When you see their big round eyes, goofy grin, and wrinkly face, it’s hard to not fall in love with the Pug. Just look at that little curly tail, too! This strikingly adorable dog breed has a motto: “Multum in parvo” means “a lot in a little,” which describes the endless personality and quirkiness packed within its toy dog sized-body. Friendly, relaxed, and expressive, these pups are the 28th most popular dog breed in the country.
The Pug is a compact toy dog that has a square and cobby body. They have short, stubby legs that are quite muscular, holding up their wide chest and solid torso. Atop their back is a tightly curled tail. The American Kennel Club standards state that a “double curl is perfection.”
Their head is large and round, with bold and prominent eyes. They have velvety soft black ears that flop down on the top of their head. The Pug’s muzzle is short and blunt, with a small black nose. They have deep wrinkles throughout their face, especially on their forehead. This allows this dog to be comically expressive.
Despite their solid body, Pugs are categorized as a toy breed because of their size. Male Pugs are 12 inches at the withers, while female dogs are 10 inches.
Male and female Pugs should be around 14 to 18 pounds. This is especially important to note because Pugs are prone to obesity. You will want to make sure your Pug stays within this healthy weight range.
Pugs are known for their fun-loving personality, making them an ideal pet. They are charming and sarcastic, sometimes mischievous and stubborn, and very affectionate. Pugs are playful and love being around children and other dogs. But they’re also couch potatoes who don’t mind chilling out with their family.
Because of the ease in which they can switch from hyper play to hanging out, Pugs are great family dogs. Unlike a lot of different dog breeds, Pugs were not bred for specific tasks but instead to be a lap dog. They love being everywhere you are, whether it’s from room to room at home or going out. They love to lay on top of you, even at night. If you plan to keep your dog outside for extended periods of time or have long work hours, you may end up with a sad Pug.
Exercise is very important for Pugs since obesity is so common for the breed. If given the choice, Pugs would probably choose snuggling in bed over running around in a park, but owners should be ready to encourage Pugs to get off the couch and spend some time doing moderate exercise each day. This includes dog walks and play sessions in the backyard.
While some Pugs are excited by agility and obedience training, you want to be careful not to overwork your Pug, especially in warmer weather. Pugs shouldn’t do strenuous exercise when it’s humid or hot as it can cause health problems. Heat stress is quite common in Pugs, so you should have cold water and air conditioning ready for your Pug after their playtime.
Since Pugs are so loyal to their owner, they are definitely easy to train overall. With an even temperament and a loving disposition, these toy dogs are willing to learn. You’ll start to notice that Pugs are very attentive. When you speak, Pugs will tilt their head to the side and really look like they’re giving you their full attention. As a puppy, Pug Dogs especially love learning tricks, which can later be used to entertain their family and friends.
As you may have guessed, Pugs are extremely food driven. Pugs as puppies respond well to reward-based, positive reinforcement training. Just remember to keep the treats small. One thing you may notice is that this pup can easily get distracted. Giving them a treat and saying “focus” when they look at you is a great solution and you’ll eventually see their focus time extending.
Pugs tend to enjoy chewing, which can include your clothing and electronics. This is something you will need to address in early training. Provide Pugs with plenty of chew toys and keep your expensive property away from them during this process.
The Pug Dog is an ancient breed that dates back over 2,000 years. They originated from “lo-sze,” which existed before 400 BCE. These early pugs were kept as pets by monks in Tibetan monasteries.
Ancient Chinese emperors preferred flat-faced toy dogs at the time, including Pekingese and Shih Tzu. The Pug breed was also further developed for the emperor and his family. They lived like royalty, often even having their own guards. Because of their status, Pugs could only be acquired as a gift at the time.
In the 1500s, Pugs were brought to Europe by Dutch traders. Royalty in the region immediately fell under the Pug’s spell and it once again became a pampered pooch in society. The Prince of Orange, William the Silent, brought a Pug with him into battle. There are rumors that his Pug Dog, Pompey, would stand guard outside of his tent and bark wildly if any Spanish assassins came near it.
This led to the Pug becoming the official dog of the House of Orange. Prince William I had Pompey on his tomb’s effigy. Prince William III brought Pugs with orange ribbons to their master’s 1689 coronation. At this point, the breed became a craze in Europe. Napoleon’s wife had one, as did the duke and duchess of Windsor. It was rumored that the feisty dog bit Napoleon on the leg when he got into bed with his new wife for the first time.
You’ll often see many Pugs in paintings from Victorian England since they were considered a fashion accessory at the time.
Pug Health Problems
While Pugs have become quite popular because of their adorable face, their unique facial features and structure are also the cause of many health concerns that potential owners should be aware of.
One of the Pug’s most prominent features is their big, round, black eyes. But because of the position of their eyes, this toy dog has a predisposition for eye problems:
- Cherry Eye: What starts as an infection can then lead to the dog’s third eyelid slipping out of position. This leads to an increase in tears and pain.
