Are Pugs Smart Dogs? – Here’s How Intelligent Pugs Really Are

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Wondering if pugs are smarter than other dog breeds? Pugs aren’t the brightest of the bunch. If you are considering adopting a pug, you’ve probably wondered if are pugs smart dogs or dumb breeds. Hold your water, and read carefully. 

Are Pugs Smart Dogs

Pugs are smart and not dumb breed; they have average intelligence, ranking 108th out of 136 on Stanley Coren’s Dog Intelligence List. Get your head around this post, and learn why these brachycephalic dogs ranked so low in these dog intelligence examinations. 


Are Pugs Smart Dogs?

Yes, Pugs are intelligent dogs. They are known for their ability to learn quickly and are considered to be one of the smartest small dog breeds. While Pugs may not be as intelligent as some of the larger dog breeds, they are still considered to be quite smart. They are known for their ability to learn quickly and are often used in obedience training.

However, we must first understand how we measure the intellect of a Pug. We’ll debunk the myth of the “stupid Pug” and explain why this dog breed is more intelligent than it appears. Let’s go ahead and find some additional information about this dog breed and learn if pugs smart dogs are.

How We Measure the Intelligence of Pugs?

Which dog breeds are the smartest? Stanley Coren, a Ph.D. canine psychologist, conducted our most popular dog intelligence research. Coren held obedience trials to assess the “intelligence” of purebred dogs. This trial tested “working and obedience intelligence.” 

Are Pugs Smart Dogs –pug laying on laptop

Working and obedience intelligence assess how quickly a dog learns new commands. It also tests the dog’s obedience retention. Although it doesn’t accurately indicate dog IQ, it’s the easiest to measure. He created the following trial criteria with 199 North American obedience trial judges. 

Coren’s Dog Intelligence Criteria

Coren’s Dog Intelligence Criteria is the cream of the crop when ranking dog breeds based on their intelligence. The criteria, developed by Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, takes the cake in evaluating several factors, such as:

  • Dog’s ability to learn new commands and the number of repetitions required to learn a new trick.
  • The percentage of commands followed correctly. 

The criteria also go above and above by taking into account dogs’ ability to recognize and respond to human emotions and gestures. This test had many restrictions. Initially, only AKC or CKC-recognized dog breeds competed. 

The testing excluded intelligent mixed breeds like the Goldendoodle. Data was needed to rank the breed. The brightest dog breeds list required at least 100 assessments. Naturally, Pugs made the criteria since they were popular and well-known.

Pug Intelligence: Are Pugs Smart Dogs?

Pug Intelligence: Are Pugs Smart Dogs?

Pugs were the 108th smartest of 138 breeds that qualified for the trials. Pugs scored “below average” or “fair intelligence.” neither good nor bad. They may not be the most obedient dogs, but their affectionate and cheery demeanor makes them wonderful companions. 

It’s crucial to bear in mind that intelligence isn’t everything when it comes to pets. At the end of the day, sometimes, a furry companion with a large heart and a silly personality is all you need to liven up your day. 

Pugs vs. The Smartest Dogs

Pugs performed worse than the average dog due to their “below average” intelligence. But how did they fare against the world’s smartest breeds? Pugs can learn a new command in 25–40 repetitions. They obey known commands 50% of the time.

On the other hand, The most intelligent dogs can learn a new command in 5 repetitions or less. They can follow a known command on the first try with 95% accuracy. It’s like comparing apples to oranges when pugs are put up against the most intelligent breeds. Pugs may not be the brightest bulbs in the box, but they have their unique charm, making them great companions.

According to Stanley Coren’s dog intelligence ranking, the 10 intelligent dog breeds are border Collie, Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Shetland Sheepdog, Labrador Retriever, Papillon, Rottweilers, and Australian Cattle Dog. 

Here’s Why Pugs Ranked Low For Intelligence

Are Pugs smart dogs? Obviously, yes, the Pug breed is so talented and one of the oldest dog breeds. Why did Stanley Coren’s intelligence tests score low? Let’s examine the test results. Stanley Coren tests dog obedience. There are benefits to observing how quickly a dog picks up new commands. 

