Why Are Pugs So Emotional? [Guide]


Pugs, known for their wrinkled faces and expressive eyes, are a breed that has been cherished for centuries for their affectionate nature. Their compact size and sociable disposition have made them beloved companion dogs. A distinctive aspect of pugs is their emotional character; they are extremely sensitive and often reflect the emotions of the people around them. This emotional nature can be attributed to their history as companion dogs bred for close human interaction, and their innate ability to form strong bonds with their owners. As we delve into this article, we will explore the reasons why pugs are so emotional, how it manifests, and what it means for those who share their lives with these endearing canines.

Pugs Genetics

why are pugs so emotional

Pugs’ emotional behavior is deeply rooted in their genetics, as they have been selectively bred for companionship over centuries. Initially cherished by Chinese royalty, and later European aristocracy, certain traits such as sociability, attachment to humans, and sensitivity were favored and became ingrained in the breed. This selection inadvertently heightened their emotional responsiveness. Their genetic predisposition for bonding and their ability to form close relationships with humans contribute significantly to their emotional nature, making them exceptionally attuned to the feelings of their owners.

Upbringing and Socialization

While genetics play a role, the environment also significantly influences the emotional behavior of pugs. Early socialization is crucial for pugs to develop balanced emotions. Exposing them to different people, animals, and environments helps in building confidence and reducing anxiety. Training, especially positive reinforcement, is essential for mental stimulation and establishing a bond. The home environment should be nurturing; providing them with a safe space, regular exercise, and mental stimulation is paramount. It’s also important for owners to be emotionally stable as pugs can mirror the emotions around them. Creating a nurturing environment through socialization, training, and a stable home helps manage a pug’s emotional needs effectively.

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Pugs Are Emotional Mirrors

Pugs are incredibly attuned to the emotions of their owners and often mirror these feelings. Studies have shown that dogs, including pugs, are adept at reading human facial expressions and body language. For instance, a study published in the journal “Learning & Behavior” in 2018 demonstrated that dogs can understand human emotions by associating different facial expressions with corresponding emotional states. Pugs, with their highly social nature, are particularly sensitive to this. They can sense when their owner is sad, happy, or stressed, and often their behavior changes accordingly. This emotional mirroring can have an impact on the pug’s own emotional state, which can be either beneficial or detrimental depending on the situation. For owners, it’s important to be mindful of their own emotions when interacting with their pugs. Maintaining a calm demeanor, especially in potentially stressful situations, and using positive reinforcement can create a more balanced emotional environment for the pug. Additionally, offering comfort and affection during times of distress can strengthen the bond between the pug and its owner.

Fostering a Healthy Emotional Bond: Advice for Pug Owners

Fostering a healthy emotional bond with your pug is integral to their well-being and happiness. Here are some practical tips for achieving this:

  1. Positive Reinforcement Training: Utilize treats and praises to encourage good behavior. This not only helps in teaching them manners but also strengthens the emotional bond.
  2. Regular Socialization: Expose your pug to different environments, people, and animals to help them become well-adjusted and confident.
  3. Mental Stimulation: Engage your pug in mental exercises like puzzle toys, and teach them new tricks. This keeps their mind sharp and helps in preventing anxiety and boredom.
  4. Affection and Quality Time: Spend quality time with your pug. Physical affection, like petting and cuddling, is vital in building a strong emotional bond.
  5. Consistent Routine: Pugs thrive on routine. Consistency in feeding, exercise, and sleep schedules helps them feel secure and can reduce anxiety.
  6. Mindful Interaction: Be cognizant of your own emotions when you’re around your pug, as they are sensitive to your emotional state. Positive and calm interactions are beneficial for their emotional health.
  7. Health and Nutrition: Ensure your pug has a balanced diet and regular vet check-ups. A healthy pug is more likely to be emotionally balanced.

“Having worked with various dog breeds over the years, I can attest to the unique emotional sensitivity of pugs. Their history as companion dogs has ingrained in them a remarkable ability to connect with humans. They seem to have an innate talent for reading facial expressions and body language, which allows them to tune into our emotions. This makes them exceptional companions but also means they require a nurturing environment. As owners, it’s our responsibility to be mindful of how our own emotional state impacts our pugs, and to provide them with the socialization, mental stimulation, and affection they need to thrive.”

Dr. Emma Richardson, DVM, Certified Veterinary Behaviorist and Author of “Canine Companions: Understanding the Emotional Lives of Dogs”.


In conclusion, pugs are a remarkable breed known for their deep emotional connection with humans. Their genetics, coupled with environmental factors, contribute to their sensitive nature. Understanding and embracing this aspect of their personality is key to fostering a fulfilling relationship with these endearing companions. By providing a nurturing environment, consistent training, socialization, and affection, pug owners can ensure the emotional well-being of their pets and experience the immeasurable joy that comes with sharing a bond with these lovable canines.