The Ultimate Guide on Pug Puppies – Everything You Need to Know

pug puppy on sofa

Pugs are the ultimate lap dogs. They have distinctive physical features characterized by a wrinkled face and a compact square body. These companion dogs have been around since 206 BC. Over the years, they have grown to become a fashionable breed. Below is a detailed look at everything you need to know about pugs.

History

Pugs are one of the oldest breeds. They are originally from China and date back to the Han Dynasty. Some historians believe they were related to the Tibetian Mastiff.

Pugs were highly valued by ancient Chinese emperors. Such that, they had luxurious accommodations and were even guarded by soldiers. They were also popular in Tibet and Japan. In fact, they were welcome in Buddhist monasteries for companionship.

The first pug entered Europe in the early 1600s, as trade between China and Europe began to open up. The short-nosed animals quickly became a favorite among the royals.

Some royal pug owners included Prince William III of Holland, William Hogarth, a renowned artist, Queen Charlotte of England, and Queen Victoria. Over the years, they spread worldwide and have become a popular pet breed in the modern world. Pugs are a part of the American Kennel Club.

Pug Life Expectancy

On average, pugs have an 11-15 year life expectancy, with females having a longer lifespan than males. Their lifespan can be cut short by accidents, diseases, or lack of care. However, with proper care, they can outlive their estimated life span.

Physical Features

Pugs have a square, compact, and square body with well-developed muscles. Their chest is relatively wide. They have a fine, smooth, and glossy fur coat, and their tail is curled upwards over the hips. Some are black, while others are different shades of brown, ranging from light brown, tan, silver fawn to apricot fawn.  

A pug dog has a distinctive face. It is wrinkly and short. Their ears are small and circular, while their deep brown eyes bulge out. Their ears either have a button or rose shape. Most of those bred in the US have button-style ears. Another distinctive feature is that their teeth have an underbite – the lower teeth protrude outwards more than the upper teeth.

Their legs are short and strong, and they sit well under the rest of the body. The ankles are also strong and provide adequate support for the body. They have small feet and toes. The toes are well split-up, and they have black nails.

Generally, they are small animals classified under the toy group. Adults weigh no more than 20 pounds, with males heavier than females. On average, they weigh between 14 and 18 pounds and grow to a height of 10 to 11 inches.

Personality

Pugs have an outgoing, loving disposition. They do well with kids, adults, and other pets. However, they can be strong-willed at times but not aggressive. They are fond of children and often play with them.

Pugs thrive on human companionship and require lots of quality time. They like to follow you around or sit on your lap. They are also quite intuitive and sensitive to the owner’s mood and are eager to please. They respond to your mood by either being docile and quiet or playful and teasing.

With that said, some pugs are shy and a little aggressive. You may come across one that likes to hide in the corner or bite his littermates. A pug’s personality can be affected by socialization, training, and heredity. Therefore, it is important to ask about the mother’s and father’s personalities when buying one.

Growth and Development of Pugs

Pug pregnancies are on average 63 days long, with 4-6 pugs per litter. However, a range of 1-9 pug puppies per litter is considered normal. Most pug births are through cesarean section due to the puppies’ neonatal skull structure that makes it difficult for them to pass through the birth canal.

Newborn pugs, like other dog breeds, do not have any senses and cannot move their legs. They are completely blind and fully reliant on their mothers in the first two weeks. Due to the natural makeup of their face, they may have difficulty breathing. Within 2-4 weeks, they gain their senses and can move around.

Pugs are considered puppies in the first year only. They portray curious and mischievous behavior at this age as they are excited and eager to explore the world. They may present some puppy behaviors in the second year, but their personality tends to be a bit mellow.

The age for a senior pug starts at 7-8 years when they become less excitable and may develop mobility and breathing difficulties. While it is still important to ensure they exercise at this age, only provide moderate exercise.

Finding the Perfect Pug

pug funny reaction

There are several ways of becoming a pug owner, including buying one from a breeder or adopting from a rescue center. Whichever option you choose, you want to vet the pug to ensure it is healthy and has favorable genetics. Ask the pug breeder or rescue center for a health history, vaccination records, and history of the pet.

Keep in mind that, unlike a reputable breeder who will have a detailed record and history of the pug puppy, a rescue center or puppy mill will not have that much information. Do not buy pugs over the internet without meeting the breeder and seeing the dog in person.

How to Care for Your Pug

cute pug dog

Vet Care

Pugs are susceptible to a myriad of health problems. They require specialized vet care to prevent or catch the diseases in the early stages for effective treatment. They also need to stay up to date with the various vaccines. Below is a look at some of the most common pug diseases.

Common Pug Diseases and Health Problems

While some pug health problems are due to their anatomical structure, others are unexplainable.

For instance, the protruding nature of their eyes predisposes them to dryness and a myriad of eye infections, such as proptosis, distichiasis, and pigmentary keratitis. Similarly, the folds on their face are susceptible to infections such as skin fold dermatitis due to the accumulation of moisture and dirt.

