By LifeLearn

"Lovable Mug"

Photo of Pug


An ancient breed in Asia probably as far back as 400 to 700 B.C., Pugs share an ancestor with the Pekingese and resemble the Peke, but without the long coat. The largest of the toy breeds, Pugs were highly prized by Tibetan monks and Chinese royalty and have varied in size throughout their history. Traders brought Pugs to Europe, where they gained great popularity in the 15th century. Called “Mopshond” in Holland, “Carlin” in France, and “Dutch Pug” or “Dutch Mastiff” in England, the name “Pug” is probably a reference to marmosets – popular monkeys often called Pug monkeys in 18th century Europe – which they resemble. Beloved companions in the U.S. since their introduction in the 19th century, Pugs today rank as the 13th most popular breed.


The Pug's motto,multum in parvo, means “a lot in a little,” and that refers not only to a stocky, heavily-built toy breed, but also to the Pug's great big personality. No hyperactive ankle-biter, the Pug has a stable and noble way, befitting a much larger dog. On the other hand, Pugs can get pretty free-spirited and playful…in short bursts. They enjoy romping with children, get along fine with other pets, and make wonderful companions for seniors, singles, or anyone who has time to spend with them. Athletes can look elsewhere for a running partner, however – the Pug's heavy bones and flat face make him intolerant to heat and unable to run fast or far.


Compact and sturdy, the Pug should have long legs and a square shape, about the same length from shoulder to the ground as from chest to tail. The largest of the toy breeds, Pugs weigh about 14 to 18 pounds and have massive, round heads with flat faces and round, dark, lustrous eyes. The Pug's ears should be soft and velvety, either folded over as if buttoned down, or curled loosely like a rose. Pugs have deep wrinkles on their foreheads, giving them the ability to make human-like expressions. Their top teeth should come down just behind their bottom teeth, giving them a slight underbite. Pugs have smooth, soft, glossy coats in silver, apricot-fawn, or black with a black mask (all-black face) and a dark black line, called a “trace,” from the top of the head to the tail, blending in with the color on the body. Some Pugs are brindle (dark stripes over a lighter coat) but this coat pattern isn't currently considered correct for the breed. Some Pugs, advertised as “teacup” or “miniature” Pugs, are not rare, just undersized (and sometimes crossed with other tiny breeds, which would disqualify them from being registered as purebreds). Undersized Pugs don't have the characteristic sturdiness, and while they may be cute, they are also more likely to be injured and suffer from health problems.


When it comes to training, Pugs can be, well... a little pugnacious. Sure, they want to please you, but they also like things a certain way and would rather charm you out of your silly ideas about “fetching” and “lying down” and “coming when called” than actually do those things. Try to force them, and they'll resist. The key to training a Pug is with lots of rewards and encouragement for good behavior. When they misbehave, ignore them – the ultimate punishment – until they decide to make the right choice, then offer plenty of praise and attention. Housetraining takes a similar degree of patience and consistency; taking the dog out at the same times every day without fail will speed up the process.

Grooming & Care

Pugs don't have much hair to brush, but the way they shed, it can seem like they do. Daily brushing helps keep Pug hair out of the house. Even then, Pug owners often find themselves vacuuming daily and keeping a lint brush in their back pockets. The Pug's deep facial wrinkles and delicate eyes also need to be kept clean and dry. Gently wash the Pug's face and facial wrinkles daily, drying thoroughly. Brush the Pug's teeth and clip nails about once a week. Bathe every month or two with a hypo-allergenic shampoo made for dogs. Pugs don't tolerate heat well and are prone to heatstroke. They must be kept cool in warm weather and shouldn't exercise outside in high humidity.

Health Concerns

Pugs snore and snort a lot, and while this is normal for the breed, talk to a veterinarian if your Pug seems like it is having trouble breathing. Like most toy breeds, Pugs can develop luxating patellas (kneecaps that slip out of place), and can also be prone to other orthopedic problems like degenerative hip disease and misshapen spinal vertebrae. Other health problems Pugs sometimes develop include encephalitis (an inflammatory brain disease), epilepsy, eye problems like dry eye and eyeball dislocation, skin infections, and mast cell tumors (a type of cancer common in dogs). Talk to your breeder and your vet about these issues.

Famous Pug

Frank in the "Men in Black" movies, Otis in "The Adventures of Milo and Otis," Bess in "The West Wing."

Ideal Owner
Activity Level Moderate
Schedule Full-time but comes home for lunch
Personal Style Affectionate, Inclusive
Training Style Creative and fun
Home Anything goes with enough exercise
Children Gentle and respectful kids
Experience Not necessary
Quick Facts
Size Small
Grooming Brush a few times a week
Exercise Moderate - needs to walk or play every day
Training Does not respond to harsh methods, Learns well but bores easily
Temperament Loyal, Goofy and playful
Challenges Snoring and snorting.
Height 10 to 11 inches
Weight 14 to 18 pounds
Life 12 to 15 years
Home Alone Not often or for long - wants to be where you are
With Kids Excellent
With Strangers Adores everyone
Availability Highly available - check breeders and consider breed-rescues
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