All about the pug breed

Everything you should know before you get become owned by a pug.

Is the Pug breed right for you?

The Pug breed has become very popular, it is one of the “in” breeds to have and we get several enquiries every week from people wanting to adopt an adult Pug or buy a puppy.

Whilst Pugs are delightful little dogs, there are many aspects to owning a Pug that make them not the dog for everyone. Below is a basic check list which can help in the decision as to whether the Pug would be a good choice, or not.

Have you got the time, home security and financial ability to care for a dog for 12 or more years?

Pugs need a lot of human company and attention. The breed has no other purpose than as a charming companion to its human family. If there isn’t anyone at home for most of the day then the Pug isn’t the breed for you. If you have very young children, then it can be a struggle to provide a Pug with the same amount of love and attention as children also require. A Pug can’t just be shunted out the back door into the yard whenever things get too much. So maybe wait until children are older before getting a dog.

Is your property fenced, safe & pug proof?

Pugs are house dogs who need supervised access to a safe and secure back yard. A Pug should never be left alone outdoors without being watched. Gates need to be secure, ideally unable to be opened by anyone entering your property, and low enough to the ground to prevent a Pug from crawling under. Pugs are impulsive and not a safe breed to walk off lead in open spaces. If you want a dog that can be trusted to run free, come the instant you call and not end up under the wheels of a vehicle, or a dog which can be left alone out in the yard when there is no one at home then the Pug isn’t the right breed.

Are you house proud, super clean and tidy, or does a family member have asthma or allergies?

Pugs shed all year round. Daily grooming helps but a Pug will still sprinkle hair on furniture, carpets, clothing and the interior of your vehicle on a daily basis. If this would be a problem for anyone in your home then a Pug isn’t the best choice of breed for you.

Do you have the financial means for any potential vet bills?

Like most of the flat faced breeds, Pugs are predisposed to a few health problems which can result in costly vet bills. They will need annual health checks which include specialist eye checks, and often a dentist visit / dental. Some health conditions can require a lifetime of management. Make yourself familiar with the various health issues (see our Health Issues fact sheet below), and if you feel management and cost could become a struggle then forget this breed.

Do you have the patience for a “permanent toddler”?

Pugs can be real characters, entertaining and the best company a person can have. But they can also be stubborn, unreliable and compulsive in behaviour. If you want instant obedience in a dog then forget the Pug. Some Pugs develop OCD type behaviour. e.g. licking of floors and furniture, tail chasing are a couple of common behaviours some people struggle with.

Pugs can snort, snuffle and sneeze and not all people find those things charming.

Can you practice 'tough love' when required?

Most Pugs are food gluttons. Food is on the same pedestal as their favourite human. Like all dogs they will help themselves to the wrong things if humans are not vigilant. If the wrong thing is something like chocolate or raisins it could be fatal. A Pug owner needs to be strongly committed to feeding quality food in 2 small meals a day, not overindulge in the treats, and to help a Pug maintain a healthy weight and body shape. Obesity is probably the greatest health risk to a Pug and will shorten its lifespan. Allowing a dog to become obese is a form of cruelty. If you feel you would struggle to not give in to pleading eyes then it may be better if you didn’t get a Pug.

How do you feel about learning how to use a dremel or similar tool to do a dogs toenails on a regular basis?

If you want a Pug who will quickly learn to accept toenail trimming then don’t EVER use clippers! Are you confident and willing to set time aside once a week to give Puggy ears a check and maybe a clean? Check and clean facial folds? Some Pugs may need this done daily. Can you watch eyes for any sign of weeping or squinting and head for the vet if there is?

Do you enjoy taking annual holidays, going to places where it may not be possible or safe to take a dog?

If you do then you need to have a suitable plan in place, for the safe care of your dog, before you even get that dog. It can’t just be left at home with a neighbour popping in once a day, and some boarding kennels don’t offer the home environment a Pug requires. Plus it becomes an added cost over and above the cost of your holiday.

If you think this is the breed for you and you have the right sort of home to offer then download our breed fact sheets below for everything you need to know about Pugs.

If, after reading these, you’d like to adopt a rescue pug please complete our online Adoption Application Questionnaire.

If it’s a puppy you want then the same info, particuarly the Brachycephalic and Health Issues downloads, should help give you the tools to find a suitable breeder.

Breed Fact Sheets

Meet the Pug

Breed Info


Health Issues

Need More Info?

Get in touch

If you know of a Pug in need of our help, would like to fundraise or donate to this worthy cause please contact us via email or through our facebook page.

Brenda, Head Pug Slave @ NZ Pug Rescue