Can you believe the pug has its very own motto: ‘multum in parvo’ - Latin for ‘a lot in a little’. The Pet Direct team thinks that sums up the Pug pup perfectly.
Pugs are a lot of dog in a very small package. They’re sweet-natured, enjoy being around people, can easily adapt to different environments - and play nicely with other dogs. These food-driven pooches have almost human-like expressions: prominent round eyes, flat noses and furrowed brows.
Pugs have royal roots (The Duke and Duchess of Windsor owned pugs) but they were also the height of fashion in Victorian England which is why pugs can often be spotted in paintings of this era.
The Pug dog is a petite member of the toy group, with the ideal Pug weight clocking in at 6-9kg. Pug life span can reach up to 15 years.
The first thing you notice about the Pug dog breed is their unique appearance; a pushed-in face, their distinctive nose, their large, round heads and their dark prominent eyes. Pugs are brachycephalic, which essentially means flat-faced, like Pekingese and Bulldogs.
Their soft velvety ears are folded over and their short stocky bodies sport a perfectly curled up tail (in fact a double curled tail is considered the height of Pug perfection!) They are short-haired dogs, with smooth, soft coats that come in two colours: fawn and black. Black Pugs are black all over, while fawn Pugs have a black mask, ears and line (or trace) on their backs—and the blacker the markings the better.
Pugs comically expressive faces exhibit perceived human emotions like no other pup - surprise, happiness and curiosity. Those funny little faces are, in part, what has drawn humans to Pugs for centuries.
From their fun-loving Pug personality to their adorably wrinkled faces, Pugs are the embodiment of charming entertainers. (They’re essentially a clown in dog form). While they’re always ready to play with their people, they are equally happy playing the part of a couch potato when it’s time to relax.
Based on their comical appearance, you may doubt a Pug’s intelligence, but they are in fact very clever dogs. Though they’re not bred to perform a job (outside of a steadfast companion), Pugs are quick-witted and capable of mastering basic training. They can be mischievous and stubborn, but their loving nature makes up for their occasionally ascendant personality.
Because they’re affectionate and playful, the Pug dog breed is a great family dog. They’re generally tolerant with children, making them a great addition for families that know how to play hard then chill out.
A Pug’s flat face means the little dog is capable of a variety of unusual noises. From wheezy breathing to snoring to occasional barking, life with a Pug is usually a symphony of sounds.
Pug health problems are common, and there are several conditions that Pug parents should watch for in their pooches. By recognising Pug health problems early on, you can seek treatment sooner.
Pugs’ prominent eyes are prone to several eye disorders, including dry eye, eyelash and eyelid disorders and eye infections. Pug eyes also are easily injured.
Pugs are known to have problems with demodex mites, skin infections and irritated skin folds around the nose and vulva.
Also called brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BAOS), this syndrome is common in brachycephalic, or short-headed, breeds, including Pugs. These breeds can develop difficulty breathing from this condition, due to an elongated soft palate and/or narrowed nostrils. Surgical treatment is available to cure this syndrome.
Mitral valve disease is more common in smaller dogs, like Pugs, so it’s helpful for pet parents to know the signs of this heart disease. Mitral valve problems can manifest as coughing and loss of energy. There are many treatment options your veterinarian can offer to manage this condition.
Hip dysplasia is a developmental disorder of hip joints that can result in pain, difficulty walking and arthritis. Hip dysplasia can be managed surgically, medically and by keeping your pup at the ideal Pug weight.
Knowing how to take care of your Pug can help prevent many problems, both health-related and behavioural. All Pugs need love, exercise, grooming and proper nutrition.
Pugs have easy-to-care-for haircoats. Weekly brushing will help remove your Pug’s loose hair, and if you’re a potential pet parent wondering, “Do pugs shed?” rest assured that shedding isn’t much of an issue for this short-haired breed.
The main concern with Pug grooming is making sure the skin folds are clean and dry, and monitoring the skin and coat for signs of hair loss, redness or itching, which can be signs of infection. Nasal and labial folds can be cleaned easily with grooming wipes.
Another grooming concern with Pugs is anal gland issues. These scent glands are located in the anus. If you notice your dog scooting or excessively grooming back there, then it could signal an anal gland problem that needs veterinary attention.
When it comes to Pugs, how much you are feeding your Pug is as important as what you are feeding your pooch. Obesity is a common problem with this breed and can predispose Pugs to other diseases, such as dog arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure. You usually can tell that a Pug is at a healthy weight when you can feel their ribs with your hands but not see them. You can use the feeding chart on the dog food container as a guide to how much to feed your Pug. It also is helpful to talk with your veterinarian about how much your Pug should be eating and a weight recommendation for your dog.
As for the best dog food for Pugs, this breed, like all dogs, can benefit from a complete and balanced, commercially formulated dog food, whether dry, canned or a combination of both. Royal Canin offers a breed-specific food specially formulated for Pug needs and available in adult and puppy formulas. A small-breed dog food, like Royal Canin Mini Adult Dry Dog Food, is another option for your adult Pug.
Pugs need exercise like all dogs, but it is important to not overexert them or exercise them in very hot or humid weather. Because Pugs have narrowed nasal passages, they often experience difficulty breathing in these conditions. Most Pugs do quite well with a daily moderate walk and playing some games.
Because their facial structure makes it more difficult to breathe, swimming is not a Pug’s best sport. For safety, always put a dog life vest on your Pug when around bodies of water. And consider sports like agility, obedience training and rally instead for this sturdy and playful breed.
Pugs are extremely food driven, so despite their strong-willed reputation, they excel at reward-based, positive-reinforcement training. When it comes to how to train a Pug, keep in mind that short, energetic training sessions are a good fit for these creative dogs. Because Pugs can pack on the pounds quickly, it’s wise to keep training treats small.
Pugs enjoy being the centre of attention, so teaching simple tricks is a great way for a Pug to show off and keep their busy brain engaged.
The warm New Zealand summers can be a challenge for little Pugs - particularly when training them outside. Remember that their shortened faces make them more likely to overheat, even in mild temperatures. Active Pugs also are more likely to overextend themselves, so always keep an eye on your Pug’s respiration rate when working outside.