Why Do Pugs Have Wrinkles? Learn About Their Origin and 5 Essential Cleaning Steps

If you consider yourself one of many Pug fans, you probably fell in love with the breed not only for their cute button nose, big inquisitive peepers, and adorable triangle-shaped ears. One of the main features that Pugs are known for is their irresistible, soft, and cuddly wrinkles.

Facial folds are a distinctive characteristic of a few brachycephalic breeds like Shi-Tzus, Pekingese, and, of course, our Pug pals. Some dog species have more pronounced folds while others have smoother kinds. Most flat-faced pups don’t have any wrinkles at all when they are born. But why do Pugs have wrinkles, to begin with? Is it something they’ve always had or is it a result of intentional interbreeding that took place a long time ago? Let’s dig into this topic and find out! 

why do pugs have wrinkles
Why Do Pugs Have Wrinkles?

What Dogs Have Wrinkled Foreheads?

Before we talk about our wrinkly Pugs and the reasons why they have those, let’s briefly mention other breeds that are known to have cute facial folds.  

Boxer: these German-based hounds developed in the 19th century as an independent breed and are very affectionate, active, and extremely goofy pooches. They might look somewhat intimidating, but fear not! It is hard to find a more loyal, tender as well as intelligent dog. It has an extremely dreamy look on its face, partially because of its expressive eyes and numerous facial wrinkles. Most of them are concentrated around the mouth and forehead area.

Shih-Tzu: not only do these toy dogs have long manes that are often braided and curled, but they also are the proud owners of deep facial wrinkles. Being originated from China, they were bred to be lap dogs who would serve as devoted confidantes to the Chinese Tang dynasty. They are perfect guard dogs, who would not hesitate to alert their masters of any unwanted company. 

Pekingese: another breed that originated from China and has plenty of wrinkles covering its smushy face. They were also among the breeds adored by the Chinese Royal House, particularly the Tang dynasty. A Pekingese’s face closely resembles a Pug’s: the same button nose, a pair of inquisitive eyes, and perky ears. The only big difference is in the mane: the former one has a long, fluffy coat whereas a Pug has short, straight hair. 

Neapolitan Mastiff: these giants have Italian roots and originated in the Naples area of a macaroni-loving country. They can reach 200 lbs in weight and up to 30 inches in height on average. The way folds hang off its body and cover its entire visage gives off the impression that your big baby is always an oldie. There’s something about these wrinkles that make it look mature and wise.

Bulldog: a pussycat who looks like a beast, ready to eat you alive. Don’t judge a book by its cover! It may have an abundance of folds all over its body, which make it look bigger and scarier, but they are very gentle companions to have. Always ready for a good time, Bulldogs make excellent playmates for children in a household. You might be surprised, but they have Asian roots just like the aforementioned breeds! 

Now, coming back to Pugs: why do Pugs have wrinkles in the first place?

Related Reading: How To Treat Infection In Pugs Wrinkles

Why Do Pugs Have Wrinkles?

To answer the question “Why do Pugs have wrinkles?” we need to look deep into Chinese history. Since it is a known fact that wrinkled buddies belonged to royal courts and were devoted as well as attentive guards, they were bred to look royal. What is implied here? The way Pugs’ faces are covered in folds resembles the Chinese lettering for the word “prince.” Talking about canine blue blood! Pugs were true aristocracy in the Asian dogdom for centuries, starting at around 400 B.C. Later on, they crossed the pond with the European merchants who brought a few Pugs with them to be introduced to aristocrats. 

Quite a few European royal houses immediately picked up on an Asian Pug craze, admiring and adoring those cute flat-faced fellas. One of the most famous royal Pug masters was Queen Victoria of England. Not only did she acquire a couple to make them her pets, but also started her breeding practices. 

 While having wrinkles may be the distinctive Pug feature that they are loved for, an owner has to know how to clean them properly to avoid the numerous skin infections Pugs are inclined to get.

How To Clean Canine Wrinkles The Right Way?

Follow the steps described below to take care of your fur baby’s folds the right way.

  • Wipe Folds with a Clean, Damp Cloth: it is important to use a rag/paper towel that is specifically intended for your baby’s wrinkles. You don’t want to use something that you use around the house to dust, for instance. To be on the safe side, you can utilize wipes that are specially formulated for your pet’s sensitive skin. You don’t have to search specifically for Pug wrinkle wipes, as any canine-friendly brands will do the job.
  • Go Deep into The Wrinkles: make sure you go all the way down into the crease where a fold starts. Sometimes bacteria are harboring very deep and you need to get all of the gunk out before it causes a skin issue like dermatitis. 
  • Be Careful, Don’t Hurt Your Pug: as you clean, use gentle sweeping motions, and don’t press too hard on your pal’s skin. Since you can’t feel what a Pug feels when you do it, you may apply too much pressure and hear your pooch squeak as a result. 
  • Inspect Creases for the Presence of Infection: after you are done cleaning up wrinkles, look through them carefully and see if there are any signs of redness or beginning infection. If affirmative, schedule an appointment with a veterinary specialist. He/she will be able can shed light on your pet’s derma condition and prescribe necessary treatment where applicable.
  • Finish Cleaning Routine by Thoroughly Drying Wrinkles: the last step in the Pug hygiene routine is to dry all the folds out well to get rid of the remaining moisture. Bacteria love warm and wet environments, therefore to keep your mutt gunk-free you need to be sure that its face doesn’t have any aqua left.  
pug wrinkles
Pug Wrinkles


Some Pug enthusiasts may have had a question of “Why do Pugs have wrinkles?” that we tried to answer in this article. Indeed, it is a very peculiar Pug’s feature that adds to its overall canine charm. Yet a Pug owner has to keep up with his/her wrinkled friend’s regular hygiene and follow the proper cleaning steps we have covered in detail. Spotted any redness and/or foul smell coming from your fur baby’s wrinkles? It may be time to call an animal care professional and bring a flat-faced fella into the office to find out the reason why. 

Related Reading: Do Pugs Slobber? 8 Reasons Why Canines Do That

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.