Pugs are the clowns of the dog world. Carefully bred generation after generation for their flattened faces, curled tails, and wrinkled foreheads by people with far too much spare time on their hands, today’s pugs are perpetual puppies. Pugs are classified in the ‘toy’ group by the American Kennel Club. The breed’s only purpose is to be a constant, loyal, devoted, and exceptionally silly companion to the people who love them. Pugs remain playful and puppyish all their lives. They are curious, demanding, and have a distinct sense of humor.
Silliness: Pugs never really grow up. Most pugs love toys and showing off throughout their lives. Many pugs like to spin in circles, either standing or seated, just to amuse their humans.
A true family dog: Pugs are well known for their love of children. Unlike many toy breeds, they do not just tolerate children, they love them! Adults must take care to protect vulnerable pug eyes from little fingers, but need never worry about a pug deliberately hurting a child.
Pugs are lovers, not fighters: Most get along with all other household pets including other dogs, cats, and small animals. Care must be taken to protect small, un-athletic pugs from aggressive larger dogs.
Devotion and loyalty: If you want a dog that will mostly take care of itself, get a different breed. Or better yet, a self-reliant cat. Pugs need to be with their people all the time. They are not suitable dogs for families who are gone from the home for more than eight hours per day or have a limited amount of time and affection for pets. Many pugs choose one person or a very small group to be their special humans whom they adore, while remaining friendly to visitors. Almost all pugs love children of all ages.
Snorting: If your nose looked like that, you’d snore too… Even when they are wide awake, pugs can be amazingly noisy breathers. Poorly bred pugs with elongated soft palates or stenotic nares cannot breathe without gasping. Healthy pugs enjoy snerking and snorting and making funny noises on purpose to amuse their humans and get attention.
A sense of perspective – for you. One only need to come home to the affections of a pug to feel completely beloved, accepted, and physically attractive. May we all aspire to be the people our dogs think we already are!
Shedding! Pugs shed heavily only once a year, for 365 days. Pug people need to either love vacuuming or purchase furniture to match their dogs. Keeping pugs off the furniture is not a realistic option. The Pug dog is the original couch potato, and his proper place is quite literally by your side (or on your lap) at all times.
Temperature extremes: Pugs’ short nasal passages and cobby body shape place severe restrictions on the temperatures they can tolerate. Pug people must protect their dogs from any temperature extremes, particularly high heat. Pugs can and do die of hyperthermia every summer. Your pug cannot lie in the sun for even as long as you can without very serious health consequences. A pug who is panting without heavy exercise needs to be brought inside in the air conditioning! Pugs are NOT outside dogs. They belong indoors, and preferably on the furniture with you.
Weight issues: Many pugs get fat easily. Contrary to popular belief, spaying and neutering do not cause obesity (see our pug health section). Overfeeding causes obesity. Monitor your pug’s weight, provide gentle exercise, and do not feed pugs people food.
Stubbornness: If you are looking for a dog that will readily and cheerfully obey your commands, keep looking! Pugs learn very quickly what is expected of them and just what you want them to do. They just don’t choose to obey consistently or quickly. An exception to pug stubbornness is when you are holding food, at which time your pug will suddenly mimic a Golden Retriever because most pugs are gluttons.
Exercise intolerance: Pugs are not built for sport. While they are quite capable of playing in the yard with the kids for hours at a time, pugs are not suitable biking or jogging companions. Unless you buy one of those dog strollers…