Pug Intelligence

Pug Intelligence: Are They Really Dumb Like Some People Say?

Pugs are a breed of dog with a lot of personality, which is probably something all pug owners will agree on. Along with their personality and behaviour, people often think about how smart they are:

Are pugs dumb or intelligent dogs?

On Stanley Coren’s list of the smartest dogs, pugs come in at number 108 out of 136. Pugs need more practice to learn a new command, and they only listen to a known command on the first try 50% of the time.

Let’s look at what this means and how it’s different from other pets.

Are Pugs Smart?

The AKC breed standards say that pugs are playful, charming, and easy to love. But there is no mention of how smart Pugs are.

People don’t think of pugs as smart, or at least this trait isn’t emphasized when describing this breed.

But this doesn’t mean that pugs are dumb, as some people say. Pugs can be trained and will do what you say, but they can be stubborn, which can make training hard.

Let’s look at the things that are used to figure out a dog’s IQ and how pugs do.

Types of Dog Intelligence

Stanley Coren’s book The Intelligence of Dogs (source) says that there are three ways to measure a dog’s intelligence:

Instinctive intelligence is a dog’s ability to do the things it was bred to do, like herding or keeping watch.

Pug Intelligence

Adaptive intelligence is a dog’s ability to figure out how to solve problems on its own, as well as its social awareness, which includes things like being able to recognize regular visitors and understand facial expressions.

Working and obedience intelligence: measures how well a dog can learn from people, like assistance dogs do. Another example is a dog that takes part in dog sports or shows.

How Smart Are Pugs?

How do pugs do when you think about these three types of intelligence?

Pug’s Instinctive Intelligence

Pugs don’t have a lot of natural intelligence because they were made to be pets.

Here’s some history about pugs…

Did you know that the pug is one of the oldest types of dog?

Pugs have been around since 400 B.C., when Buddhist monks in Tibet used them as companion dogs.

The Pekingese, Shih Tzu, and Pug were the favourite small dogs of the ancient Chinese emperors. These dogs were made to be pets for the Emperor, his family, and other people in the imperial court.

Since the beginning of the breed, people have kept and loved pugs as pets, not as guard or tracking dogs.

In the 1500s, Dutch traders brought pugs to Europe, where they were still kept as pets. For example, William and Mary of Orange brought their pugs with them when they came to England to rule as king and queen.

But between the ages of 3 and 12 weeks, your puppy at home may imprint on you. Because of this, he will think of you as his mother or someone he can count on.

Pug’s Adaptive Intelligence

Because they work as companion dogs, they are very socially aware and have high adaptive intelligence. Pugs are very loving and interested in their owners.

Because of this, pugs are friendly and affectionate with babies, kids, and other dogs. They are a great choice for a family pet because of this.

Also, depending on how social they are, they may seem needy and demanding. Pugs love to get attention and hang out with people.

Pug’s Obedience Intelligence

How smart and obedient a pug is depends a lot on its owner and how it is trained. Even pugs can be stubborn, and just because they don’t do what they’re told doesn’t mean they don’t understand.

Every dog can be trained, as long as the methods you use are clear and consistent. But a dog’s breed and personality will also affect how they respond to training and commands.

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Don’t be surprised if your pug won’t do what you say or follow your instructions. To be honest, it looks like they’re thinking about it, but then they decide not to do it.

Tootsie, my foster pug, got tired of walking and decided all she wanted to do was wait for people to look at her.

She would either stop in the middle of the path and not move until I picked her up, or she would walk a few feet, set herself down, and try again. Or, if she saw kids or people, she’d run up to them, even if it looked like she was just taking a break.

When given the right reason, which is usually food, pugs can learn to be more obedient.

Some breeds, like Golden Retrievers, may enjoy problem-solving activities (brain stimulation games) on their own, but pugs seem to pay more attention when you have a tasty treat in your hand.

Pugs vs The Smartest Dogs

Stanley Coren, who has a PhD and works as a dog psychologist at the University of British Columbia, put together the list.

Stanley Coren decided that the ten smartest dogs are all dogs (out of a list of 136).

