Pug Dog Facts, Traits, Stats, & Pictures

Portrait of Beautiful male Pug puppy dog siting in front of the grass background

The Pug’s trademark squishy face is a distinctive feature that sets it apart from other dog breeds.

However, other than this physical trait, not many people know the pug’s other special characteristics and unique personality. Pugs have been around for a long time, and in this period, they have made a reputation of being one of the most lovable dogs with a delightful disposition.

Are you planning on adopting one of these flat-faced dogs? Here is everything you need to know about pugs!

cute pug running along a beach

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History of The Pug Breed

Pugs are one of the few dog breeds that have been around for a long time. In fact, their rich and long history makes them one of the few unique breeds with true sentimental value. The pug is a breed so ancient that it traces back circa 400 B.C to the time of the Han dynasty.

It has its roots deeply planted in China, where they flourished for a long time and are still recognized as the wrinkly companions they are. Pugs are most popularly known for their small but sturdy stature and wrinkly face that gives them a scrunched-up look.

While they may not be one of the most good-looking dogs you will come across- and unfairly falls under the ‘ugly dogs‘ group- they were and still are one of the most sought-after cutest companion dog breeds. This is unsurprising as companionship is the primary purpose pug dogs were produced.

Before they were welcomed to the European scene, pugs were a significant part of Ancient China. Although most research studies agree that the pug’s history traces back to 400 B.C., it is possible that they were around for much longer than that. In ancient China, pugs were the go-to dog breeds for royal families.

They were royal lapdogs and high-valued companions for royal monarchs in China. Unsurprisingly, Pugs received the royal treatments their owners and masters were privy to. They were given the respect that people showed royal dignitaries, were guarded by soldiers, ate and drank nothing but the best food and drinks, and essentially lived a luxurious life.

With their eager-to-please and affectionate personality, it was easy to see why anyone would love to have pugs around them. Soon, these lovable dogs spread to other areas of Asia, where they continued to perform their companionship duties. Pugs were most notable in East Asia, especially in Tibet, where Buddhist monks kept them as pets. 

Finally, sometime in the 16th century, pugs arrived on European soil from Portugal and the Netherlands. They quickly become a part of many European courts. It is safe to say pugs had an affinity for the wealthy and royal lifestyle- or maybe it was the other way around.

Although pugs were known for their steadfast devotion right from time, this trait might not have been fully appreciated until 1572, when a pug named Pompey saved his master from an assassination attempt. Pompey belonged to Prince William of Orange, also known as William the Silent.

According to historians, Prince William of Orange was asleep and would have been killed if Pompey had not jumped on his face in an attempt to wake him and alert him of the pending attack. In honor of Pompey and this act of bravery, pugs were named the official dog of the House of Orange.

Eventually, in 1688, William III and Mary II came to England to accept the throne, and England received its first pugs. Pugs continued to grow in popularity, both outside and within royal bloodlines. The little cherubs enamored everyone, and by the 19th century, Queen Victoria herself found herself to be a pet parent to many pugs which she bred by herself.

Although this was just the beginning of the English royal family’s involvement with Pugs, the Queen’s involvement with these dogs facilitated the creation of the Kennel Club in 1873. Pugs arrived in the United States sometime in the 19th century, and since then, they have grown popular.

Pugs remain a personal favorite for many pup lovers and even had their club called The Pug Dog Club of America, founded in 1981. Pugs continue to be popular pets and companions in the modern era. Pugs have been the go-to pet for royal families, but they are also loved and adopted by modern families today.

Characteristics of Pugs

Pugs are famously known for their wrinkled flat faces that give them a squished look. While this might have looked like an accidental yet natural feature that occurred due to breeding, it is widely believed that pugs were purposely bred to have those wrinkles. 

It is believed that these Chinese breeders aimed to create a pattern on wrinkles that mimicked the Chinese character for ‘good luck’ or ‘prince’ in the more expensive pugs’ cases. This might explain why pugs were of sentimental value to royal families in China.

Although modern pugs still look almost identical to their ancient ancestors, there have been a few changes that might have been a result of evolution during breeding. The pug’s name is believed to come from the Latin word ‘pugnus’, meaning ‘fist’. If this is true, the name is a fitting description for the pug’s signature squishy features.

