The Pug Breed

All About Pugs What about a Pug?

Pugs have been called the clowns of the dog world and were bred for one purpose, to be companion animals to humans. A Pug loves a good meal, a soft lap, and a soft pillow. They adore their owners and will often follow them from room to room. While they play with other Pugs, their true allegiance is to their human companions. They snort, snore, sneeze, and make lovely Pug sounds so you always know they are near.

Pugs are NOT outdoor animals and should never be left outdoors unattended. Because of its "pushed in" face, the Pug has a shorter breathing passage and is highly susceptible to extremes in temperature, especially heat, so you must be very careful not to over exert the Pug in times of warm or hot weather. While Pugs are generally good with children, small children may not be good for a Pug. Because of their large, protruding eyes, Pugs are extra susceptible to injury and must be treated gently and lovingly.

All breeds have medical problems that often are more common in a specific breed. Some medical problems specific to Pugs are as follows:

Elongated Soft Palate: Common in short muzzled breeds, ESP is the obstruction of the dogís airways. The standard snoring of a Pug is a degree of ESP in action, though more severe cases can be heard through sounds such as honking, gasping for air, and the blocking of the dogís vocal box. ESP can be corrected through surgery.

Stenotic Nares: This is a birth defect found in breeds with short noses, including the Pug, and is essentially overly soft nasal tissue. When a dog with overly soft nasal tissue breathes, its nostrils collapse, leaving it to breathe through its mouth to get the necessary oxygen. You can identify a dog with SN by noting a foamy discharge when it breathes or excessive breathing through its mouth when it gets excited. SN can be corrected through surgery.

Collapsing Trachea: Collapsing and hypoplastic (small, narrow) tracheas are usually congenital in Pugs. Affected dogs suffer from a chronic ďhonkingĒ cough or dyspnea (difficulty breathing) during exercise. These conditions are usually diagnosed on radiograph. Narrowed or collapsed tracheas are very difficult to correct surgically and are usually treated medically with cough suppressants and bronchodilators.

Eye Problems: Pugs are very susceptible to eye problems, including cataracts, ulcers which can occur from a scratch or injury, dry eye, generalized progressive retinal atrophy, pigmentary keratitis, and other eye problems.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: PRA is the degeneration of the vessels around the retina. It usually begins with night blindness in younger dogs, with vision progressively continuing to deteriorate, eventually leading to blindness.

Pigmentary Keratitis: PK is the deposit of pigment on the white surface of the eyes. It is the result of many factors that either irritate or inflame the cornea. If the factor causing the inflammation or irritation can be identified, PK can be corrected with surgery.

Entropion: This occurs when the eyelids roll in and the eyelashes rub on the surface of the eyes, irritating and causing scratches. If left untreated, this condition can lead to loss of vision and blindness.

Luxating Patella: Commonly referred to as ďtrick knee,Ē Luxating Patella is fairly common in Pugs and other breeds of small dogs. In simple terms, it is the dislocation of the small movable bone in the knee called the patella from the femur, where it is normally held in place by ligaments. Mild and severe cases are differentiated by the patella falling back into place on its own in mild cases; and in severe cases, the patella will fall out of place frequently, even after being popped back in by a veterinarian. Severe cases normally require surgery, not only to correct the problem and relieve pain, but also to prevent the onset of arthritic conditions associated with Luxating Patella. The surgery is delicate and expensive, though frequently successful. General symptoms of Luxating Patella can be seen in the dog favoring the affected leg when it runs or walks, placing the leg down after several steps. In addition, Pugs affected by it may also have difficulty sitting down and getting up and may run in a bunny-hop style, lifting both legs up at the same time and jetting them outward.

It is important to note that while Luxating Patella is a genetic condition often found in Pugs, it also can be brought to the forefront and exacerbated by excess weight. Keep in mind as well that a Pug diagnosed with Luxating Patella may or may not require surgery. Some Pugs can and do live their entire lives trouble free with Luxating Patella. Only time will tell whether surgery is necessary.

Pug Dog Encephalitis: Commonly called PDE, Pug Dog Encephalitis is, as the name implies, unique to Pugs. Little if anything is known as to the cause of PDE, which is essentially an inflammation of the brain. PDE tends to affect young to middle aged Pugs and features seizures as its primary symptom. Lethargy or listlessness and loss of muscle coordination can precede the seizures. Accompanying seizures are several symptoms ranging from aggression to pacing in circles to the Pug pressing its head against objects such as walls and people. PDE appears to come in two forms: Slow Progressive and Rapidly Progressing. The Slow Progressive form features seizures that recur in a matter of days or weeks, with the Pug returning to normal after the seizures. Rapidly Progressing PDE features seizures, often more frequently, and disorientation in between seizures. While Phenobarbital can be used to control the seizures and Corticosteroids can reduce inflammation, there is no cure for PDE. It is important to note, however, that seizures are not necessarily a sign that your Pug has PDE. Pugs, like many dogs, can have epileptic seizures that can be treated with Phenobarbital and have absolutely nothing to do with PDE.

In spite of the potential medical problems, most Pug owners say that Pugs are like potato chips, and you can't have just one. Once you are owned by a Pug, you probably will always have one in your life!


  • Pugs are lovable.
  • Pugs are natural clowns.
  • Pugs are relatively clean.
  • Pugs are not aggressive, as a rule.
  • Pugs travel well.
  • Adult Pugs will relax with you.
  • Pugs are adaptable to many situations.
  • Pugs are usually great with children.
  • Pugs are typically not big barkers.
  • Pugs get along with almost all animals.

  • Pugs shed a LOT.
  • Pugs can have health problems.
  • Pugs can't tolerate extreme heat.
  • Pug puppies are very active and hyper.
  • Pugs are puppies until they are around 2-3 years old.
  • Pugs should not be kept as outdoor dogs.
  • Pugs can be difficult to housebreak.
  • Pugs can become overweight easily.
  • Pugs sneeze, snort, and snuffle. (Prepare to clean your glasses constantly!)
  • Pugs snore loudly.
Pugs are a member of the Toy group. They are Chinese in origin and were brought by Dutch Traders to Holland and England. They were first recognized by the AKC in 1885. Pugs were bred simply for the pleasure they bring as lap dogs. As a result, they know no greater joy than when they are with their person or family.

While they originated in China, there is no such thing as a Chinese Pug. The correct name for the breed is Pug or Pug Dog. There are two colors of Pugs: fawn, which is broken into silver and apricot fawn, and black. The fawn Pugs are distinguished by their black masks. Females are generally around 16-18 pounds and males, 18-22 pounds. Pugs love to eat, so it isn't uncommon for them to be a little bigger.

Pugs are extremely people oriented. As puppies, they are especially playful and always underfoot for want of human companionship. The puppy stage often can last until the Pug is 2 or 3 years old. If you have another dog, the Pug puppy will seek out its company for play and adventure.

Pugs are smart dogs and very willing to learn, but you must show them what you want. Pugs compete in obedience and agility and have been used as therapy dogs and hearing-aid dogs.

Pugs are NOT outdoor dogs, and a Pug should not be left alone outside. Heat and cold can easily cause death because of the Pugís "pushed in" face.

Pugs love food. They also have a great sense of humor and are natural clowns that will make you laugh at them. They will give you every ounce of love they have and be a true and faithful companion. Pugs are eager to please and eager to learn. Their biggest requirement is that you love them back!

When deciding on a dog, people should know the health issues specific to the breed of dog theyíre considering to buy or adopt. Pugs, like most other breeds, have their share of breed-specific health issues; and this article, though not complete, should serve as a primer to understanding what those more common issues are.

Pugs are a wonderful breed of dog, but theyíre not for everyone. As Pug advocates, itís our responsibility to provide the negative aspects of Pug ownership, too. We take this approach because we want Pugs to be in appropriate homes, for their benefit as well as your own.

