31 Fascinating Facts That Prove Pugs Are Special
You may have noticed that pugs are pretty much everywhere these days. Once thought to be a relic of a bygone era, the dog breed’s popularity has gained steam in the past three decades — so much so that, of 197 dog breeds, the pug currently ranks No. 28 in popularity, according to the American Kennel Club.
Not only are they unique to look at, but they are also kind, loveable and oh so loyal! Check out these pug facts that highlight exactly what makes these dogs so special (something pug owners already know).
Pugs were bred to be lap dogs.
Pugs aren't workers or hunters, and they aren't much for exercise. They are happy to lounge around the home and spend much of their time sleeping.
In fact, they were originally bred for royal companionship and are the ideal lap dog.
They can live in pretty much any environment.
Today, this popular breed is found living everywhere, from large estates to small apartments.
Pugs are low maintenance, joyful dogs who can acclimate themselves to virtually any living situation.
They are an ancient breed.
Pugs are one of the oldest breeds, originating from China. They begin showing up in records dating as far back as 700 BC.
It is believed Chinese emperors carefully bred these small, cobby dogs from the mighty Tibetan Mastiff.
Anyone who attempted to hurt Emperor Ling To’s pug faced a death sentence.
Originally used as foot warmers (a trait seen in the dog even today), the pug was later also in the company of Buddhist monks in Tibet. As royal dogs, they lived the high life.
Emperor Ling To (168-190 AD) fed his pug the finest foods available and had palace guards watch the dog — anyone attempting to hurt or steal his beloved pet faced a death sentence.
They have 'royal' markings.
The Chinese considered the pug's facial wrinkles to be a hugely important feature of the breed and even gave the vertical wrinkles on the pug's forehead a name: the "Prince” mark (also known as a “thumb” mark) because they resemble the Chinese character for "prince."
Ancient breeders and royalty were superstitious and believed the dog's color and markings were symbolic. The pug's symmetrical forehead wrinkles — three horizontal lines met with a vertical line — further established its royal standing.
Pugs are known as 'mopshonds' in the Netherlands.
Pugs made their way to Europe in the 1500s through trade with China.
Dutch traders were responsible for coining the term "mopshond," which is still the dog's official name in the Netherlands.
Pugs were favorites of the aristocracy in Europe as well.
Once on European soil, pugs became an immediate hit with European aristocracy. William III and Mary II traveled to England to accept the throne with their pug in tow.
Marie Antoinette also had a pug named Mops, who she brought to France when she moved to Versailles from Austria, and Queen Victoria was also a fan — she had 36 of the dogs and was even a breeder!
The pug has its own motto.
How many breeds can you think of that have a motto?
Even though we don't know the exact origin of the Latin phrase "multum in parvo," as it pertains to the pug, we do know that it means "a lot in a little package,” which aptly describes the dog.
Pugs are the largest of the toy dog classification.
While small, pugs are the largest in the toy classification. And if you've ever owned a pug, you know that they have big-dog energy and end up owning you!
They are strong-willed dogs with larger-than-life personalities that command the presence of everyone around them.
A pug saved a prince.
William the Silent, Prince of Orange, was a Dutch leader who had enemies at every turn at the beginning of the Eighty Years' War for independence from Spain. In 1572, he was fast asleep in a battle zone with his dog, Pompey, nearby. Assassins attempted to sneak into his tent, and the dog barked, scratched and jumped on his master's head to alert him of impending danger.
William managed to escape, but he wasn't lucky for long. In 1584, he was assassinated, and it is said Pompey died of a broken heart three days later. William’s tomb was designed with Pompey lying at his feet, and the breed later became the mascot for the House of Orange.
A ‘grumble’ is a group of pugs.
While a group of dogs is known as a "pack," pugs have their own name for a grouping — three pugs or more are called a "grumble." The word is indeed catchy, but there is probable reason for this description.
Pugs make a lot of noise and not necessarily from barking. Because they are a brachycephalic breed with a short skull (and therefore nose) — their faces are pushed in to the point that they are flat in profile, causing the breed to snort and snarf constantly, or "grumble."
The word "pug" has many possible origins.
