Pugs Temperament & Personality

Pugs Temperament & Personality

PHC LLCOct 5, '20

Pugs Temperament & Personality

Quick Overview

Being part of the American Kennel Club’s Toy group, Pugs are generally sensitive and highly affectionate dogs, as they were originally bred to be lap dogs. That being said, the breed can still be quite stubborn but are nevertheless very laid-back in nature. Pugs also live for companionship, and might have some trouble when left alone for a long period of time. Overall, Pugs can be fairly easy to take care of despite their constant bouts of stubbornness, and make for a great, loving pet, even for those who are looking to adopt their very first one.

Pug Characteristics

  • Fairly Adaptable

In general, Pugs adapt fairly well to apartment living, despite the fact that not all dogs of this size are suitable for living in small spaces due to their high energy. While Pugs can be quite playful, they are nevertheless able to keep calm and are well suited to this type of lifestyle. This breed is also good for those who are still starting out as dog parents, especially because of their so-so sensitivity. Just remember to avoid leaving them alone and in extreme weather situations or climates, as these are notable weaknesses for Pugs. 

  • Friendly

Because Pugs are highly affectionate, they feel more comfortable around humans than other breeds might be. They are also able to bond more easily with people, and are quite friendly towards kids, other dogs, and strangers. 

  • Requires Some Level of Maintenance

Despite being small in size, Pugs, should be kept an eye on and watched over properly, as they have relatively high health and grooming needs. Pugs shed their fur constantly, but are still easy to groom. Dogs of this breed hardly drool, but are highly susceptible to weight gain because of their tendency to overeat, and may be prone to certain health problems and diseases. Their eyes are also one of their most vulnerable spots, and constant dryness may occur.

  • Slightly Difficult to Train

When training Pugs, it is recommended that repetitive techniques and a reward system be employed in order to effectively allow them to learn. Since they possess lower intelligence levels. A good amount of patience is required when training this breed. While helping them learn new tricks might not be a walk in the park for a lot of people because of how stubborn Pugs can get. They have a relatively low prey drive and a low tendency to bark. This may be helpful in some instances, especially when owners are simply looking for pets to play and have fun with.

  • Playful

The breed is considered to have average energy levels, but are highly playful. Nevertheless, Pugs are very intense and are quite vigorous. Because of their low heat tolerance, Pug owners must always be careful to watch out for signs of overheating. Despite their playfulness, Pugs should always be kept indoors, as they are house dogs.


Pug Size

Pugs are quite compact and small, with large, round heads and eyes. Pugs in general appear square and stocky, with legs of moderate length and a stout body. Their forequarters are strong, straight, and well-set, while their hindquarters are quite powerful, with full, muscular thighs and buttocks.  Both male and female Pugs may be of the same size, and unlike other dog breeds, male Pugs are not substantially larger than their female counterpart. 


Pug Height

Pugs, both male and female, can grow between ten (10) to fourteen (14) inches tall at the shoulder, or anywhere from twenty five (25) to thirty six (36) centimeters. While male Pugs are generally found to be somewhat taller than female Pugs, the difference is barely noticeable and both genders are of a fairly short stature. 


Pug Weight

According to the American Kennel Club’s standards, Pugs should weigh between 6.5 kg and 8.5 kg, or 14.3 lbs and 17.6 lbs ideally, both for male and for female dogs of this breed. Otherwise, they may be classified as either underweight or overweight. On average, however, they could weigh anywhere below 9.1 kg or 20lbs and still be healthy.


Pug Life Span

The average life expectancy for Pugs, both male and female, can range from twelve (12) to fifteen (15) years; however, it has been observed that female Pugs may end up living slightly longer than male Pugs. Majority of dogs who belong to this breed, however, are found to live closer to the lower end of this bracket due to various causes.


For Pug puppies, or those who are 1 year old and under, common reasons for short lifespan include trauma and infection, followed by congenital disease. For adult Pugs, on the other hand, four (4) causes have been attributed to their short lifespan:

  • Neurological disorders
  • Cancer
  • Infection
  • Congenital Disease 

Keeping Pugs healthy and active, as well as constant visits to the vet, however, are some ways to help increase their life expectancy. 


Pug Personality

Since these dogs are considered house dogs because of their need for companionship and highly affectionate nature, it is recommended that treating Pugs as guard dogs and hunting dogs should be avoided. It is also important to note that they should be showered with affection at every opportunity, as Pugs constantly crave for this kind of attention. 


Since they are quite friendly by nature, early exposure to different people and experiences can ensure that Pug puppies grow up to be well-rounded and highly sociable, and possess a good overall temperament. Otherwise, those who might not be as well-exposed might end up having an aloof or wary demeanor. While Pugs tend to be quite sedentary at times, they are nevertheless very playful and have a good sense of humor, and are also known as the jesters of the canine world because of this. While they are known for being quite the stubborn type, Pugs are still very eager to please and are quite agreeable, which is why they are among the most popular breeds to date. 


