How Smart Are Pugs?

Each dog breed has its own intelligence level. Some are easy to train compared to others. But if you are not an experienced dog owner, then getting a breed that easily obeys commands would be your best bet. 

how smart are pugs
How Smart are Pugs

When it comes to Pug’s intelligence level, it can be confidently stated that they are not the best hunting or guard dogs, but rather companion dogs. They are not necessarily “witty,” but they are definitely one of the most cuddly and friendly breeds to get as a family dog. 

For the new dog owners out there: Pugs may be one of the best choices for you since they tend to get very attached to their owners and want “in” on the action. Whatever you are doing, they want to participate in it with you.

One fact about them: they are very independent and will only obey commands which they regard to be worth learning. Just keep that in mind when you are training your bulge-eyed friend. If you are asking yourself this question: “How smart are Pugs?” read on, we’ll cover some important information on their characteristics and intelligence capability.

Pug Breed Overview

Pugs were first adored by the Chinese royal family, and treated like members of the family. Later on, they arrived in Europe and became very popular house dogs. Firstly, they joined some royal courts, and afterward, were a hit among commoners, who also got a chance to acquire a Pug puppy companion.

Pugs are sociable enough to be brought into a home with small children and other dogs. This breed is one of the friendliest, cuddiest, and happiest breeds in the world. If you have a small living space, a pug pal will fit in perfectly as it wouldn’t need a lot of space to move around. 

They would be a great match for first-time canine parents because pugs are very easy to train and care for. There are no training issues usually with this breed as they are very loyal and obedient to their owners. Pugs tend to be on the mischievous side from time to time, but this fact just adds to their charm. Pups typically grow out of it once they hit adolescence. 

Are Pugs Smart Dogs?

While they are not on the “smartest dogs” list, they are by no means dumb. They are intelligent in their own way, where they actually choose what commands to follow. They have to make sense to a Pug. If they respect their owner, their best potential will be unleashed. 

Pugs’ inherent stubbornness adds to their charm: it is funny to see them “argue” with their parents when something doesn’t go their way. And boy do they express their dissatisfaction very vocally! 

However, a dog parent can easily get the fur Pug baby to do what he/she wants it to do: the trick is food. Oh, Pugs love food so much, to the point that you have to keep them in check not to overeat. Especially if it’s something they really like, you can be sure they’ll do anything to get that desired treat. So, if they are smart enough to figure the “rules of the game” out, then there’s a lot of training potential in that little wrinkly big-eyed head. 

Compared to some of the hunting and guarding breeds, Pugs were never brought up to be “intelligent” per se. They just had to look cute, have a lively personality, and be very loyal. And that’s exactly what they are. It is not a fault of theirs that they are more “primitive” compared to, let’s say, German Sheperd, Border Collie, or a Golden Retriever. The Bulge-eyed buddies are perfect at what they do: companionship services. They would actually suit an older couple whose kids grew up and live separately. They offer much-needed affection and love to someone who feels lonely.

 pug therapy

Read more about: There Are Many Good Names For Pugs

Ways To Keep Your Pug Mentally Stimulated (Bullets)

So how does a pet parent make sure his wrinkle-faced pup is “on top of its game” as far as Pug intelligence is concerned? 

  • Puzzle Toys: an excellent way to keep that bored Pug pup in order to keep it from destroying the house and preventing excessive barking. You can fill each of these toys with your pal’s favorite treats and watch it “work” for its food. This game will teach it patience, perseverance, and self-discipline. A lot of great options are available online at or But there’s one toy that a lot of canine fellas prefer over any other ones out there: the Kong toy. It’s made of rubber, shaped like a tube, and various treats can be stuck in it for the pooch to collect. It can be given out frozen in the summer to cool a furry friend on those scorching hot days.
  • Playing Hide and Seek: a great game to stimulate your Pug’s explorer senses. A Pug pup will have to use its senses of smell and hearing to find its pet parent. Perfect entertainment option for the whole family to enjoy. 
  • Fetch: a good training game to teach your canine fella to obey while providing an excellent physical exercise option (since a lot of running is involved). You can fetch practically anything, any toy, but the Frisby ones and the bouncy balls work the best!
  • Sniff and Explore During Walks: just a simple walk in the neighborhood will be beneficial for your Pug as it needs to explore its surroundings. That’s how it learns about the world, through the sense of smell. Its nose is like a radar. It detects different scents and a pup learns to identify objects this way (eatable, non-eatable, just plain “weird”).
smart pug dog
Smart Pug dog


A pug’s intelligence level may not be very high because of the breed’s history and breeding purposes. However, it is a very trainable, sociable, and loyal dog. It has enough common sense to comfort you if you are down by cuddling beside you because it will sense your sad energy. Honestly, it will be hard to find a dog who has better companionship skills than this wrinkly furry creature. 

A Pug definitely has the potential to develop into a very witty dog. However, a pet parent has to invest time and do some research to find the best mentally stimulating toys for his fur baby. And with so many of them on the market, it will not be hard to find a Pug’s next favorite “smart” toy.

Enjoy your playtime together and happy bonding!

Learn more about: What Colors Are Pugs You Ask

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.