So, where does the word "pug" come from? It originates from the Latin term "pugnus," which means “fist.” That could describe the dog's small, wrinkled, round head.
However, it can also describe the marmoset 'pug' monkeys. They were popular pets during the 18th century and had the same large round eyes and flat faces as their canine counterparts. "Pugge" was also used as a term of endearment — and what's not adorable about a pug?
The double-curled tail is considered breed perfection.
The pug's tail indicates its mood — an unfurled tail usually means stress, exhaustion, illness or fear. When the dogs get older, their curly tails sometimes loosen with age. It is common to see them straight, but not all the time.
Pug tails curl within the first few weeks of a pup's life and a dog with a double curl is dog-show perfection. However, attempting to attain this can result in a tail that is, in fact, straight. Double-curled tails tend to have one large, loose curl, with a tighter second curl inside it.
There was an 'Order of the Pug.'
The Order of the Pug was a Catholic/Masonic society created by Clemens August of Bavaria in 1738 to defy a papal order that forbade Catholics from being Freemasons. The Order of the Pug was unusual in that it allowed women, which was rare at the time.
Members referred to themselves as "mops" and had to act like dogs to get in. Once inside, newcomers were blindfolded and led around while the real dogs barked to test their nerves. Once initiated — after kissing a porcelain pug's backside — members received a silver pug medallion.
A pug once bit Napoleon.
Josephine, Napoleon’s wife, had a little pug named Fortune. Although pugs have a reputation for being easy-going, friendly dogs, Fortune spent most of his time at Josephine's side, and over time, became possessive and hostile toward men when they were around her.
On the night of their wedding in 1796, when Napoleon and Josephine attempted intimacy, Fortune stepped in. Napoleon later said of the dog, “Do you see that gentleman? He is my rival. He was in possession of Madam's bed when I married her. I wished to remove him, but it was quite useless to think of it. I was told that I must either sleep elsewhere or consent to share my bed. That annoyed me considerably, but I had to make up my mind. I gave way."
Pugs have two types of ears.
Pugs’ ears are small, folded and black and feel smoother to the touch than their coat does. Their shape is usually either "rose" or "button," although there is a third variation called the "fly" ear, which is considered a breeding fault (though it doesn't hurt or impact the dog in any way.) A rose ear's fold is angled toward the dog's face, but it does not lie against it as the button ear does. The button ear fold is level with the top of a pug's skull and hangs flat against the face.
Depending upon where you are, one is preferential over the other in the show ring, although both rose and button ears are acceptable. However, the American Kennel Club, the Federation Cynologique Internationale and the Kennel Club of the U.K. all prefer the button ear.
Pugs can live for about 15 years.
This sturdy, boxy dog can live a long time (about 12 to 15 years).
While they are generally healthy throughout most of their lives, they do have a host of diseases and other health conditions that are sometimes genetic or exist as a result of how they’ve been bred over the decades.
They have a host of health problems due to being a brachycephalic breed.
Being a brachycephalic breed causes problems — pugs have breathing issues that can plague them throughout their lives; therefore, preventing obesity is a must. Joint and spinal problems are also common in pugs, which further emphasizes the need to keep their weight down.
Keeping their folds and teeth clean is also necessary, as they can be prone to bacterial infections, which can affect their organs if not treated.
They are drama queens when it comes to a nail trim.
If you have ever taken a pug to get their nails trimmed or tried it yourself, you know they scream like they're being kidnapped, but they often do this for show — they simply don't like the nail-trimming experience.
To be sure you're not hurting your pug when trimming their nails, ask your vet what the best clippers and techniques are. Also, make sure to use positive reinforcement so your pet eventually learns that the process isn't as traumatic as they think.
Pugs really, really shed.
Most dogs shed seasonally, but not the pug. They shed year-round, and the lighter the fur, the thicker their coat. There are 600 hairs on every square inch of their body (most breeds top out at 200 hairs per square inch, so you can expect these double-coated dogs to leave hair just about everywhere.
Pugs need consistent brushing and grooming to keep the shedding at bay. If you have allergies or are a neat freak, they may not be the dog for you, as it is not something that can be stopped entirely.
When it comes to food, they are about quantity over quality.