With the help of 199 obedience trial judges from the American and Canadian Kennel Clubs, Coren was able to find out how smart different dog breeds are. He made rules for figuring out how smart a dog is based on:

  • Instinctiveness.
  • Adaptiveness.
  • Working capability.
  • Obedience.

Professor Coren says that a dog’s intelligence is made up of 51% of its genes and 49% of its environment.

He tested the dog’s ability to solve problems, to obey, to remember, to get along with other people, and to observe.

His 1994 book “The Intelligence of Dogs” says that pugs are the 108th smartest dog out of 136. The Boston Terrier, the Australian Shepherd, the Siberian Husky, the Great Dane, the Greyhound, the Dachshund, and the Shiba Inu are all smarter than the Pug.

This means that a pug can learn a new command after doing it 25 to 40 times

They can also obey a known order 50% of the time on the first try.

On the other hand, the smartest breeds can learn a new command in five attempts or less. They can also follow a known command on the first try with a success rate of 95% or higher.

Stanley Coren made a list of the ten smartest dogs, and here they are:

  1. Border Collie (Herding group).
  2. Poodle (Non-sporting group).
  3. German Shepherd (Herding group).
  4. Golden Retriever (Sporting group).
  5. Doberman Pinscher (Working group).
  6. Shetland Sheepdog (Herding group).
  7. Labrador Retriever (Sporting group).
  8. Papillon (Toy group).
  9. Rottweiler (Working group).
  10. Australian Cattle Dog (Herding group).

As you can see, 80% of the top ten brightest canines were bred for a specific purpose or profession, such as hunting, guarding, or herding, and have developed certain intelligence features over thousands of years.

Pugs are a companion breed (in the toy category), not a working breed. They bring considerable comfort and joy to their owners and make excellent playmates for children.

The pug’s job is to keep you laughing and give you lots of hugs. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t challenge your pug!

What Pugs Have Going for Them

Pugs are a very smart breed of dog because they are so smart.

“Learn from your mistakes” is a phrase you’ve probably heard many times in your life. We humans try to reach this level of intelligence.

In this case, pugs are the clear winners. After they figure out what went wrong, they will fix it. They will also figure out quickly what we want them to do.

Pugs come in second because they have a lot of working and obedience intelligence.

Keep in mind that this intelligence means the dog is easy to train.

Pugs are one of the most easy-to-train dogs. They like making other people happy, and they show this by pulling pranks.

The people in this group are smart, but not very smart. Pugs are one of the hardest dog breeds to train to go to the bathroom outside. So, once you get a pug puppy, it might take a long time to keep the house clean and free of accidents.

The last part of intelligence is instinctive intelligence. Here, pugs don’t measure up.

Pugs were mostly made to sit in people’s laps. That is correct. You’ll like having a pug cuddle up to you and love you. They don’t have anything built into them, though, that would make them smart.

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Pugs are not great at any one skill or ability. This doesn’t make them stupid, though. They won’t be less smart because they don’t have a certain kind of instinctive intelligence.

So, based on how smart they are, what will you see if you bring a pug home?

  • Your dog will learn new tricks quickly. When shown how, pugs are very good at learning tricks. They want to make their owner happy, and they will show this by learning tricks.
  • Your pug would be a good roommate. Your pug will be happy to just lie down, unlike some dogs who are always running around the house trying to do something that comes naturally to them.
  • You will add a dog to your family. People know that pugs make great family pets. They always try to make other people happy. These dogs are good with kids and don’t need much care.
  • Your pug won’t keep making the same mistake. Yes, your pug is not perfect, and it is likely to do things wrong. When the dog sees how you react to bad behaviour, it is less likely to make the same mistake again, if at all.
  • You’ll have a great friend. Pugs can remember what you like because they are smart and love people. When you like what they do, they will want to do the same thing again to make you happy.
Because they are smart, pugs are a great choice for any family. In spite of what most people think, they are very smart dogs who will make a great addition to your family.

As you can see from the list above, their strengths make them a great dog. A pug’s personality is to be friendly. And their ability to learn will demonstrate how much they care.

Why are Pugs Known as Less Intelligent?

At this point, you might be wondering why pugs are thought to be stupid. Based on what I’ve seen, these dogs are very smart. It doesn’t make sense that they have a bad reputation for being stupid.

