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A Pug is a toy dog breed with a wrinkly face and medium-small body. The word "Pug" may have derived from the Latin Pugnus (fist); the Pug's face can look like a clenched fist. Or, in nod to the breed's sometimes mischievous nature, from the character "Puck" of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The breed is often
summarized as multum in parvo ("much in little"), in reference
to the pug's great personality, despite its small size.
Pugs are very sociable dogs, but quite stubborn. They are playful, charming, and clever, and are known to succeed in dog obedience skills. Pugs are sensitive to the tone of a human, so harsh punishment is generally unnecessary. Pugs get along well with other dogs and pets and require lots of attention; they may become slightly jealous if their owner ignores them or does not play with them. In general, they are very clingy dogs, always at their owner's feet or following them from room to room.
The smooth coat of the pug requires minimal grooming that consists mainly of brushing twice weekly to help with the breeds excessive shedding. Bath as necessary and dry thoroughly to prevent it from getting cold. Clean the wrinkles on the face daily in order to prevent skin infections or chapping. Wash the pugs eyes several times weekly to remove debris and build-up. Special attention should be paid to its teeth and nails. The pug needs moderate exercise daily that can be achieved through a walk or romp in the park. The exercise requirement for a pug is more than most toy dogs need. Because of the breeds short muzzle, it may experience breathing difficulties, especially in hot and humid weather. It should not live outdoors and is best suited for apartment living. The pug has been known to snore, again due to its short snout. Training should be gentle, as this breed is sensitive to its owners tone.
Because they have extremely short snouts and no skeletal brow ridges, Pugs can easily scratch their corneas accidentally. Their short noses can also cause them to develop breathing problems. They are prone to obesity, so they can quickly reach unhealthy weights; it is therefore important for Pug owners to make sure their pets get regular exercise. Due to their short snouts, Pugs are vulnerable to temperature extremes. It is important to make sure that they do not overheat in hot weather, and likewise they should not be left outside in cold weather.
Pugs can also suffer from a chronic form of granulomatous meningoencephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) specific to the breed called Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE). There is no known cause or cure for PDE, although it is believed to be an inherited disease. All dogs either die or are euthanised within a few months after the onset of clinical signs.
Pugs, along with other brachycephalic dogs (boxers, bulldogs), are also prone to hemivertebrae. The screwtail is an example of a hemivertebrae, but when it occurs in others areas of the spine it can be devastating, causing such severe paralysis that euthanasia is a serious recommendation.
Pugs are expected
to live from about 12 to 15 years.
The pug is one of the oldest breeds. Its origin is subject to many opinions. Some believe it is a much smaller variation of the somewhat rare French mastiff. Another possibility is that it could be an offshoot of the shorthaired Pekingese or other Oriental breeds. It could also have been the offspring of a small bulldog. Whatever the ancestry, it seems to have originated prior to 400 BC somewhere in Asia. Some believe that the name of the breed comes from the Latin word pugnus, which means fist because the pugs head looks like a clenched fist. Another theory is that the name originated from the marmoset pug monkeys that were kept as pets and resembled the little dog. One of the essential breed features (especially in China) is the prince mark. This refers to the vertical wrinkle on the forehead that looks like the Chinese symbol for prince. The pug has been a pet in many countries by a variety of people from Buddhist monks in Tibet to European royalty. After being imported to Holland in the 1500s, the breed became the official dog of the House of Orange when a pug saved Prince Williams life by alerting him of approaching Spanish soldiers. In France, Napoleons wife, Josephine, was imprisoned and used her pug to get secret messages to her husband. The pug arrived in England around 1860 and was officially recognized by the AKC in 1885. It makes an excellent watchdog and is loved for the companionship it brings to its owner.
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