Do you know what Chinese Emperors, British Royalties, Hollywood actors, and countless families worldwide have in common? They all love the Pug dog breed. So if you’re looking to get one of these cute furballs, prepare to join the exclusive club of people who have chosen this dog for companionship.

These adorable puppies rank 28th out of 197 on the AKC popularity scale. But this definitely doesn’t mean that all they need is to be pet and fed.

Here are the essential facts you should know about this breed:

What Breed Is a Pug?

The pure breed of the Pug has Chinese origins from 2000 years ago. It was bred by the preference of an ancient Chinese emperor who loved flat-faced toy dogs such as the Pekingese and Shih Tzu. 

It’s believed that the Pug came to the other countries once China started trading with European countries in the late 1500s. Dutch traders brought the very first Pug to Europe. 

There is a famous story about a Pug named Pompey that saved the life of the Prince of Orange by alerting him of nearby assassins. After that, Pugs became the official dog of the House of Orange and its mascot. Because of this legend, Pugs are often mistakenly associated with Holland rather than China, where you’ll find the true Pug dog breed origin.

So the era of the Pug’s popularity began in the 16th century. These puppies beautified the lives of famous painters, military guards, royalties, and leaders, including Napoleon Bonaparte and Queen Victoria.  Later on, they even made their way to Hollywood and stole the spotlight in movies such as Men in Black

Pug Breed Characteristics

The Pug is a small dog with a lot to offer. No wonder they’re everyone’s favorite. But let’s dive deeper. 

What Do Pugs Look Like?

When you see a small chubby ball of fur with a specific flat face, adorable eyes, and a wagging tail, you immediately know it’s a Pug dog breed. Their clown face, loud breathing, glowy fur, and countless wrinkles make them charming and distinctive. But here are the precise physical characteristics: 

  • Pug Size: Small
  • Height: 10–14 inches
  • Pug Weight: 14–18 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12–15 years
  • Pug Dog Breed Colours: Fawn, apricot, silver, and black
  • Tail: Curls tightly over the hip
  • Coat length: Short, smooth, and glossy
  • Body: Square, cobby, with well-developed muscles
  • Ears: Rose and button
  • Face: Flat and round 
  • Teeth: Lower teeth extend slightly more than the upper 
  • Wrinkles: the more the wrinkles, the better the Pug breed

Note! Due to their flat faces, Pugs aren’t coping well in very hot or cold weather, so they should stay indoors.

Pug Personality

Pugs are incredibly friendly, low-maintenance dogs that love to be the center of attention. Although strong, they’re not aggressive and quite inactive when indoors. So they can easily adapt to life in an enormous house or little flat. 

Pugs bark, but not too much, making them perfect for any environment. They’re playful and friendly pets that rarely bite or chew. 

So, are Pugs good with kids?

Yes, they’ll be great companions and pet buddies for your little loved ones. Plus, these puppies can also get along well with other dogs and cats.

Make no mistake — these little creatures are stubborn and can be challenging to train. 

But are Pugs hard to potty train? 

No more than any other breed. At the very beginning, it’s advisable to take your little pet outside every 30 minutes or an hour. Using treats always helps. Just be careful as Pugs love to eat and can easily become overweight.

Snorting and snoring can also be issues with the small Pug breed. Due to their flat face, Pugs can snore as loudly as humans. And they’re not much of a watchdog. These dogs usually bark when they see or sense a stranger but quickly become friends with outsiders. So if you’re looking for a good guard dog, a Pug is probably not the right breed for you.

Pug Maintenance

Despite their short and smooth coat, pugs still shed a lot. So, weekly brushing is highly recommended for their coat, and investing in a good vacuum cleaner is a wise choice. 

Their face wrinkles require more sensitive care, especially around the eyes. Also, they need cleaning daily to prevent infections and irritation. Keep in mind that the Pug dog breed also has a particular odor, which you can easily manage with regular grooming and a pet odor eliminator. 

When it comes to exercise and daily walks, less than an hour is good enough for a Pug. As they have low energy levels, it’s best to divide their outdoor activities into several walks throughout the day. Try not to get your puppy overexcited, or you’ll risk increasing its breathing difficulties. 

Overall, a Pug is the perfect little ally for anyone who wants a low-energy, indoor companion. They’re people pleasers and an excellent choice for first-time dog owners

pug breed dog in the grass

What Are the Pug Dog Breed Health Issues?

