Once prized by Chinese Emperors and adored by Queen Victoria, the Pug has certainly garnered a loveable reputation over the years. Learn all about the famous canine in our in-depth Pug information guide.

pug on floor

Height: 10-13 inches
Weight: 6-8 kilos
Lifespan: 13-15 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Check out the basic Pug traits below:

Pros:

  • Suitable for apartment living
  • Excellent therapy dog
  • Minimal grooming needs
  • Sociable and friendly

Cons:

  • Prone to weight gain
  • Not easy to train
  • Prone to separation anxiety
  • High shedder

pug running through a green meadow

Overview

The Pug is a popular breed choice for dog enthusiasts worldwide. Their cute wrinkly faces, small build, and two distinctive curls in its tail are all features contributing to the unique look of the Pug.

In 2019, this pooch was rated the 9th most popular breed, with 6,751 Pug puppy registrations that year.

Although a toy breed, Pugs are relatively robust for their size. They’re also packed with personality!

These little canines thrive on human companionship and don’t like being left alone. As they are prone to separation anxiety, somebody will need to be around this pooch most of the day.

Due to their short snout, Pugs are known to snore! At times it can be loud. They’re also known to fart more than other breeds!

Fast eating is one of the prime causes of flatulence. When a dog scoffs down its food, air is consumed, which may also lead to burping. Diet and genetics will also play a role.

The Latin phrase ‘multum in parvo’ translates to ‘a great deal in a small space’. It’s a perfect way to describe the Pug referring to its quirky and eccentric personality!

This ancient breed has been a firm favourite for centuries. Due to their grunting and snorting, Pugs in groups are called Grumbles!

pug sitting on couch

History

Pug dogs have a deep and enriched history dating back to at least 400 B.C. The breed originates from China and was solely bred as lap dogs.

Pugs existed during the Han Dynasty era (B.C200- 200 A.D). A period of time that produced the very culture of China. They were bred for Chinese Emperors, their family, and members of their court.

The dogs were treated to luxurious lives. Some were watched by guards and fed only the best food money can buy!

Unfortunately, first Emperor Qin Shi Huang destroyed all artefacts relating to the history of Pugs during his reign, so little is known during this time.

Pugs could only be acquired as a gift and were eventually introduced into Europe in the 16th century.

It didn’t take long for English and European nobility to fall in love with the breed.

A member of the Netherlands Royal Family, William II, Prince of Orange was an owner to a Pug named Pompey.

This canine foiled an assassination attempt in 1572, by alerting his owner to the Spanish ambush. The breed was then made the official dog of the House of Orange.

Pugs were brought to the UK by the Dutch in the 17th century. William III (William of Orange) came from the Netherlands in 1688, to take over the British Crown.

He brought his beloved Pug with him. Queen Victoria is another Pug enthusiast and is thought to have owned up to 38 Pugs during her reign.

A 1745 portrait of painter William Hogarth and his Pug Trump can be seen at the Tate Gallery in London.

Pugs back then had longer legs and snouts than the modern breed we know today. The change is believed to have taken place after 1860 when Pugs were directly sourced from China.

Personality

Pug Temperament: What are Pugs like?

Often referred to as clowns, the Pug dog has a remarkable sense of humour and a fun-loving personality.  Bred for companionship, these canines don’t have a millilitre of working dog blood in their body.

All they desire is consistent love and affection from their owners. Pugs are sensitive canines and pick up quickly on the emotions of their owners.

pug sitting on nature in sunglasses

Occasionally, the mischievous Pug personality will shine through. Sometimes the breed is energetic but other times they love nothing more than a nap!

Due to their small size, Pugs don’t tolerate hot or cold weather very well. Extra care will be needed during the peak temperatures of the winter and summer months.

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Are Pugs Good with Strangers?

Yes, this breed is friendly to all! They weren’t raised as guard or watchdogs, although some Pugs may bark at the knock of a door.

Pugs are sociable, happy, and cheerful putting a smile on the faces of all who greet them. Some love nothing more than being the centre of attention!

Are Pugs Good with Kids?

Yes, Pugs get along great with children. Although a toy breed, the Pug is robust enough to withstand play with children.

