How Smart Are Pugs?

Are you on the fence about getting a pug? and you are also wondering if are pugs smart dogs? Actually, they are in the 108th in Stanley Coren’s list of intelligent dog breeds. Will that put you off from getting one? Before you judge them, it’s best if you know how they measure dog intelligence, right?

Typically, their ranking is based on the dog’s working intelligence and obedience. But pugs, are intelligent dogs in a different light. They can easily adapt to their environment making them amazing companion dogs.

We will discuss more about pug dog’s intelligence and other pug tips below.

What’s in this article:
  • 3 kinds of dog intelligence
  • Pugs’ Adaptive Intelligence
  • Pugs’ Obedience Intelligence
  • How Pugs Scored in Coren’s Dog Intelligence Exam
  • Are Pugs Smart?
  • Pug vs Smartest Dogs
  • Are Pugs Smart or Dumb?
  • Are Pugs Dumb or just Stubborn?
  • Pug’s Companionship Intelligence
  • How Can You Make Your Pugs Smarter?

If you’re looking for an adorable and friendly buddy, you can always make an excellent choice with this dog breed. Let’s know more about how pugs are than other dog breeds.

Short History About Pugs

pug dog

This toy breed is one of the oldest dogs. Around 400 B.C., they have been the companion dogs of Chinese Emperors and monks. These owners love brachycephalic dog breeds since they are easy to carry.

This short-headed compact dog is a great companion. Don’t expect them to be your guard dog because they are not like Belgian Malinois. With their empathetic nature, these toy breeds can take away the stress in you.

From China, this companion dog reached Europe and became pets of some Dutch Traders. Even some royal families have them as companion dogs.

What are the 3 kinds of dog intelligence?

pug dog's intelligence

The three main categories of dog intelligence are adaptive, instinctive, and working intelligence. Among these three, pug’s adaptive intelligence is impressive. This makes this dog breed a great companion for a family. Going back, let’s know more about these kinds of dog intelligence.

Adaptive Intelligence

Based on Coren’s guide, there are six tests to measure a dog’s adaptive intelligence. This aspect determines your pet’s ability to get by with daily tasks. It also involves how quickly your dog can adapt to social changes in his environment.

A dog with high adaptive intelligence entails that their instinctive intelligence is also high. Being adaptive means you can easily get along with changes, and instinct is one aspect used for that. Luckily, pugs scored high for this one, making them a highly adaptive dog breed.

Pug’s instinctive intelligence is also impressive. They can seamlessly adjust to the personality of their pug owner. This makes them an excellent companion breed. Because of their instincts and adaptability, there are times when they are stubborn dogs as well. Even though they may not be the smartest dog, they are excellent companion dogs.

Working Intelligence

If you want an agile and obedient dogs, then they must have high rating for their working and obedience intelligence. This means your dog can quickly learn new tricks and obey new commands.

A pug is a stubborn dog but you can train them. A pug’s intelligence on this one is not that high, but you can mix playtime with their training. This is to avoid boring them, and so that they enjoy your company.

A trained pug is good since that means you can give them easy commands to follow. That being said, they are not a dumb breed after all, right? Smart pugs are excellent companions and family pets.

So, do you want to know if your smart dog is a good guide? You can let them undergo the Puppy Test for Service Dogs.

Do you know the top most obedient dogs on the AKC list? Here they are:

  • Poodle
  • Papillon
  • Rottweiler
  • Border Collie
  • Doberman pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Australian shepherd
  • Australian cattle dog
  • Labrador Retriever

Instinctive Intelligence

When we say instinctive intelligence, it means the natural inborn intelligence dominant for a specific dog breed. Other dogs are just smart, they can be trained on almost anything. Some dog breeds are natural hunters, guard dogs, excellent retrievers, and some know how to herd livestock.

For instance, the golden retriever has a naturally impressive trait of retrieving items. That’s why they are used for hunting and police work. They are considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds.

If we look at those natural guard dogs, then we will have the Belgian Malinois, Doberman pinscher, Rottweilers, and the like. These intelligent breeds are naturally adaptive, brave, and loyal. You can train them on almost anything. This is one main reason why they are used by police and hunters.

For the pug owners, you must not get discouraged since pugs are an excellent family pet. Pugs tend to cuddle and love their owners without hesitation. Just make sure to hide your treats, because they can surely find them.

Pugs’ Adaptive Intelligence

Compared to other dogs, pugs can easily adapt to his social environment. They are emotionally sensitive to their owner. That’s why you must avoid doing punishments, instead do positive reinforcement when training them.

Having a high adaptive intelligence, that makes pugs a handsome companion dog. They have good temperaments and stranger friendly. If you are looking for an additional family member, getting a pug is ideal.

Pugs’ Obedience Intelligence

This short-headed breed is temperamental. But you can train them, and their personality depends on the owner. If you know how to train and care for your pugs, you can expect them to be great companions.

Despite being stubborn, the trick is giving them some treats or playtime in between trainings. That helps them feel loved, and of course, they love to play. Always use positive reinforcement when letting them learn new tricks.

There are also times when your pug doesn’t obey you directly. That’s because they are also testing your patience and understanding. These breeds can be goofy and mischievous, so you need to handle them with care.

Take note, your personality matters when training your dog. Be sure to be kind and loving to your pug. By doing that, you are shaping a good behavior in them.

How Pugs Scored in Coren’s Dog Intelligence Exam

pug intelligence

In Coren’s book, there are two major factors observed in measuring most dogs’ intelligence:

  • The repetition of learning a new command quickly
  • Success rate of doing a new command on the first try

These are good standards for measuring a dog’s mental ability, but there are some biases to that. First of all, only purebreds certified by the American Kennel Club can join the test. This undermines those hybrids that are smart as well.

For these exams, pugs are on the fair dog intelligence list. This also means below the average level. Does this literally mean that pugs are dumb? Actually, they are not since they have high adaptive intelligence, which is at par with other breeds.

Being in the fair intelligent level means intelligent pugs take around 40 to 80 command repetitions for them to obey it. Why do you think aren’t pugs smarter than other breeds? The answer lies in their genetics. Pug parents are not as smart and fast learners as the retrievers, huskies, and other most intelligent breeds in the industry.

Luckily, a pug breed scored well for obedience. They have a thirty percent success rate in obeying new commands on the first try. Being in this intelligent ranking is not something to be ashamed of. In fact, some of the famous breeds are also at this level. These include your French bulldogs, Maltese, Chihuahua, and Saint Bernard.

Are Pugs Smart?

pugs instinctive intelligence

Pugs aren’t the smartest in the dog world. But you will be amazed at their emotional intelligence and adaptiveness. This is the best breed characteristics for pugs and many canine psychologist can attest to that. The dog’s ability to understand and comfort its owners is impressive.

Many dog loving community also admire this trait of pugs. Even when they commit same mistake when potty trained, still, they are adorable and loving. Their high emotional intelligence makes them great family dogs.

When it comes to training them with new tricks, it may take you a day to do that. They have a success rate of 30 percent and repetitions of 40-80 for them to learn the command. They are not the smartest dogs but they are one of the oldest dog breeds in history. They were first pet to the Chinese Emperors.

Pug vs Smartest Dogs

instinctive intelligence of pugs

We already know that pugs are smart but they are on the below average in the dog intelligence list. This is not something to cry about, nor put them down. Take note, these breeds are one of the most popular in the world. They are loved by many, not because of their intelligence, rather their adorable nature.

But how do pugs fair when compared to the smartest dogs? Some of these smart dog breeds are the Golden Retrievers, Border Collie, Poodle, Rottweiler, and more. These intelligent dogs can obey new tasks in 5 repetitions. That means they are eight times smarter than pugs.

In terms of success rate, pugs are at 30 percent while the smartest dog breeds are at 95 percent. Indeed, there is a huge gap, and that makes pugs dumb when compared to them. Take note, pugs are not 100 percent a dumb dog. They just do not have the genes to be easily trained like Border Collies and Labradors.

But pugs smart ways to cope with emotion are truly stunning. They can quickly understand and adjust to the personality of the people around them. This makes them highly affectionate and loyal to their owners. Looking at pug’s obedience intelligence, pugs are also obedient to their owners. You just need to have the patience and love to train them.

Are Pugs Smart or Dumb?

not all dogs are like pugs

Pugs are not totally dumb. Their under average instinctive and working intelligence is just due to their genes. They are low maintenance, friendly, and empathetic to their pug owner. Despite having that intelligent level, pugs are highly trainable.

Training your pug isn’t that hard. You can train them for like 15 to 20 minutes, and have a playtime in between. With that, you are keeping them happy and active since these toy breeds like to play. They are observant and quick learner. Just have the patience to train and care for your pugs since they are not like other dog breeds.

The goofy nature of this toy breed will surely ease your stress. Those expressive eyes and wrinkled face will complete your day.

Are Pugs Dumb or just Stubborn?

dumb pug

Pugs are smart, yet they are not as smart as other dogs like the Labradors and German Shepherd. That is also because of their nature of being stubborn and emotionally sensitive. There are good and bad sides to this, yet that makes pugs adorable.

Many pug owners tell that this toy breed is smart, but not that obedient. Stanley Coren’s test is for measuring the obedience and intelligence of a dog. Because of the stubborn nature of pugs, they don’t immediately obey commands. That’s why they have a low score for the test. Amazingly, this toy breed has high adaptive intelligence, especially adapting to people.

Their stubbornness is also related to the independent mind of this dog breed. You have to be patient and loving to your pugs when training them. Take note, they are emotionally sensitive, and so you must avoid shouting at them.

Typically, they are loyal to one person, that is their owner. They seldom obey and interact with strangers, unless their owner tells them so.

Pug’s Companionship Intelligence

independent minded dogs

Every dog has their respective natural trait. Some dogs are naturally good at herding while others in guarding the property of their owner. For pugs, they have the nature to be excellent companions. That’s because of their high instinctive and adaptive intelligence. They can easily understand the personality of their owner.

They can actually community pretty quickly with their owner. However, their independent minds tell them to be stubborn at times. They can be mischievous and goofy at times. Be sure to hide your treats well since they can easily find them.

Their expressive eyes and wrinkled face are adorable. You can easily tell if they are happy or not by looking at their face and actions. Because of their clear communication, it would not be hard for you to care for your pugs.

Pugs are absolutely clingy, but you cannot blame them since they are companion dogs. They are emotional and adaptive, and they love cuddling with their owners. This toy breed also likes to eat and nibble on things. You may want to secure a dog toy for them that they can nibble. Make sure it is non toxic and safe for them.

There are many times when you will see your pugs near your feet, especially during meal time. Some people find this annoying, but for pug owners, this is natural. They may even follow you anywhere inside the house, that’s how clingy they are. That also shows that they are loyal to their owner.

How Can You Make Your Pugs Smarter?

pugs are not dumb breed

Pugs are smart and you can make them smarter by training them daily. Have the patience to repeat your commands since their success rate is at 30 percent. Despite that, their adaptive intelligence tells you they can learn new tricks in the course of time.

Use positive reinforcement when training your pug. They are emotional and clingy, so hurting their feelings is the last thing you would want to do.

You can also use treats and positive words to reward your buddy when they successfully accomplish a task. That being said, we can say that pugs are smart dogs after all.

Final Words…

We hope you had a good time reading through the entire content. And in clarifying this concern of whether pugs are smart or dumb.

We have discussed that pugs are not the smartest breed but you will be amazed at their emotional intelligence and adaptiveness. Their ability to understand and comfort its owners are exceptional.

What matters is your love and care for your pug. And them to you.