Pugs regularly take their place in lists of the top 10 popular dog breeds, and it’s not hard to see why. A compact creature with a soft wrinkly face at one end and a proudly curled tail at the other, the Pug’s iconic look is surpassed only by its charming personality. Nobody is 100% sure about the Pug’s ancestry—but we sure are glad it found its way here! Let’s take a look at the characteristics of the Pug.
- Origin: China
- Weight: 14-18 pounds
- Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Breed group: Toy group
- Activity level:
- Barking/howling level:
- Good with dogs: yes
- Good with kids: yes
- Good with cats:
- Easy to groom:
- Easy to train:
Pugs are a distinctive and characterful looking little dog, with a round and compact body, legs roughly the same length of their body height. A pug’s round face features a wide, flat muzzle (dogs with snouts like this are known as brachycephalic) featuring the breed’s famous wrinkles, which were apparently prized as a good luck charm by the Chinese Emperors who first bred them. Pugs are also somewhat famous for their facial “beauty spots”, or small moles– we can only suppose these further favored them with the eighteenth century European aristocracy. At the other end of their body, they boast yet another tell-tale (there’s a clue!) pug trait, namely, their tails, which are slender and curly.
Pugs are usually found sporting one of two coat colors: black or fawn. Their muzzles are ordinarily black and sometimes their floppy ears, which sit towards the side of their heads, will show a slightly darker color, even when the rest of their coat is fawn.
Pugs are playful, peppy and spirited, while also carrying themselves with a sense of unrivalled dignity. If you choose to own one, prepare to smile and laugh along to their clownish antics. Their zest for life and playfulness will sometimes outdo their ability to sustain high bursts of energy, so you’ll need to encourage them to calm down if they get too overworked. Since pugs don’t fare well in hot or cold weather, they’re happy to chill out at home when the temperature drops, or rises.
A pug will instinctively follow a human–in fact they’re very loyal and attached to their human parents, so keep yours close to heel when you go for your daily walk. They are strong dogs and need some regular exercise, but they’ll be sure to enjoy the rewards of their “workout” when they get home, and will promptly find somewhere to get some well earned shuteye.
Pugs, thanks to their compact size, their love of cuddles and their relatively low exercise needs are well suited to city and apartment dwelling lifestyles. If there’s anything they love, pugs love to play, cuddle and sleep. So if that sounds like your jam, then you might have just found the perfect dog for you. They don’t require tons of exercise, in fact, due to their shorter snouts it’s important to make sure your pug doesn’t get too puffed out, or too overheated, whilst exercising. So if you do let them have a good run around or play, make sure to give them plenty of time to cool down and get their breath back so as to not put too much stress on those lungs.
Pugs might have enjoyed several brushes with aristocracy and royalty, but that doesn’t mean they’ll turn their noses up at swapping a palace for your apartment. They’re down to life, playful and companionable little dogs with a larger than life personality. Don’t let their small stature or lap dog reputation fool you, they are fairly energetic little dogs, so they will need plenty of play time. And if you’re lucky enough to have the company of a pug in your life, you’re sure to find plenty of entertaining and delightful moments when your dog has found a new way to make an age old game brand new in their own special way.
When playtime is over, they’re happy to cuddle up on the sofa and get some much appreciated chill time. They certainly require less exercise than breeds who were specifically bred to run, work and be outdoors all day long. This means they’re more than happy to accompany you on medium excursions, or for a play in the park. Pugs are relatively low maintenance dogs, too; they require less grooming and cleaning than other breeds with thicker, longer coats.
For a short haired dog, you might be surprised to learn that pugs can actually be quite prolific shedders. It might surprise you to learn they’re actually carrying around a double coat, which means the inner layer will shed – a lot – especially in summer. So, regular brushing is needed especially in the shedding seasons (spring and fall). Beware all those hairs – seemingly coming from a never ending, invisible source – will end up all over your couch, bed, carpets and wherever else your pug has roamed in your home.
Those famous facial wrinkles of theirs may require bathing their skin from time to time to avoid dirt build up and infection. Clipping their nails is also sometimes necessary, especially since they won’t wear down as quickly as more active dogs.
One advantage of owning a pug is that they don’t require haircuts – in fact you should never shave your pug’s hair as this will remove the undercoat which is specially adapted to keeping their bodies at the right temperature.
Pugs are smart and easy to please, and with their natural sense of fun, you’re sure to enjoy teaching your pug a few tricks, in addition to the necessary basic obedience. As an intelligent and inquisitive breed, they can get bored easily–they’re always looking for the next thing to explore or play with, so you may need to keep training sessions short and focused, or try moving onto the next game quite quickly. Positive reinforcement can also help keep their motivation up, but be careful not to over-treat them, they’re a little prone to putting on weight easily, especially since pugs aren’t known for their athleticism.
If you decide to crate train your pug, all the better for giving them a safe, cool space to cool down and chill after a walk or a particularly hyper play session. Pugs, like many dog breeds, are often very driven by food. If using food in training, use it sparingly and make sure to keep any treats covered and out of reach of eager-explorers. You might find that your pug starts to go searching for the enticing smells they love so much, or even starts demanding a treat. You can counter this with being careful not to treat them every time they do something good, and swap in praise and cuddles–or a favourite toy or game–when they’ve mastered a new skill.
This breed can suffer from allergies and skin problems, as well as a number of health problems associated with their short muzzle. Breathing problems include wheezing and snoring. They catch colds easily and are uncomfortable in very hot or cold weather. And a Pug’s eyes are bigger than its belly – they will happily overeat, so you’ll need to keep tabs on their diet.
The Pug’s history is a bit of a mystery. They were a favourite pet of Tibet’s Buddhist monks and reportedly one of the first Asian breeds to be miniaturised. Pugs made it to Europe around the turn of the 16th century and quickly won favour with peasants and aristocracy alike. The word ‘Pug’ may be derived from the Latin word ‘pugnus’, meaning ‘clenched fist’. Was there ever a name less suitable for such a well-tempered creature?
So you’ve got your heart set on bringing a pug home to stay? There’s more than one way to make your dream a reality, from finding a puppy breeder to adopting. A quick Google search will throw up results local to you, and here are some ideas of how to start your search for a pug.
Rescue a Pug
It’s not too hard to find a pug to adopt, here’s a handy list of pug rescues up and down the country. Sadly, since this breed is so popular, pugs will sometimes find their way from puppy mill to rescue centre. It might be difficult to find a puppy available for adoption at a rescue centre, but if you’re not too concerned about age, you’ll be more likely to find a pug to bring home.
If starting your search online, please be aware that not everyone selling pug puppies on the internet is in the business for the love and best interest of the dog. Watch out for puppy mills and internet scams – there are plenty of reputable breeders out there who will be more than happy to introduce themselves, the litter and the parents of the puppy. It’s a good
A good place to start your search for a responsible and certified breeder is the American Kennel Club (AKC) search tool, or ask for a personal recommendation if you have friends or family members who’ve bought pug puppies.
If you’re pulling for a pug in your life, we’ve got more to help your dream become a reality: