Why Pugs Are the Perfect Family Pet

Updated on August 22, 2019
Angie Woods profile image

Angie is a science teacher with an interest in a wide range of topics.

Why Pugs Make Great Family Pets
Why Pugs Make Great Family Pets | Source

Why Pugs Make Great Family Pets

  • Pug dogs are often described as multum in parvo ("much in little") or being a whole lotta dog, which basically sums up the little pug's amazingly BIG personality.
  • Pugs have an endearing appearance. They are prone to very comical expressions, and they have an even temperament. They are also highly intelligent, which makes it easy to see why they are a popular choice for a family pet or a single person looking for a charming companion.
  • Pugs are best suited to people who have a lot of time and love to give, as the breed thrives on human affection. Pugs are exuberant, alert, and show great affection for their owners and everyone else! They love being cuddled and patted and can sometimes get jealous or troubled when your affections are devoted to someone else.
  • Pugs are ideal for families with children, as they are generally patient with children and love to play games. The shape of their mouth prevents them from biting efficiently and this makes them reasonably harmless.
  • Pugs are among the most gentle and passive of all breeds. They will tolerate the prodding of a child, are not known to nip or bite, and are quite protective of the family and home. However, they are quite fragile, especially as puppies, and should be looked after and supervised when playing.
  • On average, pugs live about 12 years, but they have been known to live well beyond their average life span with proper care and nutrition.

My daughters beloved pug "James"
My daughters beloved pug "James"

The Pug Breed in History

While experts agrees that this is one of the world’s oldest breeds, no one is sure exactly how old. Some claim that pugs were short haired versions of the Pekingese and bred as companions for the Chinese sovereigns during the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC), They were known as "Lo-Chiang-Sze" or "Foo" (looking a little like the ceramic foo dogs or guardian lions, with their prominent bulging eyes)

Ancient Chinese documents state that pug-like dogs existed in China around 700 BC at the time of Confucius. Confucius also makes reference in his writings to a type of "short mouthed dog".

Others believe that pugs are actually a small kind of French Mastiff or Bulldog.

During the 16th century pugs were brought to Europe by the Dutch East India Company. They became the dog of aristocrats and royalty and were considered to have a high status amongst dog breeds.The pug became the official dog of the House of Orange in Holland after saving the life of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, in 1572, when the Spaniards and the Dutch were at war. The pug alerted William to the approaching Spaniards and he was able to escape unharmed.

The pug was also reportedly a favourite in France during Napoleonic times. Napoleon Bonaparte's wife Joséphine had a pug named Fortune which carried hidden messages to her family while she was confined at Les Carmes prison. It is alleged that Fortune bit Napoleon as he climbed into bed on the couple's wedding night.

Portrait of Princess Ekaterina Dmitrievna Golitsyna by Louis-Michel van Loo (1759)  Wikipedia Commons
Portrait of Princess Ekaterina Dmitrievna Golitsyna by Louis-Michel van Loo (1759) Wikipedia Commons

In the art work of the 18th and 19th centuries, pugs usually appeared with longer legs and noses than modern day pugs and most displayed cropped ears. The modern pug's appearance probably appeared after 1860 when a new wave of pugs were imported directly from China. These pugs had shorter legs and the modern style pug nose. Ear cropping was outlawed in 1895.

Pugs arrived in western countries during the nineteenth century. Pugs were one of the earliest pure breed dogs to be kept in Australia (the Agricultural Society of NSW records two pugs being exhibited in 1870) and the American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1885.

Pug Puppy Pic courtesy of Jerod Killick on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons
Pug Puppy Pic courtesy of Jerod Killick on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

The Unique Pug Appearance

While the pugs appearing in eighteenth century paintings tend to be long and lean, the modern day pug has a compact, square body with a deep chest and well-developed muscles.

The head is short, blunt and large compared to the body. Pugs have a relatively large bone structure and wrinkly skin. Pugs have two distinct shapes for their ears, "rose" and "button". "Rose" ears are smaller than the standard "button" style ears and tend to be folded with the front edge against the side of the head. Today breeders prefer the "button" style ears.

Pugs legs are small but strong, the legs are quite straight and are set well under the body. The tail is curled as tightly as possible over the hip, with a double curled tail considered perfection.

