Meet the Breed: The Pug

The Pug is an adorable little dog that is sure to charm with their expressive little wrinkled faces with the smashed-in nose. Even their breathing noises have their own charm. In spite of their funny appearance, the pug has become one of the more popular breeds, particularly since they have such an easy-going personality that gets along with just about any type of family.

Black Pug Puppy photo by marioanima.


  • Height: 10-14″
  • Weight:  13-20 pounds
  • Historical Function: Palace and monastery companions
  • Modern Function: Companion
  • AKC Classification: Toy

Physical Characteristics: The pug is a small dog with a lot of substance. They are sturdy, square, muscular dogs with short fur, a curly tail, and a short snout. The face is deeply wrinkled with large, expressive eyes. Coat colors include black, fawn, apricot fawn, and silver fawn. A black mask is present on the fawn varieties.

History of the Breed: The pug is one of the oldest breeds, estimated at around 400 BC, originating most likely in China, where they were kept by monks in monasteries. They were imported to Japan, Holland, and eventually to European countries where they became favored among royalty.

Temperament: Pugs are lively, easy-going, and intelligent. They are not yappy, but can become willful and bored without a variety of training and play items.

  • Best suited for: Apartment dwellers, most any family, great with children and the elderly.
  • Preferred living conditions: Pugs are companion dogs and, as such, prefer to be with their people – all kinds of people. They do well in apartments and will be mellow to the point of becoming a couch potato. This needs to be counteracted with lively activities and walks to keep their weight in check. Must be kept cool as they do not adjust well to high temperatures.

Care and Health: Because of the short muzzle, the bulging eyes, wrinkly folds, and breathing issues, care must be taken to clean the folds regularly to ensure they don’t get skin infections. Harnesses are preferred for these dogs over collars to prevent choking and the eyes from popping out. Yes, that is gross, but we want to make you aware that this is a true problem to be careful of with this breed.

  • Grooming Requirements: Pugs do shed heavily only seasonally, but the short fur is easy to brush. Care must be taken to clean the folds of their skin to prevent infections. Towel dry after the occasional bath to prevent pugs from getting chilled.
  • Exercise needs: Pugs do well with both mental and physical exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They are prone to overeat and to weight gain, so monitor this carefully to ensure your pug lives a long life.
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years.
  • Health Concerns: Because of their short muzzle, the pug is plagued with breathing problems and does not regulate temperature well. Surgery to correct nostril openings or the soft palate may be required. The do not do well in hot or cold temperatures. They get colds, and may have allergies and skin problems. Their prominent eyes are susceptible to scratches and the eye popping issue mentioned before. This requires immediate veterinary attention. Puppies most often have to be delivered by cesarean because of their large heads. There are other congenital issues to be aware of, so use a reputable breeder or rescue who is aware of the health issues of these dogs.

Breed Club Links: Pug Dog Club of America

BaxterBoo Perfect Pairings: Vented-comfort harnesses, Barnyard Friends Hooded Towel, Puzzle toys.

Featured pug photo by Sam Lavy.

Have any great stories to share about pugs? We’d love to hear!

3 thoughts on “Meet the Breed: The Pug

  1. I currently have three pugs and babysit a 4th regularly. They bring so much joy to my life and to those they meet. You can not see a pug without smiling. PUGS RULE.

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