Overall, Pugs are an even-tempered breed, are quite charming and outgoing, and are generally very loving. 


Pug Exercise

If given a chance to choose between an entire day of lounging and lazing around, or having a good run around the neighborhood, it is likely that Pugs may prefer the former. This, along with their tendency to overeat, easily makes them susceptible to obesity. However, this is not to say that it may be difficult to have Pugs up and running if need be, as they are nevertheless still quite playful and lively, and would easily choose to play with their owners or walk with them if the opportunity arises. 


Exercises that might be too vigorous, however, should be avoided. Because of their low heat tolerance, overworking Pugs may lead to their bodies overheating, and outdoor exercises under the heat of the sun should be very limited. 


Pug training

Pugs are not considered the brightest of the bunch, and this, coupled with their stubbornness, may make training difficult for some. Luckily, dogs of this breed are very playful, which means that you have plenty of opportunity to train them, but with a lot of patience.  They get easily distracted and bored, so consistency is key. 


They do, however, live to please. So an effective measure for easier training is a good rewards system.  Avoid the use of harsh punishments and training methods, especially given their high sensitivity. 


Pug History

Because the Pug breed is so ancient, a lot of controversy surrounds its origins, as the Pug lineage stretches so far back that they were believed to have been found over 2,000 years ago. 


Most agree, however, that they originated in China, believed to be originally bred as lap dogs for monarchs and prized by Chinese Emperors. Their history dates back to as early as the Han dynasty, somewhere between B.C. 206 and A.D. 200. Some, however, believe that Pugs are related to the Tibetan Mastiff, as evidenced by dogs similar to Pugs found in ancient Japan and Tibet. 


Nevertheless, Pugs are known as one of the short-nosed dogs bred in China, along with the Shih Tzu or Lion dog, and the Pekingese. By the late 1500s and early 1600s, Chinese trade became rampant and were introduced in Europe by the Dutch East India Trading Company as the Mosphond. Eventually, the breed became the official dog of the House of Orange, marking the popularity of the Pug.


Around this time, Chinese royal families continued to breed Pugs, and some of them were brought back to England when the British overran the Chinese Imperial Palace. During the Victorian era, Pugs were featured on postcards, paintings, and figurines, and were bred by Queen Victoria herself. 


After the American Civil War, Pugs were introduced to the United States, and the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. The Pug Dog Club of America was then founded in 1931. 


Pug health problems 

Aside from obesity, Pugs are prone to a variety of diseases; however, this breed is generally healthy. Nevertheless, it is still recommended to be very careful when dealing with Pugs. Here is a list of diseases and conditions that may be contracted by your Pug if due care is not provided:


  • Mast Cell Tumor

This is a type of skin cancer that is more often contracted by Pugs than any other breed. Manifesting as tiny lumps on the skin, mast cell tumors look unsuspicious at first, blending in with other lumps or lesions on the dog’s skin. It is therefore recommended that any suspicious lump found should be tested and, if needed, surgically removed at the earliest possible opportunity as most types of cancer may be removed through surgery. 


  • Oral Melanoma

Due to their genetics, Pugs are prone to cancer in general and may develop it as they reach their golden years. This has been known and acknowledged as the most common reason for their relatively short life span. Aside from mast cell tumors, Pugs are also prone to oral melanoma, or skin cancer of the mouth. Most cancers, however, may simply be treated with chemotherapy or surgery. 

  • Liver Disorders

Pugs are also likely to get a type of liver disorder known as portosystemic shunt, or PSS. When this occurs, the blood supply that normally goes to the liver, instead surrounds it and goes around it, essentially depriving the liver of the blood that it needs to function and grow as it should. Tests should be conducted to determine whether Pugs have this type of disease, and is treated with diet and medication or, in some cases, surgery.

  • Eye Problems

Because Pugs have protruding eyeballs, they may be susceptible and vulnerable to eye injuries, such as scrapes to the cornea. This may not only hurt the Pug, but the scrapes and punctures may become infected and subsequently affect vision. 


Entropion is another condition that Pugs may be vulnerable to, and this happens when the eyelid rolls inward, and the eyelashes end up rubbing against the cornea. If left untreated, this may potentially lead to blindness, and is common in Pugs as it is a genetic disorder. 


Pugs are also commonly faced with dry eye, or a condition known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). This condition leads to the reduction in the amount of fluid produced by tear glands, thus leading to inability to keep the eyes moist. Not only does this lead to eye dryness, but it may also hurt the Pug as it results in itchy and sore eyes, as well as infections. 

  • Obesity

This is a very common problem for Pugs, and may lead to or aggravate digestive disorders, joint problems, back pain, as well as heart disease. 

  • Stomach Problems

Male Pugs may be prone to intussusception, which takes place when the dog’s large or small intestine slides into itself. Pugs are prone to digestive problems in general, and this can be triggered by eating the wrong kinds of food. 

