Pugs Smiling: Can They Smile & How to Tell? + Photos

pug smiling

People can’t help but love pugs. There’s something about that squishy face and compact body that makes people want to stop and say hello. With a playful energy, stubborn attitude, and expressive eyes, what’s not to love?

However, one thing people often say about pugs is that they aren’t the most facially expressive of dogs. It’s all down to way in which they have been bred. But don’t let that make you think pugs don’t smile. Pugs do smile, and I am going to show you some very smiley examples with some photos and videos of this breed grinning!

But first, let’s just put that misconception to bed once and for all!

Can pugs smile? Pugs do smile due to have quite wide mouths. They can open their mouths wide, curling the sides of their lips up to form what looks like a happy expression. When smiling, a pug’s eyes will also narrow slightly too.

Can my pug really smile though?

Before I show you the videos and photos of pugs smiling, the way dogs show happiness is very different to humans. Whilst you might see lots of photos on social media of what appear to be dogs smiling, they aren’t doing the same as we do.

They can’t actually smile like humans, but their face and mouth can really look like they are. It’s because when dogs are happy, they will have softer eyes, relax and open their mouths, pull back their lips, and let their tongue pop out – and it really does look like a proper smile.

Will my pug be a smiler?

Now this really depends, and sometimes it’s down to genetics. Some will appear to smile more than others, so if a pug’s smile is important to you, ask to see photos of the puppy’s parents before you buy – you might get some insight into their potential facial expressions then.

Photos of pugs smiling

I’ve scoured the Internet to find the best pug smile photos I can gