A Pug with a hard or woolly coat is considered objectionable by the AKC and are viewed unfavorably in shows. There is supposed to be a clear trace or black line extending from the head of the Pug to the tail. Additionally, moles and birthmarks are accepted and are not viewed unfavorably.
The stern expression of the Pug belies its true sense of fun. Pugs are sociable dogs, and usually stubborn about certain things, but they are playful, charming, clever and are known to succeed in dog obedience skills. Pugs are sensitive to the tone of a human voice, so harsh punishment is generally unnecessary. While Pugs usually get along well with other dogs and pets, they generally prefer the company of humans and require a great deal of human attention; they may become slightly anxious or agitated if their owner ignores them or does not play with them; however some may happily occupy themselves when the owner is away. In general, they are very attentive dogs, always at their owner's feet, in their lap, or following them from room to room (so be careful where you step).
Pugs are usually friendly dogs who seem to have a special affinity with children.
Because Pugs lack longer snouts and prominent skeletal brow ridges, they are susceptible to eye injuries such as puncture wounds and scratched corneas and painful Entropion. Pugs also have compact breathing passageways, which can cause problems with their breathing or their ability to regulate their temperature through evaporation from the tongue. These complications can lead to accelerated injury or death should they be left in hot locations where cooling cannot properly take place such as cars on hot days or in outdoor conditions in temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27°C).
Pugs living a mostly sedentary life can be prone to obesity, though this is avoidable with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Pugs can also suffer from a chronic form of granulomatous meningoencephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) specific to the breed called pug dog encephalitis (PDE). There is no known cause or cure for PDE, although it is believed to be an inherited disease. All dogs tend to either die or are euthanised within a few months after the onset of clinical signs, which usually occur anywhere from 6 months to 3 years of age.
Pugs, along with other brachycephalic dogs (e.g. boxers, bulldogs), are also prone to hemivertebrae. The screwtail is an example of a hemivertebrae, but when it occurs in others areas of the spine it can be devastating, causing such severe paralysis that euthanasia is a serious recommendation.
The Pug, like other short-snouted breeds, has an elongated palate. When excited, they are prone to a "reverse sneeze" where the dog will quickly, and seemingly laboriously, gasp and snort. This is caused by fluid or debris getting caught under the palate and irritating the throat or limiting breathing. "Reverse sneezing" episodes are not harmful to the Pug but are usually resolved by the owner calming the dog and gently rubbing the throat to induce a swallowing action; the symptom may also resolve itself without intervention. Owners typically recognise this phenomenon as a pathological symptom rather than as an endearing behavioral pattern.
As with all small breeds, some problems may arise in pregnancy and during birth. The most common problems include the need for a Caesarian section birth and new mothers being disinterested in the puppies, sometimes accompanied by the mother not opening the birth sack.
As Pugs have many wrinkles in their faces, owners normally take special care to clean inside the creases, as irritation and infection can result from improper care.
Pugs are one of several breeds that are more susceptible to Demodectic mange, also known as Demodex. This condition is caused by a weakened immune system, and it is a minor problem for many young Pugs. It is easily treatable, however, some Pugs are especially susceptible to the condition, and will present with a systemic form of the condition. This vulnerability is thought to be genetic, and good breeders will avoid breeding dogs who have had this condition.