The Real Reason Why Pugs Have Wrinkles on Their Faces


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Everyone can pretty much agree that pugs are cute. Pugs are adorable for many different reasons, but their facial wrinkles seal the deal for many people. But why exactly do pugs have wrinkles? I’ve always wondered about this, so I finally sat down and did some research to find out the truth.

Pugs have wrinkles on their faces because the Chinese purposely bred them to look that way. Sometime around 400 B.C., Chinese dog breeders developed pugs to have wrinkled faces for aesthetic reasons and the wrinkles to resemble Chinese characters, which means “prince.”

Before I did a lot of research, I was under the assumption that pugs had wrinkled faces for some smart and useful reason. So I’ll be the first to tell you, I was a little shocked at what I found out after researching my question.

There is a lot more to go over in regards to why exactly pugs have wrinkles on their faces and a few other things that you should know about pug’s wrinkles. Keep reading because, in the following sections, I’ll go over everything and more.

Why Pugs Have Wrinkles On Their Face

The wrinkles on a pug’s face are undeniably cute, but why exactly do they have them? Is there some benefit that the wrinkles bring to the pug, or are they just there for show?

Well, it turns out they are there because Chinese dog breeders selectively made pugs have wrinkled faces when they were developing the breed.

All of this happened sometime are 400 B.C. when breeders in China began selectively breeding dogs to make a breed that would be good for royals and people of high status. The main objective of developing pugs, in the beginning, was to create a dog that would be a good companion for wealthy people in China.

Because pugs needed to be great companion animals and be good around people, it was a logical step to make them as cute as possible. I mean, if you’re an ancient Chinese royal, you would probably want your companion dog to be as adorable as possible, right?

Well, Chinese dog breeders began to selectively breed dogs with a large number of facial wrinkles and other attributes of the modern pug. After doing this for many generations, the pug breed was born, wrinkles and all.

Besides making the wrinkles on a pug’s face as adorable as possible, breeders also strived to get the wrinkles in a specific pattern. The pattern that they were going for was the characters for the word “prince” in Chinese.

Royalty and wealthy people in China were initially the primary owners of pugs, so it makes sense why the wrinkles a pug’s face would spell out “prince.” Pugs were royalty, after all.

Although some of the modern pugs that we see today have strayed slightly from the traditional wrinkle formation that spells out “prince” in Chinese, the wrinkles are cute nonetheless.

So after a lot of research, it turns out that pugs have wrinkles, not for some cool and smart reason, but because the breeders that developed the breed made them that way. Well, I guess it is a bit of a cool story, though.

Do You Have to Clean the Wrinkles on a Pug’s Face?

In short, yes, you need to clean the wrinkles on your pug’s face and body.

Pugs typically have pretty sensitive skin, and the folds of their skin can collect things that will make it infected. Debris, bacteria, dirt, and other items can get caught in their wrinkles and irritate the skin.

For the comfort of your pug and their health, you must clean their wrinkles and make sure they stay infection-free.

How often you should clean your pug’s wrinkles depends on how many wrinkles they have. Pugs with more wrinkles have a higher chance of infection, so they need cleaning more often than pugs with few or virtually no wrinkles.

Do All Pugs Have Wrinkles?

The VAST majority of pugs have wrinkles on their face. Wrinkles are a ubiquitous trait of the breed, and it is one of the most prominent and recognizable features of pugs.

However, while the vast majority of pugs have wrinkles, there are some differences between individuals and the number of wrinkles each pug has on their face.

Just like almost every living thing on earth, every individual pug is unique and different. Individual pugs differ in the color of their coats, size, personality, and a thousand other characteristics.

The number of wrinkles that a pug has varies widely depending on the individual. There are three main categories that you can split pugs up into regarding how many wrinkles they have.

  • A slight number of wrinkles: Pugs with fewer wrinkles are less common, but there is no downside to this trait. Pugs with fewer wrinkles tend to look less like a stereotypical pug.
  • A moderate number of wrinkles: The vast majority of pugs have a moderate amount of wrinkles on their face. Usually, pugs with this amount of wrinkles will need them to clean them regularly.
  • A large number of wrinkles: Like the pugs with a meager amount of wrinkles, pugs with a ton of wrinkles are pretty uncommon. Because they have such a large number of wrinkles, you’re going to have to clean them often and make sure they don’t get infected.

In the next couple of sections, I’ll go over the different amounts of wrinkles pugs can have and a few pros and cons of each.

Slight Number of Wrinkles

Some pugs have very few wrinkles on their face. It’s really up to genetics how many wrinkles a pug will have, and some pug lines are just known to have fewer wrinkles.

There aren’t any downsides to having a pug with fewer wrinkles on their face, besides it looking less like a stereotypical pug.

Pugs with a slight number of wrinkles generally have fewer problems with infections with their wrinkles. Of course, if a pug has only one wrinkle, there is a risk of it getting infected, but it is much less likely than a dog with hundreds.

Overall, pugs with fewer wrinkles on their face require less cleaning and care of their facial wrinkles. However, pugs with a slight number of wrinkles are pretty rare, because they don’t look like typical pugs and therefore breeders are less inclined to breed them.

Moderate Number of Wrinkles

By far, pugs with a moderate number of wrinkles are the most common pugs you will find. These pugs typically just look like a stereotypical pug that you might see on a postcard or something.

The wrinkles are visible and prominent, but not overly attention-drawing, and there is not an excessive number of them.

Pugs with a moderate number of wrinkles don’t need you to clean them as often as ones with many wrinkles, but you do need to clean them regularly to make sure they don’t get infected. There aren’t any additional downsides or upsides to pugs with a moderate number of wrinkles.

Again, these are just your typical pugs, so if you’re planning on getting a pug, you’re most likely going to get one with a moderate number of wrinkles.

Lots of Wrinkles

A ton of wrinkles on a pug isn’t too uncommon, but they are far from prevalent or as common as pugs with a moderate number of wrinkles. 

Pugs with a lot of wrinkles are typically the ones where you notice it when you first see them. There is no mistaking when a pug has a large number of wrinkles; you’ll know when you see one.

These types of pugs that have many wrinkles need a lot of attention and cleaning of their wrinkles. There is a severe risk of infection because dirt, bacteria, and other debris can get caught in their skin’s folds and can cause issues and irritate it.

Do Pugs Develop More Wrinkles as They Get Older?

Pug puppies often have pretty smooth skin on their face that has minimal folds and wrinkles in it. But this changes pretty drastically as they get older.

As pugs age, they tend to develop more wrinkles, especially in their facial area.

Some pugs stop developing wrinkles when they only have a few, and some continue until they have an extreme amount of wrinkles on their face and body. It all depends on the individual and their genetics.

As pugs get older and become elderly, their wrinkles can increase. Like humans and other animals, as they age, pugs will develop looser skin and more wrinkles on their faces and bodies.

So, pugs begin with zero to very few wrinkles when they are puppies, develop more as they get older, and gain even more wrinkles as they become elderly. 

Wrinkles come with owning and taking care of a pug, so if you don’t like wrinkles on your dogs, a pug might not be right for you. However, if you think wrinkles are adorable (like me!) and you’re willing to clean them and make sure they stay infection free, pugs can be great companion dogs to have.

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