Welcome to Pugs!
Meet the Pug You’re walking your Pug down the street and you see someone approaching looking closely at your dog. Your dog is small, between 14 and 20 pounds, give or take a pound or two… it has a curly, twisty sort of tail, protruding eyes, a muscular body, button ears, short legs and a solemn expression or a smile on its face, depending on the moment. The man stops you and asks "is that a miniature bulldog"? You break a smile and say "oh no, it’s a Pug"!
The man wants to take a closer look and asks you if your dog bites. You pause for a moment, thinking ever so briefly at how funny that question sounds to you and say "Bite? My dog may lick you forehead to chin, he may even make a few strange sounds, but bite? Uh, no".
The man bends down to take a closer look at your little dog, and it’s curly tail wags slowly in a funny circular motion… not back and forth, or up and down, or side to side… more like around and around. The man’s amused, noticing the Pug's facial folds and says to the dog "you’ve got wrinkles". You watch and smile as your Pug gives this stranger a classic Pug head tilt at the sound of his voice and the man wonders if this dog actually understands him. He talks some more and sees the head tilt again and again, along with a variety of classic Pug expressions.
"His ears and muzzle are like velvet" the man says, but "his coat is thick, does he shed?". "Does he ever!" you reply. "There’s hair all over the house, on the clothes and now that you’ve pet my Pug, you’ll have Pug hair in your house, too. You might as well just get a Pug now."
The man hears the slight purring sound your Pug is making, or maybe it’s a snort, and asks if they make that noise all the time. You tell the man "all the time" is a relative term. You know your Pug snorts and snores while it, and you, are sleeping. You know it makes these noises and others when you pet it, and when it gets excited. It cries a happy cry when you come home or say the word "walk" or "car". That funny sound is enough to make anyone’s bad mood melt away. "I don’t know if I could live with the snoring at night" the man says. To which you reply, "I don’t know if I could sleep without that snoring"!
Being a Pug Person, you tell him a bit more about the breed. That it comes in Fawn or Black, but aside from color, a Pug’s a Pug. It’s a sedentary dog that likes to be around people almost as much as it likes to eat, but not quite. You talk about its good nature, that it is great with kids, gentle and passive. It sheds plenty, and that’s worth repeating for people with an aversion to vacuums or people with allergies. It plays with you when it feels like it, and sleeps long and comfortably on your lap or at your feet when it isn’t playing or eating. "Pugs don’t bark much, either" you tell him, but they will do their level best to imitate a big dog in order to protect you and your home…"Pugs are funny that way" you say…"little dogs, that think they’re big".
You wouldn’t be a Pug Person if you didn’t take care to mention that Pugs have a bit of a stubborn streak to them. After all, it’s part of their charm…like the snoring. In short, you tell the man that Pugs are the best of dogs… warm loving companions that own you, rather than you owning it. "Don’t let the solemn look fool you" you conclude, "Pugs are The Clown Prince of Dogs, as entertaining and funny as any dog can be".
Pugs 101 Pugs are a wonderful breed of dog, however they’re not for everyone. When selecting a dog, it’s vitally important to match breed with owner, so that the experience for all involved is a positive one. There are many things you should consider before you even begin your search, and what follows is a compilation of the most commonly mentioned downsides to Pugs. This article is designed to focus on the people side of Pug ownership, to help you decide whether your personality and lifestyle fits with the nature and characteristics of the Pug breed.
Health Issues: The bottom line regarding Pugs and health is that Pugs are prone to a myriad of genetic health issues, and require more veterinary care than the average breed of dog. If you get a Pug, be prepared to make a lot of trips to the vet. Not every Pug will require frequent vet visits, but many do, so it’s in your best interest to plan on spending a lot of time, and money at the vets office. If you don’t have the time, money or willingness to commit the next 12 years to a dog that may have frequent and significant health problems, don’t get a Pug.
Shedding: Pugs shed a lot. In fact, they shed more than a lot. They shed tons. If you read or hear anything to the contrary, you’re either getting misinformation, or the input of someone whose Pug is a rare exception to the norm. If you get a Pug, you’ll have fur all over the place. On every piece of furniture, on all your clothes and in your car. You don’t even have to put your Pug in the car, the fur will just be there…and everywhere else.
House Training: Pugs are not the easiest dogs in the world to house train. They’re small, which makes them inherently more difficult to house train than large dogs, which have a greater capacity to “hold”. Their size may not be the biggest obstacle to house training however, as Pugs tend to have a stubborn streak which makes them less than cooperative students. Skilled and experienced dog owners usually manage to house train their Pugs within 3 months of bringing their dog home. The majority of Pug owners however, often find house training a task that takes a year or even longer.
A Pug is Your Shadow: Pugs are clingy dogs, because they’re people dogs which thrive on human companionship. This shouldn’t come as any surprise, because they were bred to be companion dogs. If you get a Pug, expect it to be at your feet and under your feet all the time. Not once in a while, or during meal time…all the time. A Pug will follow you, everywhere. Some people find this endearing, other people find it maddening or at least occasionally annoying. Think long and hard about this one, because you may not realize it bothers you until it happens.
Pugs Don’t Catch Frisbees: Pugs are low activity dogs. This means that they sleep a lot, as much as fourteen hours a day. It also means that Pugs have short bursts of energy, so you won’t see a Pug run very long or very far before it slows down and retreats for a nap. A Pug isn’t going to jog along side you on the sidewalk.
Pugs are Indoor Dogs: Stated quite simply, Pugs cannot tolerate high temperatures and humidity. This type of weather is unhealthy for Pugs, and over exposure to this type of weather can cause immediate or long-term health problems ranging from heat stroke to organ damage. If you live in a warm weather climate, and you don’t have air conditioning, don’t get a Pug.
Pug Maintenance: Pugs require a fair amount of grooming and general care. They have to be brushed frequently due to minimize shedding. Pugs have facial folds which need to be cleaned, every other day, every week or every month depending on the dog. Their nails grow fast, very fast, and need to be trimmed often. Pugs are also prone to having their anal sacs fill, and these sacs in turn, must be drained from time to time…not a pleasant, or easy task if you chose to do it yourself. If you won’t do it, then you’ll need to take your Pug to the vet to have it done, sometimes several times per year.