7 Fascinating Things to Know About the Pug
By Sviat Oleksiv | Updated on Feb 18, 2022
Pugs belong to one of those breeds that people have starkly polarized opinions about. Some people love them and swear they are the best dogs out there. Others view them as a joke breed and turn their entire existence into a meme. Who’s right, however? And are pugs a breed you should actually consider? Here are the 7 fascinating things to know about the pug breed and whether or not that’s the right dog for you.
7 things to consider before getting a Pug pet
As with any other dog breed, whether or not they are suitable for you will largely depend on your own lifestyle and personal preferences. There are people whose way of life warrants a certain breed of pet that others can’t possibly ever live with.
This isn’t to excuse any drawbacks some breeds can have but more just to emphasize why people’s opinions on certain breeds are often diametrically opposite. So, let’s go over the 7 main points to know about the pug to figure out if the two of you would fit well with each other.
1. This is quite a small breed but it isn’t a toy breed
Dogs below 30 pounds (13.5 kg) are considered small and pugs definitely fall in this category. In fact, they are at the lower end of it as the standard weight range for pugs is 14 to 18 pounds (6.3 to 8.2 kg). This is right on the 15-pound border with toy breeds such as Chihuahuas and Pomeranians. Generally, however, pugs are considered above that border and therefore just a small dog breed.
In terms of their height, they tend to be between 10 and 13 inches tall at the shoulder (25.4 to 33 cm) which is short even for their weight class as they are quite bulkier than most other breeds.
What all this means is that pugs are quite easy to manage. They are excellent apartment dogs and don’t need yard space. Outside walks are needed, of course, but two short toilet walks are pretty much all a pug would need – the rest of the necessary exercise can be done in your living room – such is the beauty of small dog breeds.
2. Pugs are actually a pretty old breed
People often mistakenly think that all small and/or flat-faced dogs are new inventions concocted by breeders to fool people into getting them. And while breeders do have an often harmful fascination with developing smaller and smaller toy breeds, that’s not true for many breeds, including the pug.
As a matter of fact, the pug is an exceedingly old breed. Pugs and other flat-faced breeds can be traced back to 2,000 ago in China – possibly even longer than that. People in East Asia seem to have had a fascination with flat-faced dogs for quite some time and they bred them as royal, temple, and family pets.
3. These dogs tend to shed a lot so it’s fortunate that they have short coats
Something you maybe didn’t suspect about the pug is that these dogs shed – a lot. Granted, they are not quite on the level of notorious shedders such as the Husky, the Labrador Retriever, or the German Shedder, however, pugs still shed quite a bit. What saves them – or, rather, their owners – is that pugs have pretty short coats.
This negates the need for too much professional grooming or extensive brushing. Instead, a couple of brushing sessions a week at home should be enough to keep most of the dog hair from sticking to your furniture.
Other grooming needs include:
- Inspecting and cleaning your dog’s eyes and ears with a clean wet cloth whenever necessary.
- Cleaning the folds on your dog’s skin regularly, especially around the head, on the face, and behind the tail. Such skin folds can retain dirt and moisture which easily leads to harmful skin infections.
- Dental hygiene is as important for pugs as it is for other dogs.
- Nail clipping or filing is extra important for indoorsy breeds like the pug as these dogs don’t get enough outdoor time to naturally file their own nails on the ground.
Follow these simple grooming steps and your dog should remain in perfect condition.
4. Pugs are not lap dogs – they are very playful and naturally curious
A lot of people make the mistake of assuming this is a lap dog. And while pugs are indeed gentle and affectionate, they aren’t nearly passive and laid back enough to be lap dogs. Instead, these dogs are incredibly playful for their size and have a highly inquisitive nature.
This means that pugs are a lot of fun to live with, as long as you make sure that they don’t become too much trouble. Like all highly curious and playful animals, pugs can be a bit mischievous. Proper obedience training can help with that but you’d generally want to puppy-proof your apartment as well.
5. While not a working breed, Pugs are people-pleasers and generally easy to train
Speaking of training, pugs are a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, they are people-pleasers which makes obedience training easy. Additionally, they are very strongly food-motivated so, with enough treats, you should be able to teach a pug to do almost anything any other dog breed can do.
On the other hand, pugs’ high intelligence, playful nature, and sometimes headstrong temperament can make them a bit stubborn. That’s still not nearly as notable as the stubbornness of terrier breeds, however, and is usually due to a lack of obedience training early on.
All in all, as long as you create a good basis for your relationship with your pug and cover the obedience training basics early on, everything else should be pretty easy and straightforward.
6. There are quite a few potential health concerns to keep an eye for with this breed
The main concern a lot of people have with the pug is their health. And that’s not an unfounded concern to have. As a flat-faced breed, pugs have Brachycephalic syndrome. This means that there are a whole host of respiratory and other health issues you’ll need to watch out for. Those can make anything from traveling, walks outside and exercise, as well as the summer heat outright life-threatening for your dog if you’re not careful.
But there are other things to watch out for as well. For example, there’s the risk of developing corneal ulcers which require urgent medical treatment. Dry eye syndrome also should be underestimated. Skin problems are also likely due to the folds in their skin as are food allergies. Vaccine allergies are also a thing for some pugs. And, of course, thanks to their insatiable appetite, you’ll need to be careful to avoid weight gain and obesity.
All in all, however, with the right care, proper exercise, good food, and routine vet visits, pugs can be kept in pretty good health. And, when all that’s done, they have an impressive average lifespan of 13 to 15 years. And that’s just the average – do everything right and your pug can easily go beyond that too.
7. Pugs are very social and friendly dogs, excellent for families and folks who love having people over
One of the other big draws of this breed is just how social and friendly pugs are. These dogs are excellent with kids, guests, other dogs, and even other pets. They don’t have much of a pet drive and so proper socialization is usually enough to get them to trust and like anyone and anything. Said socialization is a must, of course, as is the case with any other breed. But it is pretty easy to do with pugs. Just watch out for separation anxiety as social breeds like the pug just don’t do well when left alone for too long.
As you can see, Pugs are much more than just cute faces, pudgy bodies with some health issues. They are smart, trainable, incredibly adorable and social, and very playful animals. They do come with a couple of warning labels that need to be considered, of course, namely their need for attention and the few health risks to watch out for. However, all of those are relatively straightforward to deal with. Prepare for that and a pug can be the best pet you’ve ever had if you’re looking for a small, manageable, and mostly indoor dog.