1. Key Breed Facts
2. Breed Characteristics
3. Looking for a Pug ?
8. Intelligence / Trainability
9. Children and Other Pets
11. Caring for a Pug
15. Average Cost to keep/care for a Pug
Pugs have been around for a very long time with records of them dating back to 700 BC in Ancient China where they were bred and owned by Emperors. The common people were not allowed to own a Pug and if one of these treasured dogs was found in their possession, the punishment was death. Pugs were so revered at the time, they even had their own part of royal palace to live in and were attended by their own servants too. Female Pugs were given the same status as an Emperors wives and guarded by soldiers, only being fed the best of everything.
Today, the Pug remains one of the most popular breeds to own, not only here in the UK, but elsewhere in the world too and for good reason. Pugs are extremely intelligent little dogs. They are confident characters by nature with an affectionate and mischievous side to them that endears these little dogs to just about everyone they meet. They adapt well to family life and other lifestyles, one of the reasons they have remained just as popular today as they were centuries ago.
Although the exact origins of Pugs are unknown, they are considered to be one of the most ancient breeds on the planet. Originating in Ancient China where only Emperors were allowed to own a Pug, these little dogs found their way over to Europe when China allowed Dutch explorers to trade in their lands. It is said that sailors smuggled these little dogs out of China and once back home, they were an immediate hit with the nobility and upper classes due to their small size and sweet natures.
Pugs were first seen in England in the 17th Century with records of William III owning one. They became the "official dog" of Dutch royalty around the same time before gaining popularity in other European countries including Spain, France and Italy. At the time, Pugs had longer faces and legs and remained popular throughout the 18th Century, but they fell out of favour for a short time after that.
In 1860, a new type of Pug was imported from China and these dogs boasted shorter noses and shorter legs. Their "pug noses" were an immediate hit with Queen Victoria and very soon the breed was once again popular with many royals. It was Queen Victoria who banned people from cropping a Pug's ears because she deemed it cruel. During the 20th Century, it was the Duke and Duchess of Windsor who once again bought the breed into the limelight, taking their pets with them wherever they went.
The breed fell out of favour again for a short while during the 20th Century, but today Pugs are among one of the most popular breeds on the planet which can be put down to the fact one of these adorable looking little dogs played the part of "Frank the Alien" in the Hollywood movie, Men in Black.
Height at the withers: Males 25.4 - 35.56 cm, Females 25.4 - 35.56 cm
Average Weight: Males 6.3 - 8.1 kg, Females 6.3 - 8.1 kg
Pugs are compact, robust and well-proportioned if not slightly square looking little dogs. However, their heads are quite big in relation to their bodies and they are round with short, snubbed black noses which are quite large in relation to the size of their heads. Their defining physical features are their expressive, large, dark eyes and the adorable wrinkles around their faces.
A Pug's ears are small and they feel like velvet to the touch. There are two kinds which are the Button Ear and Rose Ear. Their mouths are very slightly undershot which adds to their overall appeal. They hold their strong and thick necks slightly arched which gives the Pug their proud look.
Their forequarters are robust, well-muscled and strong with nicely sloping shoulders. A Pug's body is very cobby looking and broad in the chest with ribs being well-sprung and they boast a level topline. Their hindquarters are strong and well-muscled and Pugs boast strong looking and well developed back legs. Feet are tidy and neat with well defined toes and black nails. A Pug's tail is tightly curled and set high. Double curls are looked on favourably as a breed standard.
When it comes to coat, a Pug has a short, glossy, smooth and fine coat with a well defined black line that runs all the way down their backs. They also boast a nice dark mask and their markings in their coats are well defined. These markings should always be as dark as possible which includes any moles a dog's has on their cheeks, diamonds on their foreheads or thumb marks found on their bodies.
Acceptable coat colours for Pugs include the following:
Pugs are renowned for their sweet and kind temperaments which is why they have remained such a popular choice of companion dog throughout the centuries. Some people say that sharing a home with a Pug is more like living with a small child than a dog, which is especially true when it comes to their need for attention. Pugs are ultra-sociable little dogs that thrive on being around people and do not do well when left on their own for longer periods of time. If they are left to their own devices for hours on end, Pugs can become a little destructive around the home through sheer boredom.
Being highly intelligent, Pugs also need to quite a bit of training, but they need to be handled with a fair yet firm hand because they can be mischievous and naughty at times. It would be fair to say that Pugs need a little more in the way of training than a lot of other breeds just for this reason. It's also worth bearing in mind that these little dogs are known to remain very puppy-like throughout their lives which is why they are such great fun to have around.
The breed is known to be extremely friendly even when they are around people they have never met before. Another nice trait is that although they are very affectionate, they are not clingy. When they have had enough attention, they will quite happily go off and do their own thing. With this said, Pugs need to know their place in the "pack" and who is the alpha dog or they might show a more dominant side to their characters which is something to be avoided at all costs in any breed.
Pugs are intelligent little dogs, however, they do boast a bit of a stubborn streak in them which means their training needs to be firm, consistent and always fair. It's important for rules and boundaries to be set early when living with a Pug and they need to be taught their place in the "pack" and who is alpha dog in a household to prevent any unruly, dominant behaviours.
Pugs respond well to positive reinforcement and will not do well if they are handled roughly or when training methods are too harsh. The same can be said of telling a Pug off, if this is done too harshly it will have an adverse affect rather than a positive outcome. Pugs are renowned for testing boundaries and limits which means being firm and consistent at all times remembering that it is in a Pug's nature to see how much they can get away with before being told off.
