What is a Pug?

    (A version of this article appeared in the June 2013 edition of SHOWSIGHT.)
    pug head photo

    When I was asked to write this article, I thought, “What would people want to know about Pugs?”

    The breed originated in the Orient and dates back to the pre-Christian era. They were prized possessions of the Emperors of China and lived in a most luxurious atmosphere, at times even guarded by soldiers. Dutch traders brought Pugs from the East to Holland. In 1688, William II brought his Pug to England when he was crowned King. By 1790, the Pug’s popularity spread to France where Josephine, wife of Napoleon, depended on her Pug “Fortune” to carry secret messages under his collar to her family while she was imprisoned at Les Carmes.

    Queen Victoria of England had several Pugs, and to this day the Pug remains a favorite with royalty and discerning people all over the world. For many centuries, the Pug has been bred to be a companion dog and a pleasure to his owners. Black Pugs were imported from China and exhibited for the first time in England in 1886. The American Kennel Club first recognized the Pug in 1885.

    A Pug is very moldable, and wants to be very involved with your life and will adjust its lifestyle to fit yours. As he loves to please you, he is easily trained. They do well in AKC Companion events like Obedience, Rally, and Agility. They are known to be clowns and always make you laugh. If you don’t allow your Pug to get overweight, he can jump and retrieve very well. A Pug is always eager to please, eager to learn, and eager to love. His biggest requirement is that you love him back.

    Two combined photos: Left: pug sleeping on a purple blanket; right: pug lying on a counter.
    Howdy’s favorite pastime

    A Pug is very moldable, and wants to be very involved with your life and will adjust its lifestyle to fit yours.

    Pugs have an even temperament, exhibiting stability, playfulness, great charm, dignity, and an outgoing, loving disposition. If you want your Pug to run the marathon with you—okay. If you want the Pug that just snuggles on your lap watching Men in Black—okay. No other dog can equal the Pug in his virtues as a family pet. He appeals to mothers because of his natural cleanliness, intelligence, and the fact that he is a “Toy.” He appeals to fathers because he is a husky, sturdy dog needing very little upkeep. Children adore Pugs and Pugs adore children. They are not too delicate for fun and games. Older persons and shut-ins find them perfect as companions because their greatest need is to be by your side and be accepted into your way of life.

    When not keeping an eye on you, their favorite pastime is sleeping and, of course, they snore. They don’t like heat. If you are too warm and uncomfortable, they are also uncomfortable.

    Pugs are basically 24-hour companions. Once you own a Pug, you will find it very difficult to not have one with you all the time.

    Young girl sitting on a sofa with 3 Pugs in her lap
    Littermates with our granddaughter.
    • Del Richards grew up with a Dachshund, but his original AKC breeds were Pugs and Borzoi. His wife, Donnelle, and he obtained their first Pug in 1965 and their first Borzoi in 1968. Del has been a member of the Pug Dog Club of America since 1970 and is a founding member of the Northern California Pug Club. He is also a “Life Member” of the Borzoi Club of America. Their first Borzoi Champion also earned a Utility degree in Obedience. Del was active in the early days of open field coursing, and open field coursed with Borzoi, Afghan Hounds, Salukis, Irish Wolfhounds, Scottish Deerhounds, and Whippets. He helped with the creation of ASFA (American Sighthound Field Association) and Lure Coursing equipment (the original was a hand crank lure). He was instrumental in working with ASFA to have AKC recognize Lure Coursing as an official AKC event. In 1973, Del was approved as an AKC Licensed Handler. He remained active as an all-breed professional dog handler until retiring from handling in 1999 to become an AKC approved judge. He has shown and finished champions in breeds from every Group. He has owned the Pug, Borzoi, Papillion, Belgian Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever, Dachshund, Border Terrier, and Whippet breeds. Del is presently approved by AKC to judge all Sporting, Hound, Working, Terrier, and Herding breeds, all Miscellaneous breeds, Best in Show, and all-breed Junior Showmanship.

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