Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.
Intro / Overview
You’d be hard-pressed to find a breed more beloved (or more adorable!) than the Pug dog breed. Pug lovers adore the breed for their fun-loving energy, charming disposition, and loyal (but mischievous!) nature. And while the Pug’s appearance can be a little polarizing (while many people think Pugs are just plain cute, others think they better way to describe this breed is “so ugly they’re cute”), there’s no debate on how popular this breed is with pet lovers across the world.
Let’s take a deep dive into some interesting facts about the Pug:
Also Known As… (Nicknames)
Chinese Pug. Dutch Mastiff. Smushface. Puglet (if a puppy). A Grumble (if a group of Pugs). “Whoa, that thing’s descended from a wolf?? That’s crazy!”
Pugs are a historic breed with roots dating back to ancient China. These pups were originally bred as a companion dog for the Emperor. In fact, they were specifically bred to sit on the Emperor’s lap (hence the term “lap dog”).
Pugs made their way to the Western World in the 16th century, where they quickly gained notoriety thanks to their popularity in European Courts. Notable Pug owners included William III and Mary II, who took their Pug from the Netherlands to England when they accepted the throne in 1688, and Queen Victoria, who not only kept Pugs as pets, but bred them and gave them as gifts to other members of the royal family.
Pugs are small dogs. Typically, the grow to a height of between 10 and 13 inches.
The ideal weight range for a Pug is between 14 and 18 lbs (but if you overfeed them, they can definitely get on the chunkier side—which is why it’s so important to watch their diet).
The big draw for most Pug enthusiasts is, hands down, personality. These pups are often described using the Latin phrase multum in parvo, which means “much in little” or “a lot of dog in a small space”—or, in other words, Pugs may be small dogs, but their personalities are anything but small!
Pugs are extremely playful and loving and thrive on interaction with people (and other dogs!). But they can also be stubborn. If you ask your Pug to do something he doesn’t want to do…well, good luck to you!
Intelligence / Trainability
Pugs can be smart and curious dogs. They’re also eager to please, which can make training a breeze.
Here are some of the best training techniques for Pugs:
- Use positive reinforcement. Again, Pugs are companion dogs that are eager to please—and if you show your Pug their behavior is pleasing you, they’re more likely to repeat it. When training your Pug, make sure to give them plenty of praise and positive reinforcement when they follow directions. Once they see how happy you are when they sit or stay or roll over, they’re going to want to continue to follow your commands!
- Avoid any harsh training. Pugs are sensitive dogs—and a harsh comment or punishment can hurt their feelings and derail their training. There’s no need to punish your Pug during the training process; instead of punishing negative behaviors, just focus on reinforcing the positive ones.
- Be firm and consistent. Pugs are playful animals—so when it comes to training, you need to show them that you’re serious. If you don’t want your training sessions to turn into a game of fetch or tug of war, make sure you’re firm and consistent with your training approach. If your Pug gets distracted and wants to play, don’t engage—instead, redirect your pup back to the training exercise at hand.
Pugs are extremely adaptable dogs—and, as such, they can pretty much adapt to any environment. Got a big house? Great! Your Pug will love to explore the space and make it his own. Got a smaller apartment? No problem! Pugs have no problems hanging out in a smaller space.
The only environmental factor to keep in mind with Pugs is that they don’t like being alone. Pugs do best in a home where they have regular interaction with their humans—so if you need to leave your dog home alone for long stretches at a time (for example, while you’re at work every day), a Pug is probably not the best fit.
Good For families And kids?
Pugs are sweet, playful, and affectionate—which makes them a great fit for families with children of all ages.
Pugs have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
Overall, Pugs are a healthy breed (which is why they have such a long life expectancy). But just like any other breed, they may have health issues as they age—which, as a responsible pet owner, you want to be aware of.
Pugs have a flat face, which can cause breathing issues (those breathing issues tend to get worse in hot and humid climates). Pugs are also known for their big, wide eyes—which, while adorable, can also make the breed vulnerable to eye issues (including dry eyes, corneal ulcers, and surface injuries).
Bottom line: Pugs are overall healthy pups, but you’ll want to pay attention to their eyes and their breathing and treat any issues as they arise in order to keep them feeling their healthiest.
Pugs are full of happy, playful energy; they love to play and goof around with their family. But Pugs also have a lazy side—and are more than happy to curl up and take a nice, long nap.
One great thing about Pugs is that they tend to match their owner’s energy. So, if you’re feeling vivacious and ready to play, your Pug will match that energy—but if you want to relax and catch up on Netflix, your Pug will have no problem snuggling up next to you.
A Pug’s energy also changes as they age. Typically, younger Pugs are more playful and energetic—and older Pugs tend to be a little more on the lazy side.
Friendly With…(Dogs? Strangers? Cats/Other Pets?)
As mentioned, Pugs are some of the friendliest, most playful pups around. And that friendliness, from children to strangers to other dogs…even some cats!
Now, Pugs are known for being friendly—but that doesn’t mean that every Pug is going to be friendly with every stranger, child, cat, or dog that they meet. Before you let your Pug (or any dog!) loose around other people or animals, make sure to introduce them in a safe environment so you can gauge how your pet reacts to the situation.
Coat & Grooming
Pugs have a short coat that’s pretty low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They do shed, but weekly brushing will help remove loose hair and keep shedding to a minimum.
Toys Pugs Would Like Best
As we’ve mentioned about a hundred times, Pugs are playful pups. And one of the best ways to play off their playful nature? With plenty of pug-friendly toys!
Some of the best toys for pugs include:
- Puzzle Toys. Pugs are a) curious, b) smart, and c) driven by food. And a toy that plays to all three of these character traits? Thinker toys! Puzzle toys are a great way to challenge your pug’s brain—and the treat the waits for them at the end will just make it all the more fun!
- Tug Toys. If your pug is feeling extra energetic, a little game of tug of war is the perfect way to help them burn off that energy (and have some fun in the process!).
- Plush Toys. Pugs are sweet, affectionate dogs. And while they’d prefer to be sweet and affectionate with you, a plush toy can be the perfect substitute for them to love on when you’re not around.
Recommended Diet Or Supplements
Pugs feel their best (and stay their healthiest) on a diet of high-quality dog food. Portion control is also important; pugs are very food motivated and will overeat if you let them, leading to obesity and other health-related issues.
As your Pug approaches their senior years, it can also be helpful to give them supplements to help with the aging process; for example, a supplement for joint health can be a great way to prevent mobility issues with your senior Pug. If you notice any other issues your Pug is struggling with, you can also research additional supplements to help with their individual issues. As always, however, consult your vet before doing so.
BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)
This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Border Collie with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)
Seeing as Pugs can be on the lazier side, you may want to invest in a dog bed for them, even if they sleep in bed with you at night. After all, where are they going to sleep during the day or outside your bedroom?
This dog bed is great for supporting your pup’s tired body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your hardworking pal. ($27.99-64.99.)
Notable Rescues To Find The Pug Of Your Dreams
Are you ready to give a playful Pug their forever home? Adopt, don’t shop! Here are a few Pug rescues where you can find the perfect Pug-sized new addition to your family:
- Pacific Pug Rescue, Tigard, OR
- Mid-Atlantic Pug Rescue, serving NC, SC, VA, MD, WV, and TN
- Pug Rescue of New England, West Somerville, MA
- Pug Pros, serving Northern CA and NV
- DFW Pug Rescue Club, serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area, TX
Notable Instagram Pugs
Need a quick pug-themed pick-me-up? Check out these Insta-famous pugs:
***Looking for a gift to blow your Pug’s mind? Spoil them with a BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <– This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! 🙂