Pug Breed Information

“The Pug is a compact, charming breed with a short, wrinkle-rich face, known for being sociable and loving, with a playful sense of humor.”


About the Pug

Group: Toy

Pugs are a small, wrinkly faced breed known widely for their sociable personality and loving, loyal demeanor. Originating in China, Pugs have a rich history as the pets of royalty, and today, they are still known as companions with a touch of aristocratic poise. Pugs are great family dogs, thriving in both city and country life, and typically get along well with children and other pets. But don’t be fooled by their royal ties — they’re natural clowns at heart who love to play and bring joy to their family. Pugs require minimal exercise, but they are prone to weight gain, so a balanced diet and regular play are essential. This breed often experiences respiratory problems and has a tendency to wheeze or snore due to their flattened faces. Though they are generally healthy, it’s important to pay special attention to their eyes, which can pop out if excessive pressure is placed on the neck. These amicable little dogs are a delight, but they require a gentle hand and consistent care to keep them in good health.

Physical information

Male Female
Average Height 12-14 inches 10-12 inches
Average Weight 15-20 lbs. 13-18 lbs.
Life Expectancy 12-15 years 13-16 years

Pug Breed Standard

The American Kennel Club (AKC) standard for the Pug breed highlights the following key characteristics:

  1. General Appearance: Pugs are compact, square, and well-proportioned dogs known for their distinctive, expressive faces and curly tails.
  2. Size and Proportion: The breed is notable for its cobby, stocky build, with a compact form and well-developed muscles. They are small in size, with a symmetrical and square appearance.
  3. Head: A Pug’s head is round and large with a flat face, without wrinkles. The eyes are dark, prominent, and expressive, while the ears are small, thin, and soft, either in a “rose” or “button” style.
  4. Body: The body is short and cobby, with a wide chest and well-sprung ribs. The back is straight, and the tail is tightly curled over the hip.
  5. Temperament: Pugs are known for their charming, mischievous, and loving temperament. They are sociable, playful, and affectionate, with a strong desire to please their owners.
  6. Gait: The breed’s movement is distinctive, with a jaunty, strong, and effortless stride that exhibits stability and harmony in motion.

The following color and marking considerations are considered acceptable:

  • Acceptable Colors: Fawn or black. Fawn often has a trace of black on the back and ears.
  • Acceptable Markings: A black mask is standard. White markings or a faint trace of brindle are considered faults in the breed standard.

Personality and Ownership Rankings

Good with kids
Shedding Level
Grooming Needs
Drool Level
Energy Level

Breed Highlights

  • Friendly: Pugs are inherently sociable dogs who love to play and bask in the company of humans.
  • Loyal: Known for their unwavering devotion, Pugs will stick by your side, always ready to offer affection.
  • Adaptable: Whether residing in the city or country, Pugs can comfortably adapt to any living circumstance.
  • Playful: These little dogs are natural clowns at heart, always ready to entertain with their antics.
  • Easygoing: Pugs are laid-back and aren’t easily stressed, making them great companions for a variety of households.

National Breed Clubs and Rescues

Clubs and Organizations

Rescue Organizations

Care Needs

Pugs are relatively healthy dogs but they do have certain health care needs that owners should be aware of. Due to their flattened faces, they are more prone to breathing problems and need to be protected from high temperatures. Your Pug’s diet will require careful management, as they are prone to obesity, which can exacerbate health issues. Regular vet checks and a good diet can help ensure your Pug remains healthy. Here’s a comprehensive article that provides additional advice on common Pug health care problems.

Recommended Health Tests

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE) DNA Test

Exercise Needs

While Pugs are not typically high-energy dogs, they still require regular exercise to keep them healthy and prevent obesity, a common issue with the breed. Exercise should be consistent but not too strenuous, as Pugs are susceptible to breathing difficulties due to their brachycephalic (short-nosed) nature. Fun indoor games and short walks when the weather is cool are ideal ways to keep your Pug active. This article provides further information on the exercise needs of a Pug.

Actionable Exercise Needs Advice

  • Schedule daily short walks.
  • Avoid exercising in hot weather to prevent overheating.
  • Utilize include indoor games to keep them mentally stimulated.
  • Monitor your Pug during exercise for any signs of breathing distress or overheating.

Training Needs

Pugs are intelligent dogs, but they can also be stubborn which might make training a bit of a challenge. However, with a consistent, positive reinforcement approach, the Pug can be well-trained. Training should start at a young age and should always be conducted in a positive, gentle manner considering their sensitive nature. An article details Pug-specific training tips that might prove valuable.

Actionable Training Needs Advice

  • Start training your Pug young.
  • Be patient and consistent.
  • Use positive reinforcement techniques.
  • Keep training sessions short and fun to maintain their attention.

