Dog Breeds Dog Training

Are Pugs Good With Kids? – The Parent’s Guide to Raising Pugs

A child with her Pug.
Written by Richard Jeng

Dogs can be a child’s best friends. As such, plenty of parents are opting for the Chinese Pug as their dog of choice for the family. But before bringing an animal into the home, there are things to consider for a household with children.

So, are Pugs good with kids? The silly and playful Pugs make excellent dogs for kids of all ages. They’re also quiet dogs that mesh well with babies in the home. And according to the ATTS, the Pug has a 91.7% pass rate on their temperament test. In other words, Pugs won’t likely snap at kids or other unpredictable variables.

Millions of families around the world have made the Pug their own. And while they may seem like the perfect dog breed for your children, there are some pitfalls to raising these dogs with kids. Read on to learn more about Pugs and kids.

RECOMMENDED: 50 Best Kid-Friendly Dogs

The Pug’s Temperament

The Chinese Pug has one of the best temperaments in the canine kingdom. They were first bred to be royal lap dogs by the Chinese elite, and that’s what they still do best today. There’s nothing they love more than to warm up laps.

When determining the kid-friendliness of a dog breed, temperament may be one of the most crucial factors to look at. Children can be rowdy, rough and often times, unpredictable. As such, kids don’t usually mesh well with nervous or anxious dogs.

Pugs are calm, care-free, outgoing and stable dogs – all the qualities best suited for children. In fact, we have data to back this up. According to the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS), Pugs have an impressive temperament pass rate of 91.7%.

Pugs scored much better than the average pass rate among all dog breeds – 83.4%. And for reference, America’s favorite family dog, the Golden Retriever, scored just 85.6%! This just shows how hard it is to get a Pug to react using aggression.

Measuring Pug Temperament

The ATTS is a non-profit organization that’s evaluated the temperaments of tens of thousands of dogs since 1977. Though they don’t actively seek out dogs, they measure the disposition of dogs from curious new owners.

The process of measuring dog temperament is rather simple. The Pugs are put on a 6-ft loose leash and walked through an enclosure with external stimulants. There will be 3 highly trained judges reviewing and evaluating the Pug throughout.

According to the ATTS, if the Pug shows any signs of panic, anxiety, aggression or aloofness with little to no recovery, they fail. With three judges, the majority rule. In other words, the Pug needs at least 2 judges to pass them.

We’ll admit, the data is small – it’s the reason why we omitted them from our list of 50 best kid-friendly dogs. There’s only been 48 Pugs tested since inception. However, it’s likely that Pugs aren’t tested because they’re already known to be stable and calm.

Pug Temperament for Kids

Pugs are arguably the clowns of the canine world. That is, they love to have fun but enjoy being great entertainers even more. They’re some of the most charming dogs you can find, and to kids, they’re irresistible friends and playmates.

Unlike the Siberian Huskies or Aussies, Pugs are laid back and relaxed dogs. Sure, they need their fair share of daily exercise, but they’re not hyperactive at all. This quality makes the Pug a great low-maintenance option for children of all ages.

My pugs are the most ridiculously social pugs ever! Yoda is playful, especially with kids and dogs. Leia loves to go up to every person in the room and get tickles.

– Shazz (Pug Village)

With a Pug, you’re likely to get a playful and sometimes mischievous little dog. At other times, they can go on their stubborn streaks too. Even so, their affection, inherent good nature and an eagerness to please, more than makes up for this.

And despite popular belief, Pugs are intelligent. They may not be the fastest learners or even the most obedient dogs, but they’re adaptively smart. Pugs are great at learning from others and from previous experiences, which is essential for any lap dog.

Why Pugs Are Good With Kids

Many consider Pugs and kids to be a “match made in heaven.” And with the qualities that these dogs bring to the table, it’s easy to see why. Read on to learn the top reasons why Pugs are the perfect companions for your children.

Loyal velcro dogs

Pugs are without question, loyal dogs. And according to Animal Roll, Pugs are considered one of the 20 most loyal dog breeds. Largely thanks to their affectionate and sociable nature, Pugs tend to stick by their family, including the kids.

If you don’t want your dog to constantly stick by your children and offer warmth and fun, don’t get a Pug. That’s exactly what they’ll do, and why they’re frequently referred to as velcro dogs when placed in a loving home environment.

I love how pugs tend to be “velcro dogs.” Wherever I went, my Pugly always followed me and was right at my feet.