Here are the most common Pug health problems, followed by our best advice and simple tips:

Eye Injuries

Among the main Pug breed problems are eye injuries. Due to their prominent eyes, Pugs are prone to:

  • Proptosis — bulging of the eye anteriorly out of the orbit, mostly due to trauma
  • Scratched corneas — issue with focusing
  • Painful entropion — a condition in which the eyelid folds inward 

So it’s vital to check the Pug’s eye discharge daily and ensure that its eyes aren’t too dry or producing tears. You should also clean the eye wrinkles daily to avoid eye infections

Breathing Difficulties

Due to its flat face, the Pug breed usually develops breathing problems or Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS). 

When overly excited or hot, they find it hard to cool themselves down, resulting in fainting and collapsing. If you witness this condition in your Pug, immediately take it to the vet. According to a Cambridge BOAS Research Group, female Pugs develop BOAS more frequently than the males.

Another common Pug breathing condition is the so-called reverse sneezing that makes the dogs gasp and snort. It usually happens when fluids or debris are irritating their throat. But it’s not very harmful to the Pug dogs. The symptoms go away once you gently massage the throat or cover the nose so they can breathe through the mouth.

Still, you should avoid overexercising and overheating your Pug.

Hip Dysplasia

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals reports that nearly 71.8% of Pug dogs are affected by hip dysplasia, making these wrinkly puppies the most affected out of 198 breeds.

Hip dysplasia is an inherited disease, causing the joints to develop improperly and resulting in arthritis. It’s more common in mature and older Pugs, but it can affect younger ones, too, especially if they’re overweight. 

There are several ways to treat dysplasia. One is by surgery, but we recommend trying joint supplements for dogs first. Still, the treatment depends mostly on the severity of the injury.

Since Pugs inherit the condition, when looking to buy or adopt a dog, ask for the pug and its breed history. It’s crucial to check if any of their parents or relatives have suffered from hip dysplasia. 

PDE or Pug Dog Encephalitis

One of the most severe health conditions in Pug dogs is necrotizing meningoencephalitis, or simply put, brain inflammation. Unfortunately, there’s no known cure for this condition, which is also believed to be inherited. Besides, it can affect both young and older Pugs. Once diagnosed, the disease is fatal.

Food and Allergies

Like most dogs, Pugs are always hungry. But since they’re not the most active breed, they can easily become obese

Pugs should eat smaller portions often throughout the day. So, to keep your pup healthy, it’s best to follow a nutrition plan appropriate for the Pug dog breed or your vet’s advice on how much and how often to feed your pup

Pugs are also prone to food allergies. They usually manifest on the skin or can be detected if your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea. So be prepared and check the best dog food for allergies.

Aside from food, skin allergies are also common for the Pug breed. The ears and folds of the skin are most affected. So it’s best if you check them every day. Also, when grooming your Pug, you check the skin for any red spots or irritations. If you find any, talk to your vet about how to proceed.

young pug puppy looking at the camera over a wooden board

Fun Facts About Pugs

Here’s a list of facts about Pugs that every owner of the breed should know about:

  • Frank the Pug is one of the most popular breed representatives. He became a celebrity after participating in the glorious movie Men in Black. And Frank even made it to the sequel.  
  • A Pug was the most loyal and beloved companion of Josephine, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. During her time in prison, she was only allowed visits by her Pug, called Fortune. She used its collar to send secret messages to her family. 
  • Pugs were initially bred as lap dogs.
  • It’s believed that the Pug name comes from the Latin word for “fist,” as many associated the dog’s face with a human fist.
  • According to a Chinese legend, people praised Pugs for their wrinkles, believing that they bring good luck.
  • Mopshond, or simply Mops, was used by Dutch traders as another name for the Pug breed.
  • The moles on the Pug’s cheeks are called “beauty spots.”
  • Despite their short coat, Pugs shed a lot throughout the year. But black Pugs might shed less than others.
  • The National Pug Day falls on October the 15th.

Why Should You Choose a Pug?

In a nutshell, the Pug dog breed is suitable for everyone. These dogs crave attention, but they’re also people-pleasers and will make your house a happier place. Also, they can easily adjust to huge homes or small apartments. 

Pugs are great with kids, rarely bite and chew, and are pretty inactive. They don’t need much exercise, so less than an hour a day is perfectly fine.

What’s more, Pugs are low maintenance, so you won’t need much energy or time to look after them. When it comes to training, they might be a little stubborn, but you can still achieve results with patience and consistency. 

Overall, the Pug dog breed is a faithful and affectionate companion.

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Gabriela Delova is an experienced journalist and content writer. Passionate about words and storytelling, she has written hundreds of articles on different topics. While she’s ever curious about the latest developments in technology and the galaxy, she’s also a hopeless animal lover. Gabriela has adopted three abandoned dogs so far. She’s currently a devoted and proud parent of the five-year-old beagle Ava and the two-year-old toddler Jovan.