Perhaps the most endearing feature of pugs is their large dark eyes which protrude prominently from their wrinkled, squashed face, giving pugs an animated and inquisitive expression.

Pugs have smooth, glossy coats in four main colours—black, fawn, apricot and silver. The two major types are black and fawn but there are pugs with brindle coats and a rare white pug which gets it's coat from breeding.

Contrary to popular belief, pugs DO shed tons of hair which makes regular grooming and cleaning important.

Photo courtesy of choking sun on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons
Photo courtesy of choking sun on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

Pugs Are Fun to Have Around

Being attention seekers, pugs love to play games with you, they will race and jump around the house and happily "dress up" and parade around the place, hence the name “clowns of the animal kingdom”.

However, the energy level of a pug can vary greatly. They can be both energetic and very laid-back and their mood will change depending on their surroundings.

While in a high-energy situation, these dogs will be very active and playful. Pugs are very curious and love to explore new surroundings and discover new things. However,In a more subdued setting, pugs will tend to be more mellow. They love to take long naps and a typical pug will spend a great deal of the day sleeping, up to 14 hours a day! This can be a great benefit to people who work and have to leave their pug at home during the day. Pugs thrive on attention so they will be happy to see you when you arrive home but they will usually be content when left alone.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Photo courtesy Creative Commons; taken by Rick HarrisThis photo used through Creative Commons by Istolethetv on Flickr
Photo courtesy Creative Commons; taken by Rick Harris
Photo courtesy Creative Commons; taken by Rick Harris
This photo used through Creative Commons by Istolethetv on Flickr
This photo used through Creative Commons by Istolethetv on Flickr

Pugs Are Stubborn but Highly Intelligent

Pugs are known to be very stubborn at times and can appear to have a mind of their own. I have seen many people lamenting the fact that their pug dog is "so needy" and demanding (not unlike a small child). Just remember that pugs are bred as toy dogs or companion dogs who thrive on attention and love to be around people. Just like a small child, pugs can become fixated with "wanting" something and they can make a fuss until they get it! However, don't despair, pugs are intelligent dogs so with patience and firm obedience training this will not be a problem forever.

Like most puppies and dogs, pugs do like to chew things around the house, which can be a problem.

A word of warning: Never leave your lap top computer sitting on the couch open because your adorable pug is likely to chew all the keys off the keyboard and you will end up with a costly repair bill to replace them all (this is a true story!). The problem of chewing can be easily solved by giving your pug plenty of chew toys and storing precious items safely out of view!

Luckily, pugs are very intelligent and they are fast learners when it comes to things that interest or excite them. For example, figuring out how to best get your attention or how get to the food left out on the bench. Their intelligence goes hand in hand with their stubbornness, so you will need to be patient. With enough firm training these dogs will know what items are off-limits to them and will grow into responsible pets.

Photo courtesy of m anima on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons
Photo courtesy of m anima on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

Do Pugs Bark?

Some people will tell you that pugs don't bark. The truth is they DO bark but usually not a lot. Pugs are generally very quiet dogs. When they bark it might sound more like a yodeling sound or they will make small "yip"s when they get really excited.

At times pugs can be quite loud, bark and make lots of noise, especially when there is a stranger or new visitor to the house. Although not considered to be the world's greatest watch dog, due to their friendly nature, pugs can be very protective of their owners.

Gadget the Pug - Wikimedia Commons
Gadget the Pug - Wikimedia Commons

Are Pugs Noisy?

Due to their small noses and flat faces, pugs do have a history of making strange noises. Almost all Pugs snore and while some consider this to be really cute and charming, others might find it annoying, so take this into consideration when choosing a pug for your next companion.

The pug, like the Pekinese, English bulldog and Boston terrier, have been bred to have relatively short muzzles and noses resulting in the throat and breathing passages being frequently undersized or flattened. Pugs have an elongated soft palate that can protrude into the airway and interfere with inhaling of air into the lungs. Consequently, pugs tend to snort a lot but as long as your pug breathes without any problems, the snorting is quite normal.