The pug’s face is short, flat, and wrinkly. Its eyes are large, round, and bulge comically. Its head is large, round, equally wrinkly, and supports a flat muzzle. Its ears are small and button-type, folding forward. They also often have moles called ‘beauty spots’ on their cheeks.

Pugs have broad chests with straight and strong legs that are considerably shorter than those of pugs displayed in historical paintings. Pug dogs may be lap dogs, but they pack some muscle. This probably explains why ancient pugs sometimes doubled as guard dogs for their families, especially in the Tibetan monasteries.

The average pug has a compact yet sturdy and square frame, much bigger than the historical pugs. They range between 10 to 13 inches in height and weigh between 14 and 20 pounds. Pugs have a short double coat that is usually different shades of fawn color or black but can also be apricot/apricot-fawn, silver/silver-fawn, or a combination of black and cream stripes. Their tails are short and curl over the back of their hip in a double-curl pattern.

What Is A Pug’s Personality Like?

Pugs are lovable and mischievous pooches. Although loyal, affectionate, and friendly to strangers and animals, they can be stubborn and daring. Regardless, a pug’s personality is one of its most colorful and endearing features. Some important things to note about a pug’s personality include:

  • Great companions: A pug loves nothing more than being on its owner’s lap or snuggling close to its feet. Although pugs have been around for a long time, their primary purpose of being companion dogs has not wavered. Pugs depend highly on their family and love to be involved in all family activities. Whether it’s walking around the neighborhood or lounging around and watching TV, best believe your pug will stick by your side.
  • Excellent adaptability: It doesn’t matter if you are in the countryside or the city, pugs are incredibly adaptable to any lifestyle. They do not have special housing or lifestyle requirements that condition them to only be comfortable in one area. They are great pets for the young or old. All they require is a family that shows them all the love and attention they need.
  • They crave attention: There are many things pugs can do without, but attention is not one of them. Pugs are solely companion dogs meaning they not only enjoy being with humans but also seem to crave it. A happy pug is almost always in its human’s shadow. They love to be petted, doted on, and spoiled. They love human contact and are probably one of the cuddliest dog breeds you will ever encounter.
  • Activity: Although pugs pack a lot of muscle on their small frame, they are not active dogs. While this doesn’t mean pugs are lazy dogs, they inarguably prefer to lounge around… preferably at their human’s feet.  Pugs love to play, but other than that, they are sedentary pets that won’t move until necessary. There might not be many dogs fit for seniors, but the pug definitely tops that list.
  • Temperament: Pugs are all-around friendly dogs, even outside your family. Your mailman can pet them. Strangers at the park can give them belly rubs. Even your neighbors can get a few slobbery kisses out of them. However, you mustn’t take a pug’s calm temperament for granted. Although pugs are curious, playful, and friendly, they require proper training and socialization to fully adapt to meeting strangers.  Also, since the apple doesn’t always fall far from the tree, if one of your pug’s parents has behavioral issues, your pup might inherit. However, pugs are generally kid-friendly and not wary of strangers or other dogs.

Things You Should Know Before Getting A Pug

Are you planning to adopt a pug? With a wonderful temperament and an endearing personality, it is easy to see why anyone would love to own a pug. They are fantastic dogs that fit into any family as long as you give them all they need. Here are some things you need to know about owning a pug.

1. Living Needs

Pugs are one of the easiest dogs to live with. They are considered one of the best low-maintenance dogs, making them a top choice for novice dog parents or owners with a large dog family. As previously mentioned, pugs adapt to any living conditions. It doesn’t matter if you live in a city apartment with kids or a suburban home with cats and rabbits, pugs are not picky dogs and will settle right in.

Regardless of their great adaptability, one thing pugs cannot get used to is not seeing their owners around. If you have to work long hours that will require you to leave your poor pup alone at home, you should consider not getting a pug. Additionally, it is essential to know that pugs have specific environmental needs.

Pugs are terribly sensitive to heat and humidity, so your home must be just the right temperature for them. If you plan on getting a pug, you might want to invest in quality HVAC systems to help your pup be comfortable.

