At a glance
pugA Pug is a small dog recognized for his trademark round wrinkly face and dark bulging eyes. The breed came from China and may be as old as 1100 BC.


  • Names – Mops, Puggles, Puggu, Carlin, Chinese Pug, Dutch Bulldog, Mini Mastiff
  • Group – AKC: Toy Group; KC: Toy
  • Size – small
  • Life expectancy – average of 13; range of 12 to 15 years
  • Cost of ownership – medium
  • Ease of ownership – high
  • Aggressive tendency – low
  • Amount of Exercise – medium
  • Amount of Grooming – low
  • Ease of Training – medium
  • Obedience level – medium
  • Suitable for Children – medium
  • Amount of Care Required – medium
  • Susceptibility to Health Problems – medium

The Pug has a square-like and robust body, with a sleek, soft coat that comes in apricot, fawn, black and silver. A Pug’s face seems to indicate intense seriousness, featuring a haughty black muzzle and piercing, bulging, dark eyes. Velvet-soft, rose shaped ears are the standard. Moles on the cheeks are prized and deemed to be beauty spots. The interlocked teeth have a slightly undershot bite, similar to Mastiffs and Molossers. Their tail is either set in a close curl or the more preferable double curl on the back. Their limbs are quite lively, the movement of which lends the dog an amusing jaunty, rolling gait.


  • Bitch: 14 to 18 lbs (6 to 8 kilos)
  • Dog: 14 to 18 lbs (6 to 8 kilos)


  • Bitch: 10 to 11 inches (25 to 28 centimeters)
  • Dog:  10 to 11 inches (25 to 28 centimeters)


  • Color – silver, apricot-fawn or black, with black muzzle or mask, ears, cheek moles, and trace down back
  • Coat – The Pug has a short, smooth, glossy coat. It has a top coat consisting of long straight hairs and an undercoat having softer, straight hairs. Average hair length on a pug is about ¾ of an inch.
  • Shedding – high
  • Allergies – medium
  • Causes Allergies – low

The Pug can be easily affected by the tone of a human voice. In spite of his small size, he is a fantastic watchdog. An ideal Pug is never shy and never aggressive but always friendly and playful. He is a very loyal companion.

  • Separation Anxiety – medium
  • Barking tendency – low
  • Aggressive tendency – low
  • Compatibility with other animals – high
  • Suitable for children – high
  • Watchdog suitability – medium

Though the Pug has an intense look he is comical, playful, charming and has a wonderful sense of adventure. Pugs are people-oriented dogs, love their family and are clever. They are quite capable of excelling in dog obedience skills but can be stubborn with training if the right teaching methods are not applied.

Training should be firm but gentle, as this breed is sensitive to harsh human voices and punishment will only be counter-productive. Pugs get along well with other dogs and pets, but they are happiest when in the company of their humans and will demand plenty of human attention. On the whole, they are very attentive dogs, comfortable to be on their master’s lap, by their feet or following their owner everywhere they go inside the house.

The Pug can be hard-headed at times but usually he wants to please. Training needs to be planned carefully to ensure it will hold the dog’s interest. Only some training methods are best suited to the Pug, as they bore quickly.  A Pug can be a challenge to train, which means consistency, persistence and patience are key. Obedience training at an early age has long term benefits for helping the dog to be more docile in his later years.

  • Obedience – medium

Exercise required
Pugs are tough dogs with short straight legs. They are quite happy with long, daily walks and should be taught to heal while walking to help solidify your role as pack leader.  Pugs will make the most out of energetic games and are healthier when regularly exercised. Owners need to make sure they do not over exercise this breed, however, because they can easily overheat and wheeze when they are tired or too hot due to their flat muzzle. Moreover, by listening to a dog’s breathing, one can check if the dog is overheating, or getting overly tired (this happens quickly to some Pugs). The ideal temperature for exercise is 30 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Energy – high
  • Amount required – 20 to 30 minute walks daily

Pug care is important and one of the major factors is ensuring clean ears, eyes, and nose. Ear cleaning can be incorporated into a regular grooming process like bathing. A minimum cleaning routine can consist of regular application of a cleansing solution applied with cotton balls on the ear folds.

If tear stains develop in the folds of the skin on the face, clean the stained wrinkles with hydrogen peroxide (10 vol.) to prevent infection and use baby oil to keep tears off the fur. Lastly, apply a little Vaseline on the nose of your pug once in a while to prevent it from getting dry.

Another problem that needs to be watched out for is overheating. Pugs must not be left alone in a car and they should only be mildly exercised in the summer, weather permitting. In the event an owner spots the warning indications of overheating, the animal needs to be taken out of the sun, swathed with wet fresh towels, ventilated with a fan and given some fresh water.

If your pet displays scooting (dragging the anus on the floor), excessive licking under the tail, tenderness near tail and anus, and/or bloody or sticky drainage from the anal area, it may be an indication there is a problem with the anal sacs, which means a visit to the veterinarian is needed.

Examples of prepared meat recommended for a Pug include: beef (grilled, fried or cooked); chicken (fried or cooked); lamb (cooked), which is among the healthiest; pork-meat (well cooked), but less often; lamb-heart (cooked). A pug will also appreciate grounded vegetables added to his diet, e.g. leftovers from the crisper but avoid dangerous vegetables, such as onions.

