Pugs are one of the most distinctive breeds of dogs in terms of visual presentation and personality. You’ll often hear someone familiar with the breed comment, “There’s nothing like a Pug”- and they’re right. Packed into their small bodies is enough spunk, sass, and fun to comprise a dog ten times their size! Determining if a pug is right for you means taking an honest look at your lifestyle, activity levels, and preferred levels of social interaction with your pets.
As mentioned above, Pugs are relatively small in size, though they are considered large for their classification as a “Toy Breed”. The American Kennel Club standard for weight is 14-18 pounds, though you will often encounter Pugs far greater in weight than in this range. This is due to the seemingly insatiable appetite the breed is known for and contributes to their notorious propensity towards obesity. Maintaining a healthy weight for Pugs is incredibly important in order to prevent diabetes, further difficulties with breathing, and orthopedic problems.
Pugs shed. A lot. If you are looking for a low-shedding dog, Pugs are not the breed for you. Pug owners often affectionately refer to the spattering of pug hair around their homes and on their person as “Pug Glitter”, due to its propensity for weaving its way into fabrics and sticking to most surfaces. For those who love Pugs, this is a small trade-off for the incredible personalities displayed by the breed. You’ve never known love until you’ve known a Pug’s love. Commonly referred to as “velcro dogs”, your Pug will want to be with you, where ever you are, and often follow you around the house (and even into the restroom). Pugs are also usually good with other dogs, cats, and children, though this can vary from individual to individual, and make excellent family pets.
Physically, the Pug is prone to issues related to skin, eyes, breathing, and orthopedic problems. Pugs sometimes require specialized diets to accommodate skin allergies and need to have their facial folds and ears cleaned weekly (or sometimes more often). Due to their brachycephalic features (smushy faces) Pugs are prone to breathing issues and occasionally require surgical intervention to assist them with attaining a better quality of life with relation to breathing. One of the most endearing physical traits of a Pug are his/her large, alert eyes. When a Pug gazes deep into your eyes, they are capable of touching your soul. The same features of their eyes that are so distinct unfortunately cause them to be prone to dry eye, corneal lacerations and scratches, as well as allergies. As mentioned previously, Pugs have a predisposition towards obesity. This can exacerbate issues related to arthritis, luxating patella’s, as well as put them at a greater risk for tearing their ligaments. The lifespan of the Pug is typically around 13-16 years, when well cared for.
Intense heat or cold can impact Pugs negatively. Due to their brachycephalic features (yep, those smushy faces), Pugs are unable to pant as effectively as dogs with pronounced snouts. Pugs will overheat easily and it is not recommended that they be exposed to exercise, long walks, or exposure to temperatures in excess of 75 degrees due to the risk of heatstroke. Pugs are also known for being sensitive to cold and often appreciate a sweater or coat when outdoors in the Winter. Pugs are never appropriate “outside” dogs and require an indoor living environment.
Pugs make excellent dogs for those living in small spaces, as they often want to spend their time with their humans and do not feel a need to “roam”. Housetraining Pugs is known to be challenging, as some theorize that their comfort in small dwellings cause them to perceive larger areas as “away” from their main living space and as an “okay” place to relieve themselves. Routine and patience are essential when housetraining Pugs and they are often comfortable with crate training, as well. Barking is moderate, as Pugs often feel compelled to act as “alarms” for their humans (this was one of their purposes when they belonged to Emperors in China!) when they see or hear things they perceive as suspicious.
If you’re looking for a fun-loving, affectionate breed, the Pug is for you. The maintenance required for keeping a Pug healthy is far outweighed by the joy and companionship a Pug provides.