Wrinkles on a pug's head
Did you know?
Pugs have wrinkled faces because Chinese breeders purposely bred them that way. They actually aimed to create a pattern of wrinkles on the dogs’ foreheads, which resembled the Chinese character for “prince” (王).
Here is the most recent Pickwick Pug puppy to go to a new home (Fergus, new name Shorty, from the Flying Kilt Litter). Aren't his markings incredible? Like art .... God size art.
Here are some other Pickwick pugs we have bred over the last 8 years:
Our Annie, (Zobear's American Idol), bred by Julia Ashton in Scotland, has a gorgeous diamond on her forehead. She was younger in this photo so the pigment was still developing.
Did you know?
It takes time for these wrinkles and markings to develop. The same is true for pigmentation (the lighter ears on puppies will gradually darken as they age). Sometimes it can take up to 2 years before the face 'masterpiece' is finished maturing. For example, here's Macintosh (CH Pickwick's Peachtree Hill Country Mighty Macintosh) as a young puppy, then adolescent puppy, then at age 1.5:
In Leah Clarke's wonderful book "The Pug Dog Illustrated" she explains more about a proper pug head, according to breed standard . . . .
And, regarding the wrinkles . . . .
With each year of our participation in dog shows it seems that more and more pugs are being shown who have hardly any wrinkles or pigmentation on the face. In fact, some exhibitors (breeders and judges) have commented that "they prefer a lighter face". Perhaps these markings are being lost because of the never ending quest to create lighter and lighter (blonde and cream actually, versus the specified "Fawn" color) coats. But, whatever the reason, we are going to work hard to fight to preserve the wrinkles and expression AND pigment. It's an important aspect of the breed to us and one important reason we chose this breed back in 1990. So, when we see these clear faces with no black in the wrinkles, or sometimes not even any wrinkles, it's sad for us to see judges awarding these pugs.
As newer breeders, we are constantly consulting more experienced experts and it is always emphasized that structure must always come first .... and they tell us to never let a gorgeous face "blind" us to the body attached to this face. "You can't breed a head" is a constant mantra we hear. And we agree. Our goals (if we had to choose 2) as pug breeders are: "a pug with a gorgeous face who moves well". (Yes, we'd love a soft mink like double clear coat, bush tails, high tail sets, big round heads, lots of bone, etc. etc..... but, if we had to choose ONLY 2 things, it would be face and movement).
Every breeder will have something they focus more on but, whatever these are, we hope that the beautiful wrinkles and markings of pugs will start appearing more in the show ring and in whelping boxes. We hope that these wrinkles and markings will become important again in the years to come ..... with judges, breeders, owners, and all supporters of the pug breed. When exhibitors and handlers paint on these markings and dye ears it doesn't help the future of the breed. At some point, it's going to become obvious that the painter is a human and not God and the pug breed will have disappeared.
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Amy Aberg McLelland, co-owner Pickwick Pugs