For a Pug between 4 and 5 months, the dog can be given three small meals a day. From 8 months onwards, two main meals should be enough. Some adult Pugs are satisfied with one meal a day, while others prefer two. As always, owners need to take care to not overfeed their dog to prevent obesity.

The Pug is a seasonal shedder, and sheds excessively during these peak periods. Partial solutions to this issue involve using special shampoos, supplementing or changing the Pug’s diet or even trimming the Pug’s coat.   However, regular coat grooming can also keep the shedding down.

  • Ease of grooming – high
  • Amount of grooming – high

Unless a male Pug earns distinction in show and preferably achieved his Championship, he should not be bred. Alternatively, the dog can be evaluated by several highly successful show breeders, which is also considered acceptable.  After being approved, the male will need to undergo a series of health checks for certain hereditary conditions such as, but not limited to, leg perthes, luxated patella, cataracts, and PRA.

Pugs are a challenge to breed, first of all because their wide, flat heads and narrow pelvises do not make for easy whelping. Pug females are in large risk of dying, and a breeder’s inexperience may amplify the danger of losing a bitch in whelp.

Many Pug litters can only be born by c-section. New show breeders can gain a lot of knowledge by serving as an apprentice to very experienced breeders, going and helping/watching during countless whelpings at the skilled breeder’s home.

After the pregnancy, breeders need to work around the problem of uninterested Pug mothers, which is a common problem. Even females who accept their puppies often have insufficient milk, which would make it necessary to switch to tube feeding. Tube feeding is one of the many major tests of a breeder’s dedication. It involves running a tube down a puppy’s throat to the stomach; a process that must be done every 2 hours, 24 hours per day, for 3 weeks, for each puppy.

  • Litter size – average of 5 and range of 4 to 8 puppies
  • Puppy cost – average of $ USD 600 and range in $USD 450 to 700

Pugs are prone to catching colds and are sensitive to extreme weather. They are vulnerable to allergies and their short muzzle can lead to breathing problems or make present breathing issues worse. Every Pug is at a risk of corneal inflammation and ulcers on the cornea. Their delicate eyes are prone to weeping. While the breed may not be a loud barker, they do wheeze and snore.

  • Life expectancy – average of 13; range of 12 to 15 years
  • Susceptibility to illness – medium
  • Common health problems – knee problems (especially dislocation of knee bones), encephalitis or swelling of the brain, retinal atrophy and other eye problems or respiratory problems including snoring

Pugs make wonderful companions because they are lovable, clownish, non-aggressive and simply love to be with their humans. They dislike dirt, travel well, are friendly with children and other animals and are not loud barkers.

However, Pugs are heavy seasonal shedders and are prone to many health problems. Their short muzzle causes them to sneeze, snore and snort, can make breathing difficult during exercise and can cause them to easily overheat. They can be stubborn at times and may prove difficult to train. That said, they are a devoted and affectionate breed and will develop into a beautiful pet if provided with the proper socialization and training at an early age.

  • Living conditions – Pugs are suited for apartment life and also enjoy a yard.  However, owners with a yard or those taking him for an adventure outdoors, must ensure the dog has access to adequate shade and fresh water, especially during hot and humid weather.
  • Good with Children – They are tolerant of children and enjoy their company.

They were bred as royal lap dogs during the Shang dynasty (1600-1046 BC).  In East China they were known as “Lo-Chiang-Sze”. The Pug’s popularity spread to Tibet, then to Japan and finally Europe.

This breed may also be referred to as a “Lion Dog” or “Foo (or Fu) Dog”, due to his resemblance to Chinese guardian lions, which were considered companions to the souls of the deceased.

The breed became widespread in Europe after arriving in the late 16th and 17th centuries through the efforts of merchants and crews of the Dutch East Indies Trading Company. Pugs were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.

  • County or origin – China
  • Group – Toy (AKC), Toy (KC) and Mastiff group
  • Recognition – CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR

Did you know…

  • Some famous Pug owners include:
    • Singer Billy Joel (Fionula)
    • Singer Chris Kirkpatrick (Busta and Korea)
    • Actor Mickey Rourke (Raphael)
    • Singer Paula Abdul (Puggy Sue)
    • Actress Jessica Alba (Sid)
    • Actress Tori Spelling (Mimi)
    • Fashion designer Rudolph Valentino (Margot, Maude, Monty, Molly, Milton and Maggie)
    • Musician and singer Carly Simon (Jimmy and Eleanor)
    • Actress Mackenzie Phillips (Max the “Chinese” Pug)
    • Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife Josephine Bonaparte (Fortune)
    • JD Fortune (lead singer for INXS) and his number one fan Presley, the pug
    • Web comic artists Drew and Natalie Dee (Chester)
    • Marvel comics publisher Stan Lee (Pookie)
    • Singer and producer Rob Zombie (Dracula)
    • Queen Victoria of the 19th century United Kingdom (Olga, Pedro, Minka, Fatima and Venus and most especially one named Bully, not to mention some 7 other Pomeranians!)
  • Some famous Pugs include:
    • Cheeka – commercials for the Hutch cellular network in India
    • Frank – Men in Black / Men in Black II
    • Mopy – Marie Antoinette movie
    • Otis – The Adventures of Milo and Otis
    • Vinny the Pug – Vincent Thomas Pug, professional pug rock climber and poser
    • Carly Simon has owned over 10 pugs in her lifetime.
  • Winsor Pilates

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