Pug Dog Breed Information- Characteristics & Other Facts

Pugs are known the world over for their looks and personality. Often referred to as being so ugly they are cute, pugs have distinctive flat faces with big eyes. All the better to tug at your heartstrings! This playful breed of dog is popular among dog owners for its intelligence and affectionate nature.

Originally bred to be lap dogs, pugs are wonderful companions. They are the original snuggle bugs and love nothing more than being the object of all your attention. Pugs make great family dogs, as they are gentle by nature and love their humans. However, they are not always easy to train as they often have minds of their own.

Whether you are interested in a purebred dog or a pug mix doesn’t matter. The legions of dogs and owners of pug nation will welcome you with open arms.


Pug Dog Breed Pictures


What Does A Pug Look Like?

Pugs have a very distinct appearance. The pug standard is pretty strict in the show world. From their stance to their ears to their curly tails, everything needs to be perfect. Among more casual pug owners, however, you will find wide diversity in their puppy.

Pugs are mostly small dogs that weigh around 14-18 pounds when full-grown. Most pugs are either black or fawn-colored, though there are some other variations. Champagne, apricot, white, silver, and even brindle are becoming less rare. Their fur is usually short, though some pugs have a thick undercoat. They often shed a lot, so keep that in mind! 

Their flat faces are wrinkly, which causes a permanent look of humor. It is like they are laughing at you all the time! As adorable as those faces are, though, they come with some challenges. Pugs are brachycephalic, which means they have an elongated soft palate and short skull. This means they can’t cool themselves by panting. They overheat easily but also can’t handle the cold. So even in moderate climates, they have to be primarily house dogs.


Pugs are typically quite docile. They are funny little dogs with charming personalities. They love people and bark when they get excited. It can sound like they’re big and mean when they greet visitors, but really, they are easy-going clown dogs.

Pugs thrive on human companionship. Snuggling with you for a nap or the entire night is when they are happiest. Some have cat-like behaviors, including getting under the covers or sleeping on your head. If you share your life with a pug, get used to never having enough bed space or blankets!

Another pug personality trait is being extremely friendly with everyone. They will show their love with tons of puggie kisses, which may be annoying to their humans. But it releases calming endorphins for your baby pug and helps build the bond between you. 

The pug head tilt is another fun part. The head tilt happens when you talk to your pup. Combine that with their big eyes and expressive faces, and you have a recipe for disaster. Once your puggie has mastered the head tilt, you’ll be wrapped around their little paw.

Living Needs

Taking care of pugs is no different than taking care of other sociable breeds. Giving them lots of quality attention is key. Pugs can be lazy pups, so encouraging play is important. Even with their flat faces, they love to play tug and fetch with balls, ropes, and stuffed toys. Dog parks can be fun, and walks are good exercise. Just remember that their short legs mean they have to work hard to keep up. Frequent rest and water breaks can prevent overheating.

Because they were bred with the intent to be companions, isolating your pug for long stretches can be detrimental. Even when puppy training, keep your canine in a playpen or crate that is still part of the family space. Proper socialization is critical. Like children, pugs respond well to gentle redirection and reinforcement. They are highly food motivated, too, so use training treats freely.


How To Groom A Pug

Grooming is important to make your pug look and feel their best. Weekly brushing will help with shedding and reduces the frequency of bathing. If you do bathe your pup often, be careful with the water around their noses and ears. It can get trapped and cause infections.

Keep nails short. If you can’t trim them yourself, your vet or groomer can. Those cute face wrinkles? They are a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Some puggies have longer noses and shallow skin folds that make cleaning easy. But dogs with deeper folds may need a medicated cleanser from your vet.


Your vet can help you find the best food and supplements for your puppy. They know how to evaluate your dog’s age in combination with your dog’s weight and diet. We recommend food additions like pumpkin to cut calories and increase fullness. They will also take your dog’s medical needs into account. Pugs are prone to knee problems and arthritis, so don’t be surprised if your puggie needs a joint supplement.