2. Trainability 

Although pugs are active in their little way and enjoy any activity their human initiates as much as they can, they can be stubborn. Couple this with their tendency to get distracted thanks to their curiosity and attention-seeking traits, and you will quickly realize that training a pug is not as easy as you thought it would be.

A popular misconception about training pugs is that they are not easy to train because they are not intelligent. This is untrue as pugs are highly intelligent and pass basic intelligence tests as long as they are enrolled early. With proper training, pugs can be taught basic commands. However, advanced training is where pugs draw the line, as they are not wired or interested in performing those actions. Remember, a pug’s true purpose is to be a companion.

3. Grooming

Pugs are notorious shedders, requiring regular brushing a few times a week. Although bathing will reduce the rate at which your pug sheds its hair, it is advised to keep the bathing to a minimum, so you don’t strip its skin of essential oils and cause skin problems.

We recommend bathing your pug once a month but cleaning between its wrinkles regularly. Pugs also need regular nail trims and teeth brushing to remain healthy.

Veterinarian examining cute pug dog in clinic, closeup

4. Health

A pug dog’s health dispositions are undoubtedly one of the biggest concerns when owning one of these lovable dogs. Pugs are not the healthiest dog you will meet, and their physical features play a huge role in this. Pugs are a brachycephalic dog breed, and although their flat faces are endearing, they are the root of many health problems pugs encounter.

Pugs suffer from Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) thanks to their compact airways caused by their flat face structure. This causes saliva disorders, sleep difficulties, problems with regurgitation, and makes it challenging for them to breathe. 

Other than these airway-related problems, some other health concerns you should look out for in your pug are:

  • Pug Dog Encephalitis, also known as Necrotizing meningoencephalitis (MEN)
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Staph infections
  • Skin conditions like Cheyletiella Dermatitis
  • Epilepsy
  • Nerve degradation
  • Eye problems like corneal ulcers and Corneal ulcers
  • obesity 
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Demodectic mange

And a lot more. These health concerns mean more frequent trips to the doctor. This explains why a pug is one of the most expensive dogs to own.

5. Exercise

A pug’s exercise needs are simple as they are one of the least active dog breeds. They require moderate exercise to help them lower their energy levels and give their muscles a workout. These exercises may come in the form of a walk or slow jog for 15 to 30 minutes or less if the weather is too warm or cool. 

Since pugs are notorious overeaters who tend to become overweight, these daily exercises are essential to keep a pug healthy and in shape. Ensure you don’t feed them off your plate often, and you only feed them proper dog food.

Facts About Pugs

  1. Did you know a pug’s eyes can easily pop out of its sockets? The pug’s eyes are easily one of its most vulnerable features, especially since they are already so prominent. This makes their eyes prone to accidents, and actions as mundane as pulling their facial skin too tightly can put their eyes in danger.
  2. The pug’s unique tail shape is caused by a spinal disease called hemivertebrae. One-half of the vertebrae don’t form, causing the tail to curl.
  3. Queen Victoria owned about 36 or 38 pugs. Some of her pugs were named Olga, Pedro, Minka, Venus, and Fatima.
  4. Pugs can sleep for 14 hours if you let them.
  5. Pugs are one of the oldest dog breeds known today.
  6. English Painter William Hogarth had a Pug he adored named Trump. William even has a famous self-painted portrait of himself and his beloved pup
  7. The American Kennel Club first recognized pugs as a breed of their own in 1885.
  8. Female pugs are easier to train than their male counterparts.
  9. Even though they are prone to many health problems, pugs can live up to 15 years! They average a lifespan between 12 and 15 years.
  10. A pug’s snort and snores are loud enough to wake light sleepers. If you plan on adopting a pug, you might want to invest in a pair of durable earplugs.
  11. With a pug, you can say goodbye to your personal space.

Should You Get A Pug?

Pugs are affectionate little darling dogs that fit right in with any family. They are relatively low-maintenance, quick learners, and easy-going dogs that get along with humans and most animals.

It doesn’t matter if it is as a companion dog for seniors or a family dog, pugs are easy to bond with, eager to please, and make excellent companions.

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.