– Mcdonsco (Dog Forums)

This loyal quality in the dog makes them ideal for children. As kids tend to get bored, so does a Pug. They’ll likely stick together and keep each other entertained for much of the day. They’ll not only help nurture the relationship, but provide top companionship.

But don’t mistaken their goofiness for weakness. There have been many stories of heroic Pugs saving the day. If they sense a perceived threat, you can be sure they’ll go check things out. Or at the very least, they’ll let you know!

Pugs are quiet

One of the best kid-friendly qualities of the Pug is their quietness. All dogs are different and will have their own tendencies and quirks. However, most owners will tell you that Pugs don’t bark much, at least compared to other breeds.

It’s not that they’re incapable of barking, such as with the Basenji. Rather, they choose wisely when to bark. For example, when strangers are approaching the home, you’ll likely hear these dogs producing a loud and deep bark.

But it’s because of their silence that makes them great for smaller children and babies. As a parent, we know that loud barking and infants don’t go well together. An excessive barker can easily startle young kids and send them into tears.

Fortunately, you probably won’t have this problem with Pugs. Plus, their quietness can be easily enforced with some basic training. Other breeds may have a more difficult time staying quiet, despite extensive training and reinforcement.

Comical and silly dogs

Pugs tend to be clownish and silly dogs. Some go as far as calling them the greatest canine entertainers in the world. But to most, Pugs are simply fun-loving dogs that strive to make you and your children laugh with joy.

Don’t take my word for it. The proof is in the name. Prior to the 1700s, the Pugs were actually called mopshounds. But according to Wag Walking, the term “pug” was used to describe the marmosets, which were called “pug monkeys.”

As far as why one would have a pug – first off, lots of funny faces and the best personality for a dog breed.

– Kitty71 (City Data)

The sudden jump in name is believed to be because of two reasons. Not only did they share similar facial features, but Pugs were known to be playful like the monkeys. In other words, Pugs got their names for “monkeying around.”

This fun-loving personality meshes seamlessly with children. And in a way, Pugs and kids are very much alike. They both love to be entertained (and entertain others), but also enjoy playing whenever they get the chance. It’s why the two are destined to be friends.

Small and sturdy dogs

For a small dog breed, Pugs are compact yet durable. That is, they’re small enough to pose very little danger to small children, but durable enough to tolerate some of the kids’ rough play. Though, that’s not to say kids shouldn’t play nice.

No matter how sweet and kind a dog may be, big and energetic dogs can put your child at risk during all interactions. They may unintentionally knock over a kid, or swipe them in the face with their tail. Pugs, however, are the opposite.

Weighing just 14 to 18 pounds, Pugs are undeniably toy companion dogs. And depending on the gender, they’ll stand no more than 13 inches at the shoulder. They don’t look scary, and they actually aren’t. As such, Pugs are the perfect size for kids.

Dangers of Pugs with Kids

The average price of a Pug can vary depending on many factors. But expect to pay between $500 and $1200 USD.

While it’s true that Pugs are amazing companions for kids, there are still potential pitfalls and things to consider when raising the two together. There is no “perfect” dog that requires no supervision. Read on to learn more about potential dangers.

Playing too hard with kids

The unique facial features of the Pug, specifically the flat face and short snout, classify them as brachycephalic dogs. Not only is it responsible for all the funny noises that they make, but can also lead to difficulty in breathing.

Don’t worry – the symptoms of airway obstruction are mild most of the time. They’ll include the occasional snorting, snoring and even loud breathing. But things can become dangerous when the Pugs play too hard with the children.

We know kids love to play hard. We also know kids have tons of energy. And although the Pug may try his best to keep up, there is a point of going too far. Difficulty in breathing is most seen when Pugs are exercising, including playing with kids.

This problem can also arise when they’re excited, stressed or exercising in hot weather. It’s also the reason why Pugs are not suited for swimming. That said, both parents and kids should learn to monitor the limits of their dog to prevent any mishaps.

According to Borrow My Doggy, the Pug needs roughly 40 minutes of exercise each day. Going over, especially in hot weather, can pose a risk to your dog. As such, make sure both the kids and dogs take regular breaks during play time.

Durable, but not indestructible

Pugs are built with some heft and size. And while they were once referred to as Dutch Mastiffs, they are nowhere as durable as a true mastiff dog breed. Just because they can handle some roughness from kids doesn’t make them indestructible.

With sustained rough play, Pugs can certainly injure themselves. And according to the PDSA, a Pug is susceptible to many potential health issues, such as joint disorders. These issues can include hip and elbow dysplasia – often worsened with rough play.

