It's no surprise that a Pug is one of the biggest stars on Instagram—these pint-sized dogs with comical faces and curious, prominent eyes are hard to resist. They are also impossible to miss, with their distinctive flat noses, wrinkled foreheads, and curled tails. Pugs have been beloved companions for millennia, with origins dating to 400 B.C. China, where they were first bred as lap dogs for the wealthy. They are gregarious, mischievous, and affectionate by nature. Pugs aren't natural athletes, but they are active and energetic. Playing with their people, eating, and sleeping are their passions.
The Pug's coat is short, smooth, and fine, with a slight sheen. The coat colors are fawn or black.
Average Height: 10-13 inches
Average Weight: 14-18 pounds
Breed Standard & History
In the AKC standard, Pugs are described as 'multum in parvo,' which is latin for 'much in a little' or 'a great deal in a small space.' This is a perfect description for this small, yet burly little dog with a big personality. They are gregarious and playful with square, stout, muscular frames. Their faces are round and flat with deep wrinkles and bright, big brown eyes that give them a quizzical expression. Their tails curl in a cute corkscrew.
Pugs have ancient roots in China where they were treasured by emperors and Buddhist monks in Tibet, and often lived in luxury. They eventually gained popularity in Japan and then Europe, where they were beloved by royalty, including Marie Antoinette and Josephine, Napoleon Bonaparte's wife. In 1572, a Pug was credited with saving the life of Holland's William, Prince of Orange, when his dog warned him of the approach of hostile Spaniards. Queen Victoria was a Pug enthusiast and breeder, and the diminutive canine was immortalized by many famous artists, including William Hogarth and Francisco Goya. Over time, these delightful dogs became favorites among people around the world, and at every level of society.
AKC Breed Category
Pugs are even-tempered, outgoing, and playful, with a touch of mischief. They are devoted to their owners and expect that devotion in return. Their bubbly, amenable temperaments make them wonderful companions, though they can be headstrong and stubborn, especially when these behaviors are indulged.
Are Pugs Good with Kids? Yes. Pugs adore children and enjoy playing with them. As the largest of the toy breeds, they are also hearty enough to withstand overzealous hugs.
(Note: Every dog has a unique personality and distinct life experiences that affect his disposition. As a rule, adults should always supervise playdates between kids and their four-legged friends.)
Are Pugs Good with Other Pets? Pugs are tolerant of other pets when they are socialized with them from an early age. They like having Pugs or other dogs as playmates and are not intimidated by large dogs.
Pugs are moderately protective of their territory, their food, and their people.
Are Pugs Good Guard Dogs? These alert dogs will keep an eye and ear out for people approaching your home, and they'll bark until they are sure you know guests have arrived. Once people are inside the house Pugs will welcome them as part of the family.
Pugs are moderately energetic and love exercising, as long as it's in the form of play. They may become sedentary if allowed, so make regular activity a part of their daily routine.
- They can be stubborn.
- They can be difficult to housetrain and may not respond easily to additional training, but it is possible.
- They can become couch potatoes, if allowed.
- They will overeat, if allowed.
- Because they have short (brachycephalic) muzzles, Pugs snore and snort.
- Because of their short muzzles, they are also prone to overheating, though they may also require a warm dog jacket in colder climates.
Pugs are indoor lap dogs who want to be near their families. They will follow you around the house and claim their place on your lap and in your bed. Though Pugs are little, they leave a lot of fur in their wake.
Pugs enjoy a romp outdoors, whether it's a play session in the yard or a medium-length walk. Because they are brachycephalic, they overheat easily in hot and humid weather. Keep your Pug indoors when temperatures rise and always watch them for signs of heat exhaustion during exercise.
Pugs need two walks of a mile or two per day, along with some playtime in the yard or the living room, to stay in good condition. Don't indulge your Pug's tendency to be a couch potato.
Pugs have the stamina for plenty of play and walks around the neighborhood. When they run out of steam, they'll let you know, at which point you may end up being their ride home.
Activity distance rating
- Running Miles: A healthy Pug will trot by your side down the block, but no further. As a brachycephalic breed, Pugs have difficulty breathing and cooling down when exercising.
- Hiking Miles: Pugs will happily hike with you for one to two miles on the easy trail.
Pugs require a half cup to one cup of quality dry dog food each day, split between two meals. They are notorious for begging for human food with those big, tough-to-resist eyes. It's best to give them only dog treats, and keep those to a minimum.
Pugs don't enjoy spending time alone, without their families. If left alone too long, they may develop destructive habits out of boredom or anxiety. Consider crate training your Pug to keep him out of mischief when you are away for short stretches.
Health and Grooming
Brush the short coat of the Pug every few days to get rid of shedding hair and keep it shiny. They should get a bath once or twice a month. Their facial wrinkles should be cleaned every week to prevent skin inflammation. Pugs also need their anal glands expressed regularly by you, their groomer, or the veterinarian. Trim their nails every few weeks and gently clean their ears every week to prevent wax buildup, which can lead to infection.
Common Health Issues
Pugs may be prone to some breed-specific health concerns—some serious—including:
- Pug Dog Encephalitis
- Canine hip dysplasia
- Elongated palate
- Patellar luxation
- Legg-Perthes disease
You can minimize serious health concerns in a Pug by purchasing from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
Pugs are smart and highly trainable, though they can be stubborn and will learn at their own speed. Keep training sessions brief and be sure to offer rewards in the form of praise and treats. Pugs are known to be slow learners when it comes to housetraining; patience and consistency will pay off.
Pugs are prime candidates for agility training. They are good listeners and eager to please. Putting them through their paces on the agility course is also a good way to keep them off the couch.
Sporting Dog Training
The only things Pugs hunt for are treats and snuggles.
Here are a few commonly asked questions about Pugs.
No. Pugs shed and, as a result, release pet dander into your home. Dander is the cause of most pet-related allergies.
No. Pugs tend to be mellow, with brief bursts of playful energy.
Pugs are not built for swimming because it is difficult for them to keep their brachycephalic snouts safely above the water line. They will be able to swim for short distances with close supervision, but they won't have the stamina to keep their heads elevated for long. Pugs should always be watched closely near water.
Yes. The brachycephalic muzzles of Pugs make them prone to snoring, snuffling, and snorting.