Pug: Dog Breed Characteristics, Health Information

The Pug dog breed, also known as the Vodafone dog is by far the most commonly used dog in commercials in India. The ‘Hutch’ company wanted to promote their network’s loyalty by portraying a dog which, in turn, resulted in a ‘Pug mania’, particularly in Asia. 

Nicknamed as the ‘Dutch Mastiff’, pugs are considered a distinctive breed. They are quite famous for their adorable wrinkles and a cute short curled tail. They present a humble spirit and happy-go-lucky demeanour.These dogs have been a part of the royalty from China to Holland for several years.

They are both charming and loyal and mischievous and playful at the same time. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognised this breed to be one of the most ‘ideal house dogs‘. The breed also has a Latin motto ‘multum in parvo‘ which means a lot in little’.  Well we hope the small introduction has definitely excited you to know more about this small breed. Let’s dive into the pug world!

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How to distinguish them?

The pug dog breed has a symmetrical appearance and is square and lobby. They also have a larger head when compared to the rest of the body. But, their slight underbite and the cute curled tail add to the charm of this breed. Pugs can be characterized by deep wrinkles around their eyes and head, prominent dark eyes and flat round face. And this wrinkled look resembles a range of human expressions – happiness, curiosity, surprise, gloomy.

The table below lists the general characteristics of the breed.

HeightThe height of a pug breed is 10-15 inches.
WeightThe weight of a pug breed is 14-18 pounds.
Coat typeThe pug dog breed has a glossy, short and smooth coat that has a fine texture, i.e., neither too woolly nor too hardy. 
UndercoatThe breed has an undercoat that is shorter than its outer coat.  
Coat colourSome of the known colours of this breed are apricot-fawn, brindle, silver and black. 
Eye colourThose pugs that are purebred will have brown coloured eyes. Both the IFC and the AKA identify their eyes to be very dark.
Life expectancy12-16 years
PriceUSA: $500-$1,200United Kingdom: £400-£1,200India: ₹10,000-₹12,000
Bite force456 PSI
Speed5-10 mph

The appearance of a Pug Dog Breed

Pugs are often called brachycephalic breeds (a technical term for flat-faced dogs) due to their facial structure. In fact, there are several other charming characteristics about this breed that can simply awestruck you. Hence, identifying the true features and characteristics of a pug can help you realise if your dog is actually purebred. 

Identifying PUG easily - Petsforcare
  1. Build up: The pug breed has square and well-knit proportions along with developed muscles. The body of the breed is long while its legs are short. Also, the neck is arched and strong enough to carry the head of the breed.
  2. Head: Unlike the small dog breed Chihuahua, the pug dog does not have an apple-shaped head. Instead, its head is like a huge round without any indentation of the skull.
  3. Muzzle: The muzzle of this breed is blunt, square and short; but not upfaced. Unlike other similar dog breeds, the pug’s muzzle is not laid back like a bulldog or Brussels Griffon.
  4. Face: This is the most distinctive feature in Pug. The skin on the face of the dog is loose and wrinkled; except for his head. Dogs with a number of deep and large wrinkles are a sign of a purebred.
  5. Eyes: The eyes are among the second most distinctive features of this breed. Pugs have very dark coloured eyes that are globular in shape and are very prominent. They present a very apprehensive and soft expression. When excited, their eyes turn lustrous.
  6. Ears: Pugs have soft and thin ears. They are small and have a velvety texture. There are mostly two types of ears- rose and button. But, the latter is more common. You will find their ears flop and folded over with their tips, lying on the side of the dog’s face. The bottom of his black velvet ears should fall to his eye level.
  7. Tail: The tail is curled tightly on the hip of this breed. A double curl is a bonus!
  8. Forequarters: Pugs have a strong set of forequarters. These are straight and of moderate length. The elbows are set directly under the withers of the breed. They also have well-split toes along with black nails.
  9. Hindquarters: The hindquarters of the breed are also just as strong as the forequarters. The bend of the stifle and the short hocks lie perpendicular to the ground. The feet are similar to those of the forequarters.
  10. Markings: The Pug dog breed has significant markings on its body. These markings are near their muzzles and ears. They have a thumb or a diamond marking on their forehead and moles on their cheek while the back of this breed is usually black. Make sure there are no white spots on the paws and chest of the breed. If you find any, understand that it’s not purebred.

