Why does my Pug look sad?

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Pugs give off cuteness and happiness to all of us. That is exactly how I feel whenever I see a little bean of this breed. However, their face does not say the same, it looks rather unhappy. Have you ever been curious or wondered why? I definitely have and in fact, I decided to find the real reason that makes a Pug look so sad. So let me tell you about it too.

Pugs are not emotionally sad but rather appear sad. Their facial features make them appear unhappy to us since they resemble the expression of a human’s wide-eyed sad face. In other words, Pugs are not sad dogs by default but their natural-relaxed face appears sad to us.

You see, Pugs belong to a dog group called “Brachycephalic Dog” also known as “flat-faced or squish-faced dog”. A special trait of this dog group is that they have a unique looking face (sad face) due to their genetics. Therefore, their faces develop to be flat-faced with deep wrinkles around wide and dark eyes.

Pekingese, French bulldog, English bulldog, Boston terrier and Pug are brachycephalic dogs and what all of them have in common is of course, their similar looking face. They just have distinctive facial properties that resemble a sad face unlike other dog breeds. It is simple as that.

Why does my Pug look sad
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Do Pugs get sad emotionally?

Yes certainly, Pugs get sad as they are quite emotional creatures and can feel all kinds of emotions like any other dog. Although their face already has a sad look, you can not determine whether the dog is sad or not as their face can be deceiving since it always has the sad look.

I mean the dog can be extremely happy and excited, yet its face would look super sad.

So despite what the face says, Pugs can get sad, happy, excited, jealous, frustrated, anxious and every other emotion. You name it.

Generally, Pugs have a really loving side as well as a serious side to their behavior. So, in order to know whether your Pug is sad or not, you have to examine its behavior and surely, not what its face looks like or says.

What are the reasons that make my Pug emotionally sad?

There are numerous reasons that can make a Pug sad. Namely, they can be boredom due to lacking attention from the owner, phobias and fears, physical pain due to an illness or injury, drastic changes to the dog’s environment and human family and lastly, it can also be the dog’s normal personality.


You may think you spend enough time with your Pug such as the time during exercising the dog or feeding the dog but it takes only a couple hours of the day. For the rest of the time if the dog is alone at home or you do not pay much attention to it whatsoever, that can feel like an eternity to them without any interactions.

Pugs usually are not active dogs and they spend most of the day by sleeping. So the only excitement that your Pug also gets is probably when it eats foods and be with you such as when playing games and cuddling.

Eventually, such a dull and boring daily routine will lead to boredom. Then, the next stage is sadness.

However, if the dog continues being sad, it also could lead to depression.

Phobias and Fears

Being sad can be a symptom of an underlying fear or a phobia of the dog. Some Pugs can develop phobias due to past experiences such as hearing loud noises like thundering or fireworks and once, they began fearing these sounds, even the smallest noise can scare them.

Also, the dog may have gotten scared of something in the house such as a shadow of a furniture that looks scary in the dark. As a result of these, your Pug starts to get panicky and frightened all the time. Therefore, it is also anxious, stressed and sad.

Suffering from an illness or injury

It is not always emotional triggers that make a Pug sad, It can also be a physical trigger such as sicknesses or injuries. These physical conditions can instantaneously change a dog’s mood for the worst.

So, the dog may end up being distressed and sad until it feels well again. Therefore, it is important that you seek veterinary help as soon as possible whenever you notice a symptom/symptoms of a health issue.

Changes of the environment around the dog

Most dogs do not like change. They like living according to a routine.

It’s the same with a Pug. It gets familiar and attached to the surroundings of its habitat. Then, it considers that environment as its safe space since it makes them feel safe and secure.

So when you make a change to that environment, your Pug also gets affected by that change

And therefore, the dog starts feeling uncertain of its new habitat. Thus, with an insecurity like that, a Pug can get sad and feel more negative emotions.

However, it is temporary and the dog will come back to its normal behavior and a happy mental state once it got familiarized with the environment again.

Changes of the dog’s human family

When you got yourself a Pug, not only it starts being affectionate with you but your family members as well. So, the dog gradually starts being attached to them as much as it is attached to you.

So, whenever one of them is absent or treating the doggo differently, it also affects the dog just as much as it does when it is you that are absent or treating the dog differently.

Thus, the dog’s personality changes such as being sad, stressed and frustrated.

It may be the normal personality of the dog

It is just like humans. We meet people who are outgoing and talkative or gloomy and introverted. It is same with the Pugs. Some Pugs are very lively-spirited and bouncy while others are more of the relaxed type that likes being less noisy and therefore, not being excited and happy can also be natural personality traits of the dog.

Why does my Pug look sad
Photo by Burst from Pexels

How can i tell if my Pug is sad?

Your Pug will show the following signs when it is feeling really sad or depressed:

  • Being less enthusiastic: The dog starts being less excited for the activities that it usually gets hyped up for
  • Being less active: Pugs are dogs that already like sleeping a lot throughout the day but somehow, they start to sleep even more when feeling sad
  • Losing appetite: The dog shows less interest in wanting to eat or eats less than usual.
  • Being restless: The dog appears tense all the time and barely sleeps or changes its sleeping routine

How can I cheer up my Pug when it is EMOTIONALLY sad?

Why does my Pug look sad
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

As I said, if you think your Pug is sad because it clearly shows the behavioral signs of being sad (the 4 signs above) and it is not because of their natural face that appears sad, then you can do a number of things to bring back the lively and happy behavior of the dog. So here they are:

  • You can give the doggo an extra treat whenever it shows positive and lively behavior. This can motivate the doggo to try to be happy as it gets him/her treats
  • Make sure your Pug sticks to a certain routine to eat, exercise, sleep and everything else.
  • Take the dog out for walks and let him/her play with other dog pals
  • Spend more time than usual with the doggo and shower it with attention and cuddles
  • Have a schedule to bring the Pug to the vet’s office and ensure it is not suffering from any sicknesses or injuries
  • Make sure your family members also spend quality time with the dog
  • See whether the dog is having a phobia or a fear of something and here is how you do that:
    1. If the dog gets hyper and fearful at night, then likely, the doggo is scared of the dark or a shadow of a furniture – So let the dog sleep in your room at night until it forgets about the delusional thing or the shadow that scares it.
    2. If they look hyper and fearful when it rains and thunders, then the dog is scared of the thundering sounds – At times like these, keep the dog close to you and give a toy to distract it from the noises.

Final thoughts

Why does my Pug look sad
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

It is safe to say that Pugs normally have a happy personality and the fact they look sad is not because they are emotionally sad but rather, they just have facial traits that resemble a sad face.

But a Pug is still like any other dog. So it emotionally can be sad too which can be due to reasons such as boredom, fear and phobias and lack of attention from its favorite human.

To know whether your Pug is really sad or not, you have to check for signs that your doggo might show when it feels blue and sad and they can be changes in behavior such as being less enthusiastic, less active, losing appetite and being restless.

However, you can  cheer up the doggo and bring back the bouncy personality by doing things such as showing love and care, giving treats for positive and happy behavior, ensuring the dog is following a daily routine, taking the dog out for walks more and make sure everyone in the family also gives the doggo praise and love.

Featured image credit: Photo by Indi Palmer on Unsplash

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