Let's talk Pugs

A popular member of the toy group of breeds, the Pug is a barrel-shaped bundle of canine fun. With their unique appearance, they’re always the star of the show, and they have a sweet-natured, playful disposition too. They also have an easy coat to maintain, don’t require tons of exercise and they’re not a breed that barks very much either.  The Pug even has its own Latin motto, “Multum in Parvo”, which translates as: “A lot in a little.”

Official name: Pug

Other names: Pug Dog, Chinese Pug

Origins: China

Maltese puppy panting with front paws on log
 Drooling tendencies

Very low

 Warm weather? Very low
 Grooming needs Low  Cold weather? Low
 Shedding level High
 Suited to apartment living? Very high
 Barking tendencies  Low
 Can stay alone?* Very low
Energy Level (high, low, medium)*  Low  Family pet?* High
 Compatibility with other pets  High    

 

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
 
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs.
 
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
 
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
 
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

 
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Illustration of beige and black Pug
Male
26 - 33 cm Height
6.3 - 8.1 kg Weight
Female
26 - 33 cm Height
6.3 - 8.1 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 10 months
 Adult age 10 months to 8 years
 Mature age  8 to 12 years
 Senior age  12 to 20 years

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Get to know the Plug

All you need to know about the breed

Cute, quirky and characterful, the Pug looks almost like a real-life ‘Baby Yoda’. Very in-demand, especially with families, they are renowned for their even-tempered, docile disposition. They’re great with children and other pets, once trained – especially as they have a playful side to their personality – and Pugs are quite smart little dogs, too.

They also have the advantage of being a fairly low-maintenance breed. Their short, smooth coat makes them easy to care for and they require only a moderate amount of exercise. A fairly quiet breed, too, the Pug doesn’t tend to bark that much. 

A favourite of dog-lovers for a mere 2,000 years, the Pug was originally bred in China, where snub-nosed dogs have always been in vogue. Brought over to Europe in the 16th century, they have been a popular pet dog, on both sides of the world, ever since. 

A member of the toy group of dogs, the Pug is unique in being the only member to share their ancestry with the Mastiff. Notably, both breeds have the same wrinkly features in common.

Small but solid, Pugs have a soft, smooth coat that comes in a range of colours – from silver and apricot to fawn and black. They also have a particularly expressive face. Known for their barrel-shaped body, too, the silhouette is completed by their distinctive curled tail.

One thing to bear in mind is that their squat stature and couch-potato tendencies can make Pugs prone to putting on weight. But no need to worry; as long as they have the right diet and enough exercise, it’s not hard to keep your Pug at their peak. On that note, with an average life expectancy of 12 to 15 years, the Pug has a pretty good lifespan too.

A popular fixture in film and television, the Pug dog breed often pops up on our screens. Perhaps most notably, the Men in Black franchise features Frank – a fictional talking Pug. Also, in the TV series Spin City, Carter’s pet Pug, Rags, frequently steals the show – and a Pug called Bess also appears in The West Wing. Stars one and all!

Black Pug standing on grass

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2 facts about Pugs

1. Not to be sneezed at

If they get over-excited, Pugs are prone to what is known as ‘reverse sneezing’, causing them to gasp and snort. However, this is not usually harmful, and massaging the throat and calming them with soothing words can help to shorten an episode.

2. The French connection  

Joséphine Bonaparte, wife of Napoleon, was herself a fan of the Pug dog breed and had her own dog called ‘Fortune’. What is more, when she was imprisoned in Paris, she smuggled out messages by hiding them under her dog’s collar. For more facts on the history of the Pug, see below…

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History of the breed

Believed to date back at least 2,000 years – and quite possibly longer – the Pug is one of our most ancient dog breeds. They also have an illustrious canine heritage.
The Pug population was given a further boost in England with the storming of the Imperial Palace in Beijing in 1860.

When the British returned home, they brought with them some of the dogs they had found there. The breed subsequently found fame in the US, as well, and the Pug was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1885. More recently, the breed has continued to gain in popularity and the Pug is now among the most coveted of the toy varieties.

Pug sitting facing camera in black and white

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From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Pugs

1. Head

Muzzle is short and blunt with a button nose and delicate mouth.

