Pug: Is This Small Dog with a Big Heart for You?


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Did you know the Pug is one of the oldest dog breeds around? Yet, little often means new – so you’d be forgiven for thinking this pint-sized pup was a modern breed.

With their unbearably cute flat face and wrinkly nose, pugs have many sterling qualities that make them great pets.

If you wanna know more about this pawsome breed, read about it here.

Pug history

The pug is an ancient dog breed, dating back to 400 BC when it was first bred in China. Pugs were popular Lapdogs among royalty and with Tibetan Buddhist monks.   

The Pug’s popularity soon rose beyond its birthplace, travelling to Japan and then Europe. It’s thought the Pug’s journey to Europe was probably together with the Dutch East India Trading Company. The company constantly moved between Asia, Africa and Europe trading in spices.

Other notable Pug owners include Queen Victoria and Prince William of Orange. In fact, the Pug saved the prince’s life by sounding the alarm against opposition troops. He was made the official dog of the House of Orange.

As you can see this little dog has a thing for royalty. Let’s say it’s in his DNA – speaking of which, read about dog DNA tests in NZ.

A Pug relaxes on a sofa.

Pug breed standards

The Dogs New Zealand breed standards for Pugs say they are “decidedly square and cobby” and a compact form.

Here are some more pawsome pug facts:

  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Dog Group: Toy
  • Size: Small
  • Weight: 6-8 kilograms
  • Colours: Black, Silver Fawn, Fawn, Apricot

A uniquely Pug quirk is they can either have a ‘button ear’ or a ‘rose ear’. Button ears fold forward, completely covering the ear opening. Rose ears, on the other hand, fold forward only a little, showing part of the inner ear.

Have a look at this picture below, where the middle Pug has rose ears while Pugs either side have button ears.

Three Pug dogs rest outdoors.

Pug personality

Luckily, you don’t need to be royalty to join the Pug club. If you’re after an intelligent, loving, small and friendly pooch, the Pug may be the ultimate answer. Dogs New Zealand says this pup’s official motto is ‘multum in parvo’ – a lot in a little!

Not so energetic

If you’re more an occasional stroll kind of pet parent than a “lets jog or hike” type, the Pug is your kind of pooch. Or if you enjoy sleeping in and lazy weekends, your Pug will happily cuddle with you in bed. In fact, you could say sleeping is a Pug hobby and one they’re good at. Find out more about different low, mid and high energy dogs.

Read more on the health benefits of sleeping with your dog in bed but, if you’re a light sleeper, know in advance that these cutie-pie pooches do snore.


Pugs also have a penchant for social skills, so they easily get on with other children and other pets. They’re well-muscled too, so despite being little can handle a little bit of rough and tumble.

A little bit needy

Pugs are faithful companions who, truth be told, would prefer never to be left alone. If left alone too long, they’re likely to feel isolated and anxious, so separation anxiety in pets is a watchword for this breed.  If you’re away from home many hours a day, a Pug might not be the right canine for you.

Chilled with a touch of sass

Pugs are generally laid back and quiet (aside from that snoring thing). They’re not prone to excessive chewing or digging. Speaking of chewing, if you’ve got a dog who’s prone to it then read our puppy teething survival guide.

Another valuable FYI is that Pugs sometimes have a stubborn streak, which often manifests during toilet training. Here’s our advice on toilet training for your Pug or any other pooch for that matter.

Check out this ultra-cute video compilation too:

Health considerations

As with many purebred dog breeds, Pugs are predisposed to certain health issues. Unfortunately, many health issues Pugs face are because of pedigreed inbreeding.

However, if you’ve been reading this article and feeling pro Pug, there’s no need to opt out now.

Knowing what health conditions could affect a pet doesn’t mean they will affect them. Rather, you know what to look out for and can even design a health plan with your vet to help your cobby love avoid these dangers.

Here are some health conditions to guard against:

Dog insurance for a soft landing

Besides letting your Pug sleep in your lap, another way to give a soft landing is dog insurance. Our well-priced pet plans are easy to manage online and offer a broad range of benefits like medication, tests, surgery, hospital stays and non-routine visits to the vet.

Is it worth your time to get a quick free quote?

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