10 Facts You Should Know About Pugs (with Pictures)

Taylor A Ritz

The Pug is a small breed of dog with very distinctive physical characteristics. They are social and gentle companion dogs that can fit into almost any family setting.

1. Where Does the Pug Come From?

Pugs were originally bred in Asia around 2,000 years ago as companion animals for royalty and nobility. The breed became much more popular when they were brought from China to Europe in the sixteenth century. Most notable for spreading the popularity of the pug was the House of Orange in the Netherlands and the House of Stuart in Scotland.

In the United Kingdom, in the nineteenth century, Queen Victoria developed a preference for the small companion animal as well. Pugs are still a popular companion animal today.

2. What Does a Pug Look Like?

A pug’s physical appearance is quite distinctive. They are characterized by a compact and square tan body, black markings on the face and ears, a flat snout, and a curled tail. Pugs have a deep chest and well-developed muscles. Their smooth, glossy coat traditionally comes in fawn, apricot, silver, or black.

Pugs usually have lower teeth that protrude further than their upper teeth, giving them a slight under-bite. Pugs also sport a fair share of wrinkles on their faces.

3. How Big is a Pug?

The motto for a pug in Latin is multum in parvo, which means “a lot in a little”. This is an apt description of the pug’s size as well. Pugs are compact and muscular, weighing between 14 and 18 pounds and standing 10 to 13 inches tall.

4. What Is the Temperament of a Pug?

Bred for centuries as lapdogs for emperors and nobility, a pug’s sole job was to be a companion animal. Pugs crave human interaction and vast amounts of attention. They will seek attention with their playful and mischievous behavior. These dogs are incredibly affectionate and devoted to their human families.

5. What Are the Exercise Requirements for a Pug?

Pugs love to play, so any pug will require adequate exercise and engagement. Despite their small size, pugs have plenty of energy. Thankfully, their small size means they don’t need a ton of room to burn all that energy. They also tire relatively quickly.

Thirty minutes of exercise each day, inside or outside, should be enough to keep your pug happy. Tiring out your pup will not only help you maintain their weight, but a tired dog is also a more well-behaved dog.

It’s important to note that a Pug has what’s called a brachycephalic face, which is just a long word that describes the pug’s flat muzzle. This flat face can make intense exercise and play unsafe for a pug. Intense exercise can leave a pug at risk of overheating and suffering other respiratory issues.

6. How Do You Train a Pug?

Training and socialization are vital for any dog. Luckily, Pugs are known for being easy to train as long as you maintain a kind demeanor. Like any dog, pugs benefit from early training and socialization; exposure to many different situations, places, and people is key to a well-rounded companion animal. At a minimum, teach your pug commands such as sit, stay, and come.

In addition to keeping them safe, engaging their minds is vital to the health of your Pug; mental exercise can be just as tiring as a physical workout for your dog.

Avoid harsh training methods such as shouting or punishment, as these will likely cause your Pug to shut down during training. Instead, stick with positive reinforcement and keep training sessions short and fun. If you begin to feel frustrated, end your training session as soon as possible and try again later.

7. How Healthy is a Pug?

Purebred dogs can experience their fair share of health issues, and Pugs are no exception. After centuries of genetically selecting Pugs for desired physical characteristics such as their flat face, numerous health issues have arisen. Pugs are not only prone to breathing issues due to their signature snout, but skin problems arise due to their skin folds as well. 

Eye issues such as dry eye, proptosis (eye displacement), and entropion (eyelids roll inwards) can be common. A fatal inflammatory disease called Pug Dog Encephalitis, or PDE, only affects pugs.

They can also suffer from deformed vertebrae, hip dysplasia, and myelopathy (incoordination of the rear limbs that can lead to paralysis). Despite smaller dogs often having longer life spans than larger dogs, pugs are only expected to live 11 years on average.

8. Do Pugs Shed?

Despite the Pug’s short hair length, they sport a smooth double coat. This double coat sheds quite a bit, especially in summer. Regular brushing and bathing can help keep the Pug’s shedding under a semblance of control. 

9. How Do You Groom a Pug?

The Pug’s sleek coat should be brushed regularly, and regular bathing (once a month or so) will help with the shedding as well. Luckily, the Pug’s small size makes bathing quite easy; simply drop them into the tub or kitchen sink for a quick wash. Take special care to avoid getting soap or other chemicals into this dog’s large, protruding eyes.

Pugs also require regular nail trimming. As companion animals, they spend the majority of their time in the house, and as a result, do not wear down their nails enough to avoid regular trimming. In addition, Pugs require the skin folds of their face to be cleaned regularly to avoid dirt build-up and possible infection. Cleaning your Pug’s ears each time you bathe them is also recommended.

Pugs are also susceptible to gum disease, so try to brush their teeth regularly with a dog-approved toothpaste. 

10. Does a Pug Make A Good Pet for a Family?

The gentle, affectionate companionship of the Pug makes a great addition to any family. Just be prepared for the grooming maintenance and possible health issues that you may confront as the owner of this special dog breed.

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Taylor Ritz

Taylor has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. She is a former zookeeper and animal trainer. She has her own dog, Dobby, with whom she has bicycled across the U.S. and thru-hiked the Long Trail.

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