The pug breed has three different variations. These include:

Fawn Pug:

The fawn pug breed has blackish or brownish markings around its eyes and muzzles. Sometimes, they are also found with black dots on their cheeks or a black outline crossing their back known as ‘trace’. They come in three different shades. These are-

  • Fawn-The fawn breed has a yellowish tan coat which is very light.
  • Apricot Fawn– These breeds have a deep coloured tan, usually golden or orange. This breed is considered as a variation of the Fawn pug by the Continental Kennel Club.
  • Silver Fawn– These dogs have a light grey to white coat colour. However, this breed is found only among 3% of the owners. 

Black Pug:

These dogs have an absolute black shiny coat. They also go through a phenomenon that is found only in black pugs. After the breed starts to age, some of the black hairs start turning grey. 


These dogs are found both in deeper and lighter shades, starting from grey to black. Many assume that the brindle breed is like a boon that has entered the Pug bloodline from different dog breeds. However, this is still under debate.

Temperament and Personality of a Pug Dog Breed

These dogs were originally bred by the Chinese emperors for serving as lapdogs. Therefore, if you expect them to hunt or guard, you are completely mistaken. These furry companions are more into providing you company by sitting on your lap rather than retrieving. However, they aren’t shy and not afraid to bark when they sense danger. So with good training Pugs can make good watch dogs. 

They are a dignified breed apart from being intelligent and playful. However, they can sometimes be serious and develop a dry sense of humour. But, once you start bonding with this breed, they show signs of affection and love. 

“Pugs get extremely attached to their owners, and often choose to hang out with humans over other dogs. They also love their own kind, and will hang out with other pugs in social situations”

A PUG Owner

They have strong personalities and are hungry for attention. However, the temperament of this breed can be influenced by several factors including heredity, training and socialization. Fortunately, they socialize well with humans and are a perfect breed for families with kids. Early exposure to different people and circumstances helps develop them into a good and healthy breed. 

Due to their lively disposition, these dogs can become destructive when left alone for a prolonged period. Thus, they must be given proper company to keep them in check.

Health Issues of the Pug Breed

Having a pet with a long lifespan will give its owners true happiness and companionship. Therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that the health of their dog is not disrupted by any means. A pug dog breed can live for up to 16 years. 

  1. Eye problems: This is a genetic predisposition. Having prominent eyes give rise to eye issues in this breed. Sometimes, these eye problems can also cause extremely conditions like
  1. Entropion– This is a condition where the eyelids roll backwards, making the eyelids brush against the cornea. The breed goes through extreme irritation which can ultimately cause permanent blindness in them.
  2. Keratoconjunctivitis sicca– Also known as dry eye, the Keratoconjunctivities Sicca reduces the amount of fluid that the tear glands produce. Symptoms of this disease include thick discharge from the eyes, pawing the eyes or even squinting.
  1. Mange: This condition includes Demodex, a microscopic mite that resides in the hairs of this breed. Although the mites present in the dog’s fur can be checked, sometimes an overabundance of them can cause this disorder. The most common symptom of this condition is dry and hairless lesions appearing on the breed’s body.
  2. Brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome: The skull structure of this breed results in respiratory problems. Pugs have very compact skull architecture. This can cause deformation, making their nostrils too small and preventing the air to pass through. Nasal congestion, coughing and wheezing are some of the common symptoms for this disease.
  3. Liver problems: Dogs, especially pugs go through a liver disorder called Porto systematic Shunt (PSS). Here, a certain portion of the blood flows around the liver instead of going into it. This, as a result, reduces the amount of blood that is required for the proper functioning of the liver.
  4. Hip joint diseases: Diseases like Hip Dysplasia and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease are hereditary in this breed. In most cases, the dog is found limping on its affected leg. Improper exercise, high growth rates and improper nutrition can magnify the condition.
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If you find you pug lethargic, its because it is affected by the disease. In such situations, taking help of a trusted vet is recommended. 

Those who have owned the Pug breed say “they suffer more than their share of health problems – not only with their breathing, but also eye diseases, joint diseases, and a devastating (fatal) neurological disease called Pug Dog Encephalitis”.

There are also other health issues of this breed like obesity, parasites and dental diseases. To maintain the health of the dog, owners must take their pet on regular check-ups. Even problems like heat stroke and gastric torsion are common for this breed. Allergies can make their skin itchy especially, the belly, feet ears and the folds of the skin. Face rubbing, licking the paws and frequent ear infections are symptoms of allergies in pugs.

