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Pug - History, Temperament, Health

pugs century dogs disease


Pugs were originally bred as lap dogs for Chinese emperors. The popularity of pugs soon spread to Tibet, Japan, and Europe. Pugs were first imported in the late 16th century by merchants. The Pug became the “official dog” of the House of Orange in 1572, after a Pug saved the Prince of Orange’s life by alerting him to an assassin. When Wiliam III and Mary II left to take the throne of England, they traveled with a Pug. Pugs were painted by Goya in Spain. In Italy, it was not uncommon for Pugs to be dressed in matching jackets with their owners.


The Pug became a popular dog in France throughout the 18th century. Marie Antoinette owned a Pug named Mops prior to her marriage with Louis XVI. Joséphine, wife of Napolean Bonaparte, used her Pug, Fortune, to carry concealed messages to her family while she was imprisoned. Fortune, the Pug, was the only visitor Joséphine was allowed. Noted English painter, William Hogarth, owned a number of Pugs. His self-portrait includes the likeness of his Pug, Trump. In England, during the 19th century, Queen Victoria helped to spread the popularity of Pugs with her own dogs that she bred herself. Some of her famous doggies include, Venus, Minka, Pedro, Fatima, and Olga. Queen Victoria is credited with helping to establish the Kennel Club in 1886. The Pug came to the United States in the 19th century.


Though Pugs are a very sociable breed, they can also be stubborn. Pugs are well-known for their success in mastering dog obedience skills. Because Pugs are so sensitive to the tone of a human voice, harsh punishment is not normally utilized. Pugs prefer the company of humans to other pets and dogs and require much attention. Pugs are “very clingy” and tend to shadow their owners.


Many health problems are encountered by the Pug owner. Due to the flat nose and lack of skeletal brow ridges, Pugs very easily injure their corneas from scratching. The short noses also lead to the development of breathing problems and are vunerable to extremes in temperature. Pugs are prone to becoming obese. Pugs can also suffer from a chronic form of a brain inflammation, specific to the breed called Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE). The cause for the disease is not known, though many believe it is inherited. There is also no cure for the disease. Most Pugs are euthanized or die within a matter of months from this disease. Pugs can also have problems with their vertebrae. Many Pugs need help in the birth giving process as they are unable to properly clean the puppies because of their flat noses. Pugs can live from ten to fifteen years.

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