How much do you know about the pug? Did you know they are one of the most ancient dog breeds still in existence? Pugs are similar in appearance to the beloved Boston Terrier, with their flat faces and compact, stocky bodies. They are social and gentle companion dogs that can fit into almost any family setting. If you’re interested in adding a Pug to your family, here are a few things you need to know.

shallow focus photography of fawn pug

Where Does the Pug Come From?

People originally bred pugs in Asia around 2000 years ago as companion animals for royalty and nobility. The breed became much more popular when traders brought them out of China and into Europe in the sixteenth century. Most notable for increasing the pug’s popularity were 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. Pugs are still incredibly popular as companion animals to this day.

black pug with gray knit scarf

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 on their faces and ears, a flat snout, and a curled tail. Pugs have a deep chest and well-developed muscles for such a small body. 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 an adorable underbite. Pugs also sport a fair share of cute wrinkles on their faces.

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

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What Is the Personality of a Pug?

Bred for centuries as lapdogs for emperors and nobility, a pug’s sole job was to be the ultimate 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.

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How Hard Is It To Train a Pug?

Training and socialization are both 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. With patience and consistency, training your pup is an enjoyable pastime for you both.

In addition to keeping them safe, engaging their minds is vital to your pug’s health; mental exercise can be just as tiring as a physical workout.

Avoid harsh training methods such as shouting or punishment, as these will likely cause your pug to shut down during a training set. Instead, stick with positive reinforcement and keep training sessions short and fun. A great-tasting training treat doesn’t hurt either. If you begin to feel frustrated, end your training session as soon as possible and try again later.

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How Much Exercise Does a Pug Need?

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, and they tire relatively quickly. 30 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 from other respiratory issues.

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Do Pugs Have Health Problems?

Purebreeds 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 prone to breathing issues due to their signature snout, but skin problems occur because of their skin folds also. 

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 leading to paralysis). Despite smaller dogs often having longer life spans than larger dogs, pugs have an average life expectancy of 11 years. 

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How Do You Groom a Pug?

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. 

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 the pug’s large, protruding eyes.

Pugs also require regular nail trimming. As companion animals, they spend most 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 prevent dirt build-up and possible infection. Cleaning the 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 dog-approved toothpaste. 

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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 encounter as a pug owner.

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