These flat-faced dogs are short-snouted with elongated palates. These features can restrict airflow when breathing. They are prone to respiratory health issues such as brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome (BAOS) and pharyngeal gag reflex. These conditions cause laborious breathing, and in some cases, the dog may pass out due to blocked airways.

One of the most serious yet common health issues in pugs is necrotizing meningoencephalitis (NME), also known as Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE). It is an inflammation of the brain common in other small dog breeds, such as the Maltese, Yorkshire terrier, and chihuahua. The disease has no cure, and although it is linked to genetics, scientists have not yet established its exact cause.

Other common diseases in pugs include:

  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Skin infection
  • Cancer
  • Nerve degeneration
  • Hemi-vertebrae

Training

Pugs are relatively easy to train. They are people pleasers, so they are eager to take instructions and do as you ask. Since they like food, you can give small treats during training to motivate and reward them.

It is best to train them as you as possible. Pug trainers recommend that you start training your pug as early as 1-3 months. The younger the puppy, the easier it is to start training. However, it is never too late to train. 

The essential forms of training for pugs include house training, basic obedience and disciplining, and socialization. Expose your pug puppy to different social settings, such as people, parks, and events. Provide them with a “toilet” area, e.g., a crate and comfortable sleeping area laid out with a soft cloth, mat, or blanket.

Grooming

Grooming is essential for pugs. Not only to improve their appearance but also for hygiene and prevent health problems. Below is an overview of the essential grooming practices for pugs:

  • Bathing. Pugs need a bath at least every three weeks to get rid of dirt and accumulated oils. You will need a specialty shampoo, conditioner, and a piece of cloth or a scrub brush. Ensure that the dog’s fur is completely socked up with water. While you can use a bowl to pour water on the pup, a hose pipe works best. Or, you can soak it up in a basin or sink. Once done bathing, use an absorbent towel to dry it up. When drying, pay keen attention to areas that have skin folds, such as the face and ears. Also, dry the spaces between the toes.
  • Touch-Up Cleanings. Follow up the baths with touch-up cleanings every few days. Wipe the pug’s body with a pre-moistened cloth or wipes to remove any dirt.
  • Clean Folds and Wrinkles Daily. Since the folds are susceptible to infections, keeping them clean and dry is crucial. Ideally, you should wipe them three times a day, after every meal. However, once a day is sufficient.
  • Brush the Coat. Brushing is essential for all types of pugs. Fawn pugs have a double layer of fur compared to black pugs. Both types must be brushed often to get rid of any dead hairs. The frequency of brushing depends on the pug’s age and the season. Pug puppies do not shed as many hairs as adults. Adult and pug puppies shed a lot during the spring, necessitating brushing every 1-3 days. You can use a slicker brush or a grooming glove to brush your pug.
  • Clean the Ears. You should clean your pug’s ears every 4-6 weeks, but if the pug is prone to ear infections, clean the ears every 1-3 weeks. Wipe the ear flaps with a semi-moist cloth or ear wipe, and clean the ear canals with a few drops of an eye cleansing solution.
  • Clean the Eyes. Pugs have slightly protruding eyes that are prone to collecting dirt and debris. They are also prone to producing discharge. Therefore, you should clean the eyes daily, ideally up to three times a day but once will suffice. Use specialty wipes with natural blends of chamomile and aloe vera.
  • Paw Care. Apply paw wax to the paw pads and between the toes every two weeks to ensure they have adequate traction when walking on different types of terrain. Use a canine nail clipper to trim the pug’s nails every 6-8 weeks. However, note that the nail growth rate varies from one pug to another; therefore, inspect your pug’s nails regularly to determine if they need trimming. You want to trim them before or as soon as they begin to hook.
  • Dental Care. Pugs need to have their teeth cleaned regularly, ideally daily or 2-3 times a week at the bare minimum. You need a soft to medium bristle toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste. In the beginning, it may be a challenging task as your pup may resist, but it gets better with time.

Alternatively, use dental chews. Most have a pleasant taste that keeps the pug chewing for longer. They remove tartar build-up and eliminate bad breath as effectively as brushing does.

Exercise

Pugs require at least an hour of exercise daily. The exercise routine should combine short walks, lots of playtime, and brain-stimulating activities. Avoid long and strenuous exercises and keep a close eye for any signs of difficulty breathing and tiredness. Do not exercise your pug in extremely hot weather conditions due to the risk of a heat stroke.

Nutrition

Pugs are quite versatile when it comes to their diet. They can thrive on most dry foods for small dog breeds. They also enjoy human foods such as boiled eggs, carrots, and beans. Ideally, a pug’s diet should be high in protein. It should also contain some carbohydrates, essential vitamins, and a bit of fat.

Conclusion

Pugs are one of the best companion dogs. They have pleasant personalities and are easy to train and socialize with. They do not have any specialized diet needs, as they can feed on most dog food for small breeds.

However, seeing as they are susceptible to diseases, they require regular visits to the vet and regular grooming. With proper care, your pug can live up to its expected life expectancy. They thrive in a loving home.

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