Pugs, Pugs, Pugs!

Non-pug events have taken over my life for a while, so for today, I’ll just share some pug photos that other folks have posted on the internet. You may want to check out their websites for more photos. Another website with many, many links to pug photos is https://www.google.com/search?q=pug+images&biw=1600&bih=799&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwjJzYHI6e_LAhVHHB4KHTiTACQQ7AkIMA#imgrc=hzo5JofXcUV

The photos I’ve chosen (below) show the variety and versatility of this breed.

The most usual colors of pugs are black and fawn; fawn is the most common.

23- Black & fawn pugs

Photo from http://rack.0.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE1LzA0LzAxLzA5L3B1Z3MuMDE5NGQuanBnCnAJdGh1bWIJOTUweDUzNCMKZQlqcGc/afbd5acd/740/pugs.jpg


About 10 percent of pugs are black.

23-2 young black pug

photo from http://www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/five-universal-personality-traits-of-the-pug-dog.html


Pugs also come in a shade of fawn called “apricot.”

23-apricot pug

Photo from  http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/4f/17/32/4f1732dd5aa5f82290c4910c737f1c9f.jpg


Pugs will make you laugh.

23-4 laughing pug

photo from http://lifestyleinindia.com/top-6-dog-breeds-to-help-you-fight-depression


Like the one below, for instance.

23- pug sleeps on back

photo from http://www.ccnl.emory.edu/greg/images/sleep.jpg


Many pugs tolerate or even like to be dressed up.

This lovely lady shows off her Halloween costume.

23-5 Pug costume

photo from http://barkpost.com/pug-halloween-party/


This one is dressed up as a pug!

23-6 pug dressed as pug

photo from http://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahjewell/pugs-who-just-want-halloween-to-be-over#.mvz5lnbKQ


Pugs love to snuggle with each other, as well as with their humans.

23-7 baby pugs snuggle

photo from https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/53/d5/a9/53d5a98fceea33596173e9dfe1900a60.jpg


Nevertheless, some pugs are quite athletic.

23-8 athletic pug

photo from https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/32/c9/c9/32c9c9ff51eba5e3ada56a810cadbdfb.jpg


While others are not….

23-9 obese pug

photo from https://i.ytimg.com/vi/hYsYuRBxRSQ/maxresdefault.jpg

Whatever they look like, pugs are easy to love!


How did pugs lose their snouts?

How did pugs lose their snouts? It certainly wasn’t through Darwinian natural selection. I can’t think of a single advantage for a dog that comes with not having a snout, other than – and I realize that this may be debatable – having an absolutely adorable face.

Sarah 1 yr. face closeup lightjpg

(I dare you to say that Sarah’s face is not adorable!)

On the other hand, there are distinct advantages that come with having a protruding snout. Our pug Sarah certainly could use that narrow, somewhat cone-shaped facial extension to help her reach a morsel of food that has rolled under the couch, to scratch a just-out-of-reach itch with her teeth, and to perform a number of other actions in her daily dogly life.

As you can see below, Sarah can hide her entire “snout” (as well as the rest of her head) in her food bowl, which is 4 ½ inches in diameter and 2 inches deep. This is one of the few uses she has for her truncated snout.

Ch15 # Sarah & bowl

So, why are Sarah and her kin so deficient in such an important anatomical area?

The reason, I learned, rests with the history of the pug breed, which involved overturning the natural evolution that had resulted in dogs having protruding muzzles, or snouts. Over 2,000 years ago, dog breeders in Tibet, then a province of China, developed the pug as a companion for kings and queens, concubines and courtiers. They wanted a dog with the size and appeal of a human infant, one the royal ladies would enjoy carrying around in their arms; and they wanted a dog with the temperament to enjoy being carried around by t them.

So then, what accounts for the pug’s regal history? Well, before modern times, who other than the royalty could afford to house and feed a dog that couldn’t pay for its keep? Other dog breeds were developed to help their human masters accomplish specific and necessary tasks. For example, collies were bred to herd sheep; bloodhounds, to track game; and terriers, to dispatch varmints. Not so for pugs. A pug’s job is simply to allow itself to be coddled and cuddled and carried about, as in bygone days, only aristocrats had the time to do.

M & 3 pugs on deck cropped light

Above, I benefit from the sweet temperament bred into pugs by Tibetan monks. Sarah is on the left, Harley in the middle, and Duchess on the right.