- Corneal Ulcers: Caused by eye trauma, the damaged cornea will need to be treated by a vet. Since Pugs have such large, protruding eyes, it’s common for them to accidentally damage their eyes.
- Distichiasis: This happens when one or more eyelash grows out of the wrong part of the eyelid. They will start to irritate the eye and cause discomfort for your dog.
- Entropion: Since Pugs have large eyes and eyelids, they often suffer from their eyelid folding in on themselves. It will start to rub the surface of their eye, leading to irritation, infection, and sometimes corneal ulcers.
- Dry Eye: This is the most common eye problem for this particular breed. This happens when the tear duct isn’t producing enough liquid, leading to irritation.
- Cataracts: In severe cases, cataracts can lead to complete loss of vision. This can be inherited or caused by trauma, inflammation, or diabetes, and can be treated by surgery.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Usually affecting senior dogs, this will gradually make your Pug blind over the period of one to two years.
The deep creases on a Pug’s face are cute and expressive, but also the source of many skin infections. Demodex mites and irritated skin folds are very common for Pugs.
Because of their short muzzle, Pugs are highly susceptible to brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BAOS). A lot of people associate Pugs with their silly noises, including snorting and reverse sneezing. But this is actually due to the Pug’s narrowed nostrils causing them to have trouble breathing and it shouldn’t be ignored or minimized. If your Pug develops BAOS they will need surgery to cure them.
Toy dogs, like the Pug, are more likely to get mitral valve disease than larger breeds. It’s a heart disease that starts as coughing and a loss of energy. If you notice something is off with your Pug, bring them to a vet to help them manage the condition. You can also provide them with natural dog treats for heart and immune system care.
Hip dysplasia is when the ball and socket joint of the hip doesn’t properly form or the bone starts to have trouble fitting. This is usually hereditary and leads to difficulty walking. Eventually, it can lead to arthritis if it isn’t treated properly. Promoting better mobility may involve keeping your Pug at an ideal weight and using natural treats to provide comfort.
Like most dog breeds, cancer is the most common cause of early death in Pugs. Younger Pugs are especially prone to mast cell tumors and also skin cancer in their mouth. Early detection in your Pug puppy is crucial. Cancer can be treated by surgically removing the tumors and with sometimes with chemotherapy.
A lot of the Pug’s digestive problems link back to them eating the wrong foods, including table scraps, foreign objects, and even garbage. It can also be caused by parasites, hypersensitivity, food allergies, bacteria, and parasites. Male Pugs can sometimes suffer from intussusception, which causes their large or small intestine to slide into itself.
If your Pug is having digestive problems, you may notice that they appear swollen or bloated.
Related: Home Remedies for Dog Constipation
How to Care for a Pug
Pugs have an easygoing personality but do require a bit of extra care compared to other breeds. Something very important to keep in mind is that the Pug doesn’t thrive in warm climates. Pugs are very sensitive to heat and humidity and temperatures above 85 degrees can be dangerous to their health.
Higher temperatures often lead to heatstroke. Overexposure to warm weather can also cause long term damage to your dog’s organs. This includes the heart, kidney, and liver. While Pugs enjoy being outside, you should limit their backyard time to only 15 minutes if it’s above 80 degrees.
After exposure to hot weather, you should cool your dog off with a towel dipped in cold water. You can even give them a cold water bath. Give them some cold water to drink as well. Put them in a room with air conditioning whenever possible.
You should also clean your dog’s facial creases every day to prevent bacteria buildup. Use a damp washcloth to clean inside the wrinkles, or baby wipes if your Pug doesn’t have sensitive skin. You’ll want to pay extra close attention to their nasal fold, which has very deep grooves. When you give your Pug a bath, ensure that you rinse out the shampoo with fresh, clean water to make sure nothing is left in their skin folds. Dry them off with a towel after.
You can also help prevent eye infections or other more serious ailments by checking their eyes for dust and hair. Use a saline solution to flush out the irritants in your dogs eyes. Always check for scratches and ulcers, which would immediately need a vet’s attention.
Nutrition and Feeding for Pugs
Pugs love to eat. While that’s true for most dog breeds, Pugs are also not the most active. Because of their love of food and lack of exercise, you’ll need to pay special close attention to what he or she eats — and how much.
You should have a regular feeding schedule you stick to daily, feeding them once or twice a day around the same time. The amount you feed your Pug should reflect their age and size. For example:
- 8-12 weeks old: 1/4 to 1/2 cup of puppy food four times per day
- 3-8 months old: 1/4 to 1/3 cup of food three times per day
- 8-12 months old: 1/3 to 1/2 cup of food two times per day
- 12 months and older: 1/2 cup of food once or twice per day
When picking out your dog’s food, pay attention to the ingredients. Dogs need specific nutrients at each age and you want to make sure the brand you choose has the right amount of each for your dog’s specific age and lifestyle.
You want to make sure the food you choose has meat as the first ingredient since Pugs need the protein that comes from chicken, beef, fish, lamb, and other animals. Grains are another beneficial ingredient for dogs, providing an energy source for your dog. It also can aid in digestion. Look for rice, oats, barley, and peas as opposed to corn, soy, and wheat. Another important dog food component is vegetables, which provide a lot of vitamins and minerals for your Pug pal. Think potassium and Vitamin B.
