The pug is a small, stocky and compact dog breed that is very well known in the UK and all across the world, and that has long been one of our most popular small companion breed dogs.
Pugs are classed within the Kennel Club’s toy dog group for breed registration and showing purposes, reflecting their long history as lapdogs and companions, and the core traits that all add up to make the pug an excellent potential choice of dog for many.
So popular is the pug dog breed in the UK today that they’re actually the third most popular breed of all, out of a total of over 240 different individual dog breeds and types. Dog breeds that are in great demand and very popular with a lot of different types of people tend to have a lot of advantages that help to ensure they have a wide reaching appeal, and will be a good fit for many different lifestyles and types of owners.
If you’re in the market for a new dog and you’re trying to decide upon a breed, there is a lot of groundwork to do in terms of identifying viable candidates, finding out more about them, and ruling out breeds that may prove to be unsuitable further down the line. There is no way to avoid this if you want to ensure that you make the right choice for both you and your dog, but if you’re just beginning to explore different dog breeds and trying to narrow down your options, having a quick reference guide on some of the breed-specific factors to explore in more detail is always helpful.
With this in mind, we’ve created a short introduction to some of the most important things about the pug that you need to find out before you buy one, to help you to make the right choice. Read on to find out ten things that you need to know about the pug dog breed – before you go ahead with a purchase.
The pug is classed within the Kennel Club’s toy dog group, which reflects dogs with a long history as pets and companions rather than of working roles. Toy dog breeds are affectionate, loyal and generally quiet within the home, and often have less challenging exercise requirements than other breed types, and the pug’s small size does indeed mean that they don’t need to walk for miles to get tired out.
However, pugs can also be quite comical, lively and fun-loving, and they need to be given ample opportunities to play and run around, just as any other dog does. Pugs need at least a couple of lively walks every day, and won’t thrive if they don’t get enough exercise.
Another trait of toy dog breeds like the pug is that they make great companions, and love the company of their favourite people. This also means that the pug is not a breed that will be happy to be left alone at home for long periods of time, and some dogs of the breed are very intolerant of being left alone at all.
If you, or someone in your family, won’t be able to spend most of the day with the dog, a pug may not be a good fit for you.
Pugs can be very playful, silly and entertaining, and they are often referred to as the comedians of the canine world. However, pugs are also quite quick witted, and they’re often fast learners who can learn new things just from watching people and other dogs. This means that training a pug to follow all of the necessary core commands isn’t usually too hard, even for people who have never trained a dog before.
The pug’s flat face and short muzzle makes them brachycephalic, and this is a breed trait that is perhaps the pug’s most defining feature. However, the degree of flatness of the face can vary a lot from dog to dog, and the healthiest, most robust pugs have sufficient length to their muzzles and wide enough nostrils to permit them to breathe comfortably without struggling to get enough air, or suffering unduly when exercising.
Very flat-faced pugs have an increased risk of breathing issues and a multitude of other problems as a result, and if you’re thinking of buying a pug, you need to learn how to identify a moderate muzzle from an overly exaggerated one to make a healthy choice.
Because pugs are quite stocky and also, have brachycephalic faces, they tend to suffer more in the heat than most other dog breeds. Care needs to be taken to keep the dog cool enough and well hydrated, and to ensure that they don’t overexert themselves when exercising.
Again, the challenges of hot weather are much more acute in pugs with very flat faces, but the breed as a whole needs special care when the weather is really warm.
The pug breed as a whole is one that is associated with a large number of widely spread and sometimes complex health issues, and a significant percentage of pugs have some form of health issue, albeit not all of them are acute or have a huge impact on the dog’s day to day life.
However, some of the hereditary pug health issues and congenital defects that can be found within individual dogs are serious and may even shorten their lifespans, and a significant amount of research into the breed’s health is required of any prospective owner before committing to a purchase.
Many hereditary pug health conditions can be tested for prior to breeding with DNA tests or health scheme participation, to ensure that only healthy dogs are bred from. Responsible pug breeders perform these tests on their parent stock, so always ask the breeder what health tests they have performed, and ask to see the results.
Pugs bred in colours that fall outside of the breed standard can’t have their correct colour registered with the Kennel Club, and some non-standard pug colours that may be described as rare or unusual – like merle – are not only non-standard, but can also cause health issues too. Read more about this here.
Because pugs are small and quite stocky and also toy dogs, ensuring that they get the right balance of food and exercise is really important. Too many treats will quickly cause your pug to pile on the pounds, and this excess weight can be hard to shift – as well as potentially affecting the dog’s health.
Pugs might be small, but they’re not cheap – the average advertised price for pedigree pugs for sale in the UK is £848, and for non-pedigrees, £672. Individual pugs may of course also be priced well above these norms, and this of course represents a significant financial outlay.
Pugs can be expensive to insure too, due to the breed’s complex health – which may also mean high vets bills, so factor in the cost of care before you decide that pug ownership is within your budget.