Pug

Because of their adorable, squished faces and outgoing and comical personalities, Pugs are known as the "clown of the dog world". These little dogs have big personalities and absolutely huge hearts. They love their families and are wonderful companions for children, adults, and even older folks.

Pug
Original image by user andrewasmith on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.
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They don't have particularly high exercise requirements, so they fit quite easily into a variety of families and lifestyles. Pugs are generally outgoing and adventurous and love to accompany their owners on short and long journeys and are usually welcome wherever they go - who can resist that face! While they are happy to go on adventures, enjoy playtime with everyone, including children, they are equally happy to curl up on the couch or bed for a cuddle. Whatever your activities for the day, your perfect little companion just wants to do it with you. Their unique face does present some challenges. Pugs do not do well in hot and humid weather and special care should be taken during the summer months and hot clients. Also, Pugs may present a challenge for light sleepers. They may be a small dog, but they can snore quite loudly. But, most owners are so fond of their little pals that wearing ear plugs to bed is an easy trade-off.

Key Breed Stats

Alternative names: The Pug breed is also commonly known by the names Chinese Pug ,Dutch Bulldog ,Dutch Mastiff ,Mini Mastiff ,Mops.

Popularity: Popular

Life expectancy: 12 - 14 years

Breed group: Toy Dogs (AKC), Toy Dogs (KC)

Size: Small

Male Female
Height 10 - 14 in 10 - 14 in
Weight 13 - 18 lbs 13 - 18 lbs

Coat:

Colors: Black, Silver

Key Breed Facts

Shedding: Very heavy shedder

Grooming requirements: Minimal

Good with children: Yes

Good with other pets: Yes

Intelligence / Trainability: Rather low

Exercise needs: Average

Tolerates being alone: Absolutely not

Hunting drive: Average

Suited as Guard dog: Average

Sensitivity: Average

Good for novice owners: Definitely

Hypoallergenic breed: No

Drooling: Very low

Barking: Occasional

General health: Poor

Cost to keep: Average

History

Pugs have a long history as companion dogs that dates back to before the 1500s, when the first Pugs were imported to China from Europe. They lived alongside the ruling and wealthy families in China in they were kept in luxury and even carefully guarded by soldiers. As they spread to other parts of Asia, they even became popular among the monks of Tibet and lived in the monasteries.

Befitting their royal history, Pugs imported to Europe became popular in the royal courts. A Pug traveled with William III and Mary II when they left the Netherlands to accept the throne of England in 1688. During this period, the Pug may have been bred with the old type King Charles spaniel, giving the modern King Charles Spaniel its Pug characteristics.

The breed eventually became popular in other European countries as well. Pugs were painted by Goya in Spain, and in Italy they rode up front on private carriages, dressed in jackets and pantaloons that matched those of the coachman. They were used by the military to track animals and people and were also employed as guard dogs.

Queen Victoria was a fan of Pugs and bred her own dogs in the 1800s. Early European Pugs may have had longer legs and snouts, but a new wave of Pugs was imported 1860 with more of the traits we see today.

Pugs arrived in the United States during the 1800s and were soon making their way into the family home and the show ring. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1885. The Pug Dog Club of America was founded in 1931 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club that same year. In 1981, the Pug 'Dhandys Favorite Woodchuck' won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in the United States, the only Pug to have won there since the show began in 1877.

Appearance

Pugs are small to medium dogs with a sturdy, compact build and an affectionate and comical personality.
Typical characteristics are:


  • A large head compared to body size, dark, prominent eyes, thin, small, and soft ears, and a blunt, short muzzle.

  • Short, strong body, with wide shoulders and broad chest.

  • A tightly curled tail.

  • Fine, short, glossy, and smooth coat.

  • Colors: fawn or black.

Temperament

Intelligence/Trainability

Pugs are generally intelligent, and can quickly grasp basic commands. However, they are moderately difficult to train. Pugs tend to be independent thinkers and require a kind, consistent hand when training. Treats and play will help encourage this fun-loving dog. Pugs can be difficult to housetrain, and proper crate training will help with this process. They are appropriate for first-time dog owners, but working with a professional trainer is recommended.

As intelligent dogs, Pugs will need an outlet for their intelligence and energy. Playtime and walks will help prevent your dog from acting out in undesirable ways like chewing, barking, etc.

Activity

Pugs are moderately energetic dogs. They are bright, fun-loving, and always ready for playtime or to go with you on an outing or adventure. However, it doesn't require a ton of daily exercise to tire them out. A walk around the block is generally enough.

Because of their short muzzles, Pugs may have more difficulty breathing in extreme temperatures. Be very mindful when exercising your dog in hot or cold weather.

Exercising your Pug puppy requires a few special considerations. Pugs have an increased risk of hip dysplasia. Avoid exercising on slippery surfaces and climbing stairs under the age of 3 months. Exercise is needed, however, as strong muscles will increase the stability of the hip joint. Outdoor exercise on soft, uneven grounds seems to have a lower risk. Try to avoid exercise that involves running, jumping and playing on hard surfaces until the age of two.

Independence

Pugs were bred as companion animals and they require attention from their owners. They are happiest if they can spend all of their time alongside their family, especially snuggling in your lap. They will not thrive in situations where they must spend long periods of time on their own.