When selecting a dog, itís vitally important to match breed with owner so that the experience for all involved is a positive one. There are many things you should consider before you even begin your search, and what follows is a compilation of the most commonly mentioned downsides to Pugs. This article is designed to focus on the people side of Pug ownership, to help you decide whether your personality and lifestyle fits with the nature and characteristics of the Pug breed.

We urge you to consider the following downsides carefully and seriously before deciding to buy or adopt a Pug:

Health Issues: The bottom line regarding Pugs and health is that Pugs are prone to a myriad of genetic health issues and require more veterinary care than the average breed of dog. If you get a Pug, be prepared to make a lot of trips to the vet. Not every Pug will require frequent vet visits, but many do; so itís in your best interest to plan on spending a lot of time and money at the vetís office. If you donít have the time, money, or willingness to commit the next 12 years to a dog that may have frequent and significant health problems, donít get a Pug.

Shedding: Pugs shed a lot. In fact, they shed more than a lot. They shed tons. If you read or hear anything to the contrary, youíre either getting misinformation or the input of someone whose Pug is a rare exception to the norm. If you get a Pug, youíll have fur all over the place: on every piece of furniture, on all your clothes, and in your car. You donít even have to put your Pug in the car; the fur just will be there and everywhere else. If this is at all a concern to you, donít get a Pug. Never shave your Pug. Their fur insulates them from hot and cold. Without that protection, they are more prone to cold and heat.

House-training: Pugs are not the easiest dogs in the world to house-train. Theyíre small, which makes them inherently more difficult to house-train than large dogs that have a greater capacity to ďhold.Ē Their size may not be the biggest obstacle to house-training however, as Pugs tend to have a stubborn streak which makes them less than cooperative students. Skilled and experienced dog owners usually manage to house-train their Pugs within 3 months of bringing their dog home. The majority of Pug owners, however, often find house- training a task that takes a year or even longer. If the idea of a yearís worth of poops and pee on the carpet isnít tolerable to you, donít get a Pug.

A Pug is Your Shadow: Pugs are clingy dogs because theyíre people dogs that thrive on human companionship. This shouldnít come as any surprise because they were bred to be companion dogs. If you get a Pug, expect it to be at your feet and under your feet all the time. Not once in a while or during meal time -- all the time. A Pug will follow you everywhere. Some people find this endearing; other people find it maddening, or at least occasionally annoying. Think long and hard about this one because you may not realize it bothers you until it happens. If this clingy nature is something that you think might bother you, donít get a Pug.

Pugs Donít Catch Frisbees: Pugs are low-activity dogs. This means that they sleep a lot, as much as fourteen hours a day. It also means that Pugs have short bursts of energy, so you wonít see a Pug run very long or very far before it slows down and retreats for a nap. A Pug isnít going to jog alongside you on the sidewalk. It wonít even consider trying to catch a Frisbee. Most Pugs wonít even fetch a ball or a stick. If youíre an outdoor person seeking to share your active outdoor lifestyle with a dog, donít get a Pug.

Pugs are Indoor Dogs: Stated quite simply, Pugs cannot tolerate high temperatures and humidity. This type of weather is unhealthy for Pugs, and overexposure to this type of weather can cause immediate or long-term health problems ranging from heat stroke to organ damage. If you live in a warm-weather climate and you donít have air conditioning, donít get a Pug.

Pug Maintenance: Pugs require a fair amount of grooming and general care. They have to be brushed frequently to minimize shedding. Pugs have facial folds which need to be cleaned every other day, every week, or every month, depending on the dog. Their nails grow fast, very fast, and need to be trimmed often. Pugs also are prone to having their anal sacs fill, and these sacs must be drained from time to time -- not a pleasant or easy task if you choose to do it yourself. If you prefer not to do it, then youíll need to take your Pug to the vet to have it done, sometimes several times per year. If youíre looking for a low-maintenance dog that requires minimal grooming, donít get a Pug.

We hope this information has been helpful in deciding whether or not a Pug is the right dog for you. © 1999-2009
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