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Dog-ology: Pug


Pugs are a member of the toy dog family and are characterized by their short-haired glossy coat, wrinkly flat face, and curly tail. Pugs typically have two shapes for their ears, "rose" and "button" with rose ears being smaller and folded with the front edge against the side of the head as compared to the more standard button ears. For their size, pugs have large personalities. They are strong willed, but rarely aggressive making them an ideal pet for any family dynamic. Pugs faces are brachiocephalic, or short muzzled, which focuses their attention on the world closest to them, rather than a world of distance like longer snouted dogs, such as retrievers. This explains why retrievers may enjoy chasing a ball and brachiocephalic-faced dogs like the pug may not. It also means that pugs are much more likely to be “close talkers” with their owners in order to gain the information they need from our faces. As human, this closeness only strengthens our emotion bond with the breed. Unfortunately, the short muzzle can also cause health issues, especially with breathing and high temperatures. Pugs are also prone to eye proptosis, which is the displacement of the eye from the eye socket. This can be caused by accidentally pushing on the pug’s neck too tight or pulling on a chock collar too hard. Eye proptosis should receive medical attention right away. The pug is currently one of the most popular breeds in the United States.


Believed to have originated before 400 BC, the pug is one of the oldest breeds known. There is a bit of a debate over the origin of the pug; however, most researchers agree that the breed comes from Asia, due to its similarities to the Pekingese. China is the earliest known source for pugs, where they were pets of the Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. The breed next appeared in Japan and Europe, becoming popular when Prince William II became the King of England. He owned pugs and they became the fashionable breed for generations.

Fun Facts

  • The wrinkles on the pug’s face were breed into them by the Chinese in order to create symbols on the dog’s forehead that resembled Chinese characters.

  • Pugs as breeding animals may have contributed to the English Bulldog, the Pekingese and the King Charles Spaniel.

  • The “perfect” pug tail is said to have two full curls.

  • The pug is said to have become the official dog of the European House of Orange in 1572 after a pug named Pompey saved the life of Prince William II by alerting him to the approach of assassins.

  • In France, Napoleon's wife Josephine had a pug named Fortune. When Josephine was sent to prison she used the little dog to send secret messages to her husband by placing a note under the dog’s collar.

  • In Germany, pugs are called mops.

  • Marie Antoinette had a pug that she had to leave behind when she entered France to marry Louis XVI at age 15.

  • Although there are energetic exceptions to every rule, on average the pug sleeps about 14 hours a day. Most owners can attest to how difficult it is to get a sleeping pug off of a comfy spot.

  • A group of pugs is called a “grumble.” A grumble of pugs. Such as in the sentence, “The man was joyously overrun by a stampeding grumble of pugs!”

  • Pugs are often referred to the comedians of the dog world. I’m assuming for the same reason that Gilbert Gottfried is considered a comedian in the human world.

  • The pug is the largest toy breed.

  • The pug's tongue is almost equal to their body size that is about 10-12 inches.

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