Pugs are such appealing little creatures, with their wrinkly faces and huge eyes. It’s no wonder that some people are so enraptured by Pugs that they insist there can be no other breed of dog in their lives.
Pugs are affectionate and charming, and also very playful, from the puppy stage all through adulthood. Therefore, if your idea of a good time is having a best buddy who’s always ready to play, a Pug might be a great choice for you. You also have a lot of leeway when it comes to Pug puppy toys. There are several great ones on the market, and you can also make toys at home that will keep your Pug amused for hours.
Before we consider Pug puppy toys, though, let’s talk a bit about Pugs in general.
Pugs originated in China, between 206 BC and 200 AD. Chinese emperors were quite partial to the breed, keeping them in opulent accommodations and even appointing soldiers to guard the dogs.
When China began trading with Europe in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Pugs found their way to the royal courts. William III and his wife, Mary II, were known to keep Pugs. Marie Antoinette also had a Pug, as did Josephine Bonaparte. In England, Pugs were first exhibited in 1861, with the studbook being created 10 years later.
During the Victorian era, Pugs became exceptionally popular. Queen Victoria, who was very fond of dogs in general, bred Pugs, favoring the apricot-fawn color.
Pugs arrived in America after the Civil War, and recognized by the AKC in 1885. By the turn of the century, though, the breed became less popular. Of course, preferences when it comes to dog breeds are cyclical, and by the 1930s, the Pug enjoyed a resurgence in popularity.
You might be surprised to learn that the Pug’s deep wrinkles didn’t come about by accident. The ancient Chinese actually bred Pugs to have wrinkles resembling Chinese characters. I can’t read Chinese, so I’d have no idea what any Pug I happened to encounter might be communicating, but apparently the early Chinese favored wrinkle configurations that resembled the characters for “luck” or “prince.”
The Pug is also distinguished by his roundish head and bulging eyes. Added to those delightful wrinkles, you have characteristics that create a very charming appearance. Pugs are usually either fawn or black, with a black muzzle.
Pugs are bred to be companion dogs, and because of their small size, they are well suited to people who live in apartments. They are generally happy dogs, and very loving. Socialized early, Pugs will usually get along well with children and other pets.
Pugs are highly intelligent. This means that they frequently like to have their own way, so you might have to work a bit harder at training a Pug than you would with some other breeds. There’s probably not much likelihood of you overcoming the essential nature of the Pug, though; he’s been smart and stubborn for centuries!
How Do Pugs Play?
When choosing the best Pug puppy toys for your dog, it’s helpful to consider the way that Pugs tend to play. These little dogs love lots of attention, and don’t really care for solitary play. This makes sense since Pugs were only ever bred for companionship; they have no purpose as working dogs or hunters. Accordingly, the best Pug puppy toys are the ones that you and your dog will enjoy together.
When playing with your Pug, you’ll probably have to initiate the action. Pugs are quite happy to do whatever you want to do, and if this means just lazing around the house, reading or watching television, your Pug will be quite content to just snuggle up with you. This can be very pleasing, but the trouble is that a sedentary Pug frequently becomes a fat Pug. Making sure that your dog gets enough exercise is your job, so be sure to walk him regularly and also initiate playtime throughout the day.
Once play begins, you’re going to have to be an active participant. Pugs love games like tug-of-war, will happily chase a ball and bring it back to you over and over, and also enjoy chasing and being chased.
Something to keep in mind, though, is that you should never allow your Pug to become overheated. That smooshed-in face is adorable, yes, but it also means that your dog could have trouble breathing in the hot weather. For that matter, the same problem could occur if it’s too cold. It’s best to make sure that your Pug always gets his exercise in moderate temperatures, so if he seems even a little bit uncomfortable, move the play to a more temperate location. Pugs really are pretty much indoor dogs.
The Best Pug Puppy Toys
The best Pug puppy toys are, quite simply, ones that he can share with you. Don’t waste your money on toys that are specifically made to be used outdoors; I’m not saying that your little buddy shouldn’t get outdoor exercise, because he definitely should. Pugs are basically house dogs, though, so it doesn’t make sense to invest in toys that aren’t going to get much use.
With that in mind, here are my picks for the three best Pug puppy toys.
1. Anything You Can Make or Find
I know this sounds pretty vague, but if you look around, you’ll probably see objects that will serve very nicely as Pug puppy toys, or things that you can use to make toys for your Pug. An old sock can be ideal for playing tug-of-war. A paper bag can be crumpled up and thrown over and over. Old towels or sheets can be torn into strips and then braided to make tug toys. As long as the toys are interactive, they’ll keep your Pug happy. It’s best to avoid toys that are designed for solitary play, because if your Pug has a choice between playing by himself, or cuddling up with you, he’s pretty much guaranteed to pick cuddle time.
Anyone who has a dog of any breed should have at least one toy that’s suitable for a good game of tug-of-war. I know that a good many experts are in disagreement with me on this, but as I suggested in 21 Frequently Asked Questions About Dominance Issues in Dogs, I’m on the side that believes tug-of-war does not encourage aggression; it actually dissipates it.
Of course you are not likely to encounter aggression issues in your Pug in any case, so it’s pretty much a moot point. You can happily use the Dean & Tyler Small Pocket Bite Tug when playing with your pug without having to feel the least bit guilty. This isn’t a fancy toy; in fact, it’s about as plain as it gets, just a bit of leather with two sturdy nylon handles. Of course your dog isn’t going to care about that; all that will matter to him is that this toy will stand up to hour after hour of vigorous tugging. Most dogs just love this toy, and you might find that you’ll wear out before your typically sedentary dog does!
I’ve had a few messages from readers who want to know if KONG has me on their payroll, since I’m constantly recommending KONG toys for dogs of all breeds and sizes. So, let me put that idea to rest. I have no connection with KONG whatsoever, or with any other manufacturer of toys, accessories, dog foods, or anything else that I might mention in my posts. After all, the title of this site is “Simply for Dogs,” Not “Simply for People Who Want to Sell You Stuff for Your Dog.” My recommendations are based on research and what I honestly believe is good for your pet, and I will never be “bought” by any company.
Okay, with that out of the way, I do unreservedly recommend the small KONG Classic dog toy for your Pug, simply because it’s so wonderfully versatile. If you actually have the one Pug in a million that enjoys playing by himself, he can do so with this toy. If, like most Pugs, he’d rather play with you, this is a great interactive toy, as well; it’s lots of fun to throw, and the unique conical shape means that when you throw it for your dog, it could bounce in just about any direction! And, of course, you can fill it with treats so that your Pug will also get mental stimulation as he works to extract the goodies. He might need a bit of help to figure it out on the first couple of efforts, though, but that makes it even more fun because you’re working together.
Now that you have my top three choices for Pug puppy toys, you can probably think of tons of great games to play.
As I’ve said from the outset, the best Pug puppy toys are the ones that you and your dog will use together. Whether your Pug is just snuggling with you, or you’re playing together, it all adds up to quality time. You are, without a doubt, the most important thing in your Pug’s life, since the breed’s purpose has always been that of companion dog. Playing together, whether it’s with commercially available toys or ones that you make, will bring happiness to both of you.