Are Pugs Aggressive? A Guide To Their Temperament


Pugs don’t come across as naturally aggressive, but they do get defensive or aggressive depending on their environment and circumstances. When you think of or look at a pug, they come across as a loving, cute, and docile breed that seems incapable of hurting. So, it’s easy to answer the question – Are pugs aggressive, with a straight ‘No.’

In other words, the answer to the question – Are pugs aggressive – is rather subjective. Pugs have a friendly temperament but may be aggressive if not trained, conditioned, and socialized properly. Also, as a breed, pugs can have aggressive tendencies when brought into homes with kids or other dogs. Some of the ways they show their anger or aggression are by nipping, growling, and lunging, mostly due to their headstrong temperament. 

Typically, pugs are not classified as an aggressive breed. It is mainly because of their small body frame and comical yet adorable looks. Unlike breeds like Rottweilers or Pitbull, pugs don’t come across as threatening or intimidating. 

Many pug owners claim this breed is naturally playful but can be serious dogs with a dry sense of humor. In more simpler terms, pugs may seem funny even if they don’t intend to be funny. 

Let us delve deeper into answering the question – Are pugs aggressive – and other traits and related questions.

What Can Make Pugs Aggressive?

To start with, it’s important to know and understand that all dogs, irrespective of their breed, size, gender, and age, are capable of aggression.

The ancestors of all the breeds we know have evolved and survived by relying on their instincts, especially aggressive and defensive characteristics. These instincts may have subsided due to domestication and a civilized environment over the centuries, but it isn’t completely lost. 

The part of those aggressive instincts remains in all dog breeds, even in lovable and adorable lap dogs like pugs. 

Some studies show male dogs tend to be more aggressive than female dogs. It is because they tend to roam widely in search of mates. Also, older pugs are more aggressive than younger ones. 

Pugs are not naturally aggressive, but when they’re, there’s always a reason behind their behaviour-

Poor Socialization 

The temperament of your pug depends a lot on its upbringing. If your pug has come into your family where they are kids and other dogs and frequently socializes with other humans and dogs, your pug would be laidback, cheerful, and well-mannered. 

However, pugs who’ve been in an isolated environment with very limited or no socialization tend to be more fearful, suspicious, and aggressive. 

It is suggested that you provide a social and friendly environment to your pug and let them be around other pugs and humans. It helps condition them to be more social and tones down aggressive instincts. 

Resource Guarding – Food Aggression

This is one of the common reasons for pugs and other canine breeds to get aggressive. 

If there are other dogs in the house who may have stolen your pug’s food or if they had to guard their food in a dog’s shelter or kennel in the past, your pug may assume someone may steal their food and get aggressive. 

Pugs feel the need to protect their food because it’s given in limited quantities. Pugs who love food are even more protective and sometimes may even snap at a person getting too close to their food.

Fear Response 

If your pug has been through any trauma in the past, it may stay with them going forward. 

It can modify their behavioral traits and make them more suspicious and aggressive. In other words, pugs, like other dogs, may suffer from PTSD as well. 

If your pug was abused in the past, its natural tendency would be to be more aggressive. This is a natural tendency seen in rescue dogs. 

Health Issues

If your pug is suffering from any health issues or serious medical conditions such as thyroid disorders, seizures, brain tumors, uterus infection, neurological problems, etc., chances are your pug will be irritated and aggressive. 

If your pug wasn’t aggressive before but suddenly started to show aggressive traits, it’s a good idea to visit a vet for a checkup.

 At times, anger may also be the outcome of pain, if not any serious medical condition. Such pain can elicit from either playing too hard or random temporary injuries like stubbing their feet.

So, before answering yes to the question, are pugs aggressive, make sure to get your pug checked for any underlying health condition.

Are pugs aggressive


Are Pugs Aggressive To Strangers?

Most canine breeds are wary of strangers, and pugs are no different. Pugs or any other smaller breed are known to direct their anger towards strangers loudly, especially if they’re not trained or conditioned for the same.

Make your pug attend puppy classes or ensure socialization before 12 weeks to help reduce aggressive behavior drastically. 

Ensure you provide a sociable and friendly environment to your pug, encouraging interaction with other dogs and humans. It helps reduce aggression towards other canines and humans considerably.

Are pugs safe with family and children?

Pugs can get aggressive and may even bite, including children and family members, when they’re disturbed while sleeping, eating, or playing with their favorite toy. 

Sometimes, they may even bite strangers or visiting children if they provoke them or trigger a fear response. If your pug is known to bite often, there might be an underlying health condition that’s triggering anxiety. 

In any case, it is always advised that children be supervised around dogs, no matter how caring, loving, and trustworthy they are.

However, we have never noticed any aggressive behaviours in our pug and would trust him fully so I would say it varies from dog to dog.

How To Prevent Pug Aggression?

Having discussed the problem and its likely reason, let’s discuss the solution. The best way to end pug aggression is to prevent it. And the best way to do it is through training. 

Training is greatly important for your pug’s emotional health and behavior. The right way to manage your pug’s behavior and aggression is often a combination of training, exercise, and socialization. 

Some of the ways to prevent pug’s aggression are –

Obedience Training 

It might seem like putting in too much effort from your end, but it’s totally worth it. Once you notice the difference obedience training brings to your pug’s behavior, you’ll be proud of your decision.

Obedience training is all about helping your pug understand simple commands and controlling its behavior. It will help you control your pug’s behavior at home and in a social environment with other humans and pets around. 

Make sure to remember that it’s important to be patient and consistent with obedience training, and the sooner you start it, the better. 

Social Training

Proper socialization is imperative for healthy puppy development. Without appropriate socialization, there’s a high chance of your pug developing aggression or behavioral issues. 

Socialization is important for your pug to have the basic knowledge and skills to know how to behave around other dogs and humans. 

Mostly, breeders provide a social environment for dogs. However, it is essential to continue to provide socialization training once you bring your pug home.

If you live alone or don’t have friends or family with dogs, visit a dog park or dog shelter. It will encourage socialization and help your pug inculcate friendly and social behaviour. 

Final Thoughts – Are Pugs Aggressive?

So, the final answer to the question – are pugs aggressive – is no. 

Pugs aren’t naturally aggressive, but it’s also important to know they can display aggressive behavior if they aren’t socialized, trained, and conditioned sufficiently. 

If your pug is showing signs of aggression, such as chasing, biting, nipping, growling, and lunging, it’s time to act. If nothing seems to help, checking with the vet and seeking the help of a professional dog trainer can help. 

Lastly, whether your pug shows signs of aggression or not, it’s always essential to keep a check on your pug’s behaviour, feed them well, and socialize often.

Having owned a pug for 10 years, I can personally say I have never seen my pug get aggressive, he is so loving and great with our son, and we have full trust in him.

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