Thursday 14 August 2014

About the Pug Breed

What is the primary function of the Pug?

As a member of the Toy group, the pug is a tolerable "watchdog" who will alert to the presence of strangers, while being an excellent companion in a family situation. They have been accepted in programs as therapy dogs, as well as hearing aid dogs. Originally, they were bred for lap dogs.
What kind of personality does the Pug have?

Pugs are extremely people oriented dogs; they even go through stages of maturity. Puppies are especially playful and always underfoot for want of human company. If you have another dog, a Pug puppy will often seek out their company for play and adventure. The puppy stage can often last until the Pug is about 2 years old, so be prepared with plenty of patience! Older dogs seem to "settle" into a daily routine, and can be almost invisible until you want them. Pugs want nothing more than to please their owners, but you will have to show them just what it is you want. Pugs do need to have a bit of firmness, in that they really should have some training, or they'll try to run the house. But, you have to show them what to do; they are not mind readers! They are very smart dogs.

What ownership situations are suitable?

First and foremost, a Pug is not a dog to be left outside! Heat and high humidity can easily cause death in this breed, due to the flatness of their faces. If you don't want a dog in the house, you don't want a Pug. But, if you have limited yard space, if you want little grooming, if you want an intelligent companion who's just a little hard headed, if you want a dog that doesn't yap (usually - there are exceptions to every rule!) but sounds instead like a bigger dog behind a closed door, if you want a dog that is very tolerant of people, then you want a Pug. Left untrained, they do not track (except cookie crumbs); they do not hunt (except the food bowl); they only fetch if they really want to (and then it is still up in the air as to whether you get to have it back!). Pugs think for themselves, and are smart enough to get into trouble. But, they will make you laugh at them, for they are natural clowns. They will give you every ounce of love they have. They will steal your heart and that of your family, and they still won't come to you if they've gotten into trouble!
Known Medical Problems in the Pug breed:

As with any breed, the Pug is not without problems, and many of these are directly related to the dog's structure. The shortened muzzle (referred to as brachiocephalic) can cause breathing problems and air gulping, which can give him gas and cause problems in hot, humid climates. Air conditioning in summer months in the south is essential. Signs of heat prostration are common in brachiocephalic dogs and include difficulty in breathing, wheezing and heavy panting. Pugs in heat distress should be cooled with cold water and taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible. A cold water enema may be necessary to bring the internal body temperature back to normal. Some pug owners keep a child's throat ice collar - an ice bag for a small throat - on hand in case of heat emergency. Again, they do not tolerate heat or heat stress situations well. Many pugs have died just from being out a few minutes in a locked car. You must always be aware of how the heat will affect your dog before you do anything or go anywhere with him. Pugs are not dogs to run or hike in the heat of summer.

Tooth and gum problems are also possible with this breed because of the slightly undershot jaw. Owners should examine the mouth of a growing pup to make sure baby teeth are not retained and to watch for mouth tumors. Brushing the teeth is strongly recommended to prevent gum disease.

Pugs have large, round, expressive eyes, that don't have the protection of a large nose like other breeds. Their eyes are often scratched as a result. An owner should learn how to recognize when the eye is scratched and have it treated or it could eventually cause the dog to become blind. As their eyes are set shallowly into their heads, sometimes eyes do come out. Some Pugs go through their lives without any eye problems, some have chronic problems.

The following is a partial list of potential medical problems associated with the Pug breed. Please note that not every Pug will have one, or any of these problems. A reputable breeder will be happy to discuss these issues and any history of these conditions in their lines.

Stenotic Nares :

In lay terms Stenotic Nares is narrow or restricted nostrils. This restriction puts a strain on the dog's system and can lead to an enlarged heart. Some of the indications are that the dog tends to mouth breathe or a foamy nasal discharge. Surgical correction can enlarge the nasal opening alleviating complications related to this condition.

Entropion :

In lay-terms entropion is the inward rolling of the eyelid(s), usually resulting in the eyelashes or hair rubbing the surface of the eye. This rubbing can cause irritation, ulceration, or minor scratches. This condition is serious. The irritation can cause swelling which further complicates the condition, therefore early treatment is critical. Surgical correction is the most common course of action.

Elongated Soft Palate:

The soft palate is a continuation of the palate forming the roof of the mouth. If a dog is born with this structure being too long, it can restrict the airflow into your Pug's lungs. This condition can be evaluated under anesthesia by a veterinarian. This condition can frequently be surgically corrected.

