4 August 2023

Let’s talk about… Pugs: what are they?

  • Pugs are a small and charming breed known for their distinctive wrinkled face, short muzzle, and curly tail.
  • They have a long history dating back to ancient China, where they were treasured as companions to Chinese royalty.
  • Pugs have a compact and sturdy build, with an average height of 25-30 cm and a weight ranging from 6-8 kg.
  • Their life expectancy is usually between 12 and 15 years.
Pug  Exercise Needs 2/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Pugs like?

  • Pugs have a friendly and affectionate temperament, making them excellent companions and family pets.
  • They are known for their love of human company and thrive on attention and companionship.
  • Pugs are generally good with children and get along well with other pets.
  • They have a fun-loving and playful nature, always ready to entertain and bring joy to their owners.
  • Pugs are known to have a strong bond with their families and can be quite sensitive to their owner's emotions.
Elmo, the Pug

How much exercise do Pugs need?

  • Pugs have a moderate exercise requirement and should be provided with daily physical activity to keep them fit and healthy.
  • They need approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise each day, which can be split into multiple short walks or play sessions.
  • It's important to note that Pugs can be prone to overheating due to their short muzzle, so exercise should be done during cooler times of the day and in shaded areas.
  • Be mindful of their breathing and avoid strenuous activities that may cause respiratory distress.
  • Pug puppies have different exercise requirements compared to adult dogs.
  • Their growing bodies and developing joints require caution to avoid injury.
  • It's recommended to provide short and gentle exercise sessions for puppies, focusing on playtime and controlled activities that don't put excessive strain on their joints.
  • Avoid long walks or high-impact activities until they are fully developed, usually around 12 months of age.
  • Consult with your vet for specific exercise guidelines based on your Pug’s age and physical condition.
Leo, the Pug

Do Pugs need a lot of grooming?

  • Pugs have a short, smooth coat that is relatively easy to maintain.
  • They are average shedders and require regular brushing to keep their coat healthy and remove loose hair.
  • A weekly brushing session with a soft bristle brush or grooming mitt is usually sufficient.
  • They should be bathed every 2-3 months or as recommended by your vet or a professional groomer.
  • Pugs are prone to wrinkles and folds on their face, so it's important to clean and dry these areas regularly to prevent skin irritation or infection.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Pablo and Reggie, the Pugs

Are Pugs easy to train?

  • Pugs are generally intelligent and eager to please, but they can have a stubborn streak, which can make training a bit challenging at times.
  • Positive reinforcement methods, such as rewards and treats, work best when training Pugs.
  • They respond well to praise and gentle guidance.
  • Keep training sessions short, fun, and engaging to maintain their interest.
  • Consistency, patience, and a sense of humour are key when training Pugs.
  • Early socialisation and basic obedience training are important to ensure they grow up to be well-behaved and confident dogs.
Winnie, the Pug

What do Pugs eat?

  • A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for the overall health and well-being of Pugs.
  • Feed them high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level.
  • Puppies should be fed a puppy-specific small dog diet formulated to support their growth and development.
  • Most puppies should be fed 3-4 times a day until 6 months old, when this is reduced to twice daily.
  • As they mature, they can transition to adult dog food.
  • It's important to monitor their weight and adjust their portion sizes accordingly to prevent obesity, as Pugs can have a tendency to overeat.
  • Consult with your vet for specific dietary recommendations and feeding guidelines for your Pug.

Are Pugs healthy?

Pugs may be prone to certain health conditions. Some common health concerns in Pugs include:

Body Weight

  • Obesity - Abnormal or excessive fat accumulation leading to secondary health concerns.

Bones and Joints

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis
  • Hemivertebra -  one or more deformed vertebrae which can cause spinal cord compression which can lead to pain, weakness or an inability to walk
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: a hip condition that affects the blood supply to the head of the femur bone, leading to breakdown of the bone, pain and lameness.
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Cherry eye - this is when there is popping out of the third eyelid gland
  • Corneal Ulcers - open sores on the cornea of the eye
  • Dry eye - an ongoing condition where the tear glands in the eyes don’t produce enough protective tear film, which can lead to discomfort, infections and damage of the eye
  • Ectropion - with this condition the eyelid rolls out, which can expose the eye to dryness
  • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye


  • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone


  • Pug Dog Encephalitis - inflammation and permanent damage of the brain


  • Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) - narrow airways which can make breathing and temperature regulation difficult.


  • Atopy - when the immune system overreacts to an allergen and results in skin irritation.
  • Skin fold dermatitis - inflammation, and possible infection of the skin between two skin folds.

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Pug is right for you, consult with your vet.

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Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog's health, contact your local vet.

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