Though the breed has origins in Eastern China and Tibet, Queen Victoria greatly increased the popularity of the pug in the nineteenth century. The AKC began recognizing the Pug in the United States in 1885. Since then, Pugs have grown in popularity as family and show dogs. Pug dogs are known for their prominent eyes that bulge from their faces, black face masks and velvety soft ears. They have short, black muzzles and small teeth that most often meet in an under bite. Pugs' tails are tightly curled and normally rest up on top of their short backs. Some dogs have double curls in their tails, and this trait is considered extremely desirable in show quality dogs.
Pugs have thick bodies that are squared and stocky. Since “pug” is common slang for a boxer or pugilist, these dogs are sometimes compared to middleweight fighters when they are at their ideal build. At maturity, Pugs have a muscular top that shrinks down to a small waist. Strong but short, straight legs give Pug dogs a distinctive gait that often resembles a waddle.
Size and Weight
As a result of their small size, Pugs are in the toy class of canines. Male Pugs are typically 12 to 14 inches tall, and they weigh 13 to 20 pounds. Female dogs are slightly smaller at about 10 to12 inches tall, and they typically weigh about 13 to 18 pounds. Pugs adore food and treats, and seem to have a natural affinity for begging. These traits can create tendencies towards obesity if not carefully monitored.
Coat and Color
Their compact frame sports a sleek, soft coat that comes in an assortment of colors. Some of the more common colors seen on Pugs include black and fawn, which is a light tan. They are also known to come in a color called apricot that is redder than the fawn colors. The rarest of the available Pug colors is silver, and it is highly sought after. All colors have the characteristic black face mask and a thin black line which runs along the spine. This is called a "trace."
The coat of the Pug breed is short and often double-layered, with a smooth, velvety layer of longer hair on top and a shorter, fluffier layer underneath. This type of coat gives the Pug a reputation as a prolific shedder. Often, faithful Pug owners choose their furniture colors in accordance with the color of their Pug to decrease the visibility of the hair.
Pugs are occasionally referred to a "wash and go" breed. This terminology refers to the fact that their coats do not require any de-tangling or fancy trimming. This breed is not prone to excessive drooling or body odor, so frequent shampooing is unnecessary. It is best to start grooming these dogs when they are young, so that they grow accustomed to the process. Regular brushing is not only good for the dog, but the act of brushing and stroking can help with bonding and development of trust between dog and owner.
The process of grooming includes occasional bathing, thorough brushing, wiping of the ears and facial wrinkles and a monthly toenail trimming. Grooming the short-haired coat of a pug is quite easy. Ideally, the smooth coat is brushed or combed several times a week with a firm-bristled brush or de-shedding comb, and the creases on the dog's face are cleaned daily. Daily cleaning of these facial wrinkles helps to prevent skin problems and infections within the folds of skin. Hypoallergenic pet wipes are a great tool for this job and are formulated specifically for a dog's sensitive skin. It is wise to shampoo these dogs only when necessary, as their skin is prone to dryness and is easily irritated. The grooming is often completed in about twenty minutes, but more frequent brushing is required during shedding season.