It’s impossible for Pugs, or all dogs, to tell you something is wrong. Given the playful nature of the dog, they’re likely going to power through it. And if this happens, it’s possible for the Pug to develop arthritis, which can be painful later on in life.

This is even more reason to watch out for any signs of limping or lethargy in your Pug. Also, by keeping track of active play time, you may significantly help in reducing this health issue in the future. Know your Pugs limits when they’re playing with kids!

Training Pugs For Kids

The Pug is the most surprising Chinese dog breed that no one knew was from China.

As with most dogs, training is important for maintaining a great relationship between the kid and dog. For Pugs, we recommend socializing and basic obedience training. You’ll also want to establish ground rules for the kids.

Setting up rules for kids

The first thing you’ll want to do is set up ground rules for interacting with the Pug. Depending on your kids, the rules may differ. Nonetheless, rules are important, especially in the beginning. This will minimize potential mishaps between the two.

Like we mentioned, Pugs are durable enough to play with children. However, they’re still small dogs that require some form of “protection” from the chaos that comes with kids. Here are some rules that you may want to consider:

  • Don’t play with the Pug without asking first.
  • Never pull on the Pug’s wrinkled skin, tail or ears. This act can be very hurtful for the dog.
  • Do not try to ride on the Pug’s back. This can injure their joints, especially in puppyhood.
  • Don’t make loud noises at or around the Pug. Yelling or banging can scare the dog.
  • Never run at the dog. Instead, approach the dog slowly from the front.
  • Don’t bother the Pug when he or she is eating a meal or treat. Give them plenty of space.
  • Do not squeeze or hug the Pug, as it could make breathing difficult.
  • Try not to run too much with the Pug.

For the protection of the Pug, rules are necessary for kids. And if your children are too young to understand these rules, then they probably should not be playing with the dog. Though Pugs are not known to snap back, they could with rough handling.

And for a better learning experience, we suggest you show your kids how to interact with the Pug using these rules. After all, kids are some of the best visual learners – just like with the dog!

Obedience training with Pugs

Obedience is crucial with all dogs – Pugs are no exception. The good news is that Pugs tend to respond well to positive reinforcement when it comes to obedience training. They may not be the fastest learners, but they’ll do their best for their owners.

This type of training is important for two reasons. First, it gives you better control of the dog in situations where things are getting out of hand. If the Pug is constantly jumping on the kid, you’ll be able to communicate and tell him to stop.

In addition, going through obedience training with your Pug establishes trust. They’ll learn to respect you (and ultimately the kids) and further develop a healthy human and dog relationship. Plus, it’s the perfect time to establish “pack dominance.”

It’s all about repetition and treats…and positive reinforcement! We don’t use our treats when showing in performance, but we do use them for practice!

– Shaynapug (Pug Village)

To start, we recommend going through at least the basic 5 commands: down, sit, come, drop it and heel. Though we generally recommend teaching dogs how to “be quiet” and “speak,” this may not be necessary for the silent Pugs.

If you want to learn the specifics of teaching these basic commands step-by-step, we suggest you check out this training guide by Figo Pet Insurance. The earlier you start with your Pug, the easier the process will be – so don’t procrastinate!

Socializing a Pug

The good news is that Pugs are naturally sociable and outgoing dogs. However, this does not mean they don’t need proper socialization training. Socializing is important because it teaches a dog how to properly interact with society.

To socialize a Pug for children, they need to meet as many of them as possible. In fact, it’s best for them to interact with kids of all ages and sizes. If they only interact with your children, the dog may end up becoming over-protective and possibly possessive.

Socialization isn’t just good for teaching them how to interact with kids. It’s when the Pug learns how to live life without any fear and stress. This will also help them differentiate between the “good” and “bad” people of the world.

There are plenty of ways to socialize your Pug. Here are just a few suggestions to do so:

  • Dog park (with kids and adults)
  • Invite your children’s friends over to play
  • Hiking on the weekends
  • Day trip to the beach
  • School gates to pick up your children
  • The supermarket and shopping center

You’ll want to start early, though. According to the Animal Humane Society, the golden window for socializing is between weeks 3 and 20 of the Pug’s life. During this time, they’re fearless and brave, giving them an opportunity to explore with little anxiety.


Pugs are excellent companions for kids because they’re loyal, quiet, fun-loving but also sturdy enough to handle rough child’s play.

However, their short snouts and small body can be a concern with rowdier kids. Let us know, does your Pug get along with your kids?

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

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