Pug Intelligence Are Pugs Smart Dogs (two pugs standing)

However, it only tells part of the story. Pug owner knows their babies are stubborn! These cute dogs don’t always follow a command right away. However, Pug babies understand, but sometimes they don’t want to respond. Most Pug owners say their dog is smart but disobedient. 

Pugs aren’t dumb because they don’t like to follow orders. They sometimes prefer their way. They communicate well, show their emotions, and can be Independent-minded pugs. Your Pug will not obey you because he doesn’t want to! The pup will listen well. 

Obedience and working intelligence were low, which makes sense. Therefore, choose a breed that fits your lifestyle and needs. Breed characteristics rather than intelligence rankings will determine this. 

You might be interested in reading: Expose the Truth: Do Pugs Have Health Issues? The Surprising Facts You Need to Know!

Reasons Why Pugs Are Smart

Pug Intelligence: Are Pugs Smart Dogs

Pugs are smart in their own way. These dogs are socially and emotionally intelligent. They can read their owners’ emotions and needs by quickly learning human behavior and body language. Here are some pug’s intelligence types that show why this breed is such smart: 

  • The Pug’s Instinctive Intelligence
  • The Pug’s Adaptive Intelligence
  • The Pug’s Obedience Intelligence
  • The Companionship Intelligence in Pugs

Watch this video:

The Companionship Intelligence in Pugs

Pugs are smart dogs with high companionship intelligence, allowing them to bond with their owners and provide emotional support. This toy breed shows companionship intelligence in these ways: 

  • Loyalty: Pugs are devoted to their owners. They love to please and will do anything to protect their family.
  • Empathy: Pugs can read their owners’ emotions. They understand subtle cues and comfort their owners when they’re sad.
  • Intuition: Pugs can sense problems. They can be trained to detect low blood sugar in people with diabetes and warn their owners of danger. 

Pugs love people and crave attention. They love to snuggle with their owners, providing comfort. Pugs, like all dogs, are man’s best friend. Many people in dog loving community love their loyalty and affection. 

The Pug’s Adaptive Intelligence

Adaptive intelligence is a Pug’s jam. This breed made the cut in social awareness and adaptive intelligence. Pugs are intelligent and cunning, so teaching them tricks is simple. This dog breed learns commands rapidly and almost obeys its pug parents. Their cleverness, however, can get them into danger, like when they are permitted to chase squirrels or cars. 

Are Pugs Smart Enough to Be Trained? Are They Easy to Train?

are pugs smart dog: pug with human

Yes, Pugs tend to be intelligent and can be trained, but they can be stubborn and require more training and consistency. Positive reinforcement techniques work best. Remember, training should be a fun and rewarding experience for you and your Pug, so keep things light-hearted and positive. 

How to Motivate a Pug

Training pugs may not be a piece of cake. They can still learn. Just employ the right motivation! Motivation is key to successful training, so take the time to find what works best for your stubborn dogs.

Dog breeds respond differently to motivators. Some breeds enjoy obeying (like Australian Shepherds). Some like their own choosing. Pugs need a tasty treat to start. Pugs love food. They’ll do anything for the candy you’re holding. 

They love having pets. You need more than pets and love to train them. Your Pugs make you do that all day. You can keep your Pug motivated and eager to learn with patience, consistency, and creativity.


After researching and analyzing the intelligence of Pugs, we can conclude that they are indeed smart dogs. While they may not be as intelligent as some of the larger dog breeds, they are still considered to be quite intelligent and are known for their quick learning abilities.

Pugs are friendly and affectionate, making them great family pets. They are also adaptable and can easily adjust to different living situations. With proper training and socialization, Pugs can make excellent companions for both adults and children.

In conclusion, if you’re considering getting a Pug as a pet, you can rest assured that you’ll have a smart and loyal companion by your side. With their unique personalities and adorable faces, it’s no wonder why Pugs are such a popular dog breed.

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Frank Kane

By Frank Kane

Frank is a huge animal lover with many pets of his own. He loves sharing all his knowledge of all creatures here and learning more whenever possible.