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Pug dog breed

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Pug dog breed information and advice

Pugs can be a little divisive as a dog breed – there’s those who find them irrepressibly cute and then there’s those who don’t. Either way, you cannot deny these companion pups are an extremely popular breed of dog. Unfortunately, because of this popularity, over-breeding has caused some health issues.

If you’re looking to welcome a Pug into your home, make sure you’re buying one from a reputable breeder who is responsible and has the mum and pup’s welfare at heart. When it comes to taking care of your Pug, our guide has information you need, including go-to Pug facts like the price you can expect to pay, exercise, and much more.

Pug facts

Lifespan 12 - 15 years
How much £500 - £1200
Size 25 - 30 cm
Weight 6.3 - 8.1 kg
Colours black, apricot, fawn, silver fawn
Grooming once a week
Temperament stubborn, friendly, docile, independent
Exercise 30 minutes daily

Pug insurance

As a brachycephalic breed of dog, there are some common health issues that come with Pugs. And accidents and illness can happen to any breed of dog at any age, so it’s important to have pet insurance. By having pet insurance for your pug it will help cover the costs of vet treatments and any unexpected illnesses or injuries.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance can protect your Pug puppies as young as 8 weeks old. We also cover older Pugs if you take out insurance before their 8th birthday. Once you have cover in place, we’ll insure them for their entire life - as long as you renew your policy year after year.

How to care for a Pug

It’s not just cuddles that show your Pug how much you care. Along with the best insurance for your pug, you need to make sure you’re on top of your dog’s diet, exercise, grooming and training. These all affect their health and behaviour, our Pug care guide will help you and keep your pup in tip-top shape.

Feeding and nutrition

Pug breeders will tell you what food they have been feeding your puppy. It’s best to continue with the same type of dog food once you get them home. A quick change in their diet can lead to an upset tummy so, when it comes to changing their food, you’ll need to do it slowly over time. Add a small amount of new food in with the old food, increasing the new and decreasing the old each day. Eventually, you will be left with a bowl of new food.

Beware – Pugs are greedy dogs. You will need to watch what they eat as they can easily become overweight. As Pugs have shortened noses, they are prone to breathing difficulties. So, the more weight they’re carrying, the harder they’ll find it to breathe.

To make sure your dog is eating the correct amount, weigh the food according to the guidelines given on the back of the food packaging. Split this daily amount into two separate meals for morning and evening. This will keep your dog’s hunger satisfied for longer. Also, keep the fatty treats and dinner leftovers to an absolute minimum.


Pugs have short fur that needs brushing weekly and they shed throughout the year. Brushing will help to remove the loose fur. The more you remove, the less there is to stick to your furniture and clothes. Their coat will never need trimming but it will need washing monthly. You'll also need to gently clean the facial folds with a damp cloth daily. Your Pug will not be able to clean these folds itself and this can cause health problems if left.


Pugs are lazy by nature and would happily sleep most of the day and as they’re prone to put on weight, they need their daily exercise. Pugs need at least 30 minutes a day, if this is too much for them in one go, split into two shorter walks. Playing games with your dog is a great form of exercise and gives them the mental and physical stimulation to help keep them fit, healthy and at an ideal weight.


Training your Pug may be difficult. They’re a stubborn breed and will test your patience. But all dogs can learn with time and repetition. Start by house training your dog. The breeder may have started the puppy toilet training, which will make the process easier for you. Give your dog the chance to go to the toilet in the designated toilet area regularly. Give a command such as ‘go for a wee’ and praise your pug when they go in the right place.

Further training will be easier when toilet training has been mastered. You can take your dog to training classes for tips and support. Pugs respond well to food rewards, but be careful they don’t have too many as they tend to have a high fat content.

Temperament and behaviour

Pugs are an independent breed and are happy to entertain themselves, so give them plenty of toys to play with. They rarely show aggression to humans or other dogs and are quick to make doggy friends. They have a loving temperament and show lots of affection towards their owners.

Pugs may be stubborn at times but they’re generally well behaved.

Common health problems

You should take your Pug to the vet regularly and the right dog insurance will help cover the costs if you need it. There are some common problems found in Pugs that vets will need to keep an eye on.

Luxating patella

Luxating patella is a condition where the kneecap does not slide into the groove of the thigh bone. Instead, it jumps out and ‘locks up’, causing pain to the dog and making the knee difficult to bend. Sometimes the kneecap will jump in and out of place, resulting in temporary lameness. In most cases, it’s permanently in the wrong place. Surgery is required to realign the kneecap and make the groove deeper so that it’s unable to jump out.

Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome

Overweight dogs will suffer more from this condition. The only way to fully resolve the problem is to surgically remove excess tissue and open up the airways.

Spine hemivertebra

This condition refers to one or more deformed vertebrae that leads to incorrect alignment in the dog’s spine. Spinal cords or nerves can be squashed and damaged as a result, causing pain, instability, loss of leg function and incontinence. It usually affects dogs that are under a year of age. Signs may not be noticed until after a sudden jump, fall or spinal trauma. Spinal surgery will be required to realign and stabilise the vertebra.

Is a Pug right for you?

Most people are drawn to Pugs because of their cute appearance and loving personality. They make great companions and will show you lots of affection. They may need a little more training than other dog breeds because of their stubbornness, but generally you won’t be disappointed with their behaviour. If you’re looking for a friendly, fun-loving companion to join your family, this may be the breed for you.

What is a pug?

In summary, Pugs are a breed of dog that was originally bred in China to be a companion to nobility and royalty. They also have connections to the Buddhist religion. You may hear the term “Baby Pug”, this is the name given to the toy size of this breed.

How long do Pugs live?

They have a life expectancy of 12-15 years. Health problems and accidents may shorten this lifespan. Keep your dog at a healthy weight by exercising and feeding them the correct diet to reduce the risks of health issues from developing.

Do pugs shed?

Pugs are heavy shedders that shed year round. Brushing your dog’s coat weekly will help to remove loose fur, but it won’t stop the shedding from happening. Be warned that you will constantly be removing dog fur from your clothes and furniture.

Can Pugs swim?

They can swim but in most cases, not very well. All dogs have a natural instinct to ‘doggy paddle’ when in water, but a Pug will find it difficult to do so because of the build and shape of their body. Pugs do like water, especially during hot weather. Your dog would benefit from a shallow pool that they can lie down in to help them cool down.

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Johnson L, Sammarco J & Haar G (online) Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome. In: Vetlexicon Canis. Vetstream Ltd, UK. Website: opens in new window

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