Theories about the origin of the Pug have caused much debate over the years, some thinking the breed have developed in the Far East, others thinking it developed in Europe. It is now generally accepted that the Pug spread to Japan and later to Europe. It is also highly probable that the short-nosed Pug, crossed with other longer-faced European breeds, lies behind many of the other short-headed breeds.
In China there has long been a breed of dog known as the Happa, which which is similar to a smooth-coated Pekingese. Indeed, many people belive that the Happa may be the progenitor of the Pug.
The word “Pai” came to be used as the name for this type of dog, and it is possible that to Western ears this name has resembled the name now used in the West, “Pug”. In 1731 the word “pug” was defined in the dictionary as a nicknmae for a monkey or a dog.
Another possibility is that the name originated from the Latin word “pugnus”, which means “fist”, as some people thought that the shape of the Pug’s face resembled a clenched fist. The word “pug” ir “pugge” was also a term of endearment , though it can also be a derivation of “Puck”, conjuring up Shakespearean images of an impish face.
In some Continental countries, the Pug is still known by the rather quaint name “Mops”, which comes from the Dutch word “Mopshund”.
In China, dogs were frequently treated almost like royalty, even with titles of rank being bestowed upon some of them. They were carefully guarded, and many had servants employed to care for them and to see that they enjoyed every comfort. The Pug was very popular in China at least until the 12th century, but from then on interest appeared to wane and there was little mention of the breed until early in the 16th century.
It is now generally accepted that the Pug originated from the Orient and eventually appeared in Europe, much resembling the breed known there today. Many people believe that the Pug descended from the mastiff breeds. Certainly, in Europe there were some extraordinary cross-matings in years gone by – with the Bulldog, among others – but in China the aim was certainly to breed dogs as true to type as possible. It is these that formed a firm foundation for today’s Pug.
Before reaching the West, the Pug was popular throughout Asia and it seems to have wended its way to Europe via Russia. The aunt of Russia’s Catherine the Great was reputed to have kept a score of Pugs and the same number of parrots in a single room.
The Pug has been very much connected with Holland, for it has been very popular there, though in the early years they were known as “Dutch Mastiffs”. This name might explain the confusion that arose over the breed’s origin. Pugs from Holland were certainly destined to have a great influence on the spread of the breed throughout Europe.
The Dutch East India Company played an important role in trade with the Orient. It is clear that on many of the ships’ return journeys, both Pugs and Pekingese were brought back as precious cargo.
There is very little information and documentation about the way and time the Pugs got to America, but what we do know is that some of these dogs were in the country shortly after the Civil War. The breed gained attention because of its uniqueness and, during the 1880s, many Pugs were shown. The breed gained recognition from the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885 and was classified in the Toy group, as it is in other countries around the world.
Characteristics of the Pug
Described by some breed enthusiasts as @the perfect blend of dog appeal and wistfulness”, a Pug will readily keep his owners amused and entertained for hours on end with his clown-like personality. Some Pug owners call their Pugs “little people”, and, when you know the breed, it is easy to understand why!
The Pug’s bark is a surprisingly deep one for the dog its size. If you are a light sleeper, it might also be worth bearing in mind that although not all Pugs snore, many of them do!
An exceptionally clean little dog, Pug is remarkably free from doggy odors. All things considered, the Pug usually seems pretty happy to be whatever his owners need. He can be content to roll up in a ball at your feet while you are knitting or watching TV, he will enjoy a lively ball game or he can just be a friendly clown, providing entertainment for his audience at home.
Small, squarely built, the Pug has well-knit proportions and a certain hardness of muscle, making him a strong little animal and quite different from the majority of breeds falling into the Toy Group. Ideal weight is 14-18 lbs, but certainly some are rather heavier, and there are probably few males weighing under 18 lbs. Although the breed standard does not differentiate between the size of dogs and bitches, generally Pug dogs are somewhat larger than their female counterparts.
The chest of the Pug is wide and the body is set on strong legs. The large, round, wrinkled head with dark, globular eyes is offset at the rare by by a high-set tail, curled tightly over the hip, with a double curl being highly desirable.
Pugs are found in silver, apricot-fawn and black, although presently the silvers are few and far between. Although not mentioned in the breed standard, apricot-fawn and silver Pugs have a double coat, which consists of an outer, weather-resistant coat and a softer, insulating undercoat. Black Pugs have a single coat.
Pugs are a breed with great charm, dignity and intelligence, though, like other intelligent breeds, he can be rather self-willed. The Pug is an even-tempered breed with a happy, lively disposition. The friendship displayed is often effusive; indeed, most Pugs seem constantly delighted to meet people and show special affection to children. However, although the Pug shows friendliness toward strangers, it is to his owner and family that he is most devoted.