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Understanding the Pug Character

Pugs love everyone. That's a given. Individual pugs, however, display a range of personalities, from laidback and cuddly to wild and crazy. So before you begin your search for a pug, decide what type of personality best suits you and your family. A mismatch can mean unhappiness for you and the dog.

Think long and hard about what you want in a dog. If you prefer a mild-mannered dog, be sure to tell the breeder so, because an ebullient pug will lead you a merry and exhausting dance. Be aware that an active, assertive pug puppy is likely to retain those characteristics into adulthood. And know that the shy pug that sits in the corner won't magically turn into a confident, outgoing dog once you take him home.

In general, however, you'll find that pugs are comical, mischievous, sweet, and loving. They retain their toddler-like enjoyment of life long into maturity. Even old pugs still get a thrill out of playing with a stuffed animal or acting goofy.

Pug Mania

Expect your pug to greet people by jumping up and down frantically until he's noticed. A pug won't stand for being ignored. He will bug people relentlessly until properly acknowledged. Some pugs are so excited to see visitors that they'll twirl around and snort to express their pleasure for a good ten minutes before choosing a lap to grace with their presence.

On the surface, a pug might seem like a laidback kind of dog, but that's before you've seen him in action. When the mood strikes them, pugs tuck their butts down and streak through the house or around the yard, tail out, ears flying, and a big grin on their face. This common pug antic is referred to as low-riding, the pug scuttle, or in some households, the Pugtona 500.

Victorian novelist George Eliot gives perhaps the best description of life with a pug. Writing to a friend about the pug he had bought for her, she says, “I wish you could see him in his best pose — when I have arrested him in a violent career of carpet-scratching — and he looks at me with forelegs very wide apart, trying to penetrate the deep mystery of this arbitrary, not to say capricious, prohibition. He is snoring by my side at this moment, with a serene promise of remaining quiet for any length of time: he couldn't behave better if he had been expressly educated for me.”

Pugs and Children

Pugs love kids. A pug's rowdy, mischievous nature makes him a good partner in crime for the right child, and unlike most dogs, pugs love playing dress-up. Pugs are small, which is appealing to children, but they're sturdy enough to make good playmates for mature children. A pug will greet roughhousing with a grin, but that doesn't mean he should have to tolerate children who pull his ears and tail or poke him in the eye.

Before you get a pug, consider whether your child is old enough to interact with a dog. This breed is best suited to playing with children who are at least six years old. If you have younger children in your household, teach them how to pet the dog nicely, and always supervise all interaction between young children and pugs to prevent them from hurting one another.

Pugs and Other Pets

When it comes to company, other pugs are best (at least in the mind of a pug). If there aren't any available, pugs are just as happy with other dogs or cats. With its tendency to be bossy, the pug may even become the leader of the pet pack, in spite of the size or age of other animals. Pugs have been known to chase cats, sometimes obsessively, but most cats are well able to put a single pug in its place very quickly (so keep Kitty's nails trimmed to prevent pug eye injuries). In general, however, you'll find that pugs are accepting and loving toward most other animals. If you have a larger dog, you'll need to supervise play so your pug doesn't get hurt accidentally.

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