When excited, pugs are prone to "reverse sneezing," where they will quickly gasp and snort and may make a strange honking sound. This is a type of gag reflex caused by fluid or debris getting caught under the palate and irritating the throat. "Reverse sneezing" episodes are usually not harmful to the pug and do not require treatment. You can help your pug by massaging his throat or covering his nose to encourage him to swallow to remove the irritant. If the sneezing stops, the spasm is over. Don't worry about leaving your dog at home by themselves. Reverse sneezing is not a severe problem and the episode will most likely end on its own.

Of course, if reverse sneezing becomes a chronic problem rather than an occasional occurrence, your should consult your Vet.

Dogs that have a long nose can regulate their body temperature by allowing the moisture to evaporate from their tongue and breathing passages. Pugs have more compact breathing passageways which makes it difficult for them to efficiently regulate their temperature through evaporation from the tongue. Consequently, pugs should not be over-exercised or allowed to become overheated. They need plenty of water and shade in hot conditions and ideally should be kept indoors at a comfortable temperature when it is extremely hot or cold outside.

Caring for Pugs

Although Pugs are considered to be fairly healthy, there are some special things to consider when it comes to pug dog health.

One of these is the wrinkly skin on the dog. Due to it’s nature, the folds of the skin are prone to infections. Pugs have a high incidence of skin mites (often called mange), especially when they are still puppies, so make sure you keep your pug well groomed and bathed properly.Take special care to clean in between the wrinkles to remove any dirt or debris that could cause bacteria build up and consult your Vet if infection persists.

Being prone to breathing problems pugs should not be allowed to become over weight.

Pugs LOVE food and will happily eat more than is good for them. Being an indoor dog, they are prone to laziness and will quickly become obese if not exercised regularly.The diet of a pug should consist of a high energy, good quality dog food from a reputable supplier or recommended by your vet. A good quality dry food and less canned food is recommended.

With a proper diet, allergies, itches and other health conditions that pugs can suffer from, will often clear up naturally. If you would prefer to prepare your own dog food you can find some great recipes for homemade dog food on the Internet. Balance the right amount of protein, vegetables and grains for a healthy pug. Include low fat meats, broccoli, beans and carrots (for their nutritional value) and brown rice. Consider adding a multi-vitamin or supplement to ensure your pug is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs. You can even make your own homemade kibble. Feeding your pug smaller meals twice daily will encourage regular feeding routines and aids digestion.

As mentioned earlier, pugs are very sensitive to high heat and humidity so don’t leave your dog outdoors in an area with no shade or water. If your pug gets overheated he can have a hard time breathing.

The Pugs protruding eyes can also be a health concern and should be kept clean and moist. Pugs eyes are not very well protected and this can lead to injury and complications. Beware of rose bushes and cats claws. Check the eye for cuts or ulcerations frequently and get your dog to the Vet right away if you see any problems in this area.

Can Pugs' Eyes Pop Out, or Is This a Myth?

Pugs eyes have been known to "pop out" due to serious trauma and there are some reports of this injury being caused by coughing or sneezing although this is not common.

I recently read a post from a pug owner. Her small puppy was trying to get out the front door with a group of older pugs. They were all running and the puppy got knocked into the side of the door. He hit the side of the door very hard and...his eye popped out. They rushed him to the vet who was able to put in back in, and it healed up perfectly, so this condition is treatable if you act quickly.

The Pug Head Tilt

Pugs and Exercise

The pug is a great indoor dog and they are not considered to be very active dogs. Pugs spend a good part of their day sleeping but they do have bursts of activity throughout the day and most pugs love to romp around outdoors.

Daily exercise is one way to keep your pug healthy and fit. Pugs can walk pretty long distances, but a walk around the block is usually enough to keep your pug healthy, especially if your pug has a yard to play in during the rest of the day.

Pugs loves to run and chase other animals, their owners and children. Although they can't play a game of catch with a Frisbee, the way larger breeds do, they will eagerly play a game of fetch with a small ball or anything they can fit into their mouth. Even in the house, a good game of fetch can be used to keep your pug in healthy shape.

Remember that, due to their small noses, pugs are very vulnerable to extreme temperatures so, when exercising your pug, it is very important to make sure that he or she does not overheat when the weather is hot. It is also equally important that pugs are not left outside in very cold weather.

