The Complete Guide to: Pugs
Lapdogs or companion dogs, Pugs are part of the Toy dog breed group. They are much-loved for their affectionate nature and loyalty. But they are also well-known for their tendency to develop health complications. Read on to find out more about Pugs, and how to keep them spritely.
The origins of Pugs are a little hazy, but it’s true that they were often the companions of Chinese Emperors. This gives them long-standing status as revered lapdogs, with their influence extending across the globe and to Europe in the 16th century. Popular in the courts in Holland and then from there to England, they have been a familiar sight in the upper classes of society for centuries.
Along with the Lion dog and the Pekinese, Pugs were bred by the Chinese as far back as the Han Dynasty, around 2,000 years ago. Famous owners have included William of Orange and Marie Antionette, among many others.
Yet Pugs weren’t bred to perform any specific tasks. Ultimately, their mischievous character, showmanship and frolicking nature were prized for the pure amusement they gave their owners. When it comes to Pugs, it was, and still is, all about the fun.
Their features are part of the Pug appeal among many owners. Small, muscular and with an intelligent face, they delight in human interaction. The best thing about a Pug is that their emotions can be clearly seen in their range of facial expressions.
Typical Pug characteristics include a slightly wrinkled brow, large heads, and a short, glossy coat. That coat is usually either Silver, Apricot, Fawn or Black, with a little black mask around their face. Because of their preference of staying clean, and their short hair, they need minimal grooming. Their tails are curly, and they have short muzzles. In the case of Pugs, they’re a brachycephalic, or flat faced, breed, which can affect their breathing if severe. They can also be susceptible to eye and skin problems, as well as conditions like hip dysplasia.
Confidence is something your Pug will have in abundance, along with amiability and intelligence. They’re lovable, and often good with children, cats, and other dogs - although supervision is advised. The most important thing to a Pug is affection from their owners, so you’ll need to be on-hand to give them plenty of cuddles each day. This, along with around half an hour exercise should give them all the basics in life. Just be careful with them in hot weather, as they get easily overheated.
Due to their amiable, eager-to-please ways, they are extremely accommodating with their owners, which makes the sight of a Pug in a costume a frequent one, but they can be cheeky and disruptive if left unchecked. That includes yapping and being stubborn. Playing with your Pug is one great way to bond with them, burn energy and keep their lively minds entertained. They’ll be sure to make you laugh a lot during the process.
Training your Pug from a puppy onwards will help you balance out their strong personality traits and give them the best chance to grow in confidence and exert their playful nature into positive activities.
Just like many breeds, puppy parties are a favourite way of integrating growing dogs into society and getting them used to social settings. If you keep an eye on them, it’s also useful to encourage interaction with other people of all ages. Pugs are often regarded as difficult to train because they get distracted easily, but there are ways of approaching their training at home.
- Separation anxiety – Pugs don’t like to be left alone. Their social nature makes this quite a scary prospect, but you can make them feel more comfortable in their own company by providing a safe refuge. That may be a crate or a room with all their essentials like a bed and toys.
- Responding to you – a short attention span could mean that simple commands are hard to follow. Create a sense of focus by training your Pug to “watch” what you’re doing, by touching their nose lightly, saying that word, then touching your own nose to encourage eye contact and focus.
- Commands – simple commands like “sit” and “leave it” will help you keep cheekier behaviour in check. Just like any dog, repetition and positive reinforcement are the best way forward.
- Toilet training – it may take some time to properly train your Pug to stay clean in the house. That will include taking them outside during the night and regularly in the day. Show them where to go to the toilet, but don’t berate them for accidents. Positivity and perseverance are always the best approaches.
The amount you feed your Pug will depend on their size and age, but you will need to watch out for overfeeding them. They are greedy dogs if allowed to indulge, and they won’t necessarily stop eating when they’re full. This can exacerbate health problems related to the breed. Restricting treats and giving your Pug the right amount of exercise will help keep them in good condition.