Pug Dogs - Beauty of a Different Sort

Multo en Parvo - a lot of dog in a small space. This Latin phrase is often used to describe the playful clown of the dog world, the irrepressible Pug. A tiny package of bundled energy, the pug’s bulldog-like stance belies his classification as a ‘toy’ sized breed. Even with his overtly distinctive looks, it is the pug’s amazing personality that sets him apart from other breeds.

Delightfully friendly, pugs have an aesthetic quality that is uniquely their own. Their wrinkled faces, short snouts, curled tails and solid bodies have helped earn the Pug instant recognition on the street. Few breeds of dog are as distinctive as the pug; the common use of the term “pug ugly” suggests how recognizable the pug truly is. Even within the breed, however, variations on appearance exist. While some of these variations are plainly visible to the casual observer, true Pug enthusiasts will often notice the more subtle differences.

The Pug is most commonly “fawn” (sometimes referred to as apricot) in color; a shade resembling a creamy tan. Fawn pugs have black faces and a single black band running the length of their backs. Pug which are entirely black are less common than their fawn counterparts, but are hardly rare. The infrequency of silver colored pugs leads many non-enthusiasts to believe that the pug is limited in shade to fawn or black. Apart from the color of his coat, a pug may be single or double coated. Double coated pugs have both a silky outer coat and a downy undercoat. In both cases, the hair is short and the dog sheds year-round, requiring frequent brushing.

Even closer inspection of the dog will reveal either “rose” or “button” shaped ears, the latter being described as gently folded over and generally consider to be the more desirable of the two forms. Lastly, one of the most playful and recognizable features of this unique breed is his curly tail. The tail of the pug winds into a tight curl slightly to one side and over his hip. The more tightly curled the tail is, the better and the rare double curl is considered perfect. Bobbing slightly with his perky stride, the tail wags freely but only uncurls when the dog is sleeping or distressed.

Regardless of the physical specifics of the pug, it is this breed’s personality that ultimately wins over so many owners. The breed engenders tremendous breed loyalty among owners. Not ranked among the more intelligent breeds, the pug is none the less lovable. His enthusiasm and eagerness to please are remarkable. Truly a lover of human company, the pug will usually insist on being as close as possible to owners, friends, or even total strangers - even becoming somewhat pushy if resisted. Of course, this quality in combination with the infrequency of his bark limits the pug’s effectiveness as a watchdog. Bred as lap dogs, pugs can easily become anxious if left alone too frequently or for too long. They require considerable attention to satisfy their appetite for company. Their appetites are not limited to company however. Pugs love to eat. In fact, for many pugs, there is very little they love more. For this reason and perhaps because of their irresistible buggy eyes, it is common for pet pugs to be overweight.

A lot of dog in a small space, truly the pug has won a place in the heart of dog-lovers and casual observers alike. The unique physical characteristics are only outmatched by his childlike personality and affectionate manner. While upkeep of a pug can be challenging, the rewards seem to more than offset the extra effort.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dogs

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