Are Pugs Good with Young Children? The Ultimate Parent’s Guide

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If you are thinking about getting a pug and it will be around children a lot, it is essential to do your due diligence and research a lot about them. Before I got my first pug, I was concerned that they wouldn’t make great family dogs and do well around children, but I was soon corrected. 

Pugs are amazing family dogs and are great around young children. They are very easy going, gentle, playful, and fun to be around. Pugs are perfect for kids because they are not too big, their temperament is mild, and they’re sturdy and can handle the sometimes rough playfulness of children.

As a longtime pug owner, I have been around many different pugs and seen how they interact with children. Below I will walk you through all of my research, observations, tips, and advice regarding pugs and young kids. So buckle yourself in, and let’s just get right into it.

Pug Traits that Make Them Great for Children

Overall, pugs are adorable and well-tempered dogs that do well with children. They have so many great traits that make them perfect for kids, which overshadows almost any downsides or negatives they might bring. 

But we’ll get into that in a little while, for now, let’s focus on why pugs are so great around children. And trust me, there are a lot of great things to say about them.

There are so many great traits, both temperamental and physical, that pugs have that makes them the perfect family and kid-friendly pet. They are:

  • Super easy going and chill
  • Gentle and very sweet
  • Very sturdy but not too strong to be a danger to children
  • Very playful and sometimes even goofy
  • Wide awake during the day, but at night they sleep hard

These are great things to have in a dog that is around children a lot. Below, I will discuss these traits and exactly how and why they are so nice to have in your furry little companion.

Pugs are Very Easy Going

Having a relaxed dog is an absolute must when it comes to small dogs that are going to be spending a lot of time around kids. Some breeds get fed up easily and could become aggressive at times when they are annoyed, but with pugs, this rarely happens. The vast majority of the time, pugs just kind of go with the flow.

They sort of adapt to what you are doing or feeling on a particular day. If the mood around the house is sleepy and tired, pugs will just chill out on the couch. But if there is a lot of energy going on and kids are bouncing around the house, they are delighted to jump alongside them.

It’s the distinctive sort of easy-going temperament that you want in a family dog. I’m not talking about severe mood swings that will lead a dog to be asleep one second and be tearing the house apart the next second. Pugs are just really chilled out dogs that are masters of matching the house’s energy and just going along with the flow of things.

They are also very good at staying calm even when smaller children are freaking out or being sort of hyper. Overall, they are just super relaxed dogs and will go along with whatever is happening without much complaining or pushback.

Pugs are Generally Super Gentle

The VAST majority of pugs are very gentle and sweet. They are not prone to nipping or biting, and they will not lose their temper on small children that tend to like to pull on their ears and annoy them a bit.

They are overall just pretty good-natured and gentle dogs that just want to people to pet them often. This is great, especially if there are going to be children around the pug a lot. The consensus is that pugs are very chill and gentle dogs.

However, I do have to caution you: there are exceptions to this general rule about pugs being gentle dogs. Like all dog breeds, there are those occasional sour apples who are just a bit grouchy and won’t be afraid to let you know when they feel annoyed.

But if you raise a pug puppy around children or you get an adult pug that is calm and gentle, there should be no problem with your pug hurting your children. Most of the more aggressive pugs come from abusive backgrounds or were not raised around children. Make sure to get your pug from a responsible breeder, shelter, or another source.

Pugs are Sturdy, but Not Too Strong

If a child is going to be around a dog, it is important to make sure that the dog isn’t too large. Larger dogs have the increased potential to accidentally step on or hurt a child just because of their sheer weight.

Pugs are just the right size in many cases because they are on the smaller side of things, but they are also not very delicate. In all honesty, pugs are built like tanks. This doesn’t mean they can take a lot of rough handling, but they are not like some smaller dogs, which are pretty fragile and could get hurt easily by a fun-loving child.

Pugs are essentially the perfect combination of size and sturdiness in a dog that is going to be around kids a lot. As long as the children have some decent respect for the pug and are gentle, there is very little chance of them hurting it or it hurting them by accident.

Pugs are Playful and Love to Have Fun

Who doesn’t love a dog that is fun to be around and playful? Ask almost any person on this planet, and they will agree that it is better to have a dog that is down to have fun and playful sometimes, than a super boring and stoic puppy.

Well, you’re in luck because pugs definitely have a very goofy and playful streak in them. As I mentioned earlier, they are also very easy going, which means they rarely take their playfulness overboard.

They are very good at just going along with whatever is happening, and if the situation allows it, they will definitely show you their playful and fun side. This could range from rolling around in circles on the floor, to playfully throwing a toy around with themselves, to almost any other playful thing you could imagine a cute little pug doing.

Obviously, some pugs have a more prominent playful streak than others, but this is a pretty general characteristic that I see in the vast majority of pugs. Children will absolutely love a dog that is willing to romp around with them and be playful and cute. Trust me; it is much better than a different breed who just likes to chew on toys and sit around all day.

