When I moved away from home and moved in with my now-husband, my first “want” was a pug. Ever since I was a kid, I had wanted a pug – my favorite movie growing up was even The Adventures of Milo and Otis.
So finally an “adult” with my own home, I decided it was time to rescue my very own pug. We named him “Colby,” which morphed into “Colbert,” then “Cubby,” and then “Piggy.” “Piggy” finally stuck – it fit his personality and his looks – chubby, cobby body, with a curly tail and perpetual snorting, snarfling and snoring.
What to Expect When You Adopt a Pug
Before I adopted my pug, I did my homework – as I do with every animal and breed that comes into my home. But somehow, none of the books, websites or other pug owners really prepared me for what it’s like to own a pug. So I hope that my experiences with Piggy will help to better prepare potential pug owners.
If you’re thinking of adopting a pug dog – also called “Carlins” and “Mops” – consider these common pug breed traits.
They’re a big dog in a small body
The American Kennel Club’s (AKC’s) breed standard for pugs describes this breed as “Multo in Parvo,” a Latin phrase that translates into “a lot of dog in a little space.”
If I had to pick one phrase to describe the pug breed, “Multo in Parvo” would be it; these dogs may be a toy breed, but there’s nothing delicate, fragile or toy-like about the pug. Pugs are larger than life. They have no idea they’re “small” dogs, which is great if you’re looking for a toy breed dog that emits an aura of a large dog.
Pugs are stubborn
Very stubborn. When they don’t want to do something, they’ll stare at you and give a literal “snort” of disapproval in a frustrating yet endearing way. A stubborn pug can be very difficult to train – they tend to do what they want to do; not what you want them to do, so if your pug is not in the mood for a training session, you don’t do a training session that day. Be prepared for this.
Also remember that pugs, like most other toy breed dogs, tend to be difficult to housebreak (though many dog trainers would contend that it’s not the toy dogs that are the problem in this equation – it’s the toy dog owners, who treat their dog like a fragile little angel.)
Pugs are not tolerant of heat
Pugs are a brachycephalic breed. This means pug have a short snout that limits the pug’s ability to cool his body by panting. Therefore, pugs tend to be prone to overheating. So pugs will require air conditioning in the summer, and a sweater in the winter due to their relatively thin coat.
Pugs require frequent cleaning of their facial skin folds
If the pug’s face folds are not cleaned regularly, he’ll develop yeast infections and sores. So be prepared to clean your pug’s skin folds a few times per week. The pug’s buggy eyes must also be cleaned regularly and monitored for corneal abrasions (scratches) and other eye injuries. Frequent ear cleanings are also required, as many pugs are also prone to ear infections. The good news is that pugs are easy to groom. Pugs do shed – especially when they’re stressed or upset – but their short coat is easy to brush and maintain.
Pugs are very expressive
This can also make the “correction” element of training rather difficult if you’re soft and vulnerable to those expressive pug dog eyes. Pugs snort, snarfle, and they even snore when they sleep. When a pug is sad or upset, his tail will uncurl. There are few things more pathetic than a sad pug.
Pugs love to please their owners and generally speaking, they’re good with children
Pugs are very “people oriented” – in fact, pugs were originally bred in China as lap dogs, so it’s in their blood to love human attention.
Pugs typically do well with children; better than most toy breed dogs, who tend to be much too physically fragile to be in a household with small children. With some larger pugs tipping the scale around 20-25 pounds, pugs are a bit sturdier than many other toy breed dogs and most pugs are easy going, which makes them more tolerant of a child’s antics. Of course, children should always be taught the proper way to interact with a dog, no matter the size or breed.
In my opinion, the pug breed is a breed that you own for life. Own a pug and you’ll realize that life will never again seem complete without a puggy companion.
Oh, and one last thing…Pugs are mischievous! So if you do decide to adopt or rescue a pug, especially around the holiday season, don’t forget to check out my article on Holiday Hazards for Pets so you can keep your beloved puggy friend safe when the holidays arrive!