Pug Dogs
History, Characteristics, Personality and More

Pug dogs, playful and equipped with an irresistible sense of humor, love to entertain their spectators with their clownish and charming antics.

This breed's appearance brings out parental feelings to those who can't resist its smooshed face, expressive large eyes and adorable snorts and grunts.

Also known as Chinese Pug, Dutch Bulldog, Dutch Mastiff and Mini Mastiff, a Pug dog is often defined as "a lot of dog in a small place", and rightfully so; indeed, these dogs offer lots of personality in a small, compact package.

Whether you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed for you or just want to learn more about this breed, you will find the answers to your questions right here!

Pug History

While the breed's origin is surrounded in mystery, there are some facts most experts agree on. It's believed this ancient breed originated around 400 BC in Asia, first appearing in China and later in Japan and Tibet. Many experts believe this breed may be the predecessor of the Pekingese dog breed.

In the early days, Pugs were prized possessions of Chinese emperors and lived in palaces where they got to be spoiled and treated as pampered pooches. They then spread to Tibet where they were kept in monasteries by the Buddhist monks.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Dutch traders brought this breed to Holland and England. Once in Europe, Pugs continued to be pampered by many aristocrats and royalty.

When Prince William II was crowned as King of England, his procession included Pug dogs. Joséphine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoleon, used to send secret messages under her pug's collar while she was imprisoned. Other famous owners of this breed included William Hogarth, an English painter and Queen Victoria.

This ancient breed first arrived in the United States during the nineteenth century and was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.

Pug Puppies

Physical Characteristics

This breed presents as a small, compact dog with a square and well-proportioned body. These proud dogs walk in a self-assured manner with a slight roll and jaunty gait.

The body of a Pug is short, square and cobby. The neck is thick, strong and slightly arched so the dog can carry the head proudly. The chest is wide, full and well ribbed. The back is short and level. The tail curls tightly over the hip. A double curl resembling a cork screw is preferable.

The forelegs of a Pug are strong and straight, with the elbows just under the withers. The hindquarters are powerful, with muscular thighs and buttocks. The feet are not long as a hare, yet, not round as cat's. The nails are black with the dewclaws often removed.

The head of a Pug is round and quite massive. The eyes are dark, large and very expressive. The American Kennel Club standard depicts them as "very lustrous, and when excited, full of fire". The ears of a Pug present as either "rose" or "button" in shape. Their softness is often compared to "soft, black velvet". The muzzle is short, with a black nose and a slightly undershot bite.

The Pug features a single-layered coat that is smooth, short and soft. Acceptable colors are fawn and jet-black. Fawn Pugs have distinct black markings on the mask, ears and forehead. If your female fawn Pug was mated with a fawn stud and gave birth to a litter of black Pug puppies, don't despair; the puppies may still lighten in color as they grow.

    Height Weight
  Male 12 to 14 inches 14 to 18 pounds
  Female 12 to 14 inches 14 to 18 pounds

Temperament of Pug Dogs

Pug dogs are blessed with an even-tempered, stable personality. Their past, spent with the royalty, has given this breed a dignified side. But they can also act silly, providing loads of entertainment for family members and friends.

Pug Facing the Camera

While social and accepting of strangers when socialized properly, Pug dogs will notify you about visitors with their typical odd bark. Once the guests are welcomed inside the house, a Pug will greet them with all sorts of snorts, snuffles and grunts.

This breed loves to be with his family and be the center of attention; however, they should not be spoiled too much.

Pugs do generally well with other dogs and pets. Because this breed has a history of being cuddly lap warmers, some may get a bit jealous if another animal is occupying your lap. Overall, this breed tends to be very fond of children.

When it comes to Pug training, this breed can be a bit on the stubborn, manipulative side. Pug puppies may find obedience training worthwhile.

