If you're looking for the proverbial big dog in a small dog package, the Pug may just be the dog for you. Charming, mischievous, clever and cute, these little dogs have been beloved of emperors and royals for over 2000 years and they're one of the most popular dogs in America today.
Pugs can be the perfect pet for someone looking for an indoor companion. They're good with kids, too, but don't expect them to be able to exert themselves too much. The shape of their heads and their pushed-in noses keep them from overdoing things and they aren't good in outdoor heat. Since they're Toy dogs (Pugs are the largest members of the Toy group), you shouldn't allow children to play too roughly with them.
Most Pug owners are extremely proud of their cobby little friends. Whether it's their ancient lineage, their connection to royalty (Pugs have been bred in China since around 600 BC and were favorites of Marie Antoinette, the Empress Josephine, and King William and Queen Mary of England), or simply their winning personalities, Pug owners are usually quite devoted to their dogs.
It's not unusual for Pug owners to enjoy dressing their dogs up in cute costumes -- something which Pugs seem to enjoy, too. One of the clowns of the dog world, Pugs like being the center of attention and making people laugh.
You shouldn't get a Pug if you're looking for a watch dog. They may give a bark to let you know someone is outside, but they'll probably immediately welcome the stranger into the house. A Pug has never really met a stranger. In other words, they're very friendly, outgoing little dogs.
With their cute round face, soft expression, and wrinkles, the Pug has a unique appearance. Although they're a short haired dog they require frequent brushing. You shouldn't get a Pug thinking they won't shed. There's lots of shedding! You will have to brush your Pug often to keep the hair from piling up in your home.
The Pug is a trainable dog but they excel at teaching their owners to cater to their needs. Most owners don't seem to mind too much.
The Pug is subject to some breed specific health problems, like most breeds. As mentioned, you will have to make sure that your Pug doesn't overexert himself or allow him to stay out in the heat for long. His pushed-in nose can cause breathing difficulties. You'll also have to keep an eye on his weight.
Pugs are prone to putting on the pounds if you don't manage their food carefully. The Pug's beautiful eyes also protrude slightly and they can be easily injured. Make sure you always inspect your Pug's eyes for any problems. You should also be aware that there is something called Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE). It is an inflammation of the brain that strikes young Pugs usually between the ages of 2 and 3 years.
What causes this inflammation in Pugs and at this age range in particular isn't yet known. Seizures are the primary symptom. PDE is believed to be genetic. The disease progresses rapidly and there is no cure.
As with all purebred dogs, you should make sure that you find a good, reputable breeder. Good breeders will talk to you about the breed and answer your questions. They will discuss potential health problems with you. They will tell you about a puppy or dog's parents, temperament, and provide other important information.
And, very importantly, they will continue to stay in touch with you after you buy a puppy or dog from them and act as a resource for you. They can help you through housebreaking and other things as your puppy grows up.
None of these things are necessarily true if you buy from a backyard breeder or pet shop. In fact, you are more likely to get a puppy or dog with health problems when you buy from these sources.
No breeder can produce dogs that will never have a health problem or always die of old age, but with good, reputable breeders you increase your chances of having a healthy, happy, well-socialized puppy or dog, and that's good for both of you.
According to the latest AKC registration statistics, the Pug is ranked 14th in popularity in the United States. The Pug has been in the top 20 among popular breeds for the last 10 years.
Pugs have been called the "Consummate Companion Dog" and that may be true. They are devoted to their owners, bright and intelligent, playful, and make wonderful pets. If you're lucky enough to be owned by a Pug, enjoy the love.