Pug Overview

Dog Breed:
Breed Group:
Toy group
Comical, social, entertaining, loving, joyful
10-13 inches
14-18 pounds
Life Span:
13-15 years
Coat Colors:
Black or fawn
Area of Origin:
Best For:
First-time owners, seniors
Pug Price Guide
Adult Food:
Best Dog Food for Pugs
Puppy Food:
Best Puppy Food for Pugs
Mixed Breeds:
Chug, Shug & Pug-Zu

Pug Characteristics

Good for First-Time Owners
Good with Children
Easy to Train
Exercise Requirements
Ease of Grooming
Amount of Shedding
Amount of Drooling
Tendency to Bark

About The Pug

  • Well-suited to most living conditions including apartments

  • An excellent dog for the first-time owner or seniors

  • Friendly and affectionate

The Pug is truly a big dog in a small body whose motto “multum in parvo” translates to “a lot in a little.” With its distinctive head, shiny dark eyes, and wrinkle-lined forehead, the Pug is an extremely expressive breed capable of displaying a wide range of emotions.

Pugs are easily adaptable to nearly any living condition, thriving in both the city and the country. With only moderate activity requirements, the Pug is equally at home in a house with a fenced yard or in an apartment so long as regular exercise is provided.

Pugs are known to love people of all ages, making them well-suited to families with children or as a single pet for a senior. They are also a breed that is known to love food, so care must be taken to maintain a proper body condition through careful monitoring of nutritional intake to prevent weight gain.

Due to their short coat and snubbed nose appearance, the Pug is not suited to extreme climates, having difficulty breathing in excessive heat or cold. For outdoor activities in chilly weather, a sweater is recommended.

Aficionados of the breed assert that the name Pug is taken from the Latin word which means “fist.” It is believed that this term was applied due to the appearance of the dog’s face.

The breed is known for its comical, playful nature. Pugs enjoy the company of their family and will actively seek opportunities to entertain those they love most. The Pug is a sensitive breed whose feelings are easily hurt if feeling neglected.

The Chinese are credited with the development of this popular breed. Many believe that the Pug’s wrinkles became an important component of the dog’s appearance due to the Chinese belief that they were symbolic of good fortune. In ancient times, Pugs that bore wrinkles which closely resembled the Chinese characters for “prince” were in high demand.

By nature, the Pug is a joy-filled dog that thrills at lavishing family, friends, and even strangers with love and affection. The breed has a quiet dignity and is gentlemanly in conduct and demeanour. However, the Pug can be prone to getting up to mischief and loves to play.

A breed of only moderate intelligence, the Pug can be a challenge to train. Pugs are known for being somewhat stubborn. Due to their sensitive nature, they respond best to positive reinforcement training techniques.

Pugs can be extremely vocal dogs, making them an excellent choice for families looking for a dog that will alert bark at the presence of unusual activity outside their home. However, care must be taken to teach the Pug a “quiet” command to keep the peace with neighbours.

The Pug’s coat is comprised of two layers of short hair which is known to shed quite a bit. It is best to regularly brush this dog breed to remove as much dead hair as possible to prevent excess shedding.

The Pug has only moderate activity needs, making it well-suited to families who are not overly active but that enjoy taking a daily stroll. They are an excellent breed for first time dog owners or for seniors.

Pug Breed History

  • Believed to have originated in China during the Han dynasty

  • Intended to serve as a companion dog

  • Owned by such notable figures as Chinese emperors, Marie Antoinette, Josephine Bonaparte, and Queen Victoria

The Pug is considered to be one of the world’s oldest dog breeds. A dog type that is estimated to have been developed as much as 2,000 years ago in China, the Pug has always been primarily a companion dog. History relates that the Pug, or Pug Dog as it is sometimes referred to, was deliberately bred to have a flat-faced appearance as was the fashion of the day. The breed was developed as a family pet for the emperor and his family members to enjoy. 

In ancient times, flat-faced dogs such as the Pekingese, Shih Tzu, and Pug were carefully guarded secrets. The only means to obtain one was through receiving one as a gift from a member of Chinese royalty. 

