Could that little dog at the animal shelter be a Pug? It’s quite possible. According to the Humane Society of the United States, twenty-five percent of all abandoned dogs are purebreds. Considering that several million dogs are abandoned in America a year, that’s a lot of purebred dogs in shelters. You can help identify the breed or breeds of a shelter dog with the help of breed standards.
To best use a Pug breed standard, you need to look at the Pug’s face straight on and then look at the rest of the body in a profile. With most other breeds of dogs, you can just look at their profiles and then compare them to various breed standards. But the face of a Pug is essential to the breed and can only be best seen directly. Your shelter dog will not match the Pug breed standard exactly – but no Pug can. The breed standard is an ideal portrait of a Pug, not based on an actual Pug.
The adorable Pug pushed-in face is the subject of much controversy among dog lovers. It is argued that the current construction of the nose and mouth makes for a very unhealthy dog with a lot of breathing problems. Pet Pugs sometimes have longer noses than the breed standard calls for. However, until the breed standard is changed, all Pugs with nearly flat faces are considered the ideal Pug head.
Pugs have very broad skulls, button noses, huge black eyes and small, thin, velvety semi-floppy ears. Their heads are to be round, not apple shaped. Their faces are very wrinkly, like a Mastiff’s (only smaller and flatter). A lot of wrinkles are encouraged in the Pug breed standard. The coat is short, smooth and fairly glossy. The body should be bulldog like, shaped round and broad and the legs are short and even. The tail is a curly-cue resting on the back.
Another important aspect about Pugs featured in their breed standard is about their temperaments. This was a breed bred to be a companion pet, so they must get along very well with people and other dogs. Pugs are to be outgoing, even-tempered and full of charm. They love attention and often will move metaphorical mountains in order to be the center of everything. Although they are playful, they are not to get too carried away with silliness.
The breed standard is based on a fictional idea Pug, so almost every Pug you meet is going to come up short in one point or more. Common faults include too long a nose, too tall or heavy a dog, an overshot or even bite instead of the preferred undershot bite, dewclaws, not enough curl in the tail, and not the right color or the right amount of colors in proportion to the desired body part. These Pugs, although not being able to win show trophies, still can win your heart as a pet.