Maybe like me, you are one of the millions of fans of Doug the Pug or the Pugs that Play Minecraft with Dan TDM, or our own rescue rock stars Kilo the Pug and Fishstick.
I caught up with Doug again last week at Global Pet Expo promoting his new calendar and don’t miss our interview when he was in Toronto for Woofstock.
But are you really ready for a Pug? Here are the things you should know first.
Pugs are so charming, cute, funny, and friendly. What’s not to love?
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Where do they come from?
Ancient Pugs are believed to have been bred in China as a companion for Emperors. They were lap dogs that looked like proud little lions and their forehead wrinkles looked like the Chinese sign for Prince.
Thank you to talented Sean Lewis for allowing me to use his gorgeous illustration. Lucky for me he has a soft spot for pugs and his parents have two. I am thrilled to discover his work as he is based in Toronto like me and attended the prestigious OCAD University. You can check out his site here.
Traders took the breed to Europe as royal gifts more than 400 years ago. They lived to amuse their owners and be adored and pampered like royalty. The pug reportedly became the official dog of the House of Orange in 1572 after a Pug saved the life of the Prince by alerting him to the approach of assassins.
This does not surprise me as my Kilo the Pug always alerts me to the arrival of any strangers, especially the poor mail man. We are working on this.
Quick Pug Facts.
- The Pug is a squarely built, deep chested, compact breed with short but strong legs, a tightly cute curled tail and an unmistakable flat, squishy, wrinkled face with large, round, dark protruding eyes.
- They are the largest of the Toy Breeds, recognized by the AKC since 1885.
- They come in 4 different colours : fawn, apricot fawn, silver fawn, or black.
- They are a flat face or brachycephalic breed like Bulldogs. They frequently have an under bite.
- They are usually a pretty healthy breed except for breathing issues – must admit their reverse sneezes and struggles to breathe upset me. They can live to 15 years old.
- It is important to be aware of the climate you live in as pugs may suffer in extreme temperatures, especially heat. Their bulging eyes are also vulnerable to injury.
Pugs love Company
The Pug is known as the shadow or velcro dog. They usually crave company and love to be with their humans. Pugs should not be left alone for long stretches if possible.
With Kilo “Every move I make, every breath I take”, he is watching me- in the bathroom, the bedroom, the living room and in the kitchen. I often wake up to his cute face an inch from mine staring at me. He uses me as a pillow, a ladder, a source of heat and a toy. He expects to be allowed to get comfy on my lap, bed and sofa.
These comical little clowns are adaptable and can make great house or apartment pets, as long as they get lots of love and attention.
They need to be supervised and the house should be regularly “Pug proofed” as they are very resourceful about finding food and can be rather mischievous.
They are usually quite sociable with other dogs, especially other pugs.
Pugs Love Food
Pugs LOVE food and equate food with love. It can be so hard to resist their little faces looking up and I often cave but they do need to eat an appropriate diet as they can be prone to obesity. They should weigh from 14 to 18 pounds. Kilo weighs 16.5.
Check out Fishstick’s hilarious interview with PetGuide.
In terms of grooming, Pugs require regular face cleaning in their wrinkles, nail trims which Kilo really hates, teeth cleaning and occasional baths.
Are Pugs Hypoallergenic?
What surprised me most was that Pugs shed, a lot, all year. We have black pug hair everywhere, all the time. They are also very affectionate and can sometimes drool a little. So no, they are definitely not hypoallergenic (no dog is but some are less likely to trigger allergies than others).
Pugs need regular mental and physical exercise.
Energy, Tricks and Sports: Pugs are not exactly natural athletes or trick dogs like Border Collies but they have strong little legs, endless curiosity and unbridled enthusiasm. Pugs get energy in bursts for races or zoomies but don’t have great stamina so are often happy on the couch napping beside you, and in many cases, snoring.
Kilo takes several short walks every day and has lots of puzzles, toys and chews. He won’t chase a ball or a disc, but he enjoys an audience and loves playing games with me, especially go find or football with an empty plastic water bottle. He also likes mini agility. He is so fast and fearless.
He can jump several times his own height and has reached many things he shouldn’t have by leaping up on tables or pulling bags off counters.
Some enjoy swimming but most do not seem to be fans and need a life jacket.
Are Pugs easy to train?
Although pugs are smart in their own way and eager to please, they can be stubborn to train. They are often very food motivated dogs so make sure to have lots of treats on hand and be very positive and patient. I rescued Kilo at 2 years-old and all he knew was sit. Now 4 years later after much love and hard work and many treats, he is crate trained, almost toilet trained and knows over 30 tricks or behaviours.
If you are a perfectionist and not prepared to put up with the occasional accident or pug crime, a pug may not be perfect for you. Many pugs, including Kilo, seem to have selective deafness and do not have a 100% reliable recall. I always keep him on a leash out walking.
Kilo often does not respond to his name, but he can hear the crackle of a treat bag or the drop of a single piece of kibble on the wood floor from a deep sleep.
He still does not like peeing or pooping outside in snow or rain which means the odd “accident”.
Are Pugs Good with Kids
We often get asked which breeds are good around kids. Every dog is different of course, but the pug is a fun-loving robust compact companion dog and if properly trained and socialized, should be great with kids. Kids just have to be trained to treat any pet with respect and especially be careful of the pugs’ eyes. Pugs can also make amazing therapy dogs for reading programs with kids and in hospitals like the Therapy Pugs and Igor and Zombie.
Pug Social Life
We have Pug Chat weekly for Pug Parents on Twitter and meet ups across the US. A group of pugs is called a grumble. We have a local grumble with monthly meet ups in an off leash park. We also have Pug Races at events like Woofstock and regular pug parties for Pug A Lug Pug Rescue.
Where Can I Get a Pug
Try your local rescue organizations. There are many breed specific ones like PugALug Pug Rescue where Fishstick came from or Homeward Bound where I found Kilo the Pug, both in Ontario. Igor and Zombie Pugs do a fabulous calendar every year to raise funds for PugALug.