The Ultimate Guide to Pug Ownership: All You Need to Know


Breed name: Pug

Original breed name: Chinese Pug, Dutch Mastiff

AKC list of most popular dogs: 12th

FCI classification: Group 9, Section 11, small molosser type

Origin: China

Size: Small dog

Average lifespan: 12-15 years.

The Latin phrase “multum in parvo” is the best way to describe a pug. In fact, it means that a “big dog” is hiding in its small body. Its amazing charm, outgoing personality, and intelligence make it a lot of fun for the person who owns it.

Origin of Pugs

Pugs originally come from China and some historians believe that they are even related to the Tibetan Mastiff.

History shows that similar dogs were popular in the imperial court of the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD). In China, pugs were raised as pets for the ruling families and were even watched over by soldiers. Later, this breed mostly spread through Asia, and it is known that Buddhist monks in Tibet kept Pugs in their temples.

We don’t know when Pugs first arrived in Europe, but they immediately became popular, both aboard ships and among monarchs and aristocrats. From the Netherlands to England, William III and Mary II were accompanied by a pug. Goya even painted a pug in Spain, while in Italy they were clothed in miniature costumes and ridden in carriages.

Pugs were one of the most popular breeds in European courts throughout the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, and they can be seen in many portraits of monarchs of the period. When pugs were directly brought from China around 1860, their look changed. The breeding of black pugs, on the other hand, was directly responsible for British Lady Brassey.

This breed arrived in the United States in the nineteenth century, and the American Kennel Club recognized it in 1885.

Pug Appearance

In a great number of European images, pugs are depicted as having legs that are both longer and thinner. On the other hand, the modern pug has a torso that is square and legs that are quite short and compact. Despite their small stature, their muscles are extremely developed, giving them an impressive level of strength for a dog of their size.

The fur is short and glossy, and it can be a variety of colors, including yellow-brown, orange, grayish, or black. Pugs have a black line that runs from the eye socket all the way down to the base of the tail. Regarding the ears, it is common practice in the breeding industry to trim the tips of the ears along the front edge of the head, which runs parallel to the side of the head.

In the world of dogs, a pug can be compared to a fool or jester. But it’s not just its deeply wrinkled and “weird face,” flattened nose, and enormous black eyes that make us smile; rather, it’s principally its excellent, hilarious personality that does so.

Every day, a pug will surprise his or her family with a new “stupidity” that will cause them to giggle. Even though they have tiny legs, pugs are quite active and have a high level of playfulness. It can hurdle hurdles, participate in agility activities, and join you on short bike trips.

 While doing so, it maintains its dignity and is able to appreciate the stillness and tranquility of its surroundings. It spends a lot of time sleeping and snoring, whether it is in its bed, on the couch, or in the lap of its owner. However, this does not imply that it is a “lap dog.”

When it becomes interested in something, a Pug will suddenly burst into life and become full of energy. However, when gets tired, it will calm down and take a nap on the couch.

 Then, this little dog will suddenly start to excitedly wag its tail, leap around in a comical manner all across the apartment, and clown around to make you smile. It’s quite sociable and welcoming to both humans and other animals.

This little dog of a huge heart adores its owner more than anything else in the world, and it’ll be overjoyed to be a part of every facet of his or her life at all times. It is an incredibly loyal buddy that will follow its owner around everywhere they go and will never leave their side.

Pugs have a tendency to become headstrong if their owners don’t give them enough attention, especially when they are young.

Even if a Pug acts “deaf and blind” and takes offense to something, it will make its owner laugh. These cheerful little fellows will never bark or exhibit violent behavior in their whole lives.

What is the ideal physical appearance of a Pug?

A Pug’s body is square, with a flat back that does not appear to be short or long. The recommended weight should not be confused with the thickness. A pug’s ideal weight, according to the FCI standard, is between 6.3 and 8.1 kg. Despite the fact that the standard does not specify the height of the ridge, it must not be higher than 35 centimeters. The head appears big in comparison to its small body size. It has a short, blunt snout and a flat, dark nose with wide-open nostrils. It also has a characteristically wide-open mouth. A constricted nose and a thick nasal fold are no longer required, according to a 2010 regulation.

