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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Pug Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Complete Care Guide & More!

Pug Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Complete Care Guide & More!

Pug walking in the grass

Pugs have been around for thousands of years. They originated in ancient China and eventually spread throughout the world and have even become one of the most popular dog breeds in the US.

Breed Overview


10 – 13 inches


14 – 18 pounds


13 – 15 years


Fawn, black

Suitable for:

Apartment dwellers, families with children, multi-dog homes


Playful, friendly, determined, companion

These dogs are natural-born entertainers that don’t shy away from the spotlight. They love bringing joy and laughter to people and can be excellent companion dogs. However, these delightful dogs have specific needs, so they’re better suited for more experienced dog owners.

Since Pugs require specialized attention, it’s important to become well-acquainted with them to determine if you have the time and resources to provide proper care. Our guide offers a comprehensive look at the Pug that’ll help you determine if a Pug is the right dog breed for you.

Pug Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Pug Puppies

pug puppy swimming
Image Credit: Piqsels

Since Pugs are purebred dogs with historical lineages, show-quality puppies from champion lines can be very expensive. If you’re not a breeder looking to raise a champion show dog or do selective breeding, there’s no need to bring home an expensive Pug puppy. Many healthy Pugs are available as companion dogs.

Pugs, in particular, can have several significant health issues, and poor breeding practices can significantly put their health at risk. Therefore, before you buy a Pug puppy, make sure to do thorough research on breeders.

If you choose to adopt a Pug from a shelter, take time to prepare yourself for any potential health concerns. Adoptions are good and necessary, but Pugs in shelters may not have health history records available, and medical costs can rack up quickly. Therefore, make sure that you’re well-prepared for any potential additional costs that may come with adopting a Pug before bringing one home.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Pug

male pug
Image Credit: Pavel-Jurca, Pixabay

Pugs are dogs with big personalities packed in small bodies. They’re very friendly and love human companionship, and they aren’t afraid of the spotlight. In fact, they love receiving praise and attention.

Pugs can be a little stubborn especially when it comes to potty training. However, these smart and observant dogs can become easier to train as their bond with their owners strengthen.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Pugs make excellent family dogs. Their small size makes them unintimidating for young children, and they’re not known to engage in roughhousing.

Since Pugs were bred as lap dogs, they enjoy human companionship and don’t require a lot of exercise. Therefore, they tend to have short bursts of energy.

Although they don’t need to be the center of all the action, they do love to be around people. Pugs don’t do well being home alone for long periods, so they’ll do best in households where people are frequently at home.

Senior with pug beside
Image Credit: Yuttana Jaowattana Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Pugs have easy-going natures and typically do well living with other dogs. Since they tend to be low-energy dogs, some Pugs may have a difficult time living with high-energy dogs and puppies that don’t respect their boundaries. If there’s a high-energy dog in the home, make sure to ease in their introduction so that the Pug doesn’t feel overwhelmed.

When introduced correctly, Pugs have a high chance of success at living harmoniously with other kinds of pets. They don’t have a strong prey drive so they can eventually become trusted around small pets.

All dogs have the best chance at living with dogs and other kinds of pets with early socialization when they’re puppies. When introducing Pugs to other pets, make sure to supervise and allow plenty of time for the pets to get acquainted and used to each other.


Things to Know When Owning a Pug

Although Pugs don’t have high-maintenance personalities, they do have specific care needs. They’re susceptible to becoming overweight, and their cute wrinkles can also cause serious concerns if owners don’t tend to them properly. Therefore, Pugs do best with experienced dog owners who have the time to provide proper care.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Pugs are prone to obesity, so it’s crucial to stay on top of their diet. Rather than free-feeding, Pugs will benefit from scheduled meals. Scheduled meals can help you keep better track of your Pug’s food intake and ensure that they’re not overeating.

You can work with your veterinarian to determine the proper meal portions for your Pug based on age and activity level. It can also be helpful to regularly weigh your Pug while you’re finding the right amounts to check if they’re overfed or underfed.

Atopy is also common in Pugs, so they’ll benefit from food or supplements that contain high-quality skin and coat formulas. Fortunately, since Pugs are a popular dog breed, several dog food brands have specialized formulas for them.

Overall, Pugs will do well with low-calorie formulas that also promote a healthy skin and coat.

Exercise 🐕

Since Pugs were originally lap dogs, they aren’t high-energy dogs. However, they’ll still need exercise opportunities because they can get overweight easily.

Pugs will do well with about 40 minutes of exercise per day. They’ll enjoy going on brisk walks, romping around a yard, or visiting the dog park. Just be careful when exercising your Pug. Since they have flat faces, they can have breathing problems.

