If you’re in the process of deciding on a low energy dog breed, then look no further! Pugs are a cheerful, jovial and affectionate breed that are lazier by nature and won’t require too much of your time. They’re couch potatoes that are an abundant of joy but energy levels can vary depending on their age. So are they the right breed for you?
Pugs are typically classified as low-medium energy dogs. Adult pugs can sleep up to 14 hours a day and only requires 20-30 minutes of daily exercise. They’re perfect for full-time workers, those with a busier schedule, and for people that have sedentary lifestyles.
As mentioned, while pugs are typically low energy dogs, this will vary depending on where your pooch is at in its life cycle. Like all puppies, they’ll be much more energetic up until the age of two (adulthood) before slowly tapering off. We’ll go into details of what to expect and how to manage this. Additionally, factors like whether you decide to neuter your pug and the lifestyle that they live will influence their level of activeness.
6 Reasons why Pugs are a Lazy Dog Breed
- Breed characteristics:
Pugs are an ancient breed that dates back to 400 B.C. and originated in China. They were initially bred as companion dogs for the wealthy and are were largely considered lapdogs. They have an affectionate and people-pleasing nature that makes them the ultimate companion. And because this is ingrained in their DNA, they have a much more docile nature, especially when compared to higher energy dogs that were bred to hunt, guard, herd and work.
Pugs are most active when they’re a puppy. From around five months old to two years old, this is where their energy levels and curiosity peaks. They’ll command a lot of your attention and will likely want to spend their time playing and investigating new sounds and smells rather than sleeping. It can be a handful but as pugs mature into adulthood, their energy levels will start to taper off and will tend to sleep for up to 14 total hours per day.
Pugs only require about 20-30 minutes of daily exercise. This is a key attribute of a low energy dog, as high energy dogs will generally require over an hour of daily exercise. Due to a pug’s brachycephalic characteristics (flat-faced), it struggles with breathing if overexercised which can even lead to heatstroke. With that said, makes them a great breed for those looking for a less active dog.
The lifestyle of a pug will generally be determined and majorly influenced by its owner. If you have a more sedentary lifestyle then it’ll most likely result in your pug being quite chilled. It doesn’t long for exercise as much as other breeds. Instead, it’ll happily lie on the couch with you as long as it gets cuddles and affection. On the other hand, if you live a more active lifestyle, a pug’s energy will adapt to match yours. Going on more walks and being outside is completely fine, so long as they’re with you. They’re also very sociable dogs and wouldn’t mind mingling with other humans and pets.
An overfed pug with limited exercise usually results in an overweight pug. The extra weight that they carry can put a strain on joints which will often impact their mobility. As you can imagine, this will discourage a pug from being active when their range of movement is so compromised. Seek help from your vet to work out the best diet and exercise plan for your pug to safely drop the weight.
- Neutering or Spaying:
Neutering is the process of surgically removing a male dog’s testicles (orchiectomy), while spaying involves the removal of a female dog’s ovaries and usually the uterus as well. For females, this means they will no longer be able to reproduce and eliminates her heat cycle. (PetMD, 2016). Amongst a range of benefits including the prevention of unnecessary litters and specific diseases, activity levels may be reduced as a result of the operation (Khuly, n.d.). This means a much more relaxed pug for you to be lazy with on the couch.
A Pug’s Energy Levels as a Puppy
Pugs are most active when they’re a puppy and as their curiosity gets triggered, they will want to explore this brand new world that exists. Not only are there new sights, smells and sounds to investigate, they’ll also want to play rather than sleep. Fortunately, there are ways to manage this, especially if you chose to get a pug for their docile nature. Some of these include:
- Regular exercise – the most obvious answer. Daily activities that exert energy will help calm your pug for the rest of the day. This can be achieved through walks, jogs, fetch, and playing tug with your pup. Not only is this good for controlling their hyperactivity and maintaining their weight, but it is also great for their mental stimulation as they’ll likely be exposed to new environments. I recommend 20-30 minutes of exercise per day.
- Dog parks – continuing from the previous point, dog parks are an excellent way for your pug to exercise by playing with other dogs. They’ll most likely play until they physically can’t. Dog parks also allow them to learn how to socialize around other dogs and humans, which will help them develop into a calmer and more well-behaved dog. It is recommended to keep your dog supervised while at the dog park, especially if they’re new to this environment.