To make that fetchingly flat face with those large front-facing eyes, so like a human infant’s, the Chinese selectively bred dogs who had short snouts with others who shared this characteristic. They did this for generations of dogs. The snout got shorter with each generation; and voila! The pug was created. Then, after centuries of being cherished canine companions of the Chinese nobility, pugs were introduced to the castles and courts of Europe, where they were received with open arms – which, of course, is exactly where pugs like to be.

Nonetheless, the snouts of early pugs were not as short as those of modern ones. In paintings from the 1700s and 1800s, pugs had snouts – shorter than most dogs’ snouts, I’ll grant you, but their snouts definitely protruded more than they do on today’s pugs.

Caspar von Reth, 1890

This painting by Caspar Von Reth, above, shows a pug circa 1890. This pug definitely had a visible (and presumably functional) snout.

As pugs trotted along through the 1900s and into the 2000s, their snouts continued to shrink, getting still shorter. Pug fanciers and dog show judges appeared to prefer dogs with even flatter faces, so breeders complied by again using sequential breeding to squash pugs’ snouts (genetically, not mechanically!) even farther backward toward the skull.

And this is what resulted for Sarah, born in 2002.

DCF 1.0

Snort – Snort – Snort – Snooooort!

When I started the process of re-doing this website, I didn’t realize that the posts I’d previously written would disappear. Since I’m back online again, I see that I have some new readers – Welcome! Because I can’t refer you to past posts, I’m going to “recycle” some content about pugs. So, if you’ve followed my blogs from the beginning, some parts of my posts may sound familiar to you – starting with the one I’m posting today.

Thank you for visiting this site!

Maija Harrington

Snort – Snort – Snort – Snooooort!

DCF 1.0

Sarah and I get ready for bed.

“I can’t stand that snoring!” my husband Bill bellows, waking me from a deep, solid sleep as he untangles Sarah, the pug entwined around my neck – as he prepares to evict her from our bed. For me, Sarah’s snoring is as soothing as a kitten’s purr. I love to fall asleep with her snoring in my ear. To me, it’s like listening to a lullaby; for Bill, it definitely is not.

Bill does agree that Sarah can display a wide range of melodic sounds while she sleeps; what he objects to is being jolted awake several times a night by the snoring equivalent of the crescendo opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony: “snort – snort – snort – snooooort!” Bill claims that whenever 15-pound Sarah snores, the hanging light fixtures sway, the papers blow off his desk, and the crockery clatters in the cabinets. I sleep soundly through it all until Bill wakes me up to complain about it.

Pugs, of course, aren’t the only dogs who snore. Their flat-faced friends, such as Boston terriers and Pekingese dogs, also are known for their excellent impersonations of buzz saws. It’s the squashed-in faces of these dogs that make them top contenders for the gold medal in snoring. Technically, such breeds are brachycephalic, or “short-headed.” Unlike most dogs, whose snouts extend forward, these dogs barely have snouts at all.

Ch7-01 Sarah sit cropped no snout

(As you can see, it’s almost improper to call the area around Sarah’s nose a “snout.”)

As a result of being bred specifically for a short snout, today’s pug has a snout that barely extends beyond the eyes. The long-gone long snout was, in past generations, covered by skin that stretched across the muzzle from the eyes to the far-away nose. However, breeders couldn’t shrink all the facial skin to fit the revised, now only slightly protruding snout. The leftover skin – quite a lot of it – formed wrinkles on the pug’s face. And it’s that mashed-in, wrinkle-wrapped snout that is largely responsible for the snoring of Sarah and her brachycephalic brethren.

S&H on leaves 2004

Here, Sarah’s “brother” Harley (L.) and Sarah (R) show off their facial wrinkles.

What’s more important is that, in addition to the wrinkles that are visible on the outside of their faces, pugs have wrinkles of mucosal tissue on the inside. These wrinkles extend from the mouth and nasal passages to the throat; and pugs must breathe past these wrinkles. As the wrinkled mucosa blocks the inflowing and outgoing air, the moving air causes the wrinkles to vibrate. The resultant sound is snoring – the source of marital disagreements.

Next time, the topic will be about why pugs lost their snouts in the first place.

The Funny Tail

Funny Tails: How Canine Comedy Helped Me Cope with Personal Tragedy is the story (not yet published) of how our three pugs have helped me deal with a painful neurological illness that cost me my career as a nursing professor – and was expected to cost me my life. The book also provides education about pugs and their special issues. Here’s a short excerpt:

The Funny Tail

The pug has an extraordinary tail: it’s a cute and comical but perfectly functional appendage. That’s not to say that a pug could use it to swish flies off her hindquarters, but that isn’t the purpose of a dog’s tail, anyway.

