Are Pugs Yappy? Here’s Why They Are Misconceived To Be!

Ever heard of the phrase “the bark is louder than the bite”? Well, this idiom is believed to have originated from smaller sized dogs that oftentimes bark, but won’t follow up with any action. It is a trait of small dog syndrome that many toy breeds exhibit. But, does that apply to the pug?

Are pugs yappy? Not ordinarily. Pugs are known to be gentle, calm, and docile. They don’t bark very much; however, canine behavioral problems can trigger excessive barking in any dog. Also, smaller dogs have naturally higher pitched barks, which can give pugs a bad rap when they do actually bark.

It’s important to note that all dogs bark, regardless of the breed. It’s how canines communicate, and when improperly cared for, they will be vocal about it. Yappy barking can develop as a result of this. Owners need to recognize the causes in order to prevent their pug from developing a constant yappy bark.

The Temperament Of A Pug

The pug is a breed that is known to be very loyal and affectionate. They want nothing more than to spend time with their owners, hence making them great companion dogs. Their calm demeanour means that they are fairly quiet, so excessive barking isn’t much of an issue.

However, that only rings true when they are content with their lifestyle and cared for appropriately by their owners. Being a companion breed means that they are naturally more dependent and clingy. They demand affection and time from their loved ones, as feelings of neglect will be vocalized in the form of barking as a way to capture your attention.

Worse yet, it can lead to them developing behavioral issues such as separation anxiety. They are prone to this when constantly bored, unstimulated, and left feeling isolated. Therefore, it’s crucial for pugs owners to dedicate time to their pug on a daily basis. Otherwise, you may have a pug that becomes yappy and intolerant.

Why Are Small Dogs Yappy?

Dogs come in all types of shapes and sizes. Toy dogs are a term often used to refer to smaller breeds of dog, such as the pug. Generally, the bigger the dog, the lower pitch their bark is. The reason why this is the case is due to the length of the vocal tract being relative to the size of the dog, thus naturally giving smaller dogs a higher pitched bark.

While pugs are on the quieter side, it doesn’t mean they don’t bark at all. Barking is a way for canines to communicate their intentions, feelings, and needs. This might mean excitement, fear, boredom, and a warning to threats. So when a pug does bark, it is generally high pitched due to the make up of their anatomy.

This can give people the misconception that they are in fact yappy dogs. A sharp and shrill “woof” can get annoying, especially when it is so high pitched and repetitive. If there is a reason to bark, then they will of course get yappy! Thankfully, they are friendly and sociable dogs that would rather play than to fight.

Pugs don’t show the same small dog syndrome tendencies when compared to other toy dogs. Breeds that are known to be yappy include the Jack Russell terrier, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Shiba, Beagle, Boston terrier, and the Lhasa Apso. One key difference is that these breeds are often feistier, thus making them better watch dogs as a result.

What Triggers A Pug To Bark?

While we can conclude that pugs aren’t yappy dogs, there are several reasons that can trigger them to yap away. It may or may not be excessive, but below are some factors to consider.

Communicating an Intent

Obviously, dogs can’t talk to express their intentions like humans can. Instead, they may bark in different tones and pitches in an attempt to signal something to you or somebody else. For instance, if your dog follows a regimented routine everyday, they may bark out of frustration when you’re late to feed them, go on a walk, or forget entirely. This can serve as a useful reminder for their owners that it’s that time of the day.

Excitement is another reason for a pug to bark. It may or may not be considered yappy, but it’s their way of telling you how extremely happy they are feeling. This might be a common occurrence in your household, particularly when a family member arrives home after a long day of work. Your pug’s expression should definitely bring a smile to your face!

Barking can also be a learned behavior, and sometimes unknowingly. There are situations where a pug might bark when they want something. For example, dinner time for the family can mean an opportunity for your dog to get fed additional treats. When reciprocated, it will regrettably reaffirm that barking excessively can give them what they want. Sad to say, this will lead to a much yappier pug.

