Is A Labrador or a Pug the right breed for you?
Answer these questions honestly as you consider if either dog is right for you.
Do you mind dog hair?
Labs shed. Most labs shed a little all year round and then have major sheds in spring and fall. Intact females usually blow their coats (shed heavily) 2 times a year after heat cycles as well.
Pugs shed more! Pugs shed moderately or more all year round. Both Lab and Pug hair can collects on furniture and clothes, the pug hair seems to have small barbs that make it especially tenacious to remove. If you like to wear a lot of black clothes you may find that you take your yellow Lab or fawn Pug with you everywhere via their hair. Some people pick the color of their dog based on their home décor colors so that the hair shows as little as possible.
Do you have allergies?
If you have allergies to dog hair, dander or saliva, owning a Lab or a Pug may aggravate them. Some people even find their allergies to be “color specific” such as the yellows aggravate their allergies while the blacks don’t. You may want to visit people you know with the breed you are interested in and find out if your allergies flair up when you are around their dogs. DON’T get a dog unless you are sure you can make a life-long commitment, allergies or not. Pugs are definitely not outside dogs and although a Lab can tolerate a range of temperatures, they prefer to be with their family and relegating them to a kennel in the garage or backyard is stressful to them and not fair.
Do you have small children?
Having a puppy is like adding another toddler to the family. Puppies don’t understand that a small child is a human and tend to think of them as another puppy. They may knock the child down, try to nip at them and grab food/toys from their hands. If you are the type of parent who is going to get upset by a dog doing this to your child then get an older dog who is calmer and has some training or wait until your children are school-age before considering a puppy of either breed. Labs are generally pretty tolerant of having ears and tails pulled or kids climbing on them but it is important to set limits with both the dog and the child as to acceptable behavior. Pugs are smaller dogs and although they are wonderful family pets, they can be more easily injured by a child. Their eyes are also prone to injury and a small child could cause major eye damage to a pug. Children should NEVER be left unsupervised with any puppy or dog.
Do you like to keep your yard like a golf course?
If you have a dog you will need to either lower your standards or have a way to restrict your dog to an area of their own. Some labs like to dig. When they are playing they don’t watch where they run so your prize rose bush may get run over. A bored dog will be especially destructive so leaving them outside all day will just cause them to be “creative” with your landscaping. Some plants and mulch (such as cocoa mulch) are poisonous to dogs so you may also need to change your gardening practices.
Are you willing to commit to a pet for up to 15 years?
Are you willing to be responsible for this dog from puppyhood through old age? With good vet care, many Labs and Pugs are living 13 to 15 years or even longer. This means not buying a condo in a “no animals allowed” building when you are ready to retire and then expecting a rescue to “bail you out”. If you can’t see yourself as a dog owner for the long term please consider not getting a dog or at least taking in an older adult dog that won’t require so many years of commitment.
Do you have the time for a dog?
Labs need a lot of exercise. The Labrador is an active breed that needs an outlet for their energy pretty much every day. Most Labs need “a job to do” whether that is retrieving several dozen balls, bumpers or Frisbees, jogging with you, training for hunting, etc. but they do need at least some exercise on a daily basis.
Pugs are active small dogs – they aren’t made to go jogging with you but they do need to have some sort of playtime every day. Rain or shine at a minimum both breeds will need to go outside 3 to 4 times per day.
Still feel you are ready for a puppy or dog? If the answer is “yes”, please look for a reputable breeder (one who is familiar with the breed, belongs to all-breed or regional clubs, gets health clearances on their dogs and does not sell pets over the internet) and ask lots of questions before you put that deposit down.
For further information on either breed, please go to either The Labrador Retriever Club (National club) web site or the Pug Dog Club of America (National club) web site to get more reliable information.