Our pug Sarah’s tail curves upward and over her back in a round coil that usually stands straight up, like a bagel balancing upright on a plate.

  Ch3 #2 Sarah tail

It’s also quite acceptable for a pug’s tail curl to lie flat on the pug’s back, like a bagel or a round Danish pastry lying on a plate.

Ch3 #3 Chariie Tail

For a pug with a shorter tail, you might envision a bagel, flat on the plate, but with a bite taken out of it. It’s much less common for a pug to have a tail that forms a double coil; this is highly valued by dog show judges. (I’ve yet to see one.)

And yes, a pug can and does wag that coiled tail. Wagging just looks different when a pug does it. Sarah’s coil stays neatly in place as it bobs from side to side atop her back, while the base of her tail does the wagging. Some pugs, however, can whip their tails around in such a frenzied wag that they nearly succeed in uncoiling them, leaving only a slight curve at the tip.

At times, Sarah unwinds her tidy tail curl into a loose, limp “J.” If the “J” coils right back into a corkscrew when we offer her a treat, it’s probably nothing to worry about. If it stays down, some investigation is in order, for this usually means that she isn’t feeling her best, whether it’s physically or emotionally. Sarah’s tail coil, for instance, comes unglued whenever it’s time for a toenail clipping, which she dreads. Whenever I put on her harness, her tail also shows me how she feels about wearing it, as you can see from the photo below.

Ch6-03 Sarah tail down 

Fortunately, once her leash is on and we start to go out the door, her tail instantly springs to attention, back up in a neat coil, as in the first photo.

(And, yes, most pugs love to be scratched at the base of the tail, where it’s impossible for them to reach themselves.)

Additional Reviews of Funny Tails

I’ve received two more reviews of  Funny Tails. I’ll add them to my “Reviews” page, but here they are for now:

The first one is by Dr. Elliot Engel, English professor and author of ten books, including Reigning Cats & Dogs: The Pets That Rule our Lives:

“Maija Harrington’s FUNNY TAILS had mine wagging from Page One.  Here’s a story with a double dose of inspiration:  from her valiant struggle to cope with an extremely serious central nervous system disorder to her loving and hilarious descriptions of her furry, four-legged coping mechanisms named Sarah, Harley, Duchess, and Bozo. When her physician tells her to get her affairs in order she certainly does–by beginning love affairs with a series of delightful pugs. Her story will definitely appeal to pug-lovers specifically, dog-lovers in general, and all lovers of just dog-gone great writing.”


The review below is by Hazel Carter, author of A Dog In A Million, My Life with Connie info@hazel-carter.co.uk   www.hazel-carter.co.uk :

“This beautifully written book is about the author’s love of Pugs and her work with pug rescue. It also covers her own painful and life threatening disease and how it changed her life.

This book really is about the dogs. It covers the history of Pugs and explains why they have their present conformation and, sadly, associated health problems. There is lots of information about the character of these delightful little dogs

Maija’s dedication, care and love for her own and the foster pugs she has lived with, is apparent throughout the book. There are wonderful descriptions of their different temperaments, behaviour and games. There are also graphic descriptions of how she has had to deal with some of the more unpleasant health problems. However there are some very amusing descriptions of Maija’s unsuccessful attempts at dog training, as well as her successes.

There is an explanation of pug rescue and how it works, including some of the sad and difficult situations Maija has helped with. She also explains some of the reasons why people decide to re-home their dogs, in a sympathetic, non-judgmental way.

Early in the book Maija describes clearly and calmly how her painful, potentially fatal disease started that led to the end of her career and start of a new life. The battle with her horrendous medical issues, including painful treatments, continues all through the book; however it is the company and comfort of the dogs that help her over difficult times. After looking after her daughter’s pug, Florence, she decided to have her own pug that would be easy to handle with her ongoing medical condition. Sarah, an eleven month old puppy, joined the household which was the start of Maija’s commitment to Pugs.

Throughout the book Maija describes in detail what life is like with the family of pugs. This includes many humorous accounts of their antics. It is clear that Maija is dedicated to their daily care.

I would highly recommend this interesting and informative book to all dog lovers and particularly to anyone who is thinking of owning a pug. The book covers simply everything a potential owner should know about this breed including its delightful character and most importantly all the health problems from which Pugs can suffer.”