Pug Health Overview

The majority of Pugs are healthy active dogs that live to between 12 and 15 years of age. Like all breeds there can be some health issues and unfortunately some Pugs may face these challenges in their life. These can include BOAS, PDE, HV and conformational eye problems. Responsible breeders are working hard to reduce the risks of the puppies they produce not living long healthy lives by utilising genetic screening and other available tests. Also it must be appreciated that an owner has a big responsibility to keep their Pug at the correct body condition score as this can severely impact on health. Correct feeding and exercise are vital to enable your Pug to live a healthy and happy life.

It is important that if you are considering a Pug as an addition to your family that you take the time to look for a breeder who participates in health testing and is also producing Pugs that conform to the Breed Standard.

The Pug Breed Standard is a guideline describing the ideal characteristics, temperament, colour and appearance of the breed. Colour is important as so called “ rare “ colours, not listed in the Breed Standard frequently have health issues that are not common within the breed.

Breed Standard

Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch Section of the Kennel Club Website for details of any such current issues.

If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.

  • General Appearance

Decidedly square and cobby, it is ‘multum in parvo’ shown in compactness of form, well knit proportions and hardness of muscle, but never to appear low on legs, nor lean and leggy.

  • Characteristics

Great charm, dignity and intelligence.

  • Temperament

Even-tempered, happy and lively disposition.

  • Head and Skull

Head relatively large and in proportion to body, round, not apple-headed, with no indentation of skull. Muzzle relatively short, blunt, square, not upfaced. Nose black, fairly large with well open nostrils. Wrinkles on forehead clearly defined without exaggeration. Eyes or nose never adversely affected or obscured by over nose wrinkle. Pinched nostrils and heavy over nose wrinkle is unacceptable and should be heavily penalised.

  • Eyes

Dark, relatively large, round in shape, soft and solicitous in expression, very lustrous, and when excited, full of fire. Never protruding, exaggerated or showing white when looking straight ahead. Free from obvious eye problems.

  • Ears

Thin, small soft like black velvet. Two kinds – ‘Button ear’ – ear flap folding forward, tip lying close to skull to cover opening. ‘Rose ear’ – small drop ear which folds over and back to reveal the burr.

  • Mouth

Slightly undershot. Wide lower jaw with incisors almost in a straight line. Wry mouths, teeth or tongue showing all highly undesirable and should be heavily penalised.

  • Neck

Slightly arched to resemble a crest, strong, thick with enough length to carry head proudly.

  • Forequarters

Legs very strong, straight, of moderate length, and well under body. Shoulders well sloped.

  • Body

Short and cobby, broad in chest. Ribs well sprung and carried well back. Topline level neither roached nor dipping.

  • Hindquarters

Legs very strong, of moderate length, with good turn of stifle, well under body, straight and parallel when viewed from rear.

  • Feet

Neither so long as the foot of the hare, nor so round as that of the cat; well split up toes; the nails black.

  • Tail

High set, tightly curled over hip. Double curl highly desirable.

  • Gait/Movement

Viewed from in front should rise and fall with legs well under shoulder, feet keeping directly to front, not turning in or out. From behind action just as true. Using forelegs strongly putting them well forward with hindlegs moving freely and using stifles well. A slight unexaggerated roll of hindquarters typifies gait. Capable of purposeful and steady movement.

  • Coat

Fine, smooth, soft, short and glossy, neither harsh, off-standing nor woolly. Any stripping or trimming of the coat which alters the length, texture or outline must be penalised.

  • Colour

Silver, apricot, fawn or black. Each clearly defined, to make contrast complete between colour, trace (black line extending from occiput to tail) and mask. Markings clearly defined. Muzzle or mask, ears, moles on cheeks, thumb mark or diamond on forehead and trace as black as possible.

  • Size

Ideal weight 6.3-8.1 kgs (14-18 lbs). Should be hard of muscle but substance must not be confused with overweight.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – the Kennel Club Breed Standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the Size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the Size measurements stated in the Breed Standard.

Copyright of The Kennel Club. Reproduced with their permission.