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Pug Breed – Here’s What to Know Before Bringing One Home

Sara Ochoa

By Dr. Sara Ochoa


Say hello to the Pug, a small dog with big personality!

Known as the comedian of the dog breeding world, this entertainer loves being with people and living life together with its humans.

Regal enough in appearance to accompany royalty but humble enough to play with children, Pugs are an all-around wonderful companion.

Many experts even believe this dog is the best fit for first-time puppy parents.

This adorable and fun-loving dork will be a joyful addition to your household.

Today you will uncover all the details you need to know in order to decide if the Pug Life is right for you!

Pug breed infographic

 

So, where do Pugs come from and what is their general appearance?

What is their personality like?

What kind of care do they require?

Are there any health concerns specific to Pugs?

I’m glad you’re here. We’re about to uncover these very questions.

 

Appearance

Pug on a walk in the meadow

Pugs are most well-known for their distinctive tawny fur and black mouth.

While the most common coloring is fawn, Pugs are also bred in black as well.

They are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have a flat face (which may lead to breathing problems down the road); for this reason, you should never take your Pug on a run or for extended exercise.

Because of the flat face, a pug’s eyes protrude out from his face, giving him a slightly bug-eyed appearance.

 

A well-bred Pug has a slight underbite, and his tongue lolls out from a mouth that is too small to hold it, adding to his comical facial expressions.

When he cocks his head at you with that signature Pug face, you can’t resist it!

The entire look is finished off with a tail that curls up onto the dog’s back; you might even get a double curl if you are lucky!

Pugs are a toy breed, meaning at adulthood, they stand 10-13 inches tall and should maintain a healthy weight of 14-18 pounds.

 

Personality

Pleasant and friendly to everyone around them, Pugs are perfect all-around companions for everyday life.

Originally bred as lapdogs, a pug lives for attention and loves to give it right back.

Good with kids and outgoing with new people, the Pug doesn’t make a good guard dog but will bark enough to be an average watchdog.

 

Pugs can sleep up to 14 hours a day.

Leave them alone for too long though, and they’ll soon be sad and destructive.

This dorky little charmer is eager to please and very food-motivated.

The result? Pugs are super easy to train.

Not to mention, training provides the perfect outlet to nurture a fun relationship between dog and owner.

 

Chilling and spending time with their human is a Pug’s favorite thing to do so don’t worry about having to keep them super entertained.

Your pug will want to be involved in every aspect of your life; expect your pooch to ask for cuddles in bed every night…just be prepared for the snoring!

 

Exercise

Pugs do not need a lot of exercise, especially considering their flat faces can actually make it difficult to breathe.

They also have a tendency to be negatively affected by the heat and the cold.

So yes, plan outdoor activities around maintaining your Pug’s temperature comfortability.

If you live in a climate zone with drastic temperature variances or high humidity, always be sure to monitor any outdoor time your Pug has and make sure he isn’t overheating or freezing.

This dog is not built for a lot of active exercise.

Thus, he is the perfect candidate for a more sedentary lifestyle (note: if you are looking for a companion to go on runs and hikes with you, the Pug is probably not for you).

Less than an hour of exercise a day (which can certainly include playing with children) is more than enough for your pooch.

If there are children playing with your pug, just remind them to be careful of his eyes since they protrude and don’t have good protection.

 

Pugs are notorious for their sedentary lifestyle and love of food.

As a result, it’s important to keep a strict eye on their caloric intake.

Having a scale nearby to get your dog’s daily or weekly weight will be helpful in keeping your pug at a healthy canine weight.

 

Grooming

Happy pug puppy

Even though Pugs have a short coat, there is regular grooming that goes into maintaining it.

Their coat sheds all through the year, so plan to give your pup a thorough brushing at least once a week to help mitigate the mess.

Moisture and dirt get trapped in a pug’s distinctive facial folds and in the crevices of their ears.

Simply be sure to clean the folds and crevices daily.

To do this, use gentle, non-abrasive wipes, followed by a thorough but gentle drying so no moisture is left behind.

If you smell a bad odor, it may be a sign that your Pug’s folds and/or ears are in need of cleaning.

 

Pugs will also need yearly teeth check-ups, so start brushing your pug’s teeth when he is still a puppy.

This way he is used to the sensation.

Similarly, make sure you are trimming his nails regularly since your pug isn’t as active as other dog breeds and won’t wear them down through exercise.

All of these grooming activities can be used as a method of bonding and making sure your Pug feels loved and a part of the household!

 

Health

As previously stated, because a pug’s eyes bulge out and have little to no protection, they are at particular risk for eye damage.

Ensure children know to be careful when playing with your pug, and regularly check for any kind of irritation or discharge.

Along the same lines, keep up with cleaning your pooch’s folds and ears since residue and moisture buildup can cause irritation and bad odors.

If your pug is overweight, he may be at risk for Patellar Luxation (when the knee slides out of joint), or Hip Dysplasia (meaning the hip doesn’t fit correctly due to not being formed right); often, weight management and physical therapy are enough to mitigate these conditions, but your veterinarian may recommend surgery if it is a severe case.

 

One other major health concern is known as Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE); this is an untreatable and lethal brain disease that is most commonly found in the Pug breed.

Affected dogs will take a rapid downward turn over a matter of weeks, experiencing seizures, circling, blindness, coma, and death.

There is now a test available to assess how likely a pug is to develop PDE.