Pugs are renowned for their genuine love of children. They are robust little dogs and they enjoy being around kids even when playtime gets a bit rough. However, as with any other breed, it's always best to supervise children when they are around dogs to make sure things stay calm and that things don't get too boisterous.
Pugs are also known to be very good when they are around other pets and animals which includes cats. They very rarely show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards other dogs or pets which is another reason why they are so popular the world over as family pets and companion dogs. However, as with any other breed, Pug puppies need to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing and well-rounded mature dogs.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Pug is between 12 - 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Because Pugs have a relatively small gene pool the breed is known to suffer from quite a few hereditary health issues some of which are quite serious. These include the following:
Neurological Health Issues
Looked after correctly, Pugs are pretty low-maintenance little dogs. As with any other breed, they need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in tip-top condition. It's important to keep the wrinkles around the faces nice and clean to avoid any sores developing. They also need to be given regular daily exercise so they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, Pugs need to be fed a good quality well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
If there is one thing that Pugs enjoy, it's being groomed because they love the one to one attention it involves. Being heavy shedders, Pugs need to be brushed every day, it not only strengths a bond between owner and dog, but it keeps their coat and skin in tip top condition.
If you are about to get a Pug puppy, it's important to start grooming them as soon as possible so they get used to the brush and all the other tools you would use to keep their coats looking good. You should also teach a puppy to have their nails touched which means that when and if they do need trimming, you would be able to trim their nails without any drama or stress.
One thing that's worth noting is that fawn coloured Pugs have double coats, but a dog with a black coat only has a single coat with the other difference being their hair is a little finer too. As with all other breeds, Pugs shed more during the Spring and then again in the Autumn which is when more frequent brushing helps keep shed hair under control. Females also tend to shed more when they about to come into season which is also worth making a note of if you share your home with an unneutered female Pug.
When it comes to bathing a Pug, this might need to be done on the odd occasion and ideally it should be when the weather is warmer so that a dog does not catch a chill. You also need to make sure a Pug is thoroughly dried after having been given a bath, paying particular attention to the wrinkles around their faces. If any moisture is left in the folds, it provides the perfect environment for bacteria to take hold which could lead to painful sores and infection.
It's really important that Pug puppies are not given too much exercise because too much could have serious consequences on their well-being. Puppies are still growing and developing and as such only need to be given a little exercise to avoid having too much pressure put on their joints and backs. Pug puppies should not be allowed to run up and down stairs or jump up on furniture. They should always be lifted into a car too. Being allowed to run around and play in a garden is all that a puppy would really need in the early stages of their lives.
Mature dogs don't need a lot of exercise, however, Pugs need to be taken out for a walk at least twice a day for 20 or so minutes each time. With this said, if you have a secure garden, there's nothing these little dogs enjoy more than spending as much time as they can out in it when you are at home and the weather is fine.
Care has to be taken during the hotter weather because a Pug can easily get overheated not just when they are out on a walk, but also if they lie in the sun for too long. During the summer, it's best to take a Pug out for a walk early in the morning and then later in the evening when the sun is lower in the sky and the temperature has dropped to reduce the risk of them overheating.
A lot of Pugs don't particularly like going out when it's raining or cold outside and will refuse to take a step outdoors when the weather is bad which means you might have to gently coax them out to do their "business" when they need to. It's also important to invest in a nice warm coat for a Pug because they are not particularly fond of the cold either. If it is really wet and windy, it's best to just take them out for a really short walk because weather conditions like this can seriously hurt a Pug's eyes. It's also important to keep an eye on their breathing when they are out on a walk to make sure they are not straining to catch their breath which could lead to them overheating.
However, it's important for Pugs to be given enough exercise otherwise they will happily turn into couch potatoes which means they would end up putting on too much weight, a problem that Pugs are prone to suffer from.
If you have just got a Pug puppy from a breeder, they would have provided you with feeding instructions so they are fed the same amount of food at the same time of the day which helps avoid any digestive upsets. The breeder would also recommend a puppy be fed the same type of food to begin with for the same reason.
Puppies need to be fed more frequently than adult dogs, and ideally this has to be either 3 or 4 times a day. You can change a puppy's diet gradually over a period of a few weeks, but you have to do this very carefully always making sure they don't suffer any tummy upset in the process. Once a Pug is around 4 months old, you can cut their meal times down to 3 a day remembering to give the same amount of food a day only split into three instead of four. At 6 months, puppies can safely be fed twice a day.
Older Pugs have to be fed a good quality, well-balanced diet to suit their ages making sure it contains the correct levels of nutrients to meet a dog's needs. Some Pugs are fed three times a day throughout their entire lives, but it is more usual to feed two meals a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening.
Pugs are not generally fussy eaters and in fact, quite the opposite is true because they tend to like their food a little too much which means keeping an eye on a dog's weight and to always make sure they are getting enough exercise to burn off any excess calories. Obesity in Pugs is a real problem and could end up not only shortening their lives considerably, but it would make moving around a lot harder so that going out for a walk is quite painful for a dog to do.
If you are looking to buy a Pug, you would need to pay anything from £500 to £1500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a 3 year old Pug if you live in the north of England would be £22.01 a month for basic cover, but the premium rises to £40.81 a month for a lifetime policy (quote as of March 2016). An insurance company factors in quite a few things when calculating a pet's premium and this includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and their breed.
When it comes to food costs, you would need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry for your dog throughout their lives and it has to be one that suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30-£40 per month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Pug and this includes their initial vaccinations, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and then their annual health check visits, all of which can quickly add up to over a £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Pug would be between £60 and £80 a month depending on the level of pet insurance you opt to get for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree Pug puppy.
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