Difficulty breathing makes them susceptible to overheating because they have more trouble cooling down. Therefore, make sure to monitor them while exercising to ensure that they’re not overexerting themselves.

If your Pug is food motivated, you can also provide enrichment activities by having them snoop and play with treat-dispensing toys.

pug jumping
Image Credit: Pixabay

Training 🎾

Some Pugs can have a stubborn streak, and it can be a little challenging to train them at first. However, they usually respond well to positive reinforcement and treats. Training should be a positive and fun experience for Pugs, so keep training sessions short to prevent your Pug from getting bored or distracted.

Also, make sure to start training on day one and be consistent. These habits will help your Pug to establish a routine and be more receptive to training.

In general, toy dog breeds have a difficult time with potty training because of their small bladders. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a potty schedule established for Pug puppies. These puppies may have to relieve themselves as frequently as every 30 minutes to an hour.

While your Pug learns to become potty trained, don’t give them free rein of the whole house, or else they’ll eliminate anywhere. Closely monitor how frequently they go potty to reduce the number of times they have accidents in the house.

Grooming ✂️

Pugs have some particular grooming needs. When it comes to baths, they’ll need a bath every 3 weeks to wash away any oil buildup on their skin. When you give them baths, use a shampoo and conditioner with a gentle formula that nourishes their sensitive skin.

Pugs also require brushing at least every other day because they have thick, shedding coats. Oftentimes, their hair will get stuck and woven in between their coat, which traps oils and moisture. This can cause an unpleasant odor and infection. Some of the best brushes to use on Pugs are slicker brushes and de-shedding tools.

Pugs also need their wrinkles cleaned daily. Food and saliva get trapped in between their wrinkles easily, and improper cleaning can lead to an unpleasant odor and skin fold dermatitis.

Since Pugs have floppy ears that turn downwards, they’ll also need regular ear cleanings. An ear cleanser will help their ear canals stay dry and prevent ear infections.

brushing a pug
Image Credit: Zoriana Zaitseva, Shutterstock

Health and Conditions 🏥

Pugs are susceptible to several significant health conditions. They’re brachycephalic dogs, which means that they have flat faces. Flat muzzles can lead to breathing issues, and their wrinkles can develop skin conditions.

Pugs have a good lifespan of 13-15 years, and they can live a long life if they meet a responsible owner that’s attentive to their particular care needs.

Minor Conditions
Serious Conditions
  • Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE)
  • Hip dysplasia


Male vs Female

Male and female Pugs don’t differ too much in physical appearance. Males tend to be a couple of inches bigger than females.

They also don’t have too many personality differences. Males may have a little more energy, and females can be a little less patient. However, they’re not stark differences.

Males that don’t get neutered may be more difficult to potty train because they tend to do more urine marking.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Pug

These interesting-looking dogs also live interesting lives. As one of the most ancient dog breeds, they’ve racked up a lot of accolades over time as man’s best friend. Here are some of our favorite facts about them.

1. Pugs are used to receiving the royal treatment

Pugs have been around since at least 400 BC. You can trace the first Pugs to ancient China, where they made their way to becoming lap dogs for Chinese royalty. Yes, these dogs used to have kings and queens as their personal chairs!

Another royal Pug, Pompey, thwarted an assassination attempt against the first Prince of Orange in 1572. Because of Pompey’s valiant effort, the Pug became the official dog breed for the House of Orange.

2. Breeders bred Pugs intentionally for their wrinkles

Chinese breeders put a lot of focus and attention on the Pug’s wrinkles because the wrinkles have a similar formation as the Chinese character for “prince.” This feature is well-suited to Pugs, as they’ve literally sat in elaborate palaces amongst royal families.

3. Pugs aren’t related to Bulldogs

Although they share similar wrinkles, build, and flat faces, Pugs and Bulldogs aren’t related. Instead, Pugs are more closely related to the Pekingese, another breed that originates from China.

Cute pug_220 Selfmade studio_Shutterstock
Image Credit: 220 Selfmade studio, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Pugs are an ancient breed that consistently captured the hearts of people all throughout history. Although they may have some significant health issues and aren’t the most athletic dogs, they’ve proven themselves to be more than formidable survivors. Pugs charmed their way through life to sit in prized seats amongst royals and celebrities.

This dog breed will do well with more experienced owners that can provide consistent training and are attentive to their special care needs. When you treat a Pug right, you’ll find a loving, funny, and loyal companion in your home.

It doesn’t look like these adorable dogs are going away any time soon, but no one’s complaining. They have friendly and entertaining personalities, and they’ll be delightful to have around for many more centuries to come.

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Featured Image Credit: Praisaeng, Shutterstock

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