- Training and smart toys – keeping your dog mentally stimulated can help curb their high energy levels. Teaching them new tricks is not only great for their obedience, but it will tire them out. Another tip is to use smart toys and different puzzles to keep them occupied, especially if they’re alone.
Frenetic Random Activity Periods AKA “The Zoomies”
The above techniques can also help prevent fewer instances of ‘Frenetic Random Activity Periods’ (FRAPs), or otherwise known as the “Zoomies”. You may notice this when your pup has an episode of craziness for a minute or two. It’s a short but very intense period of hyperactivity, by which you may see your pup sprint a lap around the house, exude excitement through their eyes, and jump at you like they’re going to attack.
Doorbells can trigger it, guests arriving, playful friends and pets, and when they’re about to receive a meal or a favorite treat of theirs. Basically, whatever makes them most happy may trigger this extreme level of excitement. Alternatively, it may also be started if they get out of something they despise, like bathing or getting their nails trimmed. Perhaps it’s a combination of relief and joy after escaping such a discomforting situation for our loveable pets.
There is no cause for concern when this occurs as it’s completely normal, and while common, it’s not exclusive to pugs. The only thing to be mindful of when it happens is the space that it’s in, and I would suggest moving or blocking things that your dog may knock over or slip-on so that it doesn’t hurt itself. The “Zoomies” only lasts a few short moments before they return to their normal behaviors. The best course of action is to remain calm as chasing your dog may be misinterpreted as you playing with them.
Separation anxiety can also trigger a case of the “Zoomies”. As a puppy, being left alone can be scary, so when you arrive home, they may not be able to contain their excitement and go into a frenzy. As previously mentioned, smart toys can keep them occupied if you’re not there to keep them company throughout the day. Getting them used to a daily routine and schedule will also help calm them as they’ll know what to expect and roughly gauge when you’ll be home. The “Zoomies” phenomenon will taper off as they age into adulthood.
Most Suitable Owners for a Pug
Owning a pug definitely requires less energy compared to breeds like Russell Terriers or Border Collies. They make amazing pets for people that want a companion but with less time and space on their hands. If you’re unsure as to whether you would prefer a low or high energy dog, below is a helpful table with differentiating points to help you decide:
|Low Energy Dogs||High Energy Dogs|
|Exercise (required)||20-30 minutes daily.||1 hour or more daily.|
|Living Situation||Ideal for smaller spaces like apartments.||Ideal if you own a larger house.|
|Family||Usually better for families with children.||Ideal for young couples with more available time.|
|Experience||First-time dog owners that lack experience.||Experienced owners with trainability.|
|Temperament||Barks less and can be left alone for more extended periods.||Craves attention and will more likely have separation anxiety.|
If the low energy side of the table looks more appealing then a pug is definitely for you. Some of the most suitable owners include:
- Senior citizens – less energy required.
- Apartment owners – less space required.
- Full-time workers – can be left alone for 8-10 hours.
- Families with children – very friendly dogs that get along with kids.
- Households with pets – sociable and very adaptable with other pets.
- People with a sedentary lifestyle – pugs also have a docile nature.
- Those wanting a companion – pugs have an affectionate, loving and playful temperament.
- First time dog owners – don’t need a lot of experience and are easy to care for.
The Golden Years: How Active Should Pugs Be?
Pugs have an average life expectancy of 12-15 years. As they become seniors, like most breeds, they will spend the majority of their day sleeping. This is due to factors like their metabolism slowing down hence the lower energy levels. It is still essential to keep your pug active during these years to prevent obesity-related diseases and promote healthy joint mobility. Going on slow walks that are at a comfortable pace is recommended.
This is a stark contrast when compared to their days as a puppy. Rather than trying to burn their energy through exercise, we’re now trying to promote it. While they may not be as active as they once were, their loveable and cuddling nature won’t change! Give your dog a big hug and make the most of these years.