Perceived Danger

Being such loyal companion dogs, it’s no surprise that pugs can get very protective over their loved ones. When someone or something is perceived as a threat, a pug won’t hesitate to bark aggressively. They will likely lose control, so it won’t be surprising for them to get extremely yappy. All of which stem from good intentions.


When a pug is introduced to something unfamiliar, barking is usually followed as an appropriate response. They may simply be curious and may be trying to decipher whatever is in front of them. For instance, my pug will bark at moving shadows. We think it’s because he’s unsure whether it’s dangerous, a friend, or a being that simply won’t play with him.

Sounds odd right? Well, not being able to figure it out can be frustrating, so it’s not uncommon for it to trigger his yappy bark while we’re out under the sun. This extends to things like insects that he encounters in the garden. It might be cute to witness, but the sounds of his high pitched bark can get overbearing at times.

Boredom & Neglect

Pugs might be happiest when lazing around on the couch next to their owners, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be stimulated. Whether it’s the lack of physical or mental stimulation, not doing anything all day can lead to boredom. Eventually, it can lead to them barking as a way to get your attention to play and interact with them on a deeper level.

When combined with neglect, it’s a recipe for disaster. By constantly leaving them alone at home, it can similarly trigger them to bark excessively out of frustration. While we all live busy lives, it’s the owner’s responsibility to take extra time out of their day to spend time with their dog prior to leaving for work. Sometimes, you may need to be late to social events to ensure that your pug has gone for their daily walk.

Developing Separation Anxiety

In severe cases, excessive boredom and neglect can cause them to develop separation anxiety. This is a behavioral problem that will cause them to become extra clingy, compete for your attention with others, and yap away while alone. These destructive behaviors are the byproduct of the condition.

There are many signs that can help you identify whether you pug has separation anxiety, but excessive barking is one of them. Those who misconceive pugs as yappy dogs have likely encountered one with the disorder. It tends to be more prominent in dogs that have experienced trauma, like those that have been rescued from a shelter, or those that have struggled with neglect.

Drastic changes in a pug’s life can cause a lot of confusion and stress. A sudden shift in lifestyle can have much more impact on a dog than it would a human. As mentioned, it’s vital that owners continue to take the time out of their day to ensure that their pug isn’t feeling abandoned in any way. This can be achieved through:

  • Exercise – physical activity can help burn off any pent up energy that a pug may have. It will keep a dog calm and control any destructive behaviors that is attributed to separation anxiety. Approximately 30 minutes of daily exercise is all that’s needed for a pug, and it can be achieved through walking, jogging, playing fetch, etc.
  • Mental stimulation – to ensure a pug isn’t feeling bored, it’s good to change things up by exposing them to new sights, smells, and sounds. Obedient training and puzzles are another great way to keep a pug entertained.
  • Quality attention – sometimes, a walk isn’t enough to satisfy an anxious pug. You may need to spend extra time throughout your day to make your dog feel loved. Being affectionate and praising your dog will help reciprocate their own feelings for you. Give your pug the attention that they need to not have feelings of neglect.

Related Questions

Do Pugs bark a lot? No, pugs are fairly quiet dogs and don’t bark very much compared to other breeds. This makes them great pets to own if you live in close proximity to your neighbours. However, that’s not to say they don’t bark at all!

Are pugs loud? Pugs are a flat faced (brachycephalic) breed that make them prone to snoring. In that respect, they can be a little loud when asleep. Also, their bark is fairly high pitched when triggered to do so.

How long can pugs be left alone? Adult pugs can be left alone for about 6 hours without too many problems. However, we recommend taking the pug for a walk prior to leaving to prevent excess energy to bottle up, as this can lead to destructive behaviors.


ASPCA, n.d. Separation Anxiety.

Gibeault, S., 2021. Dog Separation Anxiety: Causes, Prevention, and How to Stop.

Scott, K., 2019. Signs your dog has anxiety and how to treat it.

The Humane Society Of The United States, n.d. Does your dog freak out when you leave?

Fitch, T. & Riede, T., 1999. Vocal tract length and acoustics of vocalization in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris).

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