  • Pug Dog Encephalitis and Seizures

Otherwise known as PDE, this disease is unique to Pugs — as its name implies — and its cause is unknown. PDE causes an inflammation of the brain and affects young to middle-aged Pugs, and is manifested through seizures. Before the seizures occur, however, it may be observed that the Pug may feel lethargic and listless, coupled with loss of muscle coordination. 


PDE may either be Slow or Rapidly Progressing. The former features seizures that keep occurring within a span of just days or weeks, and the Pug subsequently returning to normal thereafter. Rapidly Progressing PDE, however, features seizures that happen more frequently, with disorientation in between. 


Aside from being a manifestation of this disease, Pugs may be prone to epileptic seizures in general (non-PDE related), and this can be treated with Phenobarbital.


How to Care for Pug

To reiterate and emphasize, Pugs should be kept indoors as they are have low heat tolerance. This then makes them a good choice for apartment dwellers, coupled with their small, compact size and their quiet nature. 


Since this breed is quite affectionate, it is also important to note that constant attention has to be given. Otherwise, Pugs may feel bad for not having their devotion reciprocated. Pugs can also tend to get quite nervous and anxious, so to help them calm down, consistency is key when it comes to going about their daily routine. In order to keep Pugs healthy, assessment by a veterinarian every so often may also be required. It is recommended that this is done twice a year to ensure that they are kept healthy, and at the same time to give them preventive care. 


In order for Pugs to feel comfortable, communication is key. Learn how they communicate and respond appropriately, specifically by reading their body language. 


Nutrition and Feeding for Pug

Dry kibble is mostly recommended when it comes to Pugs, instead of wet canned dog food. This is because dry kibble is generally better for their teeth, and given their susceptibility to digestive problems, wet dog food may result in runny, wet stool. 


If a Pug is already over 12 weeks old, scheduled feeding is more favored in order to control the amount of food Pug adults eat, and to prevent them from overeating and gaining too much weight. This also helps regulate their behavior and aids in keeping them obedient. Keeping a regular eating schedule also helps in preventing stomach bile from forming, and being thrown up due to hunger and eating too fast as a result. 


Pug puppies, on the other hand, are to be fed 3 times a day. Several snacks that are suitable for puppies should also be given in between. 


Note that it is also important to know how much your Pug weighs, in order to determine portion size. In general, however, the recommended daily amount to feed them is around ½ to 1 cup of high-quality dry kibble, divided into 2 or 3 meals.


In the event that you find your Pug suffering from stomach problems or diarrhea, allowing your dog to follow a bland diet can help relieve your Pug’s stomach, freeing their digestive system from distress. For bland diets, steamed, boiled, or even baked white chicken meat is recommended. 


Coat Color and Grooming

Pugs usually come either fawn-colored or black. Since they are a double-coated breed, they may shed a lot despite their short coat. Regular brushing and bathing thus helps prevent too much shedding, keeping their coat in good condition. 

As for grooming, it is important to regularly trim their nails, as their nails are not worn down like those of active breeds due to Pugs constantly being kept indoors. 


Remember that Pugs are prone to certain eye infections, and properly choosing what soap to use for bathing is essential. The wrinkles on their face also require some attention, as these may be susceptible to infection if left damp or dirty. Upon grooming, it is also crucial to carefully examine your Pug for any signs of infection or lumps, and inspect the eyes for any irregularities as well. 

Children and Other Pets

As a highly sociable breed, Pugs are great when it comes to interacting with children and other pets. While they may not be the most active, they are nevertheless quite playful and love getting the attention they deserve. Early exposure to other people and pets can help improve their overall temperament and attitude towards others, as well.

Rescue Groups

Animal rescue groups or organizations are those which are dedicated specifically to pet adoption. In the event that there are pets that are deemed unwanted, abandoned, or abused, rescue groups take these animals in order to find more suitable homes and households to properly take care of them and attend to their needs.

Although Pugs are purebred dogs, a number of them are in need of adoption and rescuing because of violent owners. In the United States, a large number of organizations are formed specifically to help foster and rescue dogs of this breed, such as Pugs ‘N Pals of So. California, Colorado Pug Rescue, Central Florida Pug Rescue, and so much more. 

Breed Organizations

There is a number of breed organizations or associations that promote dogs of different breeds. In the United States, the Pug Dog Club of America is the official and sole representative and parent club of the Pug dog breed affiliated with the American Kennel Club.

More About This Breed

Pugs have a large head and round eyes, and one distinct feature that makes them stand out are the wrinkles spread all over their face. This is believed to be a prize endowed on them by Chinese royalty, as it represented luck and fortune. It is also said that because of their wrinkly face, their breed name is derived from the Latin word meaning “fist”, as their face usually resembles a human fist.


For Pug owners who tend to be light sleepers, it is also important to note that Pugs are highly prone to wheezing, snorting, and snoring quite loudly. A pair of ear plugs may be recommended to address this, or giving your pet Pug their own spot at home.