Some pugs love water, but they are generally not very good swimmers, so make sure they are supervised when swimming in pools or ponds.

Pugs In the Movies

Some famous movies which have starred pug dogs include:

  • Men in Black (1997) - featured Frank the Pug
  • Men in Black II (2002)
  • The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989) - features Otis the Pug
  • Hotel for Dogs (2009) - remake of the 1971 movie
  • Disney Pocahontas (1995) - features the pampered pug pug named Percy who "owned" Governor Ratcliffe
  • Dune (1984) - science fiction
  • Marie Antoinette (2006)
  • 102 Dalmations (2000)
  • Walk With Destiny (1974) - Based on Sir Winston Churchill's The Gathering Storm. The pug, Goodchance My Delila, appeared in the movie.

Baby Pug Pic courtesy of Ward Kadel on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons
Baby Pug Pic courtesy of Ward Kadel on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

Questions & Answers

  • How can you tell when a pug is overheating?

    When pugs overheat they usually start panting and their gums will be dry or pale. They may start breating deeply and quickly.

  • Do pugs shed?

    Yes, Pugs do shed hair. In my experience, quite a lot! Some pugs have double coats and they will shed even more.

  • What is the life expectancy of a pug?

    The life expectancy of a pug is usually twelve to fifteen years.

  • My pug just turned 1-year-old but she barks a lot and tends to bite me and my family when we play as she is always super excited and playful, what can we do?

    Pugs are social dogs. They often bark and nip when they get excited. You can try stopping the play when she barks and say no until she gets the idea. Be consistent in your command and body language so she learns what means no. Reward her for not barking or nipping when you play.

  • My pug is 3 years old but he doesn't bark. Is there a problem?

    Some breeds of dogs don't bark much and pugs are one of those. There are other reasons why dogs don't bark, for example he may have overused his vocal cords, or just have a laid back personality. If you are concerned then a vet can check his throat to make sure there is no problem.


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    • Angie Woods profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Woods 

      8 days ago from Australia

      There are a number of reasons dogs might poop indoors. Sometimes it might be due to a medical condition, stress or anxiety. If they are indoors most of the time they might get super excited running around outdoors and forget to poop when there. Some dogs also have a preference for the surface they poop on. There are many helpful articles about potty training online if you search this same question.

    • profile image


      8 days ago

      My pug is mixed and he's cheap pooping in on the floor but pees on the pad and he keep pooping every night even we take him out all the time what can I do and what is the other options

    • profile image


      2 weeks ago

      Too many dogs too many ignorant people!

    • profile image

      Arun dobhal 

      4 weeks ago

      Pag dog

    • profile image


      2 months ago

      I had a female pug for 16 years . Most fun and so sweet. Miss her !

    • profile image

      Kalynn Gibbs 

      2 months ago

      I would like a tan or black one

    • profile image

      David Muscat 

      4 months ago

      Another movie with a lot of pugs is The Great Race when the crown prince Hapnik retires for the evening.

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      pug is cute

    • profile image

      thomas lacey 

      17 months ago

      I have a 13 year old pug black. I hope he is around a lot more years had him since he was 8 wks. old still seems very healthy

    • Gargoyle-statues profile image


      2 years ago

      No problem. Glad you found some useful information.

    • profile image

      Santhosh kumar.B 

      2 years ago

      Thank you, good information, planning to buy one

    • Gargoyle-statues profile image


      3 years ago

      Hi Luc

      Thank you! Im glad you found this helpful:)

    • profile image

      Luc Chen-Abbott 

      3 years ago

      I used this for school 5 stars also please write more on pugs it was great and I want to see this more often. write on how pugs can be taught trick or good ways to teach your pug good ways to stay calm

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Thank you a lot! I used this for school. Thanks again!

    • Angie Woods profile imageAUTHOR

      Angie Woods 

      3 years ago from Australia

      Hi Alanah. I'm glad you found this helpful for school! Thank you.

    • Gargoyle-statues profile image


      3 years ago

      Thank you

    • profile image

      3 years ago

      THis article ifs full of facts and I like it 5 stars to the writer


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