To say pugs love food is a bit of an understatement. When they aren't sleeping, they're eating, and when they're not eating, they're searching for food. Most pugs aren't selective — whatever you put in front of them appeals to their palate.
Quality food and controlled portions twice a day will keep the extra pounds at bay. Exercise works, too, but nothing too strenuous. Pugs only need 40 minutes to an hour a day of activity to keep them healthy.
Pugs snore louder than anyone you've ever met.
All brachycephalic dogs snore, but living with a pug is like living with a full-grown adult who shares your bedroom. They snore loudly with a capital "L."
Pug people get used to the sound and learn to love it, but if it’s too much for you, the best way to get shut-eye is to sleep in a different room than your dog. Keeping them at a healthy weight also helps, but you will never be able to rid them of the practice entirely — that's just how they're built.
They sleep a lot.
You may have an active pug, but they are content to be lap dogs for the most part, and they do love a lot of shut-eye. Pug puppies sleep about 18 hours a day, and even when they're adults, they still manage about 14 hours.
There's nothing wrong with sleeping, but if you want to keep your pug awake, keep them entertained with toys and plenty of interaction — and make sure to keep them hydrated with the right balance of nutrients to give them energy when they are awake.
They're not good swimmers.
Pugs can swim but not very well and not long. It's due to their anatomy — brachycephalic breeds instinctively tilt their head up to keep their noses above water. When they do this, their rear points down, almost vertically, and eventually, they start to sink.
Swimming is also too much exertion for a dog that already has problems breathing. Some pugs do love to swim, however — if you have one that does, keep your eye on them while they are in the water and outfit them with a life jacket.
Hollywood loves pugs.
These natural-born entertainers are known for their outgoing personalities and fun sense of humor.
Naturally, Hollywood has come calling, and they've been seen on the big and small screen in movies such as “Men In Black,” “The Adventures Milo and Otis,” “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and “The Secret Life of Pets,” among others.
One pug on Instagram has more than 4 million followers.
Pugs are also beginning to take over social media.
One of the biggest Instagram influencers of all time is Doug the Pug, who has 4 million followers and counting!
Pugs can't tolerate hot weather.
As they are brachycephalic and often obese, it's difficult for pugs to breathe, particularly in warmer weather, as they can't regulate their breathing well. They aren't outdoor dogs — they are very uncomfortable when temperatures exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat can cause increased heart rate, painting, restlessness, heatstroke or even death. It’s important to remember to keep your dog hydrated and in cool air as much as possible during the summer months.
They have a disease that's unique to them.
Pug dog encephalitis (PDE) is a fatal disease that causes inflammation of the brain. It is an inherited illness that is believed to be caused by an autoimmune disorder. One in eight pugs will develop PDE in their lifetime. Currently, there is no way to tell which dogs are affected.
Symptoms include seizures, collapse, behavioral changes, weakness, circling and disorientation, among others. While there is currently no cure, early diagnosis and treatment are essential for keeping your pet as healthy it can be for as long as possible.
They come in more colors than you think.
While the most common pug colors are fawn and black, there are a few other hues that you may see in a pug, including silver, apricot or even brindle. Some colors also mix, like silver-fawn or apricot-fawn. As pugs mature from puppyhood to adulthood, their coats may also change from dark to light or vice versa.
While you can still register your dog with the American Kennel Club, they will not be accepted in the show ring if their colors are not fawn or black. The rarer colors are considered disqualifications.
Their eyes can actually pop out.
Those big, bulgy, brown eyes are what draws us to pugs in the first place, but they are one of the more fragile parts of the dog. Because of the way their faces are structured, theyhave shallow eye sockets. With just the right amount of pressure, their eyes can dislodge.
If your pug’s eye dislodges, keep the area clean with a sterile eyewash, and get the dog to the vet immediately. Do not attempt to put the eye back in yourself. In many instances, the eye can be saved.
Pug owners are lifers.
Once you're a pug person, you're a pug person for life. There's never a dull moment with these charming, funny and cute dogs. They unconditionally love their owners and are friendly to nearly everyone they meet — they love kids, can acclimate to any living situation and are eager to be a well-loved member of any family.
If you're thinking of getting a pug but are not sure, know that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. You'll have a loyal friend who loves you unconditionally for life.