This section is from the book "A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland. (Non-Sporting Division)", by Rawdon Briggs Lee. Also available from Amazon: A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland, Non-Sporting Division.
I think a pretty good idea of what a pug should be, is given in the drawing by Mr. Wardle which precedes this chapter. As a companion in the house, and for an occasional run into the country, no dog is better fitted than the pug. He is cleanly in his habits, has a pretty, soft coat, and nice skin; no foul smell hangs about him, and he is gentleness itself. He shows no ill-temper or moppishness, and the objectionable lolling out of the tongue and unpleasant snorting, which at one time were so common in this variety, is quickly disappearing. Of several pugs that I have owned or known, not more than one of them was addicted to either of these unpleasant habits. All were lively and tractable, and if not actually as intelligent as a highly-trained poodle, one pug I knew was quite accomplished in many little tricks he used to perform. No doubt had a professional trainer taken this little dog in hand it would have been able to earn more than its own living on the stage. Again, a pug can remain sweet and healthy on less open-air exercise than any other dog, and two of them will play about the dining room or nursery and amuse themselves as much as two terriers would by a scamper in the green fields.
The pug is not a hunting dog, except so far as tracking the footsteps of his fair mistress is concerned, but he has been known to take to the unladylike occupation of killing rats, which he has done as well as a terrier. Still, it is no part of the duties of a lady's lap-dog to soil his pretty mouth by contact with the most obnoxious of creatures, because we all know that perhaps the next minute he may be fondled and caressed by his owner. Although I have said a pug dog can do with comparatively little out-door exercise, still, he is better for as much as he can be given, for no dog has a greater tendency to put on fat, and reach a state of obesity, than the one of which I write. Whoever saw a pug dog thin and gaunt, with its ribs and backbone almost sticking through the skin? He always looks smooth, contented, and comfortable, eats well, and he should have as little meat and fat-producing food as possible. Some writers have given him the reputation of stupidity, but I do not believe him deserving of such an epithet. In the house and out of doors he is as sensible as any other dog, follows well in a crowd when properly trained, and is no more liable to lose himself than an ordinary terrier. Some friends of mine had what they called a pug, but she was not more than half or three-parts pure bred, who was particularly sensible. She would retrieve, kill rats, was fond of the gun, and liked a ride on the 'bus or tramcar so well that she continually would take one on her own account, which the kindly conductor allowed her to have gratuitously, the conditions of the "tram" company notwithstanding. This dog had the curly tail, fawn colour, and general appearance of a pure-bred animal, excepting that she was rather long in face. She lived to a great age, but as a rule the pug is not the longest lived of the canine race.
For a long time there was a fallacy abroad that the sex of the pug could be determined by the carriage and curl of the tail, the dog having his over on the right side and the bitch on the left. As a matter of fact, I have repeatedly observed dogs with the curl to the left, and bitches with theirs to the right. Sundry peculiarities in the pug are that it is essential for the toe nails to be black (this is often overlooked by the judges), and that they should have a black mole or spot on each cheek. Of course, all dogs have the latter, but in the pug it is much more clearly defined than is the case in other varieties. The dark trace along the back is another peculiarity, as is, of course, the quaintly-curled tail.
During the past few years the best specimens have been bred by, or in the hands of, Mr. J. Nunn, London; Mrs. Mayhew, Twickenham; Mrs. Bligh Monk, Coley Park, Reading; Mrs. J. Foster, Bradford; Miss Lea, near Chichester; Mr. W. L. Sheffield, Birmingham; Mrs. Hartley, Nelson; Mrs. Westfield, near Sheffield; Mrs. T. Proctor, Leeds; Mrs. Horner, near Kirkby Lonsdale; Mrs. C. Houlker, Accrington; Mr. R. T. Linton, Edinburgh; the Rev. G. C. Dicker, Birkenhead; Mr. T. T. Craven, Leeds; Mr. H. Maule, Scarborough; Mr. W. B. Garniss, Ashbourne; Mr. T. Dunn; Miss Hamilton, Seend, Wiltshire; and Mrs. Brittain, Durham.
The Pug Dog Club has issued the following description and points of the variety; such must be taken as the standard, and a very good standard, too. The club is a thoroughly representative body, and has two twenty-five guinea challenge cups at its disposal, as well as other valuable trophies.
Symmetry and general appearance, decidedly square and cobby. A lean leggy pug and a dog with short legs and a long body are equally objectionable.
The pug should be multum in parvo, but this condensation (if the word may be used) should be shown by compactness of form, well-knit proportions, and hardness of developed muscle. Weight from 131b. to 171b. (dog or bitch).
Short and cobby, wide in chest and well-ribbed up.
Very strong, straight, of moderate length, and well under.
Neither so long as the foot of the hare, nor so round as that of the cat; well-split-up-toes, and the nails black.
Muzzle.Short, blunt, square, but not upfaced.
Large, massive, round - not apple-headed, with no indentation of the skull.
Dark in colour, very large, bold and prominent, globular in shape, soft and solicitous in expression, very lustrous, and, when excited, full of fire.
Thin, small, soft, like black velvet. There are two kinds - the "rose" and "button." Preference is given to the latter.
Clearly defined. The muzzle or mask, ears, moles on cheeks, thumb-mark or diamond on forehead, back-trace should be as black as possible.
The mask should be black. The more intense and well defined it is the better.
Large and deep.
A black line extending from the occiput to the tail.
Curled tightly as possible over the hip. The double curl is perfection.
Fine, smooth, soft, short and glossy, neither hard nor woolly.
Silver or apricot-iawn. Each should be decided, to make the contrast complete between the colour and the trace and the mask.
Grand Total, 100.