The Pug is a popular breed of domestic dog which originated from China. In ancient China Pugs were bred to be companion dogs for the ruling families, pet Pugs were highly regarded by Chinese emperors and lived a life of luxury often guarded by soldiers. Pugs later spread to other parts of Asia, with Buddhist monks in Tibet keeping Pugs as pets in their monasteries.

Pugs were introduced into Europe in the 16th century and soon became popular across the continent. In the Netherlands after a Pug called Pompey saved the life of the Prince of Orange by alerting him to approaching assassins, the Pug reportedly became the official dog of the House of Orange.

When William III and Mary II left the Netherlands in 1688 to accept the throne of England, they brought their pet Pug with them, and the Pug soon became popular. Around this time the Pug may have been bred with the old type King Charles Spaniel, giving the modern King Charles its Pug like characteristics. English painter William Hogarth was a devoted Pug owner, his 1745 self-portrait which is in London’s Tate Gallery includes his Pug called Trump.

The Pug grew in popularity all across Europe, in Spain they were painted by the artist Goya, and in Italy they were used to ride up front on private carriages, wearing jackets and pantaloons that matched those of the coach driver. During the 18th century in France, before her marriage to Napoleon Bonaparte, Josephine used her Pug called Fortune to carry concealed messages to her family while she was confined at Los Carmes prison, with Fortune alone having visiting rights.

In paintings and engravings of the 18th and 19th century Pugs usually appeared with longer legs and noses than they have today, This changed after 1860 when a new wave of Pugs were imported directly from China, they had shorter legs and the modern style Pug nose.

The breed flourished in the 19th century under the patronage of Queen Victoria, she had many Pugs which she bred herself, including Fatima, Minka, Olga, Pedro and Venus. Queen Victoria loved dogs in general and her involvement with them helped to establish the Kennel Club, which was formed in 1873. Her love of the Pug breed was passed on to other royals, including her grandson King George V and his son King Edward VIII.

The Pug arrived in the U.S. during the 19th century and soon became popular, making their way into family homes and the show rings. The American Kennel club recognised the breed in1885, and the Pug dog club of America was founded in 1931, which was recognised by the American Kennel club in the same year. In 1981 the Pug Dhandys Favourite Woodchuck won the Westminister Kennel club dog show in the U.S. the only Pug to ever win there.

Strong willed but rarely aggressive, the Pug is ideal for families with children, the breed in general is very fond of children and loves to play. Pugs are eager to please their owners and are sensitive and intuitive to their moods, like a shadow they will follow their owners around, craving affection and attention.

With its square body and well-developed muscles the Pug is physically distinctive with its wrinkly short muzzled face and curly tail, its glossy coat comes in a variety of colours, the most popular being fawn and black.

Because of its short snout and skeletal brow ridges, they are susceptible to eye injuries such as Proptosis, scratched corneas and painful entropion (a condition where the eyelid folds inward). They can also have breathing problems, due to their compact breathing passageways, this also means they are unable to regulate their temperature through evaporation from the tongue by panting.

The Pug will have a normal body temperature between 101f (38c) and 102f (39c), if temperature rises to 105f (41c) oxygen demand is greatly increased and immediate cooling is required, if not and the temperature gets any higher it can result in organ failure.

Pugs have elongated palates, so when they get excited they are prone to reverse sneezing, which causes them to gasp and snort. Reverse sneezing isn’t usually harmful and episodes can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes, massaging the throat or covering the dogs nose so it as to breathe through its mouth can help shorten reverse sneezing fits. Pugs have many wrinkles on their faces, so owners should regularly clean inside the creases to avoid irritation or infection.

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michael simpson

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