When it comes to house training, arm yourself with patience -- with this breed, it may take quite a while. When it rains or snows and your Pug is sent out to potty, expect him to promptly return inside the home prior to doing his business. An indoor dog litter box may save you from a lot of problems in the winter.

Best Owner and Living Conditions

Because of this breed's sturdy body and acceptance of children, Pug dogs make good companions for kids. This distinguishes them from other toy breeds. However, no roughhousing should ever be allowed and all Pug and child interactions must always be supervised.

This breed can make a good companion for the elderly and even the disabled. The best owner is ideally a patient, easygoing person capable of providing gentle leadership. Spoilers may create a bossy, insecure specimen that is a far cry from the sweet, affectionate dog a Pug is meant to be.

Pug dogs were bred to live indoors. An apartment or condo is acceptable as long as you walk your pet and meet his exercise and mental socialization needs.

Activity and Exercise

There is no golden rule when it comes to activity levels with this breed. Some Pug dogs may be big couch potatoes while others can be high-energy. Most adults like to spend most of the day snoozing. A swift walk around the neighborhood and couple of play sessions may often be enough to keep your pet in shape.

When taken out for walks, this breed does best with a harness rather than a collar so to prevent damaging pressure on the throat.

Pug on Bed


Don't be fooled by this breed's short hair; Pugs are non-stop shedding machines! Expect hair all over the place, including your clothes, furniture and the seats in the car. If this sounds like too much for you to handle, then Pug dogs are not the breed for you!

Attention must be taken in cleaning the folds on the face and the ears to prevent skin irritations and infections. This breed also has a tendency to pass gas, slobber and snore heavily; definitely something to keep in mind if you plan to share your bed with a Pug!

Health Concerns

Being a brachycephalic breed with a pushed-in face, Pug dogs are prone to overheating, snorting, wheezing and flatulence. Other problems include hip dysplasia, luxating patella, encephalitis and hereditary eye disorders.

Visit dog health problems to learn more about dog diseases and health care.

Make sure you are not too generous on treats with this breed; indeed, one of the most common problems veterinarians notice with Pugs is a tendency for being overweight.

Those interested in opening their home to pug puppies must find a reputable breeder eager to run a number of tests on their breeding stock to ensure no hereditary health problems are passed on.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Pug Dogs

Some Interesting Pug Facts

Pugs are often crossed with other breeds to give life to some curious "designer breeds":

Cross this breed with a Chihuahua and you will get a Pug Chihuahua mix known as a "Chug". Cross it with a Beagle and you will soon have a litter of Beagle and Pug mix puppies known as "Puggles". And what happens when you cross a Pug with Boston terrier dogs? About 63 days later you will get a Boston terrier Pug mix litter with puppies known as "Buggs"!


These "breeds" are not recognized by any dog registry and are not purebred dogs. Doesn't make them any less adorable but if you are after a purebred dog, they are not for you.

Some breeders have managed to selectively breed smaller specimens of Pugs, creating teacup Pugs and miniature Pugs. Keep in mind that such specimens are extremely delicate and are not recognized as purebred because they do not adhere to the weight and height requirements in the breed standard.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Pug dogs is between 13 and 15 years.

Final Thoughts...

Still not sure if this is the right breed for you? The best way to determine if a Pug is the dog for your family is by asking those who already own one. Most likely they will tell you they would never trade their pooch or own another breed!

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Pug adoption and rescue shelter. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Related Articles

You may also wish to explore the following articles:

Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? If you answered "YES", then check this Pug Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.


Find this article interesting? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and as always, your +1's, Shares, Facebook likes and retweets are appreciated.



Search this site or click here to search the Web


Pug Dogs » Dog Breeds

Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Professionals Member#: 73641
Puppy Rescue Adoption in your Area
Puppy Rescue Adoption in your Area

Featured Article

Puppy Training

Guide to Leash Training a Puppy or Dog

"The process of leash training a puppy or dog requires a step-by-step approach so to help instill positive..."
...continue reading