How To Train A Pug

Obedience training can be hard just because pugs are stubborn dogs. Training an older rescue pug is a lot different from training a puppy. Rescue dogs usually have at least a basic grasp of some commands and manners. But with puppies, you can train them to your specifications. 

Pugs can be easily hurt by rough handling. Backs, knees, and eyes are all particularly sensitive, so it is important never to hit your puggie! Also, don’t pull them by their collar. They can choke, so it is best to start your pup in a harness early.

How Much Exercise Does A Pug Need

Exercise is the bane of every pug owner’s life. Pugs want to be lazy and sleep in the sun. But lazy pugs become tubby pugs, so movement is essential. This can be as simple as letting your pup run in the yard while you work. Taking a walk to fit exercise into your routine is a good start, too. More athletic pugs might enjoy canine sports like agility or canine freestyle.


Pugs can be high maintenance when it comes to having health issues. They are not particularly disease-prone, which is good. But they do have other potentially complex medical needs.

Breathing problems are the biggest hurdle pugs face. Like all brachycephalic breeds, they snore, purr, and make other noises as they breathe. Surgery to clip the soft palate and/or remove the nares is used, but mostly in extreme cases. 

Another common pug health problem is joint trouble. Because of their bone structure, lots of pressure gets put on their shoulders and knees. Their kneecaps can slide in and out of place, causing pain and difficulty moving. Surgery may be necessary to stabilize the joint. Arthritis is common as pugs age. Shoulders, knees, and spine are the common areas. Glucosamine can help keep joints healthy.

Eyes should be another health focus. Those buggy eyes are cute, but they are easily damaged. Sharp objects can poke or scratch, causing damage. Other factors like diabetes can even lead to the removal of one or both eyes.


Nutrition is important. You want to keep your canine lean to avoid health problems later. Good dog food goes a long way to helping with weight. Grown-up dogs can eat breed-specific or small-breed food. Puppies need the extra nutrients from puppy food. If you need advice for food and weight control, please talk to your vet. After all, they know best!


Pugs are an ancient breed dating back to at least 400 B.C., making them one of the oldest dog breeds. Some resources actually pinpoint their presence as far back as Shang Dynasty in 1600 B.C.! Their roots are in China, where they were bred as companion dogs for the wealthy classes. Pugs have always been popular pets, thanks to their adorable looks and easy-going nature. They have even lived at monasteries with Tibetan monks.

Throughout history, pugs have not only been treated like royalty but also actually been royal companions. They were the official dog of the House of Orange after Portuguese traders brought them to Holland. In 1688, William III and Mary brought pugs with them to England when they claimed the throne. Before Queen Elizabeth and her corgis, Queen Victoria was a famous dog lover. She had a pack of them for much of her reign.

Through careful breeding over the years, the pug standard has evolved. While 18th-century pugs were longer and leaner, the modern preference is for a square, stocky body and muscular chest. Their tails are typically tightly curled and sit over the back. Some pugs are known to uncurl and wag their tails.

Today’s pugs live lives of luxury, not unlike their puggie ancestors. Most of them don’t have their own castles, but they are spoiled just the same. Cozy beds, lots of toys, and all the scritches and cuddles they can stand make pugs a happy breed indeed.


Fun Facts About Pug Dogs

Pug owners love to share fun facts about their pugs to show off their knowledge of the breed. Here are some of our favorites:

  • According to AKC, A group of pugs is called a grumble. They sleep up to 14 hours a day!
  • Those wrinkles are deliberate. They were bred into the breed to mimic the Chinese character for prince.
  • The most popular names for pugs in 2020 include Daisy, Bella, Lola, Max, Otis, and Winston.
  • Chinese emperors used to give their pugs their own small castles and a set of soldier guards.
  • Pugs love to wear costumes (or maybe they are just that tolerant).
  • Pugs are popular to use in commercials because of their fun nature and expressive faces.
  • The movie Men in Black helped renew interest in the breed.

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