However, they won’t be able to play all day and will need to take an early break, much to the disappointment of a child. The Pug breed fits into family life perfectly.

Are Pugs Ok with Other Dogs?

Yes! Friendly by nature, a well-socialized Pug enjoys meeting and playing with other dogs in the park.

Intact, younger males will be more dominant as opposed to neutered Pugs. They can live with other dogs and animals, including cats.

Exercise

Pug dogs should receive up to one hour of exercise each day. Despite their non-working background, mental stimulation is still required.

As a toy breed, Pugs can live in smaller spaces such as apartments but they are prone to weight gain. To prevent obesity, food intake and exercise will need to be monitored.

There are some Pug facts potential owners aren’t aware of. This breed can overheat and tire quickly.

For this reason, multiple short walks should be taken throughout the day. Breathing problems can also be increased due to vigorous exercise, including the risk of heatstroke.

Owners unaware of this Pug info could unknowingly risk their dog’s life!

pug looking at a computer screen

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Health

Check out the breed-related health issues of the Pug below:

  • Dry Eye- The affected dog will stop producing tears due to an abnormality of the immune system. It is a painful condition. (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca)
  • Hypothyroidism- The thyroid glands don’t produce enough hormones affecting a dog’s metabolism. Dull fur, weight gain without an increase in appetite, and lethargy are all common symptoms.
  • Legg Perthes Disease- This condition is painful and will eventually cause the hip joint to collapse. Operations can be undertaken to remove the deceased joint.
  • Luxating Patellas- Affected dogs may skip a step or run on three legs before quickly returning to normal. This is due to the temporary dislocation of the knee cap.
  • Entropion- The eyelid is inwards in position causing the eyelashes to rub against the eye resulting in irritation.
  • Ectropion- The eyelid is outwards in a position exposing the inner tissues of the eye, causing dryness.
  • Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome- Dogs with short snouts such as the Pug, can struggle with their breathing. Snorting and snoring are typical symptoms and in severe cases, a dog may collapse.
  • Hemivertebrae- The spine is deformed resulting in a visible edge as opposed to the normally straight spine. The body is thought to resemble a butterfly.
  • Hip Dysplasia- Abnormal development of the hip joint, will cause the ball and socket to grind against one another. This will cause pain, eventually leading to arthritis.
  • Elbow Dysplasia- The most common cause of lameness in young dogs is Elbow Dysplasia. Pain, swelling, and inflammation are common symptoms. Arthritis will eventually follow.

Intelligence & Training

Many have asked the question are Pugs smart? They’ve been bred as lapdogs, with no sole working purpose, which is why the Pug intelligence level is often debated.

Psychology professor Steven Coren listed the Pug as the 108th smartest breed out of 138. This means their intelligence level is below the average.

pug looking up

Pugs are eager to please their owners which can make them somewhat easy to train. Although their wilful Pug behaviour can be a strain during training.

Thanks to their low prey drive, outdoor training is easier compared to other breeds. All members of the household must adopt the same training techniques to prevent confusion.

Respect training will need to be established first. The Pug must know their ranking in the pack, otherwise, they’ll run rings around their owner.

Their mischievous and occasionally stubborn side will require patience to overcome! Do remember, the Pug is still a sensitive breed and will only learn through positive reinforcement.

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Grooming

Pugs shed heavily, especially in the warmer seasons. Despite their short coat, a brush will be needed once every week.

A soft bristle brush and slicker brush are ideal tools to use on their coat. Pugs take well to grooming and love all the fuss and attention.

Baths should be given once every 3 weeks. Pugs are known to pick up a doggy odour quicker than other canines.

pug with birthday cap sitting on the grass in park

Their bodies can’t tolerate cold, so they should be towel dried instantly.

Pay attention to the creases of the skin. When damp, bacteria can form. Nails don’t file naturally as opposed to other breeds. For this reason, regular trimming will be needed.

Prevent gum disease by brushing their teeth three times a week, although vets do recommend this is done daily. Don’t forget to clean their ears at least once a week, trimming any fur blocking the airflow to the ear canal.

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