Pugs possess an easy going disposition that harmonizes well with a variety of human personality types and a gentleness that makes them trustworthy around people of any age.

By Susan Bertram, DVM |

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Pugs possess an easy going disposition that harmonizes well with a variety of human personality types and a gentleness that makes them trustworthy around people of any age. A Pug is, by design, far removed from predatory instincts and will happily share its home with other pets, including dogs, cats and guinea pigs. They'll curl up contentedly in a city apartment, country house or motor home on the road. They may carry their love of people to the extreme.

"They would hold the flashlight for the burglar," said Jean Anderson, vice president of the Pug Dog Club of America and proprietor of Kesander Pugs in Naperville, Ill., where she and her husband, Bob, have raised Pugs for nearly 30 years.

The Latin motto "multum in parvo" means "a lot in a little" and is used to describe the ideal Pug. It refers primarily to the Pug's physical characteristicsa compact, stocky and muscular dogthough enthusiasts agree it applies equally to the breed's personality because the Pug has abundant affection, humor and playfulness packed into a neat little package.

Pugs: Past & Present
Centuries ago in the monasteries of Tibet, tiny yet sturdy dogs with large eyes and wrinkled, expressive faces were bred and kept as companions. These were the earliest examples of the Pug. With a history predating 400 B.C., the modern Pug remains a good companion. From Tibet, the breed was introduced to Japan, then Europe, where it became a favorite in many royal courts.

The breed's loyalty is legendary. A Pug is credited with saving the life of William, prince of the House of Orange in Holland, by warning of Spanish invaders in 1572. In France, when Napoleon's wife, Josephine, was imprisoned, she is said to have sent secret messages to Napoleon hidden in her Pug Fortune's collar.

The name Pug may have originated from the dogs' resemblance to marmoset monkeys, which were popular pets in Europe at the same time and were called Pugs as well. The American Kennel Club accepted the breed in 1885.

The Pug's face is unique among toy breeds and reflects distant Mastiff ancestors. Round, soft eyes; short, flat muzzle and deep facial wrinkles give the Pug a face that can seem almost human.

"At first, many people think they're ugly, but after a while, they grow on you," said Kathleen Madison of Kashmir Pugs in Brighton, Colo. "When you talk to them, they respond. They'll frown or cock their head. They have so many facial expressions."

Fawn or silver Pugs have a sharply contrasting black mask and ears, and diamond or thumbprint in the middle of the forehead. The trace, a line of darker hairs running from the base of the skull to the tail, should be as black as possible. Black Pugs must be pure black with no white markings. The tail curls tightly over the hip, ideally with a double curl. The gait should be "free, self-assured and jaunty," according to the breed standard.

As with most short-nosed breeds, Pugs make an assortment of respiratory noises. "They can sound almost like a pig, and that bothers some people," said Andrea Szewczyk, chair of Michigan Pug Rescue, whose family shares their Washington Township home in suburban Detroit with three (and sometimes many more) Pugs and a Labrador. "They don't drool, but when they sniff you, they actually snort on you," Szewczyk said.

Pugs can snore loudly, which might keep awake light sleepers who like their dog to sleep at the foot of the bed. "Owners have to accept the snoring," Anderson said. "I love it; to me it's such a soothing sound." Smith agreed: "To those that adore the breed, the snoring is a positive."

While training a Pug doesn't require the patience of a Buddhist monk, Pugs do have a stubborn streak. Food rewards for good behavior can be powerful training tools because a Pug "will sell its soul for a hamburger," Smith said. House training can go by the wayside in cold weather if owners aren't firm in insisting their Pugs brave the weather.

A Pug in touch with its inner self is a born clown. "They're a riot," Szewczyk said. Pugs are what more people should be like. They couldn't care less what others think about them. As long as they're having a good time, they'll just go right on doing it."

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PugloverBecca   Freeville, NY

4/28/2014 9:08:58 PM

I love pugs! They are very sweet and loyal dogs!!!

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