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Pug: History and Appearance
Dating back to the time of Confucius, the Pug has a very long history. The Pug comes from China, where breeding records from 700 B.C. describe a breed with the Pug’s likeness and coloring. The Pug was considered to be a royal dog, and was only owned only by members of the Imperial household and the royal family. The Pug was so treasured that it was never sold, but only given as an honored gift.
The Pug had such high standing that for a time, it was illegal for anyone but royalty to own them, and under some rulers, stealing a Pug was punishable by death. Under Emperor Ling’s rule, the Pug was given royal status, and the female Pug had the same rank as Emperor Ling’s wives. Palace guards were ordered to watch over the dogs and they were only to be fed the finest food.
The Pug was first discovered by Holland during the 16th century. The Dutch East India Company, which handled a large and profitable trade between the Orient and Europe, is believed to be responsible for bringing the first Pug to Europe. It is believed that the first dogs came over with sailors from that company. When Prince William III and Mary II traveled to Great Britain to take over the throne, they brought their treasured Pugs with them. The Pugs had been declared the official dog of the House of Orange, after alerting their master of invading Spaniards. The Pugs represented their master as he was crowned King by wearing orange ribbons at the ceremony.
The Pug is believed to have a history ranging throughout Europe. It is said that Josephine Bonaparte, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte owned one. Many famous artists included Pugs in their paintings and Queen Victoria also took a great liking to the breed, owning several of the dogs. The Pug goes by many different names in quite a few European countries. Italy refers to them as “carlini,” while the Netherlands calls them “mophonds.” It is believed that the name “Pug” hails from, England, though the exact origin of the name is unknown.
Like many breeds, the Pug population roses and fell depending on the desires of dog fanciers. It was a group of dog fanciers in England who are mainly responsible for keeping the breed going. In the 1800’s, when many purebred breeds were experiencing changes or regrowth, the Pug was carefully bred to the type we are now familiar with. It was during that time that the black Pug came to be. Previously, coloring was mainly brindle or fawn. It was Lady Brassey of Britain who first exhibited several black Pugs in a dog show in 1886.
The Pug became known in America following the Civil War. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885, and its popularity skyrocketed. It became popular in dog shows and as a family pet. America’s fascination with this breed changed at the turn of the century, as owning a Pug was no longer in fashion. The Pug Dog Club was formed in 1931 in an effort to preserve and support the breed. Since then, the Pug has enjoyed steady growth in the modern age. While not the most popular dog, the breed is far from being considered rare or endangered.
The Pug is considered to be one of the larger of the toy breeds. Its demeanor is happy-go-lucky, enthusiastic, mischievous, and loving. The Pug is considered to be an even tempered breed, and excellent for first time dog owners.
The overall appearance of the Pug should be square. The Pug is meant to be a compact dog with symmetrical proportions. Despite their small size, Pugs feature well developed muscles and usually weigh between 14 and 18 lbs.
The Pug’s most arresting feature is its face. The head is large and rounded, with prominent, round eyes that protrude slightly. The eyes are usually dark in color. The ears are can be either rose or button shaped, though button is preferred. The ears are small. The pug has a square muzzle that is rather blunt and short. The nose is usually black. Any wrinkles featured on the face or muzzles are usually wide and deep. The dog’s bite is usually undershot.
The Pug has a thick neck that is slightly arched. The back is short and level, with a body that is described as “cobby.” The chest is wide. The Pug’s legs are strong and straight, with the dewclaws removed. The Pug’s tail is high set and tightly curled, with a double curl considered to be optimal.
The Pug has a coat of short, smooth hair. The fur is soft and glossy. Coat coloring includes silver, fawn, and black. The silver and fawn coloring should stand out enough to show a contrast. The Pug features markings that should always be clearly defined. Markings are usually on the muzzle, ears, cheeks, and are sometimes a mask, mark on forehead, or mark on cheeks. Masks should always be black and well defined.
The Pug has a jaunty gait featuring a slight roll of the hindquarters. The gait should be free, and there should be no evidence of weakness or jerkiness. The Pug’s temperament should demonstrate liveliness and an outgoing disposition.
Showing a Pug
In show, the Pug is meant to be a compact, sturdy little dog with equal proportions. Pugs that are thin and long legged, or long bodied and short legged are considered objectionable. The head should be rounded, and should not show any type of defining line or “apple shape.” The muzzle should be as described, but the dog’s teeth and tongue should not show.
Other faults include an uncurled tail, a wooly coat, and any small white spots. The Pug should not have a scissors bite or overbite. The nose should not be pointed or stick out.
A brindle or white/albino coat is a disqualification. The Pug’s temperament should not be aggressive or overly shy.

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