If you are looking for a family dog the Pug is the one for you. Snorts and snuffles aside, Pugs plus kids equals hilarity. Pugs are great dogs for grade school children, toddlers can hurt a pug by stepping on a puppy, but children who have some understanding will do well with a Pug. With their wrinkled faces, amazing vocalizations, small but sturdy bodies, Pugs are affectionate and comical; their only purpose in life is to be your companion. Pugs have been bred solely for being companions and your job as a Pug parent is to let them do their job.
Sturdier than most Toy breeds, they are not so dainty that child who has some understanding will not be overwhelmed by the dog. This is a dog that has a sense of humor, they love to run and playing is second nature to them. Throw a ball and they will play fetch until your arm drops off.
Pugs love to play with other pets and are especially happy if the other pet is one of their kind. Pugs love to play with other Pugs, but will play with any other dog and even cats.
Pugs originated in China and were specifically bred to be companions. Their life span is generally from 12 to 14 years, average height is10 to 11 inches and they can weigh anywhere from 14 to 18 pounds. An obese Pug can have a hard time breathing, not to mention more aggravated orthopedic problems like hip dsyplasia and slipping knee caps. Pugs love to eat and will eat and eat and eat. It is up to the pet parent to curb the dog’s appetite. It is said that they probably are the hungriest dogs on the face of the earth – gluttons by nature. So keeping them slim is a challenge and you have to learn to say “No” and mean it.
They are fairly easy to train, especially with food rewards, activity wise as puppies they need moderate activity and as adults low to moderate activity.
Health wise they are prone to being obese, have dental problems, skin and allergic issues, with breathing being a problem in high humidity. In a Florida summer they are definitely air conditioning dogs. Weather too hot or too cold can cause problems; their short noses make them candidates for heat stroke in very hot humid weather. Common sense when walking them should be used, if it is too hot or cold for you, it is for them also.
Pugs are also prone to eye problems because they have no protruding muzzles to protect their eyes. It is necessary to watch for any sign of eye irritation and to get immediate care from your vet should you see any signs.
Pugs are easy to groom, but must be brushed at least once a week as they shed a lot. They are shorthaired, but are shedders. They come in several colors such as silver, apricot, fawn and black.
If you are considering a Pug as your family dog, remember to ask your breeder some of the following questions: do your lines have any orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia? What about eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, cataracts or entroplon (inward rolling eyelids)? Do your dogs have any particular breathing problems such as constricted nostrils or elongated soft palates?
It also would not hurt to ask if they are members of a breed club with a code of ethics and whether or not they bred their Pugs for other specific purposes such as shows, therapy dogs or for obedience activities.
Pugs are sweet, fun and funny, and they just love to please you. They probably have the best temperament of any of the breeds known and to quote an American writer – Margo Kaufman: “Pugs are living proof that God has a sense of humor.”