Two pugs lying on a blanket on the sofa looking for attention!

Are Pugs High Maintenance Dogs?

Pugs are really adorable dogs and one of the oldest breeds in history. They originated in China and continue to be very popular as smaller-sized dogs with an easy disposition. They are a great size for apartment living and get along well with other dogs and family members. Yet, some people claim that Pugs are very high maintenance and need a lot of additional care. So, you may wonder if a Pug is the right type of dog for you.

Pugs may seem needier due to their desire to always be by your side, and they do have more health problems than the average dog, But most owners and breeders do not consider Pugs to be high maintenance due to these characteristics. Pugs are generally thought of as dogs who are easy to care for with engaging personalities and happy, sweet dispositions. Let’s take a closer look at their endearing traits as well as some of the breed-specific challenges.



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Pugs were first bred in China in 700 BCE to be by the side of royal and wealthy elites as loyal companions and comforters. They are considered to be a toy breed, yet they have all of the characteristics of larger dogs. See this great article from Figo Pet Insurance to learn more about the history of Pugs.

Due to their petite size, they are perfect pets for apartments and smaller homes. Pugs love to cuddle and jump on your lap or get into bed with you. Pugs are considered to be low to medium maintenance because they don’t need a lot of exercise each day. They take a lot of naps and only need daily walks for about 20-30 minutes. Grooming is relatively easy although they do shed quite a bit. Pugs also have some special care needs as noted below. Be sure to see my article Why You Should Adopt a Pug to learn more about this breed and where to adopt.

Endearing Traits of Pugs

Pugs Get Along With Everyone

Probably the trait that most makes Pugs seem like low-maintenance dogs is their amenable personalities. They are very affectionate and get along well with just about everyone.

Pugs are great with other dogs, kids, and even cats. They have sweet temperaments and tend to be lovers, not fighters. Pugs are very easy to take to the vet and can be easily examined and treated.

Pugs are Funny

Two Pugs sleeping inb bed in hilarious positions.
Pugs sound asleep, as usual!

Because Pugs are so attentive with unusual-looking features, they can also seem very comical and expressive. They are often referred to as the “clown dogs” due to their amusing antics. They snort, paw at things, run around in circles, bark at nothing, and then crash and sleep in odd positions. Some people consider Pugs to be hyper, but they are really just fun-loving, energetic dogs, (see my post.)

Pugs are the ultimate court jesters and entertainers of the canine world. They love nothing more than to burrow into your favorite chair with you as they display amusing antics to get comfortable.

My rescue dog, Georgia, who is a Pug mix, runs to her bed in the living room every night around 9PM. She circles round and round, scratches furiously at her bed, then crouches down with her butt up in the air. A second later she jumps up and spins around several more times before plopping down. And she is 9 years old, so these are not the antics of a puppy! I have never seen anyone get so excited about settling down for an evening nap.

Pugs are Smart and Very Trainable

These dogs are very bright and quick learners as long as food is involved. They do have a tendency to get into mischief and can be stubborn at times. But generally, Pugs aim to please and are fairly easy to train.

One word of warning, however, due to their quirky stubborn streak, they can sometimes take longer to potty train than other dogs. This is especially true if the weather is bad. Pugs do not like to get their paws wet and they don’t like to be cold. So, they sometimes need a little more nudging to get them outside during inclement weather.

Pugs are Great Companions

Pugs have long been a favorite of Chinese royalty, English aristocrats, and modern-day celebrities as comforting little furry friends who can be carried around. In families, these special little dogs blend in well and integrate easily as part of the family. Pugs are especially wonderful to have around if you have a sick family member who needs a little furry friend to snuggle with.

Pugs are not Picky Eaters

Pugs will eat anything! You don’t have to worry about finding the perfect food just to get them to eat. But beware! My dog is very sneaky and will steal my lunch right off the table if I walk away for 2 minutes!

Sometimes I think Pugs live just to eat. Monitoring how much they eat is important to maintain their proper weight, as they can be prone to obesity. I frequently take my dog to the local vet just to weigh her and ensure that she is not getting too many treats.

Affectionate, Loyal, and Love to Stay Close

Pug being carried in backpack by owner in London
Pug in his Dad’s backpack touring London.

These loyal little pooches love their owners and become very attached. Pugs are sometimes referred to as “velcro” dogs because they always want to be wherever you are. My dog Georgia follows me all over the house. If I run upstairs, she runs up after me and continues to follow me from room to room. I ended up putting a bed in every room of my house. Otherwise, she would just plop down on the hard floor to be next to me. I decided to get the extra beds after I almost rolled over her a few times with my heavy office chair. Ouch!

Every morning I wake up to find Georgia in bed with me eager to lick my face and nose and get me up. “Hi Mom! Time for my breakfast!”, as if I would dare forget to feed her! Be sure to see my post, Why Does My Dog Lick My Nose Every Morning for some amusing insights. As soon as I tumble out of bed and stumble into the kitchen for my morning coffee, little Georgia is right there with me, underfoot, and ready to eat!

Breed Specific Challenges

Velcro Dogs

I understand why some people say that Pugs are high maintenance. They do have some special needs and can sometimes be a little too clingy. Because of their desire to always be close to you, Pugs can develop separation anxiety. You can see my post, Separation Anxiety–Mine and My Dog’s to learn more about this.

Additionally, a Pug is almost always underfoot. While it is cute that she follows you around, it can be annoying at times. I find myself always looking down at the floor and shuffling around throughout my house ever since adopting Georgia and her sister. Pugs can definitely be tripping hazards!

Grooming

While Pugs are easy to groom, they do shed a lot. They have an undercoat that needs to be deshedded periodically. You can take your dog to a groomer to have this done every two to three months. You can also purchase handy tools like this Furminator from Amazon (affiliate links below):

Pugs also need to have their eyes, ears, and skin folds cleaned on a regular basis to prevent infections. Due to their small mouth regular brushing and dental care is important to avoid tooth decay and infections. Chewy has a large variety of dental care products as well as eye, ear, and skin wipes. My favorite product is the MD Ear Wipes. They have eucalyptus and aloe on small square wipes, which are gentle and smell really good. Both of my dogs actually like having their ears cleaned when I use these premoistened wipes.

Health Concerns

Sick pug wrapped in a blanket.
Sick Pug under the weather.

Pugs can have breathing problems known as Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). This is due to their short snout. Pugs often snore at night and make snorting sounds during the day, which may sound amusing but can lead to bigger problems.

Other conditions include hip dysplasia, spinal problems, allergies, and skin infections.

From a health perspective, Pugs do require a little more care and preventative measures. Be sure to purchase a good pet insurance policy that covers illness and chronic conditions that may be genetic or breed-specific in nature. Forbes Advisor has a great article about the best pet insurance plans. Be sure to check it out to learn about the different options that are available. I personally would never want to be in a position in which I could not provide medical care for my dogs due to the financial cost. I have found that Pet’s Best is a great plan, but there are several other good plans as well

Final Thoughts

Overall, Pugs are pretty easy to care for. Aside from possible health concerns that are more common in this breed, Pugs are easy to raise and integrate within your household. They are a lot of fun to be with and you will never feel unloved!

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