BBC Breakfast Interview

We were invited to speak to BBC Breakfast about Pugs this week.

We spoke about the appeal of the pug. Pugs are an ancient breed, possibly one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. As we all know, they are loyal, loving, entertaining, fun, cuddly, lively, calm, clowns, understanding, alert, ambitious, astute, attentive, brave, joyful, logical, disciplined, peaceful, vibrant, warm, honest and simply the best companion.

Health

Holly Hamilton spoke to us about the problems with bad breeding and that some pugs can have very narrow nostrils that could even require surgery to widen the nasal passages. It is so important to do your research before choosing a pug, and even look at rescuing one. Make sure that you only go to reputable breeders and please opt for a pug that has less wrinkling and open nostrils, always make sure your pug does not get overweight too.

The breed standard highlights the following: Nose black, fairly large with well open nostrils. Wrinkles on forehead clearly defined without exaggeration. Eyes or nose never adversely affected or obscured by over nose wrinkle. Pinched nostrils and heavy over nose wrinkle is unacceptable.

History

According to the London Zoological Society, the Pug is one of the oldest dog breeds in the world. Ancient Chinese documents state that short-nosed dogs with the description matching that of the Pug existed in China at around 700 BC. These dogs were only breed and owned by the emperors. It is believed there is an ancient Chinese law whereby only the emperor was allowed to own a Pug, anyone other than the emperor could only own a pug if it was a gift from the Emperor himself, Illegal ownership of a Pug was punishable by death. The Pug had their own living quarters and servants within the royal palace and commanded the highest respect. Emperor, Ling (168-190 AD) was so taken that he gave these small dogs ranks, the females received the same rank as his wives. He also ordered that these small dogs are to be guarded by soldiers and fed only the best meat and rice.

Pugs remained popular through the 18th century, but slipped in popularity in the early 19th century. After 1860 a new wave of pugs were imported from China with shorter legs and the now-familiar "pug nose". There Popularity again grew when pugs became a favourite of Queen Victoria - who banned the cropping of pugs ears, feeling it was unnecessarily cruel.

In the mid 20th Century pugs again seemed to go out of fashion but again started to make a comeback after the 1997 Hollywood movie Men in Black starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones where a fawn Pug played the part of Frank the alien. This role was later expanded in the 2002 sequel Men in Black II.

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