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Are Pugs Aggressive? [Breed Temperament Guide]

If you’re thinking about introducing a Pug to your family, you’ll want to know whether they’re aggressive or not. Do they get along with children and other animals? Do they make good family pets? Here’s everything you’ll want to know.

So, are Pugs aggressive? Pugs are not usually aggressive dogs as a breed: instead, they are known for being friendly and loving animals. However, as with other breeds, Pugs can demonstrate aggressive behavior if they haven’t been properly socialized when young. They can bark, nip, or growl if they are frightened or unhappy (e.g., if they’ve been left alone for too long).

Generally speaking, a pug makes for a great family dog.

Along with their small size – these dogs are practical and do not need as much exercise as some other breeds.

Let us now explore the typical temperament of a pug in further detail before turning to potential causes of aggression and if they are ever likely to bite.

We’ll then finish up with how to ensure these dogs do not engage in aggressive behavior.

So keep reading – particularly if you are serious about getting one!

What Is The Typical Pug Temperament?

The typical Pug temperament is affectionate, kind, friendly, and relatively easygoing.


Pugs are known to be affectionate dogs who will bond with you easily. They love to play and will follow you everywhere.

They’re fabulous family dogs and are brilliant with children as well as with other animals: because of the shapes of their mouths, their bite is more kid-safe than other dogs.

They’re also funny dogs who are highly expressive with big personalities.

If you have other pets, your Pug will most likely try to make friends.

They get along particularly well with cats and can be found snuggling up to their roommates quite happily for a nap together.


Pugs are very intelligent dogs who can be trained relatively easily.

Because they’re so smart, though, they will quickly figure out where you’ve hidden their treats!

Pugs can also be a bit mischievous if you leave them alone too long, as they are curious dogs who enjoy exploring.

Pugs can also be a bit stubborn, but if you use positive reinforcement for their good behavior, they’ll soon see the benefits of doing what you want.


Unlike other breeds, Pugs tend to sleep a lot, so they won’t require lots of maintenance throughout the day.

They do require regular grooming, but they love the attention and will gleefully submit to a good brushing.

They also don’t bark very much, so they’re ideal pets if you live in an apartment or share your home with others.

These small dogs don’t require as much physical activity as larger dogs in terms of exercise. 20 minutes a day of brisk exercise is plenty to keep your Pug happy and healthy.

Do Pugs Bite A Lot?

Pugs as a breed aren’t known for biting a lot. When Pugs are puppies, nipping and biting are part of growing up as they play with their siblings. However, this behavior should reduce in time or can be trained out with appropriate techniques.

Pugs, like other puppies, also are exploring the world with their mouths.

However, as with other dog breeds, Pugs can get into bad habits of biting if they aren’t trained as puppies.

Here are a few reasons why your Pug may bite.

Your Pug Is Frightened

If your Pug is startled by anything or highly stressed, he may nip or bite in response.

This is a normal reaction in anxious puppies, but you want to discourage this behavior as your dog grows.

Your Pug Wants To Assert Dominance

Your Pug may bite to show that they think they’re the boss.

Don’t let them do this!

Even tiny puppies can have big egos and want to be king of the household, so you’ll need to let your Pug know that you are the one in charge.

Your Pug Is Investigating His World

It could be that your Pug is chewing everything in sight as part of exploring his world with his mouth and his nose.

Exploratory behavior like this is normal for puppies: you just want to make sure it doesn’t carry over into adulthood.

Your Pug Is Playing

As puppies, Pugs will nip and bite each other as part of the fun – though it isn’t fun for us!

Your Pug won’t know that nipping and biting hurts unless you let him know.

Provided you start training early, your Pug will soon grow out of the nipping and biting phase while playing. Once he learns that his beloved humans don’t like it, he’ll soon stop.

Your Pug Is Teething

The teething phase can be really uncomfortable for puppies, and they’ll want to chew on things to soothe their aching gums.

If your puppy is in the teething stage, it’s normal for him to want to munch on everything around him.

Offer your Pug a frozen dog chew (a suitable one for munching on) or even some ice cubes so that he can soothe his gums with something other than the furniture!

