Pug - breed information and advice

A good-natured, sociable breed, Pugs are extremely adaptable and fit in well with family life. They make great companions, are known for their intelligence and can be cheeky and expressive. They can be either fawn or black and have a distinctive, tightly curled tail known as a 'twist'.

Breed information


Size: Small

Coat: Pugs have a short, shedding coat that needs grooming at least once a week

Exercise: Around 30 minutes a day for adult dogs. Prone to obesity, the Pug benefits from short but regular walks.

Life span: 10+ years

Breed group: Originally bred to amuse their owners and look beautiful, Toy dogs are usually small, attractive and extremely faithful, making them charming, loyal companions.

Mast cell tumours

Pugs are prone to a variety of tumours, cysts and growths, including mast cell tumours. Mast cells are normal skin cells that help dogs respond to trauma and damage by releasing histamine. However, these cells can sometimes replicate into a serious type of tumour called a mast cell tumour. They vary widely in size and shape, but most take the form of a solitary lump within the skin. Treatment depends on the size and location of the tumour but almost always involves surgical removal.


We paid £3,685 to treat Eric the Pug for mast cell tumours in 2016

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Eye conditions

Eye disorders are very common in dogs. Pugs can suffer from a common, painful eye irritation called corneal ulceration. This occurs when the surface of the cornea becomes grazed as a result of scratches from other animals or vegetation, or because of foreign material in the eye, chemicals, heat or smoke, or infection. ‘Cherry eye’ occurs when the tear production gland pops out from inside the lower eyelid. Although this isn’t a painful condition, it looks unsightly and will interfere with tear production if it is left untreated. Overall, treatment depends on the type and severity of eye problem (cherry eye, for example, requires surgery). Some treatments may be required for life to keep the dog’s vision in good health.


In our experience, Pugs are most likely to need treatment for eye conditions

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Pugs can suffer from conditions that affect the brain, spine and some nerves. Epilepsy is a brain disorder that results in seizures or fitting, which may begin in dogs as young as six months old. Epileptic seizures look painful, but generally aren’t. However, they may need to be controlled with medication for the dog’s entire life to ensure a happy, normal existence.


We paid £2,236 to treat Lola the Pug for neurological disorders in 2016

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Breathing problems

A dog’s respiratory system runs from the nose right down to the tiny air sacs in the lungs. Any part of this system can become diseased. Dogs like Pugs with short, broad heads can suffer from a condition known as ‘brachycephalic airway syndrome’, which makes breathing more difficult. Narrow nostrils, a long soft palate at the roof of the mouth and a collapsing larynx combine to partially obstruct the passage of air through the upper airways. The windpipe (trachea) can also be narrower and flatter in some breeds, including Pugs. Sometimes the tracheal rings begin to collapse, and air is squeezed through, resulting in a characteristic honking cough. Treatment of these conditions may include surgery if the dog’s breathing is severely compromised.


Respiratory system disorders are the third most common illnesses we see in Pugs

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Skin allergies

The skin is the largest organ of a dog’s body and can be affected by a number of disorders. Like many other breeds, Pugs can suffer from allergies that lead to dermatitis (skin inflammation). Allergies can be caused by many different items, including things that are inhaled (such as pollen or dust mites), items that are eaten (for example, wheat), items that the dog comes into contact with (for example, washing powders), or bites from parasites such as fleas. As allergies cannot be cured, treatment may be required for life, but is usually effective enough to ensure that the dog can enjoy a happy, normal existence.


Skin disorders are the second most common illnesses we see in Pugs

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