But before we can solve this problem, we need to understand ourselves. We humans tend to think of intelligence as something we can touch. If we can’t think of the dog as smart, then it must be dumb.

Pug Intelligence

We make assumptions based on first impressions, which is a bad thing. If we don’t see or hear anything out of the ordinary from a dog, we assume it’s not very smart.

But when it comes to pugs, you can’t see how smart they are. You wouldn’t be able to tell how smart a pug is from just one visit if you looked at what makes them smartest and most clever.

After more time, adaptive intelligence starts to show up. It may take time and practice to see how smart pugs are. This is because the pug can change over time.

This does not happen right away, though. So, if you go on a trip with a pug, you probably won’t notice how smart they are.

Because of this, almost every pug owner will say that their dog is not dumb. A pug owner can watch their dog grow and change in ways that help them get better.

So, you can’t always believe what someone who hasn’t spent much time with a dog has to say about it. If they haven’t been around the dog for a long time, they can’t tell how smart it is.

The way a pug looks doesn’t help when it comes to figuring out how smart it is. Pugs are known throughout the dog world for being funny.

This is just because of how funny the pug looks. Even though pugs are cute, they don’t seem to be the smartest dogs.

As I’ve already said, pugs are often thought to be dumb compared to other dog breeds. When compared to dogs that are smart by nature, the pug will look like it isn’t very smart.

They happen because people don’t know much about this smart breed of dog. People think that pugs are not smart because you can’t tell at first glance that they are smart and they look funny.

Even though pugs have a bad reputation, they are actually very smart dogs.

Where are Pugs on a List of Dog Breed Intelligence?

As I’ve already said, it’s hard to give dogs a grade based on their general intelligence because each dog is smart in its own way.

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On the other hand, a list of the 150 smartest dog breeds would put pugs around number fifty. This is a good thing, because most dogs don’t even make it onto the list of the most intelligent dogs.

Most of the dogs on the list of the smartest have intelligence that they were born with. These dogs are bred for a specific task, and they show how smart they are by doing what they were born to do.

People often say that golden retrievers, German shepherds, poodles, and other breeds are the smartest dogs. Each of these dogs is smart because it has a skill that sets it apart from the others.

But the pug doesn’t show up on lists of dogs with the least intelligence. This is because most people think pugs are dumb, but the facts show that they are not.

Because of this, pugs are among the smartest dogs.

Because they can learn new things quickly, pugs are considered to be pretty smart.

Even though the pug is not very smart in other ways, it is one of the most adaptable dogs.

So a pug might not be the best example of a smart dog, but most people agree that they are smart.

I hope that by reading this, you have learned more about how smart different dog breeds are. Because each dog is smart in its own way, no dog is really stupid.

You will enjoy it if you want to bring a pug into your home.Pugs are great family pets. They will always be there for you and want to make you happy.

And yes, they will be loyal and loving to you even if they drool on you and have a funny but cute face.

I don’t think you’ll ever think your pug is dumb. You might laugh at what the dog does. But by now, you should know that your pug is smart.

Increase Your Pug’s Intelligence

If you want a fun way to challenge your dog, teach him new tricks, and improve his skills, I have just the thing for you.

Find out how to take your dog’s skills to a whole new level by using my favourite method for brain training! Brain games are a great way to get to know your pug better and keep him from getting bored.


Are pugs easy to train?

It’s not too hard to train a pug. They are smart enough to learn quickly when told what to do. On the other hand, pugs can be strong-willed at times.

They can learn, but that doesn’t mean they always want to. On the other hand, pugs learn tricks faster than other kinds of dogs.

Do pugs cuddle often?

Pugs like to snuggle and often do so with their owner or owners. Pugs love people more than anything else.

They want to be close to their owner and feel loved by them. It wouldn’t be strange if a pug joined its owner on the couch. This breed of dog likes to cuddle and will do it often.

Pug Intelligence

Are pugs aggressive?

Most pugs are not aggressive. When they don’t get the attention they want from other people, pugs are at their most aggressive. In this case, they might bark and growl.

The way a pug acts depends on the dog. Most of the time, pugs are more loving than they are mean.

Princy Hoang
See more articles in this category: Dogs

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