2. Muzzle

Muzzle is short and blunt with a button nose and delicate mouth.

3. Body

Short barrelled body has a wide chest and a straight topline.

4. Fur

Fur is soft, smooth and soft and can be silver, apricot, fawn or black.

5. Tail

The tail is set high, forming a tight curl over the hip.

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Pug
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They can be prone to respiratory issues

The Pug is what is known as a ‘brachycephalic’ breed, which means they can be susceptible to breathing difficulties because of the shape of their head, muzzle and throat. Other examples of this include the French and English Bulldogs, the Pekingese and the Boston Terrier. In the case of the Pug, their breathing passageways are particularly compact. This also means that Pugs don’t do well in hot weather, and can be prone to heatstroke, so their walks should be timed accordingly. As always with these things, prevention is better than cure, so it’s important to buy from a responsible breeder who will be aiming for the healthiest dogs possible.

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Eye problems can be another area of concern

The large, globe-shaped eyes of the Pug are one of their best-loved features. But they can also be prone to a few potential problems. Among these are cataracts, corneal ulcers and eyelid/eyelash disorders as well as a condition called pigmentary keratopathy that is common in brachycephalic dogs. As early detection can often help to head off more serious issues, it’s a good idea to check their eyes regularly for any warning signs. Your Pug’s weekly grooming sessions can be a good moment for this. Also, regular optical examinations can be booked in with your vet for long-term peace of mind.

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It’s best to leave breeding to the professionals

One of the lesser-known issues that could affect your Pug – and only if they are a female – is a condition called ‘dystocia’. Essentially, this is a difficulty in giving birth, and it means that Pugs can often require a Caesarean to ensure the safe delivery of their puppies. As this can be dangerous for your dog, having your Pug spayed is highly recommended. In any event, it’s best to leave breeding to the professionals who know how to ensure the safety of both the mother and her puppies. Responsible breeders will also screen for various hereditary conditions and breed selectively to make sure their features don’t become too exaggerated. 

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Caring for your Pug

Grooming, training and exercise tips

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One of the many benefits of having a Pug is the minimum grooming required. Their short, smooth coats almost look after themselves, really. All they will need is a gentle weekly once-over with a medium-bristled brush or a grooming mitt. Pugs won’t even need bathing unless they’ve been rolling in any mud. Just one word of warning: Pugs can moult rather a lot during the shedding season so will need extra brushing then to remove any dead hair. Nails should be kept short with regular clipping and ears and eyes checked for anything out of the ordinary. Lastly, frequent teeth-brushing is important, as are periodic dental check-ups. 

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While it’s true that the Pug is the perfect companion animal, these little lapdogs can be a tiny bit stubborn at times – especially when it comes to house training. Pugs will benefit, therefore, from early learning at puppy-training classes. Once they get the hang of things, they are quite intelligent animals and learn quickly. They will also benefit from the early socialisation that the classes bring. It’s always best to use reward-based training and positive reinforcement, as Pugs can be quite sensitive and thrive on encouragement and praise. Later, Pugs can go on to do well at activities such as obedience.

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As this is a breed that likes nothing better than cosying up with their owners on the sofa, and they also adore their food, it’s important that Pugs are exercised every day. Up to an hour should do the trick, either through walking or at the dog park, and they enjoy playing games in the garden too. 

One thing to remember is that Pugs are less suited to running, however, as this may cause them to hyperventilate. Also, in hot weather, it’s best to take them out early or late in the day to avoid the midday sun. As they generally can’t swim, water should be avoided as well. 


All about Pugs

No, of all the different dog breeds you could choose, Pugs are probably one of the easiest. As well as their easy-going personalities, their short coats are super-easy to care for. Also, due to their small size and not being an especially high-energy breed, Pugs only require a moderate amount of exercise. 

Yes, Pugs make an excellent choice for families as they are playful and affectionate. As with any dog, training is essential, with kids if possible. Also, because of their very specific mouth shape, they are not physically capable of an aggressive bite. For this reason, Pugs are considered to be an ideal dog for families.

Other breeds that might interest you.

Sources

1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/