Grooming and Shedding of the pug breed

Proper grooming is also important to maintain the health of your dog. 

  • Sources confirm that about 80% of the dogs are being affected by chronic dental issues at the age of two. Thus, regular brushing of their teeth is essential to avoid tartar build. 
  • Trim their nails once every two or three weeks. Longer nails can make the activities of the dog painful.
  • Besides these, their eyes should be checked regularly to avoid infections. 
  • Redness and swelling inside the ears followed by a foul smell shows symptoms of ear infections.  

Pugs tend to shed (more than other dogs). They have a thinner undercoat along with a short outer coat that causes it. But, this shedding varies for different pugs. The Fawn pugs shed more than the black pugs. Unlike most breeds, this shedding occurs all-year round and is even more during the summer-spring season. Regular brushing helps shedding in check and removes dead fur. Also, the wrinkles on the face can be wiped with a damp cloth to prevent infection.

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Tips on how to reduce shedding:

  • Bathing you pug with a de-shedding shampoo once a month cleans both their over and undercoat. They might lose a lot of hair during their shower. Ensure that you dry them thoroughly, in and out, by using a towel or a blow-dryer.
  • The nutrition of the pug is also related to its shedding. Eating high-quality dog food can prevent your dog from excessive shedding. Try giving them fatty acids as they can keep the dog’s fur healthy and reduce joint inflammation. 
  • Grooming them with a bristle brush or grooming mitt controls the shedding of the breed to a great level. These tools go deep into the dog’s coat and grab onto every loose or dead hair. 

Training, Exercise and Feeding of the Pug Breed

If you are thinking of owning a pug, make sure you have earplugs with you. Why? Well, pugs have a small tendency to snore. These dogs require constant company. Regular exercise and mental stimulation is also a must for this breed to avoid boredom. Small amounts of exercise daily will help release its pent-up energy and prevent it from developing bad behaviours like chewing or digging. 

NOTE: Too much exercise can be harmful to this breed. They have a flattened body that is not much resilient to heat and humidity. Thus, they are susceptible to thermal shock.

You can even create a schedule for them like conducting daily walks and organising a lot of playtime. This will help your pug stay healthy for a very long time. Also, keep a check on their diet as too much food can cause obesity in them. Depending on the body weight per pound, a pug puppy should be given 1 ounce of high-quality food. With age, the food can be given two times a day.

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Owners must know that early socialization is the best and only way to train this breed. Try introducing them to their environment at a tender age. If the breed is not socialised at a young age, it can develop uncertain habits and even turn destructive. To avoid such  situations, we can start playing intelligence games with them to strengthen the human bond and develop cognition.

Living with a pug

Their temperament makes them perfect for families with kids. Also, their adaptability and easy-going nature make them suitable for living both in apartments and in big houses.

Pugs are an adorable species of dog that need nothing more than a bit of attention. As a result, they are perfect for families who can spend a long time with them. But, if you spend long hours away from home, this breed may not be the right choice for you. Pugs generally share emotions with the people and one can easily distinguish if he is sad or happy. 


Writers in London in the 1890s

The pug is among the ancient dog breeds. They were first bred in China in the Han Dynasty around 200 A.D and were first introduced in the Civil war. Later, the American Kennel Club recognised this breed in 1885. In 2014, it also registered itself as the fifth most commonly registered UK pedigree breed. After continuous breeding by several breeders, these dogs became famous. 

Famous personalities like Queen Victoria have also adopted this breed. She preferred apricot-pugs more than the other variants. Even Lady Brassey made this dog a fashionable breed after she brought them from China in 1886. Overall Pugs are great dogs and can be great for seniors or kids and children. Hence, we can safely conclude that a pug is for you and will never leave you and give you the best memories for life to cherish with.

Most common Questions which are roaming in our mind regarding pug breed

How can I know if my Pug is purebred?

Look at the physical appearances of the breed. You can even conduct a DNA to test the authenticity of the breed.

Are pugs hypo allergic?

Pugs may shed due to allergies but they are not hypo-allergic.

Are pugs stubborn breeds?

They may not be very aggressive, but they are a stubborn breed. Sometimes, this stubbornness can also be occasional. Proper training will help curb this behaviour.

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