A New Owner's Guide to Pugs


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Pugs are delightful companions, full of character, and playful. They are intelligent dogs, which can create problems because they can become bored if they don't have enough to do. Pugs may also lose interest if training is too repetitive, though they learn fast. They like indoor games and attention, and can become very demanding if they are always petted on demand! Yet they are sensitive little dogs, and can cringe if owners use a harsh tone of voice. They are also not especially active indoors, so long as they have enough exercise.

Generally, Pugs are good with children, though small children should always be supervised with dogs. Pugs like company, and are sensitive to temperature extremes, so should not be left outside unattended for long periods. They are firm favourites with many owners, because they have so much character. They aren't usually especially barky, and are easy to groom, though they can shed a fair amount. Using a damp cloth on their coats helps to remove their short fur, and cuts down on the amount of hair shed in your home.

They may be slow to housetrain, and can fart a lot. Frequent short walks help speed up housetraining, and help with eliminating gas outside. Careful attention to diet also helps to make them less pongy - tripe-based foods are not recommended! As with Pekes, soya should also be avoided, because it tends to encourage the production of gas. The main problems with Pugs, however, stem from their vulnerability to health troubles.

Common health problems include skin trouble, allergies, respiratory problems, eye trouble, and difficulties giving birth. It's worth checking carefully for health troubles among the ancestors of any pup you are interested in, because of the propensity of the breed to suffer from health problems. If you want to keep visits to the vet to a minimum, it's far more important for the pup's ancestors to have lived to a ripe old age, than for them to have won prizes for looking cute! Unfortunately, as with Pekes, many of the problems of Pugs stem precisely from what the breed is meant to look like - the short nose and big eyes which make these breeds appealing, also make the dogs more vulnerable to breathing and eye trouble.

Rick Beauchamp is a breeder of Pugs, and gives an entertaining introduction to the breed. There's a lot of help with training and caring for your Pug, as well as a summary of the breed's history, and advice on showing. The book is also well illustrated.