Pugs LOVE Sleeping

This might seem a little counterintuitive if you read my last point about pugs being very playful and loving to have fun. Well, to put it simply, pugs like to play hard and sleep hard as well.

While the vast majority of pugs will be willing to run around and have a lot of fun, when the fun comes to an end, they will hit the hay like a sack of rocks. Whenever they get the chance, a nap will be taken advantage of without second thought.

Pugs are also amazing around children because, when it rolls around to nap time or at night, pugs will be very calm and sleepy and can help children fall asleep and lose some of their youthful energy to rest. Many pugs really love to sleep and can do so throughout the night without waking anyone up to take them outside or play with them like a few other breeds are known to do.

The same dedication that pugs seem to put toward having a lot of fun and getting affection from the people around them seems to be applied to sleeping well. Whether it is in the backseat of a car, the couch, their doggy bed, or your bed, pugs are down to take a nap any chance they get so they are rejuvenated and ready to play some more.

Reasons Why Pugs Might Not Be the Best Fit for Children

Pugs tend to display a plethora of traits that make them almost perfect for children and to spend a lot of time around young kids, but like most things, there are some potential downsides. No single breed of dog will have all of the qualities that you want, but pugs can come pretty close in my opinion.

The potential problems that they might have with being around kids are actually quite minimal if you think about it. Their great attributes and qualities seem to outshine all of the less desirable things about them.

But, I’m going to quit rambling about how great they are and how their less desirable traits really aren’t that bad, and I’ll let you decide for yourself. So buckle up and get ready, because below, I will go into a bunch of detail regarding the potential pitfalls that pugs have that could cause an issue with children.

Pugs Often Get Tired Easily

Pugs getting tired quickly sort of goes along with the fact that pugs like to play hard and sleep hard as well. This is less of an undesirable trait, and more like a little warning/notice just in case this could cause a potential issue with kids.

Some children never seem to be able to stay still, and if this is the case, it could cause a problem. Pugs get tired very easily, and when they do, it is time for non-negotiable nap time. 

While this applies to playing and having fun with your pug, it also applies to walks with your pug. Pugs, especially if it is hot outside, can only take a bit of exercise before they need air conditioning and a cold bowl of water.

This is due to their smooshed-in face and nose, which causes them to have a hard time breathing if they are exhausted or tired. So just keep this in mind when deciding if a pug is the right breed of dog for you.

Honestly, this should be a big deal, just don’t expect your pug to go on long jogs or walk with you. Or if you do, make sure to bring a lot of water and take a lot of rest breaks along the way. And make sure you let the kids who will be interacting with the pug often know that they can only play with the pug for a little while before needing to take a break to let their little dog friend cool down and rest.

Most Pugs are Slow to House Train

Teaching your pug to not go to the bathroom in the house might take some time and a lot of patience. While pugs are generally pretty smart and neat, their inability to figure out this simple rule still astonishes me.

Some pugs pick it up fast, but in my experience, it takes a bit of time and a lot of persistence to get them to do it. But it can be done, let me just make that crystal clear.

Dogs that have a hard time with house-training are sometimes not the best fit to be around children. When kids are involved, there is a bit more general confusion around a household, and that could work against you when you are trying to instill a routine and habit into your pug. Not to mention, really young kids can make a mess if the pug has an accident.

This is not a huge dealbreaker, because you really can house train your pug, just know that it might take some patience, persistence, and time. 

Pugs Shed Quite a Bit

A lot of parents with younger kids are looking for a dog that is as low maintenance as possible. Because, believe me, kids can be a handful by themselves, and another adding a needy dog to the mix could create some utter chaos.

While pugs are generally pretty low maintenance, they do seem to shed quite a bit. Their hair is short and sort of course, and trust me, it can get everywhere if you don’t keep up with cleaning it up. This is also a major thing to think about if you, or the kids who are going to be near the pug often, are allergic to dog hair. 

Typically, pugs with lighter coats (usually fawn pugs) shed a lot more than their darker coated companions. The reason for this is that lighter coated pugs have a double coat of fur, while darker pugs tend to have only a single layer.

Pugs also shed almost year-round. Some dog breeds only shed seasonally, but for pugs, this is just not the case most of the time. I’m not saying this to try to discourage you from getting a pug because of all the hair; I’m just trying to let you know what you should expect if you decide to get a pug.

Cleaning up some hair every once and a while is a small price to pay for such a cute and loving companion. As long as you keep up with the cleaning, it really isn’t that bad and well worth it for the company of a pug!

Pugs Don’t Like Being Alone, Ever.

I should just tell you now: almost all pugs have separation anxiety. Yep, you heard me right. They really don’t like being alone, and when you leave, they will often throw a fit.

This could be an issue if you have kids who have to go to school every day or if you leave for work every day. I might be over-dramatizing it a little, I mean, what exactly can a pint-sized pug actually do, but they still don’t like being alone.

