Pugs also known as Dutch mastiffs are small breed dogs.
They are barrel shaped with a square chest with short muscular legs. They are quite sturdy and stand at a height of 10 – 11 inches tall and weigh 14 -18 pounds. They have characteristic facial features such as a short muzzle, an undershot jaw and a broad short skull thus classified as a brachycephalic breed. They also have black, large and prominent eyes. Their skin folds around the eyes and forehead
Pugs have short glossy hair coats that are dense and shed quite a bit all year round. They also come in four distinct colors i.e. black, fawn, silver and apricot. They have black markings on their muzzle, ears, cheeks and forehead. Their tails curl upwards to their hips in one or two loops.
They have warm charismatic personalities and are quite friendly.
A pug’s lifespan is approximately 12 to 15 years.
Due to the structure of their skull (broad and short), they are highly predisposed to breathing problems especially in high temperatures. This can consequently lead to weight problems resulting from minimal exercise. They also face other health issues which we shall discuss.
How long do pugs live?
Pugs have a lifespan of between 12 to 15 years. This greatly depends on their ability to fend of diseases, level of exercise and diet – take a look at our the best dog foods for pugs here!
Timeline of a Pug
It is said that one dog year is equal to 7 human years. Small breed dogs age faster compared to large breed dogs. Pugs however age differently compared to other dogs.
From birth to 8 weeks they are termed as newborns. They sleep for approximately 22 hours in between feeding. At 8 weeks this decreases to 18 hours. They also gain considerable weight during this period. At 8 weeks they are ready for adoption.
Between 3 to 4 months, they start teething which extends up to 6 months.
At 4 to 6 months they gain sexual maturity. Females have their first heat while males produce viable sperm. Neutering is best done at this age. The first heat may be unovulatory and the dog may not conceive. The recommended age for breeding is 1 year for females and 9 months for males.
Growth rate slows down around the 9th month or stops entirely. There is minimal weight gain.
At 1 year, pugs are considered adults. The period between 1 year and 18 months is characterized by an increase in width especially around the chest. They also become more muscular and sturdy. There is hardly any increase in weight at this point. Any rapid weight gain is considered abnormal and one should seek veterinary help.
Pugs reach their optimal growth between 1.5 years to 7 years. At 7 to 8 years they are termed as senior dogs.
Health complications of Pugs
Pugs are predisposed to various health conditions owning to structure of their body. These include:
- Skin problems
- Pyoderma: This is a bacterial skin infection characterized by odorous blisters on the skin containing blood or pus. They are found in areas with loose skin or skin folds. Such as the curl of the tail, the vulva in the female, face and between the toes. Proper cleaning and keeping the area dry helps to reduce occurrence.
- Demodectic mange is very common in pugs especially in puppies. It is characterized by hair loss, itching and scab formation.
- Hot spots and allergies are characterized by circular inflamed areas of the skin accompanied by itchiness and hair loss. Occurs in the thighs and lower body.
- Pugs have prominent protruding eyes which are predisposed to injury. Common eye problems include cheery eye, entropion, corneal abrasions and lacerations, dry eye and cataracts in older pugs.
- Pugs are classified as a brachycephalic breed. This predisposes them to breathing problems resulting from:
- Stenotic nares which are too small to draw in enough air
- Abnormal growth of the tracheal rings causes narrowing and collapse of the airway leading to respiratory collapse.
- An elongated soft palate which can block the entrance of the airway.
Dental problems, ear infections and joint issues are also common in pugs. For further reading please click here.
Top causes of death
Most pugs usually die as a result:
- Neurological disorders e.g. pug dog encephalitis. This is inflammation of the brain which causes seizures and loss of muscle control
- Cancer such as mammary tumors, testicular tumors, skin cancers among others.
- Congenital conditions affecting the heart such as septal defects are common in puppies
- Infectious diseases both viral and bacterial can cause death if not treated promptly.
Extending the lifespan of your pug
A well balanced diet from high quality ingredients as well as supplements can help extend a pug’s lifespan. Regular well monitored exercise helps keep off obesity while good grooming practices helps to keep skin problems at bay. Owners should also have regular vet visits.
Pugs are small breed dogs which have characteristic physical features. They’re square shaped with muscular short legs. They also have a broad short skull with a short muzzle and an overshoot jaw. They come in four colors; black, apricot, silver and fawn.
Pugs have a life span of 12 to 15 years. They are predisposed to various health conditions due to the structure of their bodies. This includes skin problems which are common in areas where the skin is loose or the skin folds on itself. This includes pyoderma, demodectic mange, skin allergies and hot spots among others. Good grooming practices are essential.
Other common problems include cancers, congenital malformation especially those affecting the heart, infectious diseases and injuries. Breathing problems are also quite common. Stenotic nostrils, collapse of the trachea, elongated soft palate, etc. all lead to difficulty in breathing which can lead to hypoxia and death.
Regular vet check ups are important to maintain the health of your pug. Also, a good balanced diet, supplements, monitored exercise and good grooming help to extend their life span.