Your Pug Is Ill Or In Pain

If your Pug is ill or in pain, he will be more likely to nip, bite, growl, or demonstrate another type of aggressive behavior.

If you notice your Pug’s temperament suddenly has become more aggressive, it could be a sign he needs to go to the vet for a checkup.

You want to make sure that there aren’t any underlying health conditions that could make your pet uncomfortable and therefore more short-tempered and aggressive.

What Can Make Pugs Aggressive?

Pugs can get aggressive over several things that might make them more possessive, such as food or a favorite toy.

Food Aggression

Some puppies develop food aggression: they fight a lot for food when younger.

They’ll then become very protective of their dinners and will nip or bite if anyone tries to come near.

You can nip this in the bud by removing their food bowl, replacing it once they’ve calmed down. Only allow your Pug to eat when the aggressive behavior stops.

According to the American Kennel Club, Pugs do love their food – they are one of the 10 breeds who love to eat food the most.

Lack Of Socialization

Some pups haven’t been socialized enough when they are puppies, so they will be nervous or frightened around other dogs or new people.

Provide plenty of contact opportunities for your Pug with other dogs and new people, especially when your dog is young. Expose your dog to various unique scenarios with different visitors and animals.

When introducing your puppy to a new dog, do so on neutral ground, and don’t hold him in your arms.

Let your puppy explore his new friend with his paws on the ground so that the dogs can sniff and lick each other freely.

Remember, though, to always supervise your puppy around children.

Picking Up Bad Habits

Some dog owners play back when their puppies nip and bite, and so the dogs grow up thinking that such behavior is a part of play.

You then have a bad habit to break – so don’t encourage nipping. If your puppy gets excited and starts growling or nipping, fight the temptation to play back.

Ignore him and wait till he’s calm before giving him cuddles.

Trying To Protect His Pack

It may be that your Pug gets aggressive if he feels his pack – you – is being threatened.

Pugs are very loyal dogs who love their families, and they will stand their ground if they think there is a threat to their people.

How To Prevent Aggression In Pugs

Here’s how to help prevent aggression in your Pug. The earlier you do these steps with your Pug, the better.

The ideal window for training your young Pug is from around 3 weeks old until about week 16 to 20. After that, you can still train your dog, but it is likely to take a bit longer.

Speak Puppy Language

When puppies nip or bite each other too hard, they will yelp or squeal to say “ouch! That hurts!”

So, speak to your puppy in his own language.

A high-pitched squeal on your part might have you feeling a bit silly, but your puppy will quickly get the message that nipping is not OK.

If you feel too self-conscious to squeal or yelp, try a firm “no” or “stop!”

Try The Trainer’s Trick

If your pup bites often, try putting your thumb under their tongue with your finger under their chin. Hold for 10 seconds.

It won’t do your Pug any harm, but your dog will quickly get the message.

Use A Chew Toy For Games

Pups will nip and bite when they’re excited, so you can teach your puppy that hands and fingers are not for this purpose. Get them to transfer their excitement onto a chew toy instead.

As your puppy matures, start to introduce a chew toy at playtime. You can come up with lots of fun games around your garden or in the house.

Your puppy will soon learn that chew toys can be highly rewarding!

Divert Your Pup’s Attention

If your puppy has been chewing everything, try diverting their attention with a treat, a chew toy, or lots of praise and cuddles.

Assert Your Dominance

Let your Pug know that you are in charge by rewarding good behavior and ignoring bad behavior.

Love and cuddles go a long way towards showing your pup what behavior will get rewarded.

It doesn’t help to try to punish your pup through shouting or other aggressive behavior: you would only frighten your dog into behaving even more aggressively.

They would see you as even more of a threat and would therefore continue to be scared or stressed, which is the last thing you want!


Pugs are generally not aggressive dogs.

On the contrary, they are usually quite the opposite.

Even a little lazy.

That being said, like with any dog, aggressive behavior can be displayed in certain circumstances and contexts.

But a lot of this has to do with how they are raised, cared for, socialized, and trained.

So if you do decide to get one of these small dogs, be sure to commit to the process.

You’ll be rewarded with a well-rounded dog if you do.

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