The Pug’s snout and eyes should not be obstructed by deep, ring-shaped folds. As a result of the 2010 law amendment, large round dark-colored eyes that appear soft and slightly troubled no longer protrude. The Pug’s small ears should be placed in front, close to the round head. Aside from the “button ear,” which is preferred by the standard, the “rose ear,” which tilts backward and allows a view of the inside of the ear, is also permitted.

Approved Pug colors

According to breed requirements, the short, silky, soft, and lustrous single-colored fur may be black, silver-gray, apricot, or pale yellow. The color of the head markings, mask, forehead spots, and cheek spots differs from the basic fur color. They must be completely black and distinct.

In addition to these permitted colors, amateur breeders who do not follow the FCI standard regularly receive additional color combinations. Brown, sable, merle, and speckled are also possible in rare cases. However, it is no longer considered a purebred pug.

The health of a Pug

Nowadays, a purebred Pug still costs a lot of money.  The Pug bought from a reputable breeder can cost between 1,300 and 8,000 euros. For the most part, this money will be a good investment because you will get a healthy and strong pug from a recognized and registered breeder. You won’t have to stress about the costs of veterinary care for such a dog even if he lives with you for many years, and the amount of time he spends at your side will be worth every penny.

You should also keep in mind that respectable breeders, who place a priority on the well-being and health of their animals, barely cover their expenditures with the amount that you are charging for the puppy. The correct care of dogs, an accurate pedigree analysis before breeding, immunizations and veterinary checkups, high-quality food for both the mother and the puppies, and many other aspects of breeding need a significant financial investment on the part of breeders.

“Fast money” can only be made with a pug that has not been subjected to the aforementioned health exams and cannot provide evidence that they are from a specific family tree. Because of this, anyone who cares about the welfare of animals and their health should steer clear of the impulse to buy a cheap pug. If you are still unable to or do not wish to spend a significant amount of money, it may be a good idea to visit an animal shelter. There is a chance that a Pug wandering about is looking for a new place to call home.

Despite the energy and dedication of pug breeders to producing healthy and robust dogs, the breed is still plagued by diseases unique to this breed. Pugs have been overbred as a result of their popularity as wrinkled and flat-nosed fashion dogs, which has contributed to the spread of several conditions.

As a result of this “ideal beauty,” some Pugs continue to struggle with breathing problems, as the short snout severely restricts air flow. Pugs’ well-known snoring is often caused by an overly soft palate. And the eyes, which were previously emphasized, are on a higher tendency to suffer from corneal inflammation and sores.

However, breeders’ efforts in recent years, as well as a change in standards in 2010, give hope that the number of these conditions will decrease in the coming years.

Pug’s diet & nutrition

Pugs’ health is not solely in the hands of breeders. You, as the owner, are also responsible for providing proper care and nutrition to your four-legged friend in order to keep them healthy. 

Healthy and balanced nutrition plays one of the most important roles in a life of a dog. Many diseases can be prevented or detected early in this manner. A high percentage of meat, and vegetables, a low grain content, and the absence of sugar ensures that the s get the nutrients and vitamins they require. A balanced diet also protects the dog from obesity, as they are prone to obesity when fed an unbalanced diet.

It is best to divide the food into three small meals per day, and always to feed your pet at the same time.  The meal should be served at room temperature to avoid digestive issues and flatulence. It’s also important to allow your dog to rest and digest the food after eating and postpone outdoor activities for a few hours.

Pug’s Care and Maintenance

To keep your dog healthy and happy, it’s important to provide it with adequate care. Since Pugs have a lot of fur, you should brush their coat at least twice a week. These pooches have double coats, so you can use a brush with metal pins that will help you remove the dead skin cells and hair. Eyes and ears should be checked and cleaned on a regular basis. 

Since their folds are prone to collecting dirt and moisture, you have to keep their wrinkles dry and clean.

The dirt can be removed with a wet towel or wet baby wipes. To pick up the excess moisture at the end of the process, you can put cornstarch inside of each fold.

A few words about Pug puppies

Keep in mind that your pup may not contract any of the illnesses listed below. Some are hereditary while others are acquired, but with proper care, nutrition, and attention, many of these diseases can be prevented.

It’s always good to be informed about potential dangers that pugs face and what to do if you spot any symptoms.

“Walking dandruff”:

 This is a skin condition caused by tiny mites. If the dandruff is severe and located in the center of your pup’s back, it’s time to visit the vet. The vet will recommend the best course of action to take. It’s important to remember that this mite is contagious, so all pets in the household need to be treated.