It is believed that the Pug was brought from China to Europe in the 1500’s. Many claim that the Pug gained favour amongst Holland’s Royal House of Orange when one of them was responsible for saving the life of its beloved prince through alert barking to the impending presence of Spanish troops coming to stage an attack on the palace. When the royal family moved from Holland to their home in England, several specimens of the breed joined them, inciting a new favourite dog breed amongst their subjects. 

The Pug’s history may trace back as far as the Han dynasty. A dog breed highly prized by Chinese royalty, many lovers of the breed believe the Tibetan Mastiff formed an important part of the Pug’s pedigree. Pugs living in their native land were treated with great care, living in the lap of luxury and even being protected from harm or theft by members of the military. 

Throughout the years and as the breed travelled from country to country, the Pug was given many different names. These include the Carlin in France, the Doguillo in Spain, the Mops in Germany, and the Caganlino in Italy. 

Among the most notable owners of the breed are Marie Antoinette, Josephine Bonaparte, and Queen Victoria, who not only shared her home with several Pugs; she also bred them. 

It was not until after the Civil War that the Pug made its way to the United States. The breed was exceedingly popular during the late 19th century but later fell out of vogue, not regaining its status as a highly sought-after family dog until 1931. 

Pug Size & Weight

  • Stands from 10” to 13”

  • Weighs between 14-18 pounds

  • Should never exceed 20 pounds


The average adult Pug will stand between 10”-13” at the shoulder. In weight, the Pug can range from 14-18 pounds but should never exceed 20 pounds for the sake of its health. 

Since the facial conformation of the Pug makes breathing challenging for this dog breed, potential owners of this breed must be aware that the Pug should not be exercised outdoors in extreme heat or cold

Pug Personality & Temperament

  • Low activity requirements

  • Friendly and social

  • Affectionate and loyal


The Pug is a laidback, low energy dog breed that prefers naps on the couch to an overly active lifestyle. A dog breed that was intended to function purely as a companion animal, the Pug excels in its role as a family pet. This breed loves to take pride of place on the laps of its family members who it loves with fierce devotion. However, this dog breed expects loyalty and affection in return and will become hurt if it is not received with equal fervor. 

The Pug is known for its comical nature. A dog type that loves to entertain, the Pug is happy curled up on the couch next to its favourite person, out on a walk around the neighbourhood, or showing off its tricks for its family and friends. 

Pugs are both a social and friendly breed, enjoying the company of all people. They are also known to adore children. The Pug is sturdy enough to make an excellent companion for small kids; however, the Pug lacks the energy to keep up with those that are particularly active. For the safety of both the child and the dog, all interactions between the two should be carefully supervised

The Pug gets along well with other animals, being a lover not a fighter. For best results, introduce established family pets to their new Pug friend in a neutral location such as a public park or a veterinary clinic. 

A dog breed of moderate intelligence at best, training a Pug can take time and patience. The breed is known for its wilfulness. 

A highly adaptable breed with very few care requirements, the Pug is well-suited to nearly any living situation and type of owner, whether young, with children, or even seniors. With only minimal activity requirements, the Pug can thrive in an apartment setting so long as the dog’s daily exercise needs are met. 

Pugs are not a breed that enjoys spending much time alone, preferring the company of their owners. Due to their facial construction, they are best suited to moderate climates. 

Pugs do sleep a fair bit; however, they can be quite noisy as snoring is common in the breed. 

Pug Health & Grooming

  • Sheds profusely

  • Facial folds must be kept clean and dry

  • Not a drooler


In general, the Pug enjoys good health and excellent longevity. However, as with all dog breeds, there are certain health conditions the Pug can be predisposed to. Genetic testing of all breeding pairs prior to mating can help to detect the presence of disease and eliminate the spread of inherited illness to any offspring. The most common problems which can plague the Pug are cheyletiella dermatitis, epilepsy, nerve degeneration, corneal ulcers, eye issues, dry eye, allergies, demodectic mange, staph infection, yeast infection, hemi-vertebrae, hip dysplasia, Legg-Calves Perthe disease, patellar luxation, and vaccination sensitivity.

