Breeding Pugs

Breeding PugsBreeding pugs is not for the inexperienced. The breed can be difficult at times, and an owner will need to be with their dog almost all the time as they go through pregnancy. There are lots of other things to consider when breeding pugs, too.

Choosing Healthy Pugs

In order to get a litter of healthy pugs with all the right features and characteristics, it’s essential that a breeder chooses a healthy dog to mate with. While pugs do have a generally flat face, it’s essential that two dogs with only an appropriately flat face are chosen to mate. Dogs with a face that is too flat will result in puppies that have breathing difficulties – and should those dogs ever mate, it will mean that more people go through the pain of living with an extremely ill dog.

So, a breeder will have to consider overall health of the dogs being used to produce the litter, and even have them checked over by veterinarians to ensure that their heart and lungs are healthy. Breeders should also check for an ‘overhang’ of the soft palate inside their mouth, which can block the dog’s airways. These are the kinds of things that regular owners may be unaware of, and should learn more about before considering breeding their pet.

Knowing the Right Characteristics

As well as choosing a healthy pug, a breeder should understand all the right characteristics. Two pugs that exhibit positive behaviour and are blessed with all the standard features as outlined by the American Kennel Club can produce healthy pugs.

One such characteristic is having broad nostrils. These wide nostrils help the dog breathe more easily, even with its short snout and flat face. The eyes must also not bulge too much – a dog that has bulging eyes may require surgery to ensure that their eye sockets can keep the eyeballs firmly in place.

The pug’s head should appear round from the side, and square from the front. The ears should also sit around the same level of his or her eyes.

In terms of the body, the toy breed should have a wide chest and shoulders – and the tail should be at the same height as those shoulders. There should be no angles or slopes – simply a horizontal line across the dogs back.

Supporting the body, a dog needs legs that are straight, solid and healthy. When the pug is walking, a breeder should look to see if any of the legs are swinging outwards. Legs should also never cross the path of other legs. Any signs of pain during walking are of course another bad sign. These are characteristics that should be bred out, to ensure that pugs can enjoy healthy, active lives.

Breeding Out Common Conditions

A common problem that pugs experience is Hemivertebra. This is a condition that is defined by a disruption in the spinal column. The severed or damaged connection in the spinal column means that pugs can appear healthy as young puppies, but begin losing their balance as they get older. In the most serious of cases, pugs will eventually begin collapsing and losing control of their legs altogether.

This condition sees the spine become pinched and curled, and while there is no cure, there are ways of making affected dogs more comfortable. However, breeders should be actively looking for ways to stop this problem from affecting future generations of pugs. It can’t be completely bred out, but breeders should look to the breeding history of each puppy to determine how likely it is that a litter will experience the problem.

Using a pedigree, a breeder can find out the names of a dog’s parents and grandparents, and learn more about their general health from there. Puppies that are born with Hemivertebra will usually have inherited it through one or both of the dog’s parents, showing just how important it is to perform health checks.

So with a full health check, a breeder can find two healthy pugs who will make a happy, healthy litter.

Chinese Pugs

Chinese PugPugs are Chinese in origin, but the term ‘Chinese Pug’ can mean a number of things. The term is used by some breeders and enthusiasts to simply describe the pug, whereas others would use the term to describe a pug that has been bred to have a particularly flat face.

The term ‘Chinese Pug’ is used as a result of the dogs originally being bred under the Shang Dynasty, between 1766BC and 1122BC. The dogs were originally bred as pets for royalty, and they were called either ‘Foo’ or ‘Lo-Chiang-Sze’. Much like they are today, pugs were often dressed up in clothes and garments by the Chinese royalty.

Interestingly, Qin Shi Huang, the very first Emperor of China, had all records of pugs destroys. This meant that all breeding records, names of the dogs and their owners, and even all paintings were completely destroyed.

Despite this, the ‘Chinese Pug’ moved to Tibet, where Buddhist monks took in the breed and kept them in their homes and temples. The first time the term ‘Chinese Pug’ was used, however, was during the 1500s when the Pug was brought to Europe and a new name was given to the breed.