It’s probably a good idea to invest in a sturdy crate for when you are away from the house and unable to take your pug with you. Make sure the crate is a good size for the pug to rest comfortably in, but not too big so as to discourage them from using the restroom in their crate while you are gone.

Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, a pug’s dislike for being alone is pretty small of a problem. Most pugs will eventually learn that you will return shortly and will mellow down a little when you leave the house. However, some never quite get over it, and it is a constant struggle to get out the front door without them squeezing by and hopping in the car with you.

Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, this attribute of pugs is actually kind of adorable!

What Do Pugs Have to Offer to Children?

This is an interesting question because many people see dogs as standard pets to have in a household, but don’t really think about the positive benefits they can have on children. And let me tell you, while pets can sometimes seem like a burden, they have a lot to offer children and other people in a household.

Growing up, I had many dogs and other pets throughout the years, and I can definitely tell you that they had many benefits to my development as a member of society and person. 

Organizations such as the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry have studied and found that there are clear benefits and reasons why children should have a pet when they are growing up. There are almost innumerable benefits, but below I will go over some of the major ones and the ones that most impacted me growing up.

Although, it should be noted that pets should never be the sole responsibility of a child and should always be watched over by a parent or guardian.

Pugs Can Provide a Child a Sense of Responsibility

With almost any type of pet, pugs included, having one around can provide a child with a good sense of responsibility. Having another living thing that relies on a child to receive food, water, and love is a compelling thing.

Obviously, it is the responsibility of a parent or guardian to make sure the pug gets enough nourishment and stays healthy, but you get my point.

When you tell a child that they are responsible for feeding a pug, most will take their responsibility very seriously. It will also help them develop as a person and provide a sense of responsibility.

Some children never gain a respect for responsibility, and it often shows when they grow up. You know who I’m talking about, those who just expect everything to be given to them without having to lift so much as a finger to get it. Yep, those people.

While taking care of a pet won’t solve all behavioral problems and stop a child from becoming irresponsible, it definitely can help in the development of a kid and will teach them some very valuable lessons.

Children Can Find Their Best Friend in a Pug

Pugs are great listeners, and they will often sit there for a long time and just look at you with longing eyes as you divulge your life’s woes. They even have this cute head tilt that they often do when you talk to them. Make sure to check out my article where I go into why pugs do this!

I know when I was a kid, I had trouble talking to people, so having a dog around that I could talk to was amazing. Many children also run into this issue, so a pug can really become a great best friend.

Pugs are completely happy to run around and have fun, as well as sit down and take an hour nap. This makes them ideal friends for children because depending on the kid’s mood, a pug is able to romp around or sleep and chill out for a little while.

Overall, having a pug around is great because whenever a child is bored, they can simply play or talk to the pug. It’s not just random advice when someone says that dogs are man’s best friend. Well, in this case, I guess it would be dogs are children’s best friend. Or, even more specifically, pugs are children’s best friend!

Pugs Can Improve the Quality of Life of a Kid

This is more of a general advantage that pugs bring to children, but they can really improve the overall quality of life. The quality of life that was just talking about often comes in many different ways and sizes, sometimes when you least expect it.

One of the major ones is getting children to go outside more and become interested in nature. Just having to walk a pug outdoors can spark a child’s interest in the natural world and get them outside, even if it is only for ten minutes.

In the big picture, children who grow up with pugs and other pets are generally better off than those who don’t.

This is one of the main reasons why it is standard for families to just have a dog in the household. In addition to the numerous benefits to children that I have gone over, there are hundreds of smaller ones that, when added up, make a huge impact.

How Old Should a Child Be Before Introducing a Pug to the Family?

So, now it begs the question, how old should a child be before a pug is introduced to the family? And, to tell you the truth, there is no definitive answer to this question. But there are some things to look for and think about, so let’s just get right into those.

The first and main thing to think about is: is the child READY for a pug? Each kid is unique, and some are able to take on the responsibility earlier than others. Once your child is beginning to show signs that they are mature enough and can handle being around a pug, then you can begin to look into getting one.

But, in the end it is your responsibility, and only you can decide when a child is ready for a pug.

Usually, children between the ages of 5 and 10 are able to handle getting a pug or other dog. This is obviously a general rule because I’ve seen families get pugs well before their child was five years old, and it worked out great. There are also some families who wait until their children are older than ten to get a dog just because of the particular child’s maturity and development.

So, in the end, it all comes back to how well you know your kids or whoever is going to be around the pug a lot. Look at their behavior in the past and try to evaluate as best as you can whether getting a pug would make things better or make them worse.

Make sure to spend some time thinking about this and don’t leap into something that could potentially be harmful to the child or pug. Pugs are really loving and fun dogs to have, but they need the right care to be able to thrive and provide their affection to their owners.

Take time to think about it and only when you are 100% sure that a pug is ready to be around your child, should you get one.

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