Nutrition Needs

Pugs require a nutritionally balanced diet to maintain their health. These dogs are prone to gaining weight, so careful meal planning and portion control are crucial for their health. A diet with a good balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals is essential. High quality commercial dog foods are typically recommended for this breed, providing they meet your Pug’s dietary needs. Check out this article for a guide to Pug nutritional needs.

Actionable Nutrition Advice

  • Monitor your Pug’s calorie consumption to prevent obesity.
  • Feed high quality commercial dog food that suits your Pug’s age, size and health status.
  • Ensure the diet is rich in quality proteins and balanced in fats and carbohydrates.
  • Avoid ‘free feeding’; use portion control to prevent overeating.

Pug Breed History

The Pug breed is steeped in fascinating history and ancient lore. The origins of the Pug can be traced back to ancient China, around 2000 years back. Breeding these dogs was a special privilege, particularly for the rich nobles and Buddhist monks. (source)

During the Pug’s early development, this breed was cherished as treasured companions and status symbols, famously being the preferred pets of China’s emperors. It was not until the beginning of global trade routes that these charming dogs began to appear outside of China, taken along with traders to various parts of the world.

Breed standardization came with the breed’s introduction to Europe, particularly Britain, in the 16th century. They were favored among royals, which promoted the development of the classic Pug features we recognize today; a compact body, deep wrinkles, and a distinctive curly tail. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the fawn color synonymous with the breed became widely accepted.

Popularity of the Pug breed soared in the 19th Century with Queen Victoria’s favor, and the formation of the Kennel Club in the UK formalized this. Across the pond in America, the Pug was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. Subsequently, the Pug Dog Club of America was founded in 1931, further solidifying the breed’s status.

The challenges of the Pug breed have largely been health related due to their distinctive physical features. Efforts have been made to breed healthy Pugs, with attention paid to issues like their short noses which can cause breathing problems. Preservation efforts have focused on promoting responsible breeding practices, providing education about the breed’s care requirements, and rescuing Pugs in need.

Modern Pugs maintain much of their ancient charm. They are characterized by their strong, compact bodies. An engaging personality combined with adaptability to different living conditions and their devotion to their families makes them popular companions to this day. With ongoing efforts from breeders and enthusiasts, the Pug breed continues to bring joy and companionship globally.

Pug Fun Facts

  • Ancient Companions: Pugs are an ancient breed, with evidence of their existence dating back over 2000 years to ancient China.
  • Royalty’s Favorite: Historically, Pugs have been appreciated by royalty, being favored companions of several royals, including Queen Victoria of England.
  • Unique Tail: The breed’s distinctive curly tail is a key breed feature, with a double curl being particularly prized.
  • Symbolic Wrinkles: Traditionally, the wrinkles on a Pug’s forehead are said to resemble the Chinese character for “prince”.
  • Survivors: A Pug named Pompey is credited with saving the life of the Prince of Orange in the Netherlands by barking at approaching assassins.
  • Superstars: Pugs have enjoyed a long history in the limelight, making appearances in many films and television shows over the years.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do Pugs shed a lot?

Yes, Pugs are known to be heavy shedders despite their short fur.

2. Can Pugs tolerate hot weather?

Pugs are sensitive to heat and humidity due to their short noses. They should be kept in cool, comfortable environments.

3. Are Pugs good for families with kids?

Yes, Pugs are known for their friendly nature and get along well with children and other pets.

4. Do Pugs require a lot of exercise?

Although not overly energetic, Pugs do need daily walks and regular playtime to stay fit and healthy.

5. How long do Pugs typically live?

The typical lifespan of a Pug is around 12-15 years, although some can live longer with good care and genetics.

Breeds Similar to the Pug

  • French Bulldog: Known for their friendly and sociable nature, French Bulldogs have a similar temperament to Pugs. They too enjoy being close companions and require the same level of care given their brachycephalic nature – making them a familiar alternative.
  • English Bulldog: Just like Pugs, English Bulldogs are typically known for their loving and relaxed nature. They are also similarly easygoing and great with kids, making them a good option for a family pet.
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: While not a brachycephalic breed, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel shares the loving, companionable nature of the Pug. Cavaliers are known for their adaptability and playfulness, much like Pugs.
  • Shih Tzu: As another ancient breed with a strong desire for companionship, Shih Tzus have a somewhat similar personality to Pugs. They are also adaptable and do well in various living situations, much like pugs.
  • Havanese: Not immediately recognisable as a similar breed, the Havanese shares the sociable, playful, and adaptable characteristics of the Pug. They also thrive on human companionship and fit well in many home environments.