Breed Spotlight: Pugs

Five Minutes
Sep 28, 2022

Pug Quick Stats


13 – 15 years


14 – 18 lbs


10 – 13 inches




Expressive, loving, loyal

Common Health Problems:

Pug dog encephalitis, cherry eye, obesity

Pug Dog: How Do I Look?

The pug arguably has one of the most distinct looks of any dog breed. This short-faced pup has a wrinkled brow, big eyes, and a square body.

Coat Type and Colors

Pugs have short, smooth coats. While they can have apricot-colored fur, the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard accepts only black and fawn as the official show colors.3

Shedding and Grooming

Pugs shed quite a bit, but they require only minimal grooming. To keep their shedding manageable, it’s best to give your pug weekly brushings to remove any loose hair.

Ears and Tail

Pugs’ ears are thin and small with a velvet-like touch, and their tails are tightly curled over their backs.

Their ears are described as either the “rose” or “button” kind. While both shapes look similar, button ears fold forward towards a pug’s face and are preferred for show pugs.

Drooling Level

Pugs are not typically droolers.

Pug: Personality Traits

What My Adoption Bio Would Say:

Some adore me. Some misunderstand me. But if you choose me, these big eyes will only be for you!


The pug’s temperament is very lively, playful, and affectionate. Bred as companion dogs, pugs are the ultimate snugglers that require a lot of attention. They bond closely with their owners and have a strong urge to please them.

Because of their high attention needs, pugs can develop behavioral issues if left alone for long periods of time. Keep your pug engaged in your daily routine, and they should be perfectly content.

Exercise Needs

Pugs don’t require a significant amount of exercise, but it is required to keep a pug’s weight in check. They do have some energy though, so daily walks and play sessions should suffice.

Keep in mind that pugs are not tolerant to hot weather, so their energy and needs may shift during the summer.


Harsher training methods are not recommended for pugs. As companions, they will often respond best to positive reinforcement. Pugs are very motivated by food, so treats are great tools to reward good behavior, but be mindful not to feed them too many.

Some pugs can be stubborn, so early socialization and training classes for pug puppies can help mitigate any mischievous tendencies.

Are Pugs Good with Kids?

On our list of the best breeds for families, pugs are very good with children and enjoy being part of the family.

Are Pugs Good with Other Pets?

Pugs should get along easily with other pets both in the home and outside.

Barking Level

Pug dogs are not very vocal, so excessive barking shouldn’t be a problem.

Pug Dog: A History

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the pug as a breed in 1885, but the breed has a much longer history.4 Pugs — also called pug dogs — have been around since before 400 B.C. Originally called the lo-sze, pugs originated from Buddhist monasteries in Tibet and eventually became companions for the wealthy in China.

Pug dogs eventually made their way into European royal spaces and upper class homes in the 1500s. Pugs were known as the mopsi in Finland, doguillo in Spain, and mophonds among the Dutch.

Common Pug Mixes

Here are some of the more popular pug mixes:

Pug Health Issues

Pugs are known to have more health issues compared to similar small and medium breeds. Common pug health issues include:

  • Allergies
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Cherry eye
  • Corneal ulcers: A deep erosion in the eye’s cornea
  • Mange
  • Dry Eye
  • Ocular proptosis (bulging eyes)
  • Obesity
  • Periodontal disease
  • Pug dog encephalitis (PDE): An inflammatory brain disease that can significantly affect a pug’s life expectancy
  • Pug myelopathy: A degenerative spinal condition
  • Walking dandruff: Significant dandruff caused by mites

Protect your Pets

Even the healthiest of pups can come with unexpected vet costs. Pet insurance can help keep your dog and your bank account happy.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Pugs

Pet insurance can be a way for pug owners to save on veterinary care and emergency visits. Here are some common health issues a MetLife1 dog insurance plan might be able to help with.2


A number of triggers can irritate allergies in dogs. Whether your dog has skin, food, or environmental allergies, they shouldn’t be ignored. Proper diagnosis from a vet is essential for successfully treating allergy symptoms.

Cherry eye

Cherry eye is a condition that affects a dog’s third eyelid. It creates a visible, cherry-like protrusion. Cherry eye isn’t life-threatening, but it can lead to severe vision problems. Depending on its severity, treating cherry eye requires surgery that can cost as little as $300 or over $1,000.

Pug myelopathy

According to the Pug Dog Club of America, pug myelopathy is a condition that’s considered unique to the pug breed.5 Also known as “weak rear,” this neurological condition causes rear limb incoordination and eventually leads to paralysis. Treatment most often includes physical therapy, mobility aids, and medication.

For any pet insurance plan to be the most helpful, it’s important to enroll your pug into a pet insurance plan as soon as possible. That way you can avoid any issue becoming a preexisting condition that may not be covered. Have more questions about pet insurance? Check out our pet insurance guide and frequently asked questions.

Protect your Pug with Pet Insurance

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal, or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC. 

3 “Official Standard of the Pug,” American Kennel Club

4 “Pug Dog Breed Information,” American Kennel Club 

5 “Pug Myelopathy,” Pug Dog Club of America

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