Sometimes when I’m out walking Pablo, people will stop me. They’re thinking of getting a pug and want to know if they make good pets. The top two concerns are their breathing and are they good with children. I’m always happy to be an ambassador for pugs, and I tell them that breathing isn’t usually a problem except in very hot weather and that pugs have a good reputation as family dogs. However, I notice that people don’t wonder if they would make good pug owners.
Here, then, are four questions to consider before investing in a pug.
1. Are you willing to put your pug’s comfort above your own?
Would you carry a pug through drifts of snow so that his delicate paws didn’t freeze? Go to three different pet stores to find his favorite brand of dog food? Put off using the toilet so that the pug snoozing on your lap wasn’t disturbed? If you blanch at any of the above, then perhaps a pug isn’t in the cards for you. (I admit to doing all three, and more than once.)
2. Is your wardrobe and furnishings in colors other than black?
The pug sheds. People are often surprised to hear this, perhaps because pugs have short coats. But shed they do. Year round. When you take in a pug, you also inherit pounds upon pounds of fur that will need to be swept from floors and teased from rugs, upholstery, and fabrics. Forget about wearing wool–ever. Of course, if you choose a black pug, wearing dark clothes is less of a problem. But then light-colored frocks are out of the question.
3. Is snoring music to your ears?
If your nasal passageways were as short as a pug’s, you would too. Pablo’s snoring has never bothered me. In fact, I get a kick out of listening to his gentle and not-so-gentle snores. However, slurping is another matter. I don’t know why he does it, but he makes weird slurping sounds when he grooms himself. Yep, pugs are a bit cat-like that way.
4. Do you want a dog that will sit on your lap, not climb mountains?
This one sounds self-evident. After all, pugs were bred to be companion animals. But you would be surprised to learn how many people forget that. I once spoke with a woman who wanted a second dog and was considering a pug. It seemed she enjoyed hiking with her current dog and wanted to know if pugs made good hikers. Pugs??? The only place a pug will willingly hike is to his dinner bowl, and it had better be filled when he gets there. This is not to say that pugs don’t like to run and frolic. They do. But long walks up hill and dale are not for short-legged creatures with smushed-in snouts. Get yourself another dog, I advised the woman.
If you answered yes to all four questions, congratulations! Go to an established breeder or rescue group (but not a pet shop, please) and pick out your new best friend.