Catherine Marien © Puginformation.org
Apart from the standard Pug colors and rare Pug colors, brindle pugs have been reported as well, and some breeders in the US and Canada are actively breeding this color. Brindle is very exotic in appearance due to its unusual stripes (or patches) of fawn, black and silver. Brindle pugs come with or without the black mask and markings.
Even though this color is still the subject of great controversy, some brindle pugs have recently been AKC registered.
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Top banner photos: Black Pug in pink hoodie and Black Pug in tiger outfit © Martin Carlsson;Fawn Pugs with Bandanas © Catherine Marien.
Other Photos: Brindle pug © Cailletpugs.com; Tiger of the Woods © PugsRbrindle2. Pair of Saxonian Porcelain Pugs © Burchard Galleries; Antique Chinese Pug figurines © Cohen & Cohen; Black pug with white chest © Gideon Griebenow. Wood background by www.packrat-pro.com.
White markings can occur in all pug colors, especially on the Pug's feet and chest. They were quite common in black pugs, especially in the late 1800's (see photo left). Note the cropped ears, a practice that was quite common in England at that time and continued until 1895 when it was outlawed.
Porcelain Pug Dogs, Qianlong period, circa 1760.
Source: Cohen & Cohen, London
Black pug with white marking on the chest
PugsRbrindle2 Tiger of the Woods
However, the brindle color is not accepted by the Pug Dog Club of America, nor by the Pug Club of Canada, which are the governing body of pug standards for the US and Canada. The Continental Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club have had no such restrictions on brindle.
Breeders are still researching this color pattern and trying to discover more about this color mutation in the Pug
. Defenders of the brindle pugs (and other pug colors
) say the black pug
was also once thought of as a cull before they gained official recognition.
Pugs with white markings were particularly favored by the Chinese, who interpreted them as a sign of good luck (see photo below). However, they are not tolerated by the Pug breed standard.
Some authors believe the white blaze finds its origin in the very first Pugs brought to Japan as a gift by the Chinese government to the Emperor. These Pugs allegedly were black and white, or all black or all white. According to that same theory the first black pugs would then at some point have been imported from Japan instead of China. Clearly, much of the remote history of the Pug is a mere matter of conjecture, not facilitated by the fact that the word (Kanji) for Pug in Japanese was used indifferently for all short-nosed toy breeds.
See etymology of the name Pug.
Queen Victoria's Black Pug,
from the Ladies Kennel Journal, 1895.
Saxonian Porcelain Pugs with color patches
Source: Burchard Galleries Inc.
The controversy is not new: in his 1934 book about dog breeds the dog author Robert Leighton already mentioned Pugs that were "patchy in colour", and seems to regret that they win all the prizes over the other "charming little Pugs".
A breeder by the name of Anne-Marie Caillet, recently entered a brindle in a CKC sanctioned Dog show and won a first place.
Opponents of the brindles claim this pattern could not have been obtained without addition of another brindle dog breed. However, it is difficult to research the origins of the earlier brindle pugs as some of them were registered as silver fawn at the time when AKC was not registering brindle pugs. As brindle is dominant over fawn they also fear that letting that pattern enter the Pug's gene pool could have devastating effects on the existing Pug colors.
if they are an example of artistic licence taken by their authors or true representations of reality. See also below: Pugs with white markings. In his book about the Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland Rawdon of 1894 Briggs Lee also mentions a pug "to a certain extent in the brindled form", which had belonged to a Hungarian countess and Willoughby apparently imported from Vienna. According to the same author all Willoughby pugs descend from the pair formed by this dog and a fawn bitch.
In any case, today brindle Pugs do exist and passing them over in silence (as some opponents seem to recommend) certainly will not help the Pug breed. Instead, giving them status and recognition either as a color category within the breed (like once done for the black pug) or as a separate variety or breed (as the Landseer/Newfoudland or the West Highland White Terrier, once a simple white and cull-worthy Scotch Terrier) would certainly facilitate control and make exchange of information easier.
Whether Leighton was referring here to brindle Pugs or pied pugs, or both, is not clear. Representations of pied pugs do exist, but it is difficult to say