PUGS! They are one of the ultimate fashionable dog breeds at the moment.
Their faces appear from every street corner on everything from socks to bags to mugs.
You love the breed, their big eyes and smooshy faces, but you can’t just chuck a dog under the bed when it becomes unfashionable!
So is this breed right for you?
Firstly a Little About Pugs
A pug is a very distinctive breed. Anyone with any dog knowledge will know a pug when you see one and likely you do too.
A huge 18 pounds in a body no taller than 13 inches. A proper little rock when compared to other lap dog breeds such as Chihuahuas.
This is a breed fit for Chinese royalty, they even have their own associated phrase “multum in parvo” which according to the American Kennel Club page means ‘a lot in a little’ and that couldn’t be more apt.
Until the 1500s the pug was a prised breed which could not be obtained by normal citizens, unless gifted by the emperor.
Since then, a very brave pug was said to warn the Prince of Orange of an impending attack on his camp by Spanish troops and now the Pug is the mascot of Holland’s royal house of orange.
The pug craze really began in England when this lucky family visited England, of course with their beloved pugs.
Pugs are simply adorable and charismatic. Their faces, bred to look a lot like a newborn baby with round heads, big eyes and wrinkles.
They range in colours named delightfully; silver, apricot fawn and black so colour preferences are not an issue.
Pugs are a wonderful breed, that’s a certainty, but whether you should just stick to pug keyrings or adopt the breed into your home depends on the following pug pros and cons.
What’s to Love About Pugs:
The Pros of a Pug
1) A proper dog in a small package
They are small but still enough meat on them to be sturdy.
This means that you can play without too much worry about them being too fragile or getting blown away by the wind!
These small dogs are perfect for apartment living with small gardens and if you want to go out and about they are easy to snuggle into your arms for a carry.
2) They are funny
These little dogs love to please people and to be centre of attention.
This combined with their emotive faces gives many owners their own comedy show on a daily basis. There is a reason so many dog memes involve pugs!
3) They play
These dogs aren’t just a lap warmer. They will play as much or as little as you wish to play with them.
Perfect for getting exercise done but also for quiet time too.
4) Short hair equals easy grooming
The hair maintenance of this dog is almost nonexistent. A weekly or so brush to collect excess hair as they do shed is enough to allow a nice shiny coat to prevail.
They also only really require baths when you decide they are too dirty such as running through a muddy field. Nice and simple.
5) They are loving
These dogs were bred to please noble family members. They therefore will love you unconditionally.
Unlike other family members, they will want a cuddle whether you shower or not!
6) Good with kids
They are small enough to not knock children flying when they play but also very tolerant due to their affectionate nature and sturdy build means that they are likely to tolerate a bit more boisterous play than other small dog breeds.
They like nothing better than to cuddle up on your lap. They don’t have tonnes of energy so won’t run you ragged.
These dogs are not known for loud barking and hence are neighbour friendly.
When excited they do have a tendency to yap which many owners find endearing but otherwise they are not renowned for excessive barking.
Pugs are amazing little dogs, full of affection and character but sadly with pugs there are some very important cons to consider.
Cons of Getting a Pug
1) MANY, MANY HEALTH PROBLEMS!
This cannot be ignored. There are so many health problems associated with the breed that some people are demanding a ban on the breed itself.
The basis for this is that pugs are brachycephalic. This means, along with some other breeds that they are flat faced and this is associated with serious breathing issues.
The Kennel Club found that less than 15% of brachycephalic dogs (this study included bulldogs) can breathe like a normal snouted dog and around 50% of these dogs had severe respiratory (breathing) difficulties.
The breed is also prone to numerous eye conditions such as corneal ulcers and dry eye.
They bulging eyes are so close to their nose, which makes them easy target for scratches when sniffing in bushes and the wrinkles themselves can hold dirt which can lead to infections of the skin as well as eyes.
The American Kennel Club suggests for breeders to get tests done on the hips, knees, eyes and a DNA test for encephalitis; a serve brain condition.
Yet. there are many more conditions which are serious and are worth researching if you think you still want a pug.
These are all caused by inbreeding, where dogs relate with closely related individuals and a flat face means smaller airways.
Inbreeding is not unique to pugs but the desire for a flat face at the expense of the well-being of a dog is enough for some people to wish for ban to prevent the suffering.
You must be aware that some people may challenge your ownership of the breed and whether you agree or disagree not being prepared will cause your dog unnecessary suffering.
There have been discussions about other methods to minimise the suffering in these breeds and these can be read here.
This breed will likely need a large number of checks and vet visits of varying severity. This is both time consuming and costly.
You also have to be OK with the idea of them not being able to breathe as well as a normal dog and lots of time researching responsible breeders; those who screen their breeding stock for both genetic diseases and severity of breathing strain.
2) Training issues
These dogs can be trained to a very high level in agility but they are stereotypically stubborn.
They are pretty easy dogs to manage as they simple can’t be bothered to do much damage and rather sleep but don’t expect much beyond the simple sit command.
They also, when outside love to pull on a lead. Being so small it doesn’t cause owners much of a control issue but doesn’t shout obedience to other walkers.
Don’t expect your pug to join you on a morning run or even a long walk.
When they have had enough they will just stop and point bank refuse to carry on, looking expectantly though be carried (at least this is easy enough!).
4) Potty-training is difficult
They are simply stubborn. Lots of commitment, time and treats should help this issue but expect to be cleaning up for a long while compared to other breeds.
5) Loud breathing both awake and asleep
Get frustrated at your partner for snoring? Well this breed, due to its flat face has narrow airways, making them very prone to snoring.
This can be annoying especially if you’re a light sleeper and pugs hate to be alone so it’s likely kicking them out the bedroom won’t work.
6) Attention seekers
Don’t expect to have any independence with a pug. They are like having a second shadow.
They just love you so much that they will follow you everywhere and will nag you to come for a cuddle.
This also means that they hate being left alone, so if you are out a lot (without your dog) then they can easily get separation anxiety.
7) They shed
They may be small and their hair may be short, but it will get everywhere.
These dogs shed above average so although grooming isn’t high maintenance more frequent brushing may be required if you rather not be vacuuming up after them all the time.
Not all pugs shed at the same rate but expect a fair amount of hair even from a healthy pug.
8) Not sun lovers
Their breathing issues are exuberated by hot weather so be ready to get up really early for walks even in the summertime to avoid overheating and possible stroke.
9) They love food
This combination of enjoying food as much as any Labrador, small body size and a laid back attitude to exercise can lead to obesity.
Treats need to be kept in check and exercise must be encouraged regardless of your pugs desire to nap all day.
There are many quite serious cons of getting a pug.
They are not simple to keep as they shed, can be stubborn and you will need to expect a sizable vet bill, however, they are one of the most charming and endearing dog breeds and make the perfect companion with the right research and family.
They are a good balance between small, playful and affectionate which will give you many hours of entertainment.
For more on pugs check out our pug vs french bulldog article.
Hope this helps!