Legend has it that when William, Prince of Orange was on a military campaign, he took his Pug with him. One night, as the Prince was sleeping the enemy attacked. His Pug heard them and jumped up barking, alerting his master and saving his life. An effigy of Willliam and his pug Pompey is carved over William's tomb in Delft Cathedral.
Another 'story' involves the 'love affair' between Napoleon and Josephine. It seems Josephine came part and parcel with her dearly beloved Pug “Fortune”. It is said her Pug did not want to share a pillow with Napoleon and bit him (not a normal Pug trait!). The story goes that Josephine made it clear the Pug was there to stay and if she had to choose between the Pug and Napoleon, the Pug would win. The Pug and Napoleon worked out a truce. He conquered most of Europe but not a PUG!
Famous pug owners include Sir Winston Churchill, Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr, Andy Warhol, and Grace Kelly. Pugs have appeared in films including Otis and Milo (1989) Men in Black (1997). It is a tribute to the democratic nature of Pugs that they have made happy homes with the rich and famous but have also endeared themselves to the common man and woman.
Pugs belong to a select group of breeds tracing back to ancient China. They date as far back as the Han and Tang Dynasty and were refined for centuries for the sole purpose of entertaining the inhabitants of the Imperial City. Pampered and spoiled they enjoyed the role of companion and they have not lost this characteristic.
Long before the Communist Party condemned pet dogs in China as a bourgeois luxury, Pugs had safely made their way to the royal courts of Europe.Pugs remained popular through the 18th century playing the role of the court jester, but slipped in popularity in the early 19th century. After 1860 a new wave of Pugs was imported from China with shorter legs and the now easily recognised Pug nose. Popularity was regained when Pugs became a favourite of Queen Victoria. Comic in appearance, they exhibited the perfect companion temperament - faithful, eager, clever, affectionate, good-natured, hedonistic and irrepressibly high spirited.
Pugs tend to be a healthy, hearty breed that can easily live into the mid and upper teens. Probably the number one problem seen by veterinarians is overweight or obese Pugs. Pugs will eat till they burst and always "act" hungry, even if they are well fed. There are many wonderful foods available and the key is to feed the proper amount. Base the correct amount on what your dog looks like, follow recommendations carefully and consult your vet if unsure. It should be possible to feel your dog's ribs and be able to see a waist.
Grooming and Care
The Pug requires regular brushing to keep its short coat looking good and its skin healthy. Brush systematically from head to tail, paying special attention to the Pug's face. Some Pugs need their faces cleaned daily, while others can go several days or longer. Wipe between the folds of skin gently with a warm washcloth, or cotton balls.
Periodic bathing is important, but too many baths can lead to dry, flaky skin. It is best not to bathe any more frequently than once every 2 weeks. Use a shampoo formulated especially for dogs; don't be tempted to use human shampoo. Clean and check your Pug's ears frequently. A healthy ear is clean, free of debris or wax and is not sore or inflamed. Healthy ears can be wiped out with a dry cotton ball or one slightly moistened with a special ear cleaner made for pets. Check with your vet if you notice any redness, heavy discharge, odour, or headshaking. Pugs, just like people, can suffer from dental disease, so it's a good idea to brush their teeth. Be sure to use a "doggie" toothpaste. Pugs tend to have a lot of teeth in a small space and they are crowded and crooked. It’s hard to visualise the teeth, let alone brush them but you should try and do your best. Your vet may have some products that are easy to use and pointers on keeping the teeth clean and healthy. Getting your Pug to chew on nylabones or other special bones can help keep the amount of tartar down and there are special foods available to help as well.
With their short, pushed in face, Pugs can have trouble breathing, especially in hot, humid climates. They must be kept cool and exercised with caution in the summer. Part of the short-faced or brachycephalic syndrome can involve having pinched nostrils and an elongated soft palate. Your vet will need to examine your Pug to see if the nostrils are too tight to let air flow freely. There is a surgery to correct this problem. If you notice your Pug snoring excessively or gasping to breathe, it could be that its soft palate (at the back of the mouth) is too long and is in the way. Again, there is a surgery to help correct this problem. While overheating is the biggest weather related problem, Pugs should also not be exposed for very cold temperatures for long periods of time.
Dogs tend to live healthier, longer lives if they are spayed or neutered. Not only does spaying or neutering offer a solution to the problem of unwanted pets, it helps in the development of a well adjusted pet.
Although Pugs were not bred to do any specific work to help out man (except provide wonderful companionship!), Pugs can be trained. However, it must be recognised that although Pugs can easily learn commands, they rarely choose to obey them. Even an obedience trained pug should not be ever allowed off lead i a public area. They simply cannot be relied upon to obey commands and have no road sense. If a Pug enjoys training they can effectively compete in every sport they are eligible for, including obedience, agility and tracking.
You should never allow a Pug puppy to do something you would not want it to do as an adult. Nipping your hands or feet, jumping on you, refusing to give up a toy might be amusing in a puppy, but it can encourage negative behaviour which, if allowed to continue into adulthood could be very difficult, if not impossible, to stop.
The puppy has to be absolutely confident of its role in the "pack", its human family. Its position must be below every family member, which has to be established on the very first day the Pug puppy enters your house and needs to be maintained. Be sure not to "overwork" your puppy. Lessons need to be short to be effective.