- Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
- Basic training required
- Enjoys gentle walks
- Enjoys walking half an hour a day
- Small dog
- Minimum drool
- Requires grooming once a week
- Non Hypoallergenic breed
- Quiet dog
- Guard dog. Barks and alerts
- Great with other pets
- Great family dog
Pug Key Facts
Life Span: 12-15 years
Height: 25-33cm when fully grown
Colours: silver, apricot, fawn or black
Kennel Club group: Toy
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 4/5
Energy level: 3/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
History and Origins
Country of origin: China
This is an ancient breed whose origins have been lost in the mists of time - and indeed there are many theories as to where and how the breed developed.
It is however thought that the Pug came from China where it had been known for some time (and may be one of the ancestors of the Pekinese), before accompanying traders to Europe, where they developed largely in the Netherlands - then travelled to England with William III and Mary II when they came to the English throne in 1688.
The Pug quickly developed fans around the world - especially in the courts of Europe. Queen Victoria was a fan of the breed, keeping 36 of them and indeed breeding and showing them. This passion was passed on to others in her family including King George V and King Edward VIII.
This charming, good-tempered toy dog is a happy, sociable companion. Pugs are friendly with both owners and strangers, playful, funny and good with other dogs or animals. While pocket-sized, the Pug is still robust enough to cope with family life.
These little dogs have big personalities and are beloved by old and young alike. He can be calm and quiet but he can also have his mischievous, clownish moments. A super companion if you can offer him the time he needs, he does not like to be separated from his loved ones for too long.
The Pug will suit an owner with a sense of humour who wants an affectionate, trainable small dog, willing to go everywhere with them. The Pug doesn’t need much exercise, but be aware that they do like to snore.
Health and Common Issues
The most common health problems are related to the Pug's flat face, which results in obstruction of their airways and a difficulty in breathing. Over-exercising and over-heating are therefore to be avoided. They are also prone to eye problems and like many small breeds, they can suffer from kneecaps that may temporarily slip out of place (luxating patellas).
The Pug needs only about half an hour of dog exercise a day, but he will happily potter around with you all day, and accompany you on errands. Never exercise him in hot weather or keep him in the car when it is even slightly warm, as he can suffer breathing difficulties.
A Pug is the perfect dog for a small urban space. They don’t need a garden as long as they have access to an outdoor area for exercise and toilet requirements - but they can also enjoy life in the countryside.
Nutrition and Feeding
Toy dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate. They must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion. Check out our dog feeding guidelines for more information.
The Pug's coat is low maintenance, requiring a quick brush once a week. However, the wrinkle over the dog's nose will need to be cleaned daily, and the ears and eyes will also need to be checked every day.
It’s easy to underestimate these little dogs, but Pugs can be surprisingly trainable and they will enjoy learning both basic obedience exercises and fun tricks. They should be taught to walk on a lead and harness - as well as learn a reliable recall - not that they generally wander far from their beloved owners!
Did You Know?
Now one of the most popular companion dog breeds, the Pug was made world famous in the film Men in Black (1997), when Mashu, a rescue Pug, played the part of a wise-cracking alien called Frank. He proved so popular that the character was expanded in the sequel made in 2002, by which time Mashu was seven years old and needed make up to cover his grey hairs! In the film he was even required to wear a $9,000 Italian suit. This popularity hasn’t done the breed any favours however as unscrupulous breeders have capitalised in on this sudden public interest. They are one of the most irresponsibly bred and puppy-farmed breeds, leading to a huge increase in health problems.
Not everyone loves Pugs however. While Josephine, wife of Napoleon, adored her Pug called Fortune and insisted her slept in her bed, her husband was not so enamoured. His opinion was confirmed when Fortune bit him on their wedding night, and left scars that he would carry for life (history doesn’t tell us exactly where!). He hated all dogs from then on and was convinced they brought him bad luck.
Best Family Dog Breeds
Pugs make great family dogs and are ideal for those with children. Although they should avoid boisterous games as their eyes can be prone to injury and their breathing restrictions prohibit too much running around especially in the heat.
While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.