Breeding programs were developed in Holland and England in an effort to protect and maintain the breed, but during this time, the appearance and ‘standard’ of the breed changed. This brings us to the second ‘meaning’ of the term.

The ‘Altered’ Chinese Pug

Ever since breeding programs for the pug began, there have been good breeders and bad breeders. Those who maintain good ethical standards will ensure that only healthy pugs breed and have offspring, ensuring that those purchasing the dogs get a healthy dog that will live to an average age of between 13 and 15.

Those who do not abide by ethical breeding standards, however, will often sell what they call ‘Chinese Pugs’ to unknowing buyers. These dogs will have physical alterations and differences compared to a healthy pug, including a flatter face that results in severe breathing problems.

Unethical breeders will take these physical differences, with all the health problems that come with them, and claim they are a common feature of the ‘Chinese Pug’. The flat facial structure, however, has never been typical of a traditional pug. There is no evidence to suggest that the original breed in China had a flat face – given that all documents were destroyed – but even just 300 years ago, the pug’s face was very different.

Famous English artist William Hogarth was featured in a 1745 painting with a pug, and the dog appears to have a relatively normal-looking nose, long front legs, a longer torso and wider chest compared to modern pugs. This is also true of other paintings before the beginning of the 20th Century.

Pug Care

Pug CareA pug is ideal for owners who don’t have time for maximum maintenance. While there are important elements of pug care that must be respected, a pug is typically easier to maintain than long hair dogs that need regular grooming and hair clipping.

Feeding a Pug

Pugs are small, which means they don’t need huge quantities of food. Pugs will happily eat wet food, but it’s unnecessary to feed a pug a raw diet. Most of these dogs will be happy to eat a high quality dry food that has a little warm water added to make the food moist.

As puppies, pugs should be fed three times a day, and when they turn six months old, they can easily move to twice a day. Adults pugs can be fed twice a day, but a single portion must be split in half. Feeding a pug two full meals per day is too much, and without exercise, the dog will become overweight.

If you’re unsure what food is best for your pug, speak to the breeder or your vet.

Grooming a Pug

A pug’s hair can be maintained with weekly brushing. The very short hairs are shed throughout the year, not just in the summer, meaning that constant brushing can avoid owners finding hairs all over the carpet and furniture.

Pugs also have claws that grow quickly, and so owners should file or clip them regularly to avoid them becoming painful or uncomfortable. Long nails can also crack.

Cleaning a Pug

A pug’s wrinkled skin, short snout and small ears mean it has very specific cleaning requirements. The ears should be checked on a regular basis, as a build of wax and dirt can cause infections.

Cleaning a pug’s wrinkles is essential, too. This breed has wrinkles all around its eyes, head, nose and mouth – and without cleaning, these wrinkles can become prone to sores and infections. Pugs that are not properly cleaned can also develop an odor that occurs as a result of yeast infections.

These infections will also result in skin becoming flaky, red and sore – but it can be avoided by simply cleaning the skin with a damp cloth or sponge. Using warm water, an owner can clean away dirt and stop these infections from starting. The wrinkles must also be dried after cleaning.

Exercising a Pug

This tiny little dog requires plenty of exercise. As a puppy, you should control your pug’s exercise and avoid long walks and running. At such a young age, this can cause joint problems as your dog gets older.

In adulthood, pugs love exercise. The breed should have two 20-minute walks every day if possible, but any more than that can cause the dog to overheat, particularly if the weather is warm. In the winter, a pug can benefit from a light coat.

During a walk, owners should pay attention to their dogs breathing. Even if a pug is finding it difficult to walk, or beginning to overheat, it will continue walking with its owner. If you hear your dog breathing loudly, it’s time to go home.

For a pug with weight issues, reducing their diet and slowly increasing the amount of time they spend walking will help improve their general health and allow them to go on longer walks.