Pug encephalitis: 

This is a lethal, inflammatory brain disease that only affects pugs. The cause of this condition is still unknown, and there is no test or cure. Sadly, the diagnosis can only be made after the dog passes away and its brain tissue is examined. Young pups are most commonly affected and tend to pass away within a few days or weeks of showing symptoms.


Pugs are prone to this disease for unknown reasons. Essentially, they can have a seizure out of the blue. The only solution is to take them to a veterinarian, who will guide you in further treatment.

Nerve Degeneration: 

Older pugs that drag their hind end, stumble, and have difficulty jumping may be suffering from nerve degeneration. Medications can alleviate symptoms, and some owners purchase carts to help their dogs move around.


 Like other dog breeds, pugs can be prone to allergies – from contact to those allergies to a specific type of food. A typical symptom of an allergy is when the dog licks its paws and scratches its face. If you notice this, take your dog to the veterinarian, who will determine the allergy based on a test.


 This disease is specific in that the mother passes on this type of mite to her puppies in the first few days of life. These mites are not transmitted to humans or other dogs. The mites live in hair follicles and usually do not cause problems. However, if the dog has a weakened immune system, it may develop demodicosis. It can be localized or generalized.

Localized – its symptoms are red spots and scaly skin with hair loss on the head, neck, and front legs. Puppies usually have it and it heals on its own without using preparations or medications.

Generalized – it covers the entire body and affects older puppies and younger adult dogs. Symptoms include skin infections, bald spots on the body, uneven skin… In this case, there is a genetic link, and castration or sterilization is sometimes recommended.


 They are often found on the skin, but some dogs can develop boils and infected hair follicles if their immune system is under stress. It is best to contact the veterinarian for treatment.

Fungal infections:

 If a dog has an unpleasant skin odor, itches, and its skin becomes discolored and thickened, it is most likely a fungal infection. The infection most often affects paws, feet, groin, neck, and the area inside the ears.

Herniated discs 


Short-nosed breeds, including pugs, can have deformed spines. Sometimes only a few discs are affected and the dog can live normally without any disruptions.

However, if the dog stumbles or shows a weak gait between the ages of 4 and 6 months, the disease is more serious, and in some cases, it may even worsen to the point where the dog becomes paralyzed. The good news is that surgery can help in fighting this condition.

Pugs and eye issues

Pugs are prone to specific eye problems because their eyes are large and bulging.  When it comes to eye care, Pug owners must be especially careful and should not ignore any unusual symptoms.

Corneal ulcers: If you notice that your dog is squinting, has red and teary eyes, then it probably suffers from corneal ulcers. The ulcer can be treated with medication, but if left untreated, it can lead to blindness or even the eye bursting.

Dry eyes: Keratoconjunctivitis sicca and pigmentary keratitis are two conditions that can occur in pugs. They can occur simultaneously or separately. Dry eyes occur when the eyes do not produce enough tears to keep them moist. The veterinarian will perform tests to determine the cause.

Pigmentary keratitis is a condition that causes black spots on the cornea, especially near the nose corner. If the pigment covers the eye, it can cause blindness. However, there are medications that help keep the eyes moist and dissolve the pigment.

Both of these eye conditions require lifetime therapy and care.

Other eye problems: As we already mentioned, pugs are prone to various eye problems, including:

Proptosis (the eyeball is popped out of the eye socket, the eyelids are tightened behind it);

Distichiasis (abnormal growth of lashes on the edge of the eye, causing the lashes to rub against the eye);

Progressive retinal atrophy (degenerative disease of the retina’s visual cells, leading to blindness);

Entropion (the eyelid, usually the lower one, rolls inward, causing hair on the eyelid to rub against and irritate the eye).

Is a Pug the right dog breed for me?

Pugs are an adorable and loving breed that make great companions for people who are looking for a loyal and friendly dog. However, it is important to be aware of their unique physical characteristics, such as their short snouts and bulging eyes, which can lead to certain health issues that require special care and attention. With proper care and maintenance, Pugs can live a long and happy life filled with love and adventure.

If you’re thinking about getting a Pug, do your research and consult with a veterinarian to ensure that you’re fully prepared to provide the care that these special dogs require.

Pugs require regular exercise, proper nutrition, and grooming to stay in good shape. Regardless of their special requirements, owning a Pug can be a rewarding experience for those who are willing to give them the love, care, and attention they need.