Time Spent on Grooming and Maintenance
While pugs won’t take much of your time up on exercise, they are however considered medium-high maintenance dogs, and will require a frequent amount of grooming. Don’t let this be a deterrent to getting a pug as staggering these tasks and breaking it down into a simplified checklist makes it much more manageable. Below is a helpful table that breaks down each specific grooming detail and the suggested frequency in which they’ll need to be performed.
|Brushing the coat||3-7 days|
|Ear flaps||3-7 days|
|Nose care (only if necessary)||1-3 weeks|
|Paw care (only if necessary)||2 weeks|
|Ear canals||6 weeks|
Daily grooming procedures include cleaning the wrinkles or folds, as well as the eye area. While these features define the adorable pug, it is also somewhat of a hindrance. Their folds are prone to skin infections as the area tends to get damp, making it an ideal environment for yeast and bacteria. Keeping the area clean and dry by wiping down their folds once a day can help prevent infections. A pug’s eyes are also susceptible to dust and small debris due to how big they are (often protruding). Because of this, tearing and excessive mucus can build up, which can lead to an array of eye problems. Again, clean your pug’s eyes by wiping away any discharge, and this should be performed once a day.
Pugs are a heavy shedding breed and will need to maintained fairly. regularly. While they have short fur, their coat is quite dense, and shed all year around rather than seasonally. Fawn pugs have a double coat and shed twice as much compared to black (single coat) pugs. Ensuring that their coat is brushed once-to-twice a week will promote a healthier and better smelling pug. This is important because brushing removes dead hairs which creates proper air flow for them to stay cool. This is especially important for pugs and other brachycephalic breeds that are more prone to overheating. Excessive build up of dead fur that’s left in the coat will also cause an unpleasant odor.
Ear care is another vital task. Pugs have ear flaps that fold-over which often traps dirt, moisture, and earwax. This build up can cause infections, so it’s essential to keep their ears clean by wiping the ear flap every 3-7 days, and cleansing the ear canal every 6 weeks. Of course, if your dog is prone to ear infections then increase the frequency of this by cleaning their ears more often. A vet may prescribe an appropriate medication if this happens, so look out for swelling, redness, and excessive earwax that doesn’t smell too great.
Bathing every 3-4 weeks is great for hygiene and smell. It’s also a great way for you to bond with your pug. My routine usually starts with a brush of their coat before washing to remove any dead fur. I’ll then wash my pug with some type of skin-sensitive or hypoallergenic type of shampoo to avoid irritating his skin, eyes and ears. After drying him with a towel, or the occasional blow dry, I’ll give my pug a final round of brushing to remove the excess and loose fur. That’s my personal routine, and while brushing him before and after seems excessive, pugs shed significantly for up to 24 hours after washing. The final brush helps reduce this, which means less cleaning and vacuuming around the house!
Nails should be trimmed every 6-8 weeks but can vary depending on their lifestyle. If you take your pug on daily walks outdoors, their nails will naturally file down on hard surfaces such as concrete and gravel. If this is the case, you’ll just need to take care of the two extra nails that’s situated on the upper and inner part of the dog’s front legs, otherwise known as the dewclaws. Nail clippers and grinders can be used to maintain nails. Leaving them too long will cause the pug discomfort, and if not addressed, can lead to more serious issues like skeletal damage. If ever cut too short, you can apply a septic powder to help stop the bleeding.
Lastly, nose and paw care are only necessary if they get overly dry and become an issue. It will usually be dependent on weather conditions as well. For example, High temperatures can cause damage to a pug’s paws when walking outdoors. Dryness can lead to cracking of the paw, which can be very painful for dogs. Paw wax can be applied every 2 weeks to help treat any damages. Meanwhile, low temperatures can lead to a dry and sensitive nose. Their nose skin can eventually peel or crack if left untreated. Once noticed, immediately apply nose balm up to three times a day for several weeks, or until it’s fully recovered.
Are pugs active? Pugs are a low-medium energy breed. They typically sleep 14 hours a day and are considered lap dogs, but it is recommended that they have at least 20-30 minutes of daily exercise.
Are pugs good house dogs? Due to the pug’s sedentary nature, pugs don’t require too much space. So whether you live in a small apartment or a large house, they will make great pets either way.
What are the most active dog breeds? Belgian Malinois, Dalmatians, Russell Terriers, Siberian Husky, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, English Springer Spaniels, Miniature Pinschers.
What are the laziest dog breeds? English Bulldog, Saint Bernard, Basset Hound, French Bulldog, Pekingese, Bernese Mountain Dog, Chow Chow, Tibetan Mastiff, Havanese, Great Dane, Greyhounds.
Khuly, D. P. (n.d.). What to Expect After Neutering or Spaying Your Dog. Retrieved from Embrace Pet Insurance: https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/waterbowl/article/what-to-expect-after-neutering-or-spaying-your-dog