Slipped Stifles (patellar luxation):

The patella (kneecap) is a small bone which guards the knee joint. The patella sits in a groove in the femur, and is held in place by a combination of ligaments and muscles. This bone can slip out of position due to injury, poor alingment, weak ligaments, or insufficient grove in the femur. Generally the dog will limp, carry the leg off the ground, or hop when running. If the problem is severe it can necessitate surgery. Patellar luxation can be either hereditary or due to injury.

Dry Eye:

While normal dog eyes are lusterous - dogs with dry eye have eyes lacking in luster and appear textured. This condition is caused by the lack of tear production. This can be due to lack of nerve stimulation of the tear glands, failure of the tear glands, or blockage of the ducts that carry the tears to the eyes. Full diagnosis can only be performed by a Veterinarian to determine the cause. Treatment will be dependant upon the cause and severity of the condition.

Bilateral Cataracts:

Cataracts in dogs can be identified as opaque spots on the lens of the eye. These spots may cause total or partial loss of vision. Some cataracts are hereditary while others are not. In some cases surgery may help the dog recover.

Corneal Ulcers:

Any scratch or injury to a dog's eye can result in an ulcer. Ulcers must be treated by a veterinarian immediately or there will be some loss of sight. Only a veterinarian can determine the best treatment or combination of treatments for your dog. Some lines of pugs appear to have more eye problems than others.

Demodectic skin mites (Demodectic mange):

Pugs have a high incidence of demodectic mange, especially when they are still puppies. Mange does require a veterinarian to treat it. When demodectic mange occurs it may take one of two forms. The localized form usually occurs in dogs under one year old.


Some dogs have a double row of eyelashes. These double eyelashes normally occur on the lower eyelid. Their presence causes irritation of the eye similar to that of Entropion. Surgery is required for correction.

Encephalitis :

Encephalitis is the medical term for inflammation of the brain which can cause seizures. This is a very serious condition and should only be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian.

Generalized Progressive Retinal Atrophy:

PRA is a hereditary eye disease causing the breakdown of the cells of the retina. The breakdown is gradual leading to mid-life (age 5-7) blindness. Many breeders have their dogs screened for this condition.

Hip Dysplasia:

The hip joint is a ball and socket connection. If the joint is malformed the head of the femur will not properly align with the cup of the hip socket. This misalignment can range from mild to severe. In mild cases, with proper diet and exercise the animal can lead a full and active life. In more severe cases surgical correction or euthanasia are the only alternatives. The most common indications of hip dysplasia, in small dogs, is when the dog older. Generally with this late-life onset surgical correction is never required. Your veterinarian can X-ray your dog's hips for evaluation.
Black Pugs

While we have chosen to limit our breeding program to the fawns, this is a matter of personal choice...there is certainly nothing wrong with a black pug. In fact, they are beautiful dogs. The following is intended to provide some information on black pugs and the intricacies of breeding black pugs. Please read on if you are considering purchasing or breeding this type of pug.

Generally, it is not acceptable to breed a black pug to a fawn. Crossing colors will not improve the pigment of a fawn, head or substance on black pugs or the coat and color of either type. This is because the color genes behind fawn and black pugs are blue, black, liver, yellow, brown, white, silver fawn, tan, and apricot-fawn. Because of the wide array of colors involved, it is important to know that improper breeding can destroy the proper color genes in pugs, which is why we are seeing so many odd colored pugs these days.

If a fawn is bred to a black, a breeder may luck out and have two clear black puppies, but what about the rest of the litter? Over the years, there have been pugs born out of these types of breedings that have been zebra striped, black and white, fawn with black heads, black with fawn legs, fawn with white legs, and almost any combination imaginable. This is simply not acceptable, and an example as to why careful breeding is so important.

A pug should be double coated, and there are too many pugs being shown with single coats. This is due to black and fawn crosses. Most black pugs are single coated - blacks having fewer hair follicles to the inch than fawns - and due to these crosses, we are seeing more fawns with single coats. These type of crosses obviously will not improve the quality of blacks, but will reduce the strength of both black and fawn lines. Coat and pigment color will be diluted, and smudgy pugs will result. By breeding a fawn to a black, you will see a washed out coat that is extremely light, white toenails and a mask that is not as black as it should be - that is, even if you have a clean coat to begin with. Most of the time, the coats will be smudgy, and the blacks will have fawn or rusty hairs running through their coats.

A breeder develops a pure, sound black line by breeding black to black. If interested in a black pug, be sure to check the pedigrees of the dam and sire to see what lines the pup comes from. Ask your breeder about cross breeding and where his/her lines have come from. A reputable breeder will be glad to answer these questions and more for you.

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