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Pugs are a breed of dog that almost everyone can immediately picture in their minds. Their smushed faces and big eyes make an impression in your mind and make them pretty easy to remember. If you’re considering getting a pug, it’s a good idea to read up on common pug behaviors as well as their health care and emotional needs to make sure that the typical pug would be a good fit for your household. Of course, not all pugs will behave in the same way as the majority of pugs so it’s best to meet up with an interact with the pug you’re considering for quite a while to get a feel for it’s personality before you bring him or her home. Still, looking at the breed behavior is a great place to start.
Most pug puppies:
- Are expensive to acquire.
- Are busy, curious creatures. Expect them to get into whatever they can find.
- Are stubborn. If they don’t feel like going for a walk they might plop down on the sidewalk and refuse to move. Be sure you have the patience!
- Training requires patients. Of course, this is true with all breeds but pugs can be stubborn which can require a bit more training and a bit more patients. At the same time, most pugs are very emotionally attached to their owners and want to please them and are highly motivated by treats which both are assets when it comes to training.
- Are confident in personality. They aren’t usually intimidated by larger dogs making them an acceptable breed for households with even VERY big dogs.
You should know that pugs:
Are lapdogs. In fact, pugs were bread to be lapdogs on purpose. My pugs would love to be on my lap or touching my leg, laying at my side, etc literally at all times. My pug Beans spends her day laying up against my leg as I work from my computer on the couch. When I do dishes she lays a few feet away in her dog bed until I am finished. If I go into the bathroom without fully latching or locking the door she will nose the door open and sit on the bath mat until I am out of the shower. Frank isn’t quite as clingy as beans but he will whine/cry if his human (my boyfriend Ryan) goes outside for more than about 5 minutes without him. He also spends several hours of his day on Ryan’s lap while Ryan works online.
Do well in apartments. They don’t require much space and don’t require a ton of exercise (a good walk a day for exercise is fine).
Are not ‘yappy’. The only time my dogs ever bark is if someone pulls in the drive that they don’t recognize, if someone knocks on the door or if they see a squirrel or something in the yard. In fact, they don’t always bark when those events occur. When they do bark, it’s fairly low in tone for how small they are, it’s not a ‘yappy’ bark.
Are sensitive to heat and weather. My pugs both pant if we don’t run A/C in the summer. Beans has a very short nose and she will pant while resting when it’s only about 75 degrees. This is a bit unfortunate beccuase we have to use our air conditioning to keep her comfortable before us humans would need to use it. Frank has a much higher tolerance for heat (he has a longer nose) but he will pant if it gets a little over 80 or so while resting. This means going for walks or even playing with them when it’s hot out is tough. If you live in an area with warm weather you’ll probably want to schedule your daily walk early in the morning or late at night before it gets too hot.
Are not athletic or active dogs. They are not suitable to be your running, hiking or camping partner due to their breathing problems and heat intolerance. We have taken our pugs camping but only during spring or fall when the weather is suitable for them.
Are audibly expressive. I was shocked how many different noises pugs can make. While they don’t bark much, they sigh, sneeze, groan and grunt a lot. My one pug whines/cries quite a bit as well. It’s very easy to tell when they get frustrated or annoyed because they grunt at you! My pug frank also makes an odd repetitive hum-like sound when he is sleepy and happy (usually when cuddling with us and being pet while he’s tired) that we call a purr. While my pugs don’t usually have gas frequently or strongly, when they do belch or have flatulence it’s usually very audible. Prior to owning a pug I had no idea that a dog could have an audible burp but mine do.
Are sensitive. Both of my dogs dislike loud noises (war scenes on a movie, for example) or loud voices. They even seem to get worried when we are happy but just being loud. Beans is our more sensitive pug and she stays on high alert when Ryan plays video games even though he never gets loud while playing them. He sighs or says ‘ugh’ etc when he dies or isn’t doing well and this sometimes makes Beans pace the floor. So using positive reinforcement with pugs is important to avoid damaging the relationship with your pug. With our pugs liking to be at our side all the time, they occasionally get stepped on by accident. When this happens we immediately bend down and pet them, apologizing but they sometimes will go lay in a corner of the room and side-eye us for a couple of hours. They are very sensitive, I can only imagine how hurt they would be if we screamed at them or used physical punishment with them.
Are prone to health problems. Some pugs are born with extremely long pallets that need to be shortened so they can breathe better. They are prone to breathing problems in general, eye problems in general, etc. Their small jaws often result in crowded teeth which can make them more prone to tooth decay than other breeds. Pugs are not usually cheap in regards to health care.
Have odd body proportions. They often do not fit in standard store-bought clothing or accessories. Compared to other dogs of their height and length, pugs have broad shoulders. Many dog sweaters that fit pugs length wise will be too small in the chest, and buying a sweater that fits across their chest will make it too long. Pugs can go outside in normal winter weather (0-30 degrees) for a few minutes without needing a sweater but it’s something to be aware of if you want a dog you can accessorize easily. If you do want a sweater for your pug, We love Fido Fleece because they make “BC” sizes (meaning barrel chested) which are wider cut in the chest. The 12 BC size fits Beans while 14bc fits frank (the number is based on how long their spin is from collar to tail so its easy to find out what size your dog needs).
Pugs need harnesses, not collars. Pugs have thick necks and small heads, so collars will slide off very easily, so harnesses need to be used instead. Even if your pug has a neck-to-head ratio that allows for a collar to stay on (this is rare) it’s not recommended that you use a collar with pugs because their eyes can be damaged if a collar is used on them too tight their eye can actually pop out of the socket. We use collars to hold their ID tags but we never attach them to a leash using a collar. We love the Puppia Ritefit (my pugs fit a size large with 15-16 inch necks and 22-23inch girths) because it’s adjustable in the neck (great for pugs with bigger necks), it doesn’t rub their legs or chest and it spreads over their entire chest so any pull from the leash is evenly distributed and nothing pinches.
A pug might be good for you if:
- You are patient.
- You are comfortable with a ‘clingy’ dog.
- You can afford surgery if needed.
- You don’t mind a stubborn dog.
- You can train a dog in a calm and sensitive manner.
- You have other dogs (large or small).
- You want a family or child-friendly dog.
A pug might NOT be a good fit for you if:
- You work long hours outside of the home.
- You are uncomfortable with a dog who wants to sit on your lap or be on your furniture.
- You are looking for a running, hiking or camping mate.
- You live in a very hot and/or humid area.
- Your household is loud or aggressive.
- You aren’t willing to use A/C in your house to keep your dog comfortable.
- You want an allergy-friendly or low-shedding dog.
- You want an outdoor or even part-time outdoor dog. Pugs are indoor dogs.
- You want a dog that only requires minimal grooming.
Do you have a pug? What are you recommendations for the type of household or family that should or should not choose a pug?