Protective

Pugs are friendly dogs and not ideal watch dogs. They are generally friendly to other people and animals and are not known for barking. Keep in mind that every puppy requires proper socialization to new people and animals.

Living Conditions

Pugs are small dogs who are not especially prone to barking, are fairly calm indoors, and are generally friendly with neighbors (both human and animal). Therefore, they tend to make excellent apartment pets. Of course, they will be happy in a larger home, as well.

Because of their pressed-in nose, they are sensitive to both hot and cold and need a warm place in the winter and a cool place in the summer.

Children and Other Pets

Pugs do well with children, and unlike tinier dogs, it is safe to have them in a home with toddlers and small children. They love to play and can make excellent playmates. However, like many small-sized companion dogs, Pugs can become spoiled which can lead to jealousy with pets and other people. Proper training, boundaries, and socialization are important to prevent this.

That said, extra care should be taken, especially with young children (under the age of 6).


  • Young children may unintentionally invade the personal space of your dog and are unable to interpret the warning signals of your dog.

  • Dogs consider the family as a pack, and may consider the younger children as subordinates and may try to correct them.

  • Young children are very time-consuming. They may take away from the time you have to spend with your dog and he may become bored or frustrated.

No dog, regardless of breed, should be left unattended with young children.

In general, Pugs get along very well with other dogs and pets, especially if they are properly socialized as puppies. Special care needs to be taken when introducing a new puppy to your other pets. It needs to be done slowly and very careful to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that it is a calm, positive experience for the puppy.

Health

The average life expectancy of a Pug is between 12 - 14 years. Like all breeds, the Pug is prone to certain hereditary health conditions. A responsible breeder will only breed with dogs that have been cleared for these conditions. A Pug is prone to these diseases:
  • Vaccination Sensitivity (hereditary)
  • Patellar Luxation (hereditary) : Patellar luxation is a very common orthopedic disorder in dogs. A patellar luxation occurs when a dog’s kneecap (patella) is dislocated or slips out of its normal position. More info»
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease (hereditary)
  • Canine Hip Dysplasia (hereditary) : Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a very common genetic orthopedic trait, which is affected by environmental and dietary factors. Canine hip dysplasia occurs when there is an abnormality in the development of the hip joint. More info»
  • Hemi-vertebrae (hereditary)
  • Yeast Infection (hereditary)
  • Staph Infection (hereditary)
  • Generalized demodectic mange (hereditary)
  • Demodectic Mange (hereditary)
  • Allergies (hereditary)
  • Eye Problems (hereditary)
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eye) (hereditary)
  • Corneal Ulcers (hereditary)
  • Nerve Degeneration (hereditary)
  • Epilepsy (hereditary)
  • Pug Dog Encephalitis (hereditary)
  • Cheyletiella Dermatitis (Walking Dandruff) (hereditary)

Grooming

Pugs have a double coat that does she quite a bit, especially in the summer months. They need to be brushed once a week, to keep the shedding under control; with their short coat, it's very easy.

They don’t really need a bath too often, once a month should suffice. When you bathe them, make sure to use a dog-specific shampoo that maintains the skin's natural PH balance. After bathing, pay special attention to your Pug's wrinkles. Dampness between the folds can cause bacterial infections, so be sure to use a cloth to dry your dog's wrinkly skin.

Ears should be checked regularly for dirt, redness or a bad smell that could indicate an infection. Clean your dog's ears when needed with an ear cleaner made specifically for dogs. Pugs don't usually wear their nails down on their own. Long nails will require regular clipping and all puppies should be introduced to nail clipping early on so that it will be easier when they are older.

Consider brushing their teeth with a soft toothbrush and dog toothpaste two or three times a week. Daily is even better. All puppies should become accustomed to having their mouths and teeth checked regularly.

All puppies and dogs should be groomed regularly (preferably weekly) and have their paws, ears, and mouth handled and examined frequently so that they become comfortable with the process. This way, you will quickly become aware of any problems that arise and your dog will be easy to handle for the vet, groomer, and any treatments that are required throughout its lifetime.

Feeding

1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality, dry dog food fed in two daily meals is a good starting point, but other factors need to be taken into consideration. Higher quality dog foods may require less food, as more of the food is digested properly. In addition, higher energy dogs will require more food, while more sedentary dogs may require less. Pugs are prone to obesity, so special attention should be paid to ensure that your dog doesn't become overweight, which can cause health issues in both the short and long-term.

Special attention is needed when feeding puppies. Puppies need to be fed 3 to 4 times a day. This might seem like a burden but it will help when it comes to housebreaking. A puppy’s digestive system works very fast. Five to 30 minutes after his meal, he will need to go out to do his business.
Older dogs, like puppies, might need a diet adapted to their needs. In some cases, it is advisable to feed them smaller portions 3 to 4 times a day.

Just like any other breed, they need to have free access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Older dogs, like puppies, might need a diet adapted to their needs. In some cases, it is advisable to feed them smaller portions 3 to 4 times a day.

When changing your dog’s diet, it’s recommended to do it gradually over a period of a few days to avoid stomach problems.