Pugs should also not be given an abundance of treats since they’re small in stature and low on energy. Read the labels on your dog treats of choice to see the appropriate amount for a smaller breed. Make sure you never give them enough treats to exceed 10% of your dog’s overall daily calorie intake.
Coat Color And Grooming
According to the American Kennel Club’s official Pug standards, this breed can only come in fawn or black. When the Pug is fawn, there should be a big contrast between their creamy colored coat and their dark, black muzzle.
The Pug Dog’s coat is short, straight, and glossy. It lays flat against their body. But despite being quite short, owners of this breed emphasize that Pugs shed a lot. Some Pugs have double coats, meaning you will definitely find an abundance of fur throughout your house — and on your clothes.
You can minimize the amount of shedding by brushing your Pug weekly with a medium-bristle brush or a rubber grooming mitt. This will remove some of the loose hair and keep your dog looking shiny and sleek.
Pugs also need their toenails trimmed regularly, which they usually don’t enjoy too much. You may want to bring them to a groomer or vet if needed. Another regular grooming requirement for Pugs is cleaning their nose rolls twice a week. Use a damp cloth or cotton pad to ensure there’s no buildup of bacteria in their deep creases.
Children And Other Pets
The Pug is a great family pet because they love human affection. They love to cuddle and get some head scratches and pets whenever they can. That’s why Pugs are ideal for families who have a lot of time and love to give.
You can also feel comfortable leaving your Pug with children. They are even-tempered and very patient with children. They are actually known as one of the most gentle and passive breeds, and they’ll often tolerate poking and prodding from kids. Pugs are not known to nip, and their mouth shape often prevents them from harder bites.
While the Pug is great with children, it’s always advised to supervise your pets when they’re interacting with younger kids. This is especially important for puppies since they’re still learning how to properly socialize.
Since the Pug enjoys company, other dogs are usually a welcomed addition as well. Just keep in mind that the Pug Dog can get jealous when you give another dog a lot of attention instead of them. If they’re ignored too long, your companion can start to feel anxious and upset.
There are hundreds Pug rescue groups in the United States. If you are interested in rescuing this unique toy dog, look into each rescue group’s policies and reviews. Each rescue group also has their own adoption process ranging from days to months.
Some rescue groups will have an application fee and some will only allow you to adopt from within their state. You should also find out which rescue groups will allow you to meet the dog before the adoption.
Here are some rescue groups to consider:
- Buffalo Pug & Small Breed Rescue
- Central Florida Bug Rescue
- Compassionate Pug Rescue
- DFW Pugs
- Guardian Angel Pug Rescue
- Philly Pug & Short Nose Rescue
- Pug Rescue San Diego County
- Pug Rescue of New England
- Tiny Paws Pug Rescue of California
Breed organizations are for pet owners looking to connect with other similar breed owners around the country who share their love of this quirky, cute companion. Most breed organizations will also provide assistance or information for prospective owners. There is also information on upcoming dog shows, contests, gatherings, and other Pug-related events.
Check out the Pug Dog Organization of America for an active example of a breed organization. They have a full list of upcoming breed-specific events, breed rescues, and breeders, as well as information about their local chapters located throughout the country.
If you are looking for Pug puppies, you may want to consider the AKC marketplace, since you will only find puppies from litters registered with the American Kennel Club.
More About This Dog Breed
While this breed has a rich history, not many people are sure where the name “Pug” actually came from. Some people believe that the nickname originated with Marmosets, who were kept as pets in the 18th century. They were called “pugs” back then and some question if the name jumped to the dog because of their similar facial features.
But that’s not the only interesting name-related fact you should know about pugs. A group of Pugs is called a “grumble.” That’s because this breed is called a “mopshond” in Holland. That’s Dutch for “to grumble.”
It’s evident that royalty preferred this pupper but they haven’t been the only fans of this particular breed throughout history. In 1740, Roman Catholics formed the Order of the Pug, a secret fraternal group. This dog breed was chosen as its symbol because of its loyalty and trustworthiness. Members had to prove their devotion to the group by kissing a porcelain statue of the Grand Pug on his bottom.
We told you these dogs were fast learners and easy to train, but did you know that they are also highly intelligent? There’s one with a degree from Rochville University. In 2009, Chester Ludlow received his grades, degree, and even a school window decal in the mail despite never attending a class. He had an A in Finance. While Rochville University isn’t an accredited school, Chester Ludlow is the first Pug to ever get his degree.
Pugs are easy to train, loyal, adorable, and love to snuggle. It’s no surprise that this wrinkly breed is so popular throughout the nation. While this breed is easy to get along with, make sure you’re paying close attention to their extra healthcare needs, going on regular vet visits for checkups, and keeping them in the proper temperature. This will ensure that you have an entertaining and caring companion for years to come. Go to this link for more info.