As a dog walker in North London, I’ve come across many different breeds. Here, we focus on the Pug, variously called the Chinese Pug Dog, Mop or the Dutch Bulldog, who is one of the oldest breeds. He is said to have originated from Asia from before 400 BC. The breed was popular during Victorian times and has had a resurgence in the 21st century.
A stocky, somewhat square-shaped dog, he is small in stature; the males reach 12 – 14” in height and around 13 – 20lbs in weight while the females are a little smaller at 10 – 12” in height and 13 – 18lbs in weight. Available in fawn, black, apricot and silver the tail curls over the back. The Pug’s head is round with a short muzzle and a slight underbite, with large, round, prominent eyes. He has a life expectancy of around 12 – 15 years.
Pugs are very vocal dogs, and many owners testify to their dog’s ability to produce a wide range of howls, barks and grumbles and are adamant in their belief that their Pug talks to them. Pugs are happy-go-lucky little dogs, very playful, lively and wilful with a keen intelligence which they will attempt to use against their owner if they sense any weakness or softness in the owner! They are very loyal to their families and make good guard dogs, being very alert. Like many small dogs, they are convinced that they are much bigger than they actually are and, though not at all aggressive they will defend themselves and their family when necessary, though seldom successfully. They need regular exercise to avoid gaining weight and to stave off boredom. The Pug is a dog which needs lots of stimulation, both physical and mental.
Pugs can become very stressed in hot weather because of his short muzzle, which can make breathing more difficult, and they can be prone to heatstroke. Breeders will often advise owners to walk their Pugs in the cooler parts of the day, or get a north London dog walker to help you out of course! His short muzzle also means the Pug can be a chronic snorer. Pugs can suffer from joint problems, typically in old age, but some are prone to genetic defects like hip dysplasia.
The Pug’s prominent eyes can occasionally fall prey to dry eye syndrome and can become red and inflamed, conversely, they can become weepy.
The short coat of the Pug is easy to groom using a firm bristle brush once a week. He should be shampooed only when necessary. His face is creased so an owner should ensure the folds of his skin are kept clean to avoid infection.