Pug Breed Guide

Pugs are small, square dogs with fine, smooth, glossy, and short coats that come in fawn, apricot, silver fawn, and black. There is an obvious mask on the muzzle, and the eyes are large, prominent, and dark. These dogs have small, soft ears and large heads. They usually have a worried expression due to the wrinkling on their brows. Pugs weigh 14 to 18 pounds. There is no specified height in the breed standard.

These dogs are attentive and devoted and love nothing more than spending time with their human family members.

Playful, outgoing, and even-tempered, Pugs have loving dispositions and make excellent family companions. They are eager to please and prefer to be in the company of their human family at all times. The breed is also highly adaptable, does well in most living situations, and requires minimal grooming.

Pugs are very popular pets for the rich and famous. Queen Victoria; King Louis XIV; the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; Josephine, empress to Napoleon; and fashion designer Valentino are all major fans of the breed.

Even-tempered, playful, charming, and outgoing, Pugs have loving dispositions and make excellent family companions, especially for families with children. These dogs are attentive and devoted and love nothing more than spending time with their human family members. In fact, they are known to follow their loved ones from room to room and may become jealous if they feel another animal or person is getting some of the attention they desire.

These dogs enjoy showing off and being the center of attention. They have a good sense of humor, but they also have a fondness for mischief that can get them into trouble. It's important to provide these dogs with lots of mental and physical stimulation and plenty of affection and attention to keep them focused on appropriate activities and behaviors. Regular exercise is important, but this breed is not designed for long hikes or other strenuous activities.

Pugs make decent watchdogs and will bark when unfamiliar people approach. Once a guest is introduced, however, these dogs become charming and gracious hosts. They sometimes bark more than is desired, but they are not a yappy breed.

Pugs are prone to a variety of genetic conditions and health problems that can negatively affect length or quality of life. Brachycephalic syndrome, epilepsy, hemivertebrae, elongated palette, skin fold dermatitis, stenotic nares, portosystemic shunt, entropion, luxating patellas, and the hip deformity called Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease are all known to affect the breed. Additionally, Pugs are predisposed to hip dysplasia and the incidence of the potentially crippling condition is surprisingly high in the breed.

Pugs cannot tolerate extremes in temperate, and the breed can quickly overheat and die in hot weather. These dogs are also prone to obesity, a condition that increases their risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers, and other health problems. Pugs are also known to be sensitive to anesthesia and at risk for corneal abrasions, and these dogs sometimes suffer from a breed-specific disease called Pug Dog Encephalitis. PDE causes brain inflammation, leading to seizures and death. The condition is not preventable or treatable.

Routine veterinary care, timely vaccinations, a balanced diet, and regular exercise help ensure Pugs live a full and active life of up to 14 years.

Pugs are fairly easy to train; they are also highly skilled at training their owners. Positive reinforcement works well with these dogs, and they respond especially well to food and praise rewards. Because of their tendency to overeat and gain weight, treats should be used sparingly.

These dogs do not do well when harshly criticized or punished. In fact, this approach can sometimes lead to a worsening of inappropriate behaviors. Firmness, consistency, and fairness are all important when training this breed.

Pugs have a reputation for being hard to housetrain. They certainly aren't the easiest of breeds when it comes to housetraining, but there are ways to maximize success and speed up the process. A regular schedule and learning to read the Pug's body language are both very helpful tools.

Occasional brushing with a rubber curry brush to remove dead and loose hairs is generally all the coat grooming that is necessary for Pugs. Unfortunately, Pugs shed year-round. More frequent brushing can help control hair and keep it off furniture and clothing, but there's no true solution for their shedding.

Bathing is not usually necessary, but it can be done as often as once weekly, provided a gentle canine shampoo is used. The Pug's wrinkles require daily cleaning to remove debris and prevent bacterial and fungal growth. It's also important to thoroughly dry every skin fold after washing.

Due to their flattened faces and crowded mouths, Pugs are prone to serious dental problems. Care must be taken to brush the teeth daily with a canine toothbrush and toothpaste, and professional examinations and cleanings at least twice each year are strongly recommended. Additionally, the ears should be cleaned weekly and checked for signs of infection, and the nails need regular clipping to prevent breaks and snags.

Pugs are one of the oldest dog breeds and likely got their start in China sometime before 400 B.C. The breed is similar to the Pekingese and was often kept as a pet in Buddhist monasteries in Tibet.

Later, the breed made its way to Japan and Europe, eventually becoming popular when Prince William II became England's king. Prince William II owned Pugs, and this triggered a surge in popularity for the breed.

Over the years, these dogs were kept by many famous historical figures. Each time a famous person would adopt or purchase one of these dogs, the breed's popularity would experience a boost. They continue to be popular in the United States as both companion animals and show dogs. The Pug's motto is multum in parvo, which means "a lot in a little" and suits the breed well.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Pug in 1885.