Many breeders are using the test to gather information in order to minimize the risk of genetically passing on PDE.

Pugs typically live 13-15 years in a healthy and happy environment.

 

History

The background of these bundles of love starts in the Far East, where Pugs were originally bred as companions for Chinese Emperors.

So famous and revered were these dogs that they often had their own guards and escorts in the royal court!

Starting in the 16th century, Dutch traders traveling to China began bringing Pugs back to Europe.

As you can imagine, the breed quickly gained popularity, particularly among royalty.

The House of Orange in Holland made the Pug its official dog, and both Josephine Bonaparte and Marie Antoinette had pugs as a pet.

 

Pugs became incredibly popular in England during the Victorian era.

Queen Victoria was known to own a large number of pugs and even took a special interest in breeding them.

You can find numerous preserved Victorian postcards and illustrations featuring pugs (both black and fawn).

They made their way to the United States shortly after the American Civil War.

In 1885, the American Kennel Club officially added the breed to its roster.

Since then the Pug has endured as a much-loved and highly sought-after companion for dog-lovers.

 

Where Can I Find a Pug?

Cute puppy playing with his toy

Because of the health concerns a Pug comes with, it is important to only purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder; this is the best way to guarantee your puppy is healthy and legitimately bred.

Here at VIP Puppies, we make it our mission to connect you with only the highest quality breeders who ensure their pups are raised in safe, loving, and ethical homes.

This way, you can avoid scams, puppy mills, and questionable pet stores when looking for your new Pug.

 

No one will know a puppy as well as its breeder, so look for a breeder with open communication who will happily inform you of anything and everything relevant to your pup.

A good breeder will provide you with your pup’s breeding information, shots, and behavioral assessment.

Browse our VIP breeders to find the puppy of your dreams today!

 

FAQ

Are Pugs easy to train?

Because Pugs are incredibly eager to learn and are very food-motivated, they are easy to train. Just remember that your Pug is not built for lots of exercise and will tire quickly. Limit your training to simple and necessary commands such as “sit”, “stay”, and “shake”.

 

How do I keep my Pug happy?

Give lots of love and affection! Your Pug lives to spend time with you and be your companion…spending time playing, chilling on the couch, and hanging out with the family are all ways your Pug can experience your love. For a Pug, the saddest thing is to be left alone; never leave your Pug home alone for extended periods of time.

 

Should I get a male Pug or a female Pug?

Just like any breed, both male and female Pugs have pros and cons. Be sure to read up on the behavioral differences between the two before you make a final decision. It always pays to be informed!

 

Is there a difference between a black Pug and a fawn Pug?

There is no difference whatsoever other than color; it is the same exact dog.

 

Are Pugs a good apartment dog?

Yes, absolutely! Because of their small size, lowered need for physical exercise, and only medium tendency to bark, Pugs are excellent apartment dogs.

 

Are Pugs hypoallergenic?

No, they are not. They shed regularly and may aggravate allergies.

 

Can Pugs swim?

Technically yes, they can swim. However, because of their flat faces and trouble breathing, it is not recommended that Pugs go into swimmable water without wearing a life-vest.

 

Will a Pug fit my active lifestyle?

No. Because of their short legs and breathing problems, Pugs do much better in a more sedentary lifestyle with 30-40 minutes of mild exercise each day.

 

Are there Pug mixes that I can look at?

Yes! The most common Pug mixes are: Pug-Beagle mix (Puggle), Pug-Chihuahua mix (Chug), Pug-Siberian Husky mix (Pugsky or Hug), Pug-Welsh Corgi mix (Porgi or Corgi Pug), Pug-Poodle mix (Pugapoo), and Pug-French Bulldog mix (Frug).

 

In Closing

Whether you are a first-time dog owner or a dog parent multiple times over, the Pug will be a wonderful addition to your family.

Happy to just exist together with his family, the Pug is a cheerful and dorky dog who will joyfully play with your kids or cuddle on the couch with you.

If you have kids, never fear; a pug will not only love your kids, he will also enjoy playing with them.

 

From the thrones of ancient Chinese Emperors to your modern home or apartment, the humble Pug will provide contented and loving companionship.

Ready to bring home your very own pup?

Meet these newest puppies for sale today!

 

Until next time,

-Sara

 

References:

American Kennel Club. (2021, 10 12). Pug. Retrieved from American Kennel Club: https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/pug/

Be Chewy. (2021, 10 12). Pug. Retrieved from BeChewy: https://be.chewy.com/dog-breed/pug/

Daily Paws. (2021, 10 12). Pug. Retrieved from Daily Paws: https://www.dailypaws.com/dogs-puppies/dog-breeds/pug

DogTime. (2021, 10 12). Pug. Retrieved from DogTime: https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/pug#/slide/1

UC Davis Veterinary Medicine. (2021, 10 12). Susceptibility to Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE). Retrieved from UC Davis Veterinary Medicine: https://vgl.ucdavis.edu/test/pde-susceptibility

 

 

Picture of author Dr. Sara Ochoa in her scrubs with a cute dogSara Ochoa, DVM is an expert veterinarian ready to help you give your dog an amazing life. Stationed in East Texas, Dr. Ochoa specializes in small and/or exotic animals. She’s currently loving life alongside her husband Greg and their three fur babies: Ruby the Schnoodle, Monkey the tortoise, and Oliver James (affectionately dubbed “OJ”) the cat.

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