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Pug

There’s no denying the Pug’s appeal but consider carefully before bringing a brachycephalic dog into your life.

Originating in China, Pugs of the past were companions to Chinese Emperors and Tibetan Monks, and later English Royalty. The ancestors of the modern Pug looked quite different, with longer noses. Modern breeding programs have exaggerated the flat or brachycephalic features and have thus led to serious health problems faced by the breed today.

They are a small dog and their size ranges from 20 to 28 cm and weight from 4 to 7kgs. Females tend to be a bit smaller than males. Pugs are generally fawn or black.

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Dog Breed Facts & Characteristics

Origin

China

Bred for

Companion 

Size 

Small, Height 20 to 28 cm, Weight 4 to 7kgs

Weight Range

4 to 7kgs

Colours

Fawn, black 

Life expectancy

10 to 14 years 

Coat

Short

Temperament 

Stubborn, loving

Exercise requirements

Low – but still requires daily walks/exercise 

Best suited for 

Households with someone home a lot   

Apartment Friendly

Yes 

Personality

Bred as a companion, the Pug is friendly and gentle. They are popular with families for their good-natured disposition and if socialised when they are young, they will generally get along well with other pets. They are well suited to apartment living, but daily exercise is vital. They can have a stubborn streak and can be difficult to train. 

Grooming

They have a short coat that requires minimal grooming. However, skin folds on the face need regular cleansing to help prevent infections which are common in the breed. Regular ear cleaning should also be a part of the regular grooming schedule to help keep the ears clean and free from debris as they are prone to ear infections. With a characteristic underbite, Pugs are prone to dental problems so teeth cleaning should also be a part of the maintenance routine. Prevent parasites by ensuring your Pug is on flea control all year round and tick prevention if you are in a paralysis tick area.

Feeding

When choosing a food for your Pug, select a premium food appropriate to your dog’s age and life stage. Make sure your pup always has a supply of fresh, clean water available.

Common health concerns 

According to PetSure data from 2013 to 2018, brachycephalic breeds have a higher prevalence for many major health problems including patella luxation, skin conditions, eye conditions, anal gland problems, digestive diseases, and ear infections. Brachycephalic airway syndrome is caused by changes in the airways which can result in lifelong breathing problems and poses a significant welfare risk to these dogs. Read more about brachycephalic dogs here.

In 2019 Pugs commonly went to the vet for skin conditions, such as allergies, skin fold infections and ear infections.

With their big, bulging eyes, Pugs are prone to eye injuries, resulting in corneal ulcers as well as other eye problems including “dry eye” (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), and conjunctivitis

The five most common reasons for a Pug to visit the vet (excluding routine care visits) according to PetSure data in were:

Rank

Condition

Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)

1

Skin conditions (including allergies, infection, skin fold dermatitis)

$178

$2,143

2

Ear conditions (including allergies, infections)

$175

$6,273

3

Eye conditions (including corneal ulcer, keratitis, conjunctivitis)

$213

$5,317

4

Urinary tract disease (including urinary tract infection, cystitis and bladder stones)

$296

$7,264

5

Gastrointestinal tract problems

$306

$4,885

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome and Intervertebral Disc Disease are serious issues that Pugs are also prone to. Treatment for these life-threatening conditions can run into the many thousands. 

Most popular Pug names

In 2019, the most popular Pug names according to PetSure data were

  1. Luna
  2. Archie
  3. Charlie
  4. Frankie
  5. Coco
  6. Bella
  7. Daisy
  8. Ruby
  9. Buddy
  10. Milo

Most popular female names  

  1. Luna
  2. Bella
  3. Coco
  4. Daisy
  5. Ruby
  6. Nala
  7. Molly
  8. Frankie
  9. Lola
  10. Willow

Most popular male names 

  1. Archie
  2. Charlie
  3. Buddy
  4. Max
  5. Milo
  6. Teddy
  7. Ollie
  8. Alfie
  9. Leo
  10. Bailey

Did you know?

Today’s King Charles Spaniel has its characteristic short snout due to cross breeding with Pugs in the 16th and 17th century. 

Where can I get a Pug?

Before buying a Pug, consider the serious health concerns that brachycephalic (flat faced) breeds have. While they may look cute, these problems have long term welfare implications. RSPCA Australia and the Australian Veterinary Association are calling for a shift in the way these dogs are bred, and decreasing demand for flat-faced dogs is one way you can help improve the future for these breeds. You may be able to adopt a Pug from a Pug specific rescue organisation. Also be sure to visit your local pet rescue shelters where you might find a small cross breed dog and your new best friend! 

References

  1. Love Is Blind, Accessed on 19/11/20
  2. Wikipedia, Pug, Accessed on 19/11/20
  3. Dogtime.com, Pug, Accessed on 19/11/20

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Noah
Noah
Bei Bei
Bei Bei
Meeka
Meeka