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Nicknamed the "Dutch mastiff," the Pug is a small dog with a wrinkled face, short legs and barrel chest. In addition to being one of the world's most physically distinctive dogs, the Pug is also well loved for its charismatic personality and effortless charm.

Physical Characteristics

The Pug’s attentive and soft expression is its distinguishing feature. Its coat, which is fawn and black in color, is short, fine, and smooth. A compact and square-proportioned dog, the Pug moves with a jaunty and strong gait; its hindquarters roll slightly. The Pug also has clearly defined black markings on its muzzle, ears, cheeks and forehead, which has deep and huge wrinkles.

Personality and Temperament

The Pug is a playful, confident, and friendly companion that magnificently combines comedy with dignity. It is usually pleasant and willing to please, but it can be headstrong and adamant at times. The breed is also known to frolic and flaunt about.


Coat care for the Pug is minimal, requiring only occasional brushing to remove the dog's dead hair. Meanwhile, regular cleaning and drying is necessary to prevent skin infections, especially in the dog's facial wrinkles.

As far as exercise requirements, the Pug's needs can be met daily with a moderate leash-led walk or an energetic game. Sensitive to humidity and heat, the Pug should be kept indoors. The breed is also prone to snoring and wheezing because of their flat, small muzzles.


The Pug has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years and is prone to major health problems like Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) and canine hip dysplasia (CHD), as well as minor concerns like elongated palate, patellar luxation, stenotic nares, Legg-Perthes disease, entropion, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS), hemivertebra, obesity, and skin infections. Nerve degeneration, demodicosis, seizures, distichiasis, and allergies are occasionally seen in this breed of dog.

Its facial wrinkles must be kept clean to prevent skin fold dermatitis, a form of skin inflammation. The Pug is also sensitive to heat and anesthesia.

History and Background

Multum in Parvo, meaning "a lot in a little," is the official motto of the Pug and sums up its description. The Pug has had various names throughout the years, including Mopshond in Holland, Chinese or Dutch Pug in England, and Mops in Germany. But the word “pug” is thought to have come from the Latin pugnus, meaning fist and attributed to its clenched fist-like head, or from the 18th-century marmoset "pug" monkey, which purportedly appeared quite similar to the dog.

Although its exact ancestry is not known, many consider the Pug as one of the first breeds miniaturized in Asia. China is the earliest known source of the breed, where Buddhist monasteries of Tibet favored the Pug as a pet. The Chinese considered the Pug's facial wrinkles an important feature of the breed, referring to it as the "prince mark" because of its similarity to the Chinese figure for prince.

Brought to Holland by the Dutch East India Trading Company, a pug would become a pet to William I, the Prince of Orange in the mid 16th century. The Pug was also bestowed the position of the House of Orange official dog after one of its kind saved the life of William I by alarming him to the approach of an upcoming attack of Spaniards at Hermingny in 1572. Later, when William II landed at Torbay to be crowned King of England, his cortege included pugs, making the breed fashionable for generations.

By 1790, the Pug had made its way to France. Most notably used by Josephine, wife of Napoleon, her pug, "Fortune," carried secret messages under his collar to Napoleon while she was confined in Les Carmes prison.

In England, the Pug gained popularity during the Victorian era. These pugs sported cropped ears, which further enhanced their wrinkled expressions. And in 1885, the American Kennel Club would recognize the Pug. Since then, the Pug has become not only a popular show dog, but a wonderful family pet.

Comments  7

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  • Pugs unrelated to mastiff
    04/02/2013 06:02am

    The pug is NOT related to the mastiff in ANY way. Who does your research?!?!? Pugs have been called Dutch mastiffs -- yet only because they look a bit like mini-mastiffs. No reputable source claims pugs are descended from mastiffs. None. Perhaps you should ask the Pug Clubs of America for better information.

  • 10/30/2013 02:55pm

    Hi there Ubepug - yes, you are completely correct in saying that the Pug is not related to the Mastiff in any way. However, I think you may have misinterpreted the article/video comment regarding Mastiffs... they were not claiming that the pug is related to the Mastiff, rather that "Dutch Mastiff" is simply a nickname for the Pug breed.

  • 05/24/2014 04:52pm

    It really bothers me when people like Ubepug are so eager to find an argument, that they don't even bother reading the article, correctly. No where in your description did you say that Pugs were derived from any Mastiff. Only the name. I apologize, but ignorance really bothers me. Especially when it's on a reputable website, with valid information. Keep up the good work! I LOVE my Pug! And I love your article.

  • this is untrue.
    09/30/2013 01:55pm

    thank you for this article, i have really enjoyed reading this and i will be returning to find out more in the future about pug pet insurance

  • Love the pictures! :)
    03/03/2015 05:33pm

    Great way to have community involvement - those guys and gals are absolutely darling! Thanks for the good information on the breed - hoping to add some more informative sections to our website [url=http://aboutpug.com]aboutpug.com[/url] instead of just having adorable pug pictures :) (not that there's anything wrong with cute pugs!)

  • 03/03/2015 05:35pm

    [url=aboutpug.com]Haha messed that up, oh well! I don't see an edit button![/url]

  • Talk about shedding.
    02/02/2017 02:15am

    I've had two Pugs so far and one thing people should know is how much these adorable creatures Shed. I don't know about anyone else here but mine and any one whom I've talked to agree they shed like you wouldn't believe. I would brush them at least twice a week and it didn't seem to make a difference. Even with all the shedding I'd still get another one because of their great personalities.


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