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

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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

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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

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Pugs will make you laugh.

23-4 laughing pug

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

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Like the one below, for instance.

23- pug sleeps on back

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

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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/

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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The Very Best Ear Cleaner

When I’m confronted with cleaning multiple pugs’ ears, I often miss one of my pre-pug dogs, a little mixed-breed named Lapsi (pronounced Lopsy). The reason for this will become clear in a moment.

Here’s Lapsi as a puppy.

20-1 Lapsi puppy

Lapsi was a short-legged fuzz ball with a slightly curly, coarse and bristly coat. By the time she was an adult, her two-inch-long, grayish-blond hairs stuck out all over her body, making her look as though she’d sprayed her hair with a fixative without first brushing it – or that she’d stuck her snout in an electric socket and then used hair spray on it. Unfortunately, I have no good photos of Lapsi, for I had only disposable cameras in the pre-digital years that she graced our family – and I was a lousy photographer.

Here’s Lapsi as an adult.

20-2 Lapsi fuzzball.

Lapsi’s most remarkable characteristic was that she was consumed with the need to clean all the resident dogs’ ears (and we had up to 5 others, including foster dogs, in addition to Lapsi). Her obsession extended to the hygiene of the other holes in her canine friends’ heads: Along with their ears, she washed everyone’s eyes and nostrils at least once daily. She did this with her extremely agile and incredibly long tongue. I once saw her trying to extend her cleaning (and her tongue) into her best dog-friend’s mouth.

The friend, Tatiana or “Tat,” was the consequence of a late-night lustful assignation between a show-quality female Basset hound and a fence-jumping male Labrador retriever. She’d inherited the face and golden-brown coat of her Lab sire, or father, along with the short, crooked legs and drooping ears of her Basset dam, or mother. Actually, she looked like a Lab whose legs had been sawed off half-way. After meals, she also bore a remarkable resemblance to a very fully-stuffed sausage, elevated on top of four short stumps.

Tatiana, or Tat, the Grande Old Dame of the House

20-3 Tat sit

Tat, the Grande Old Dame of the house, stoutly refused Lapsi’s proffered service of a mouth cleaning – evidently she did not want to surrender any food crumbs that might still be there. Otherwise, Tat appreciated her little roommate’s cleaning services.

Given the opportunity, Lapsi would happily bathe the cranial orifices of humans as well as dogs. In unguarded moments, I briefly experienced Lapsi’s cleaning technique for the ears and nostrils. I definitely did not find the procedure as pleasurable as Tat did. In fact, I sought to avoid a repeat performance – ever. I had to be quite vigilant, though, for whenever Lapsi noticed anyone’s cranial cavities within her reach, she’d whip out her elongated oral appendage, faster than the eye could follow; and she’d be busily and deeply scrubbing away before her patient knew what was happening.

This canine ear-eye-and-nose cleaner masterfully worked her tongue like a wet, high-speed drill, reminiscent of the one in my dentist’s office – and I speak from experience with both tools. When Lapsi caught me off-guard and started scouring my ear, I feared she’d bore a hole all the way through my brain. The procedure tickled so much that I was practically helpless to stop her, and my efforts to dislodge her while I was weak with laughter only encouraged her to bore faster and farther. Lapsi also cheerfully tried to wash any available nostrils, canine or human, thereby providing the patient with the added sensations of gagging and suffocating.

From puppyhood through old age, Lapsi kept our other dogs’ ears so clean that they had no ear infections throughout the years she was with us. So, while I’m pouring ear cleaner into pugs’ ears, I often reminisce about how Lapsi did a better job of cleaning ears –and how she got a lot more pleasure from doing it than I ever have.

Some of Lapsi’s “patients” are shown below.

20-4 tish, tat, laps, M&B           20-5 Penny & Lapsi       20-7 Lucy

 20-8 Scotty   20-9 Rosebud   20-6 Bozo

 

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.