Our canine pals come in all shapes and sizes. Big, small, sleek, fluffy, we love all of them! Of course, one of the most unique-looking pooches is the pug. Fido’s adorable scrunched-up face and expressive eyes have definitely earned him some fans! A veterinarian discusses the pug below.
The first pugs were bred as companion dogs for ancient Chinese nobles, and were the beloved pets of several Emperors. As one might expect, being the Emperor’s favorite pup is a pretty sweet deal. Those lucky pugs lived in complete doggy luxury. They even had their own guards! Buddhist monks also kept pugs as pets in ancient Tibet.
In the 16th century, Fido was brought to Europe, where he soon charmed … well, pretty much everyone. (Note: Goya, the famous painter, actually painted several pugs.) Italian pugs were often allowed to ride in the front seats of private carriages, often dressed in tiny replicas of the coachmen’s uniforms. Queen Victoria was also a big fan of these little dogs. The pug even became the official dog of the House Of Orange, after one astute pooch alerted his owner, the Prince of Orange, to the presence of approaching assassins, thereby saving his life.
Fido came to the US in the 19th century. The AKC officially welcomed the breed into their ranks back in 1885. In 1931, the pug got his own club, the aptly-named Pug Dog Club Of America. One special pug, Dhandys Favorite Woodchuck, even took first place at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1981.
Pugs are brachycephalic, which means they have very short airways, and can easily lose their breath. You don’t want to overexert Fido, as this can cause respiratory distress. Swimming is off the table for these guys, as are running and vigorous play. You’ll also need to be careful with your pet’s eyes, as those bulging ‘bug eyes’ can be prone to injuries. Ask your vet for care tips.
Friendly and lovable, the pug has often been referred to by the phrase Multum in parvo, which translates to ‘a lot of dog in a small space’ in pug Latin. These little pups can be stubborn, but they are rarely aggressive. They’re actually remarkably patient with children, and are equally fond of naps, bacon, and belly rubs. They’re often called shadows, because they stick so close to their humans.
Do you have questions about pugs? Contact us, your animal clinic!