What do you get when you cross a Pug and a Yorkshire Terrier? If you answered the Pugshire, give yourself a pat on the back. A designer doggy with looks to kill and a doting nature, these cute little pooches deliver love and affection in spades. They’re no angels, and their stubborn streak can make training a major pain. But providing you’ve got time and patience to spare, they make excellent companions. Here are ten things you might not know about this adorable breed.
1. They’re new to the scene
As PetGuide writes, the origins of all designer breeds are mysterious to a degree. The craze kicked off in the 1980s when a breeder in Australia decided to combine a Poodle and a Labrador Retriever to create the ultimate hypoallergenic service dog. After that, breeders started combining different breeds left, right, and center. Most didn’t keep a record of what they were doing, with the result that the histories of most hybrids are at best sketchy and at worst completely missing. The Pugshire is no exception. They started gaining popularity around 15 years ago in the US, but as to which breeders can claim to have come up with the idea of mixing a Pug and a Yorkshire Terrier, no one knows.
2. They’re a hybrid
Not much is known about the history of the Pugshire, but the same can’t be said about its parent breeds, the Pug and the Yorkshire Terrier. The Pug is one of the most ancient breeds around, with a history that dates back to 206 B.C. They were originally bred in China, where they became a favorite with the royal court. Eventually, they made their way over to Europe and, after the end of the Civil War, to the US. They’re now one of the most popular breeds on both sides of the Atlantic, loved for their affectionate natures and people-pleasing ways. The Yorkshire Terrier, meanwhile, was first bred in England as a ratter. Eventually, it transitioned from a working animal to a family pet and is now one of the world’s most popular breeds.
3. They’re the ultimate lap dog
Neither the Pug nor the Yorkshire Terrier is exactly what you’d call a big dog, and neither is their offspring. According to wagwalking.com, this tiny, toy-sized lapdog measures no more than around 12 to 15 inches and weighs between 7 to 12 pounds. Size aside, their appearance varies depending on which parent breed they most resemble. Typically, their coats tend to be longer than the Pugs but shorter than the Yorkshire Terriers and come in one of a huge variety of colors. Their tails curl over their backs like the Pugs. Their heads are small, with large, dark brown eyes, small furry ears, and, more often than not, a brachycephalic muzzle.
4. They need plenty of grooming
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog, keep looking. Whatever else the Pugshire is, low maintenance it’s not. To keep their coats in good order, they should be brushed 4 times a week with a pin brush or stiff bristle brush. Once a week, they’ll also need a thorough going over with a metal comb. Over-bathing can lead to dry skin and irritation, so hold back on the baths until they start getting smelly. Toenails will need to be clipped around once a month or so, and ears should be checked for infection and cleaned once a week. Like a lot of small dogs, they’re prone to plaque build-up, so be sure to give their teeth a clean at least 3-4 times a week.
5. They’re snappy around kids
If you’ve got small kids, be wary of welcoming a Pugshire into your home. Although they’re a good-natured breed that gets on with just about everyone they meet, they’re tiny – if a kid gets too boisterous around them, they can feel intimated and snap out of fear. To avoid any issues, kids will need to be taught how to handle them with care and to avoid any roughhousing.
6. They love to play
They might be small, but Pugshires have a lot of energy. They love to run, jump and play and will need a minimum of an hour’s activity a day to meet their exercise needs. If they don’t get plenty of opportunities to burn off some steam, they’ll become bored, anxious, and even aggressive. As they love making friends, they’ll never say no to a trip to the dog park, but equally, they’ll have a great time running around the yard after a ball.
7. They’ve got voracious appetites
Don’t let their tiny statures fool you. Pugshire’s may have tiny bellies, but they’ve got huge eyes, and will never knowingly turn down a treat. Left to their own devices, they’d never take their nose out of the food bowl. However, just because they’re fond of eating doesn’t mean they should be doing quite so much of it as they do. Obesity can be a real problem, leading to numerous health problems and even affecting their mobility. If you’ve any concerns about your dog’s weight, limit the treats for training, avoid feeding them table scraps, and speak to your vet about a calorie-controlled diet.
8. They’re challenging students
As a-z-animals.com notes, despite their many excellent qualities, the Pugshire is not easy to train. Some might say they’re downright difficult. Like their parents, they’ve got strong wills and stubborn natures. It doesn’t make them untrainable, but it does mean they fare better with experienced dog owners than novices. To get the most out of training sessions, stick to reward-based techniques that use praise and treats to smooth the way.
9. They’re prone to small dog syndrome
They might be affectionate and loving, but like most small breeds, the Pugshire has an unfortunate tendency towards small dog syndrome. To stop them from becoming little tyrants, firm boundaries should be established from an early age so they know they’re not the king of the castle. Obedience training and early socialization are also a must.
10. They’re not immune to health problems
Like most crossbreeds, Pugshire’s tend to be healthier and hardier than their pedigree parents. However, that doesn’t mean they automatically come with a clean bill of health. Some of the genetic conditions they may inherit from their parents include patellar luxation, tracheal collapse, portosystemic shunt, and brachycephalic syndrome.