The Pug possesses a double coat this is comprised of short hair. The breed sheds a tremendous amount; particularly during the summer months. To help reduce the amount of shed hair in the home environment, this dog breed should be brushed daily and bathed on an as needed basis. Once a month is typically all that is required to keep the Pug smelling fresh and clean. 

Nail trims should be done at least once a month or as often as is necessary to maintain good foot health. Ear cleaning and dental care are also an important part of keeping this breed healthy. 

Since the Pug has wrinkles on the face, care must be taken to keep them clean and dry. If these areas become moist or dirty, they can become susceptible to infection. Following all baths, the wrinkle folds should be carefully dried. 

The Pug’s unique eyes can also become injured easily since they protrude from the face. Exercise caution to avoid contact with soap or other irritants. 

The Pug is extremely prone to gaining weight. To help prevent this, all food should be carefully measured and monitored. 

The Pug is not a known drooler. 

Pug Training

  • Moderate intelligence

  • Can be stubborn

  • Not prey driven nor prone to roaming


Pugs are known for their laidback, easy-going nature. A breed that was intended purely for companionship, the Pug is motivated to entertain and please its people. In possession of moderate intelligence, the Pug can be difficult to train since it is also a dog breed known for stubbornness. With patience and regular practice, the Pug can master the basic obedience commands in as little as six weeks. 

Pugs are extremely sensitive. As a result, they will respond very poorly to harsh training methods. Positive reinforcement techniques are best. 

The Pug is not particularly predisposed to nipping. However, all puppies will use their mouths to navigate their world when teething, so it is an excellent opportunity to teach the dog appropriateness. Should the dog attempt to connect its teeth with skin, simply redirect the Pug to an item that is intended for chewing such as a bone, ball, or toy. In this fashion, the dog will soon learn where to use its teeth and where not to. 

The Pug is not a prey driven dog and is not particularly drawn to roam. However, this is one dog breed that loves to use its voice. All Pugs should be taught a “no bark” command to ensure harmony between neighbours. 

Pug Exercise Requirements

  • Moderate intelligence

  • Can be stubborn

  • Not prey driven nor prone to roaming


The Pug prefers the sedentary lifestyle to being overly active. However, Pugs still do need regular exercise to maintain optimal health and a good body condition. Since this breed is prone to weight gain, activity is very important

The Pug is not a breed that will do well in hot or cold weather, so it is best to take the dog for its walk or playtime during the most moderate times of day. 15 to 30 minutes of daily exercise should be sufficient to help keep the Pug in tip top shape. 

Pugs can compete in some performance sports so long as care is taken to not exercise them during hot or cold weather. These include agility, obedience, and Rally. 

Pugs are an exceptionally playful breed, taking great pleasure in spending time having fun with their family. 

Pug Diet & Feeding

  • Puppies should eat puppy food

  • Adults should eat adult food

  • Adjust meal sizes according to activity and weight


To ensure the best diet for a Pug, it is always an excellent idea to seek the advice of a veterinarian. In general, all Pugs will do well on a diet made from high-quality ingredients and that is nutritionally balanced. 

Puppies should eat puppy food to support the needs of their developing bodies. In like fashion, adult dogs should be fed an adult formulation that is suited to their age, health, and activity level. 

To determine the correct serving size, the bag of food can provide a helpful guideline. Use this as a starting point, adjusting amounts and meal frequency according to the dog’s activity level. The dog’s weight and appetite can serve as a helpful guide. 

Extra care must be taken with the Pug and its nutritional requirements since the breed loves food and will overeat if given opportunity to do so. Because of this natural tendency, the Pug can easily gain weight. Measure all food carefully and make adjustments on an as needed basis to maintain the appropriate body condition. 

Treats should also be limited. Choose lower calorie options for use when training. 

You may also be interested in:

Pug Rescue Groups

For more information about Pugs available for adoption near you, we recommend the following comprehensive resource:

Pug Dog Club of America