Thought to have originated in Asia over 2,000 years ago, Pugs are considered purebred dogs, which means they are their own breed and not the result of mixing other breeds. Though Pugs themselves are purebred, their sweet temperament and cute features make them prime candidates for cross-breeding, and there are many mixed-breed dogs out there that are part Pug.
Pugs are one of the oldest recognized dog breeds, with records of their existence dating as far back as 400 B.C. It is generally agreed that the Pug originated in Asia, due to their appearance on old Asian scrolls. Buddhist monks in Tibet were the first people known to keep Pugs as pets, and soon the breed spread across Asia. Sometime in the 1500s, when Europe began trading with Asia, the Pug found its way to Holland, and soon became popular all over the continent.
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Pugs are the largest of the "toy" dog breeds. Weighing in between 14-18 pounds and reaching a height of between 10-11 inches at the shoulder, the pug is a robust and stocky little animal. Characteristically, the Pug has a large head and deep-set wrinkles on its face that need to be cleaned daily to prevent infections. All Pugs have short fur that can range from black to a light tan in color. Tan-colored Pugs usually have black masks on their face, as well as black ears.
Due to centuries of inbreeding, Pugs have developed some distinctive health issues. Their pushed-in face can cause them difficulty breathing, and they have a particularly hard time keeping cool in hot weather. Pugs can be susceptible to mange, and their bulging eyes are prone to getting scratched. In fact, it is recommended that Pugs do not share homes with cats, due to the increased risk of injuring their eyes.
Not only are Pugs well-loved as a purebred dog, they have also been gaining popularity as a candidate for cross-breeding. There are three main kinds of Pug mixes being bred: the Puggle, a cross between a Pug and a Beagle; the Chug, a cross between and Pug and a Chihuahua; and a Bugg, a cross between a Pug and a Boston Terrier. These "designer dogs" are popular because while they share many characteristics with their parents, they are stronger than purebreds and tend to lack the health problems caused by inbreeding.