Are Pugs Intelligent?

Are Pugs Intelligent

Pugs are charming dogs considered to be excellent family pets. They are affectionate and have a cheerful personality that will fill every member of the family with joy.

Dogs are among the most intelligent animals in the world not only for their ability to carry out certain activities but also for their ability to understand human emotions. Pugs are not the smartest dogs. In fact, they rank below average in this regard.

While Pugs are not the smartest dogs when it comes to obedience and working IQ, they are known for their high adaptive intelligence. That means they communicate well with people and understand their emotions and feelings.

How Intelligent Are Pugs?

Pugs are ranked 108th smartest dogs in terms of work and obedience IQ. Does that make them dumb dogs? No! Despite their position in the ranking, Pugs can learn quickly (although not as fast as other breeds) and understand the emotions of their owners.

You have to keep in mind that there are 3 types of intelligence:

  • Instinctive intelligence
  • Adaptive intelligence
  • Work and obedience intelligence

Among all these types of intelligence, the Pug stands out for its adaptive intelligence. This type of intelligence is what allows canines to solve problems by taking into account past experiences.

Therefore, we can say that Pugs excel at remembering things that have happened in the past and learning from those experiences.

Many people believe that Pugs are not intelligent simply because they do not have good instinctive intelligence, but the reality is that they do not know the existence of the other two types of intelligence.

Pugs do not have good instinctive and obedience intelligence, especially due to their brachycephalic nature.

These canines are characterized by having flat faces and snouts, which causes breathing problems. This situation causes their brains to not receive enough oxygen, negatively affecting their intellect.

Pug Performance on Intelligence Tests

As we have already said, Pugs are ranked 108th among the most intelligent dog breeds in the world.

This classification is made up of 138 dog breeds in total, so we can say that Pugs are not in a very high position. However, we have already clarified that this does not mean that they are dumb dogs.

We have indicated that Pugs are noted for their adaptive intelligence over their instinctive intelligence.

That’s because tests show that these dogs need between 40 and 80 repetitions to learn a new command compared to the top 5 dogs that only need about 5 repetitions. The number of repetitions can vary depending on the difficulty of the command.

On top of that, the Pugs also didn’t stand out in the obedience test. These dogs only had a 30% success rate of successfully obeying a command on the first try. The most intelligent breeds usually have a 95% success rate.

What Types of Intelligent Behaviour Can a Pug Display?

Pugs are not that smart when it comes to learning and obeying commands. However, the following behaviours indicate that your dog is smart in other ways:

  • Although they are not the best at learning new things, they love to learn new tricks to make their loved ones feel good.
  • They will record in their minds what their loved ones like most and will try to make them happy with it.
  • They have the ability to understand the feelings of their owners and feel empathy.
  • They are great at learning from past mistakes.

Should I Train My Pug Despite Its Low Instinctive and Obedience Intelligence?

Of course! Regardless of what type of intelligence your Pug excels at, any breed of dog needs to be trained. Training is an important part of the life of these animals.

As we have already told you throughout this article, Pugs are not the best dogs to learn and obey commands since they tend to be slower to learn than others.

Even so, it is possible to teach them any command as long as you have a lot of patience and perseverance and use the positive reinforcement method. Remember that positive reinforcement consists of rewarding the canine every time it obeys you or behaves correctly.

One of the things that makes Pugs not good at learning new commands is their headstrong personality. These dogs may not obey you simply because they don’t want to. That is why positive reinforcement is very important.


If you want a dog that is as intelligent as a Border Collie, Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, etc., then a Pug is not for you.

The Pug stands out for its intelligence when it comes to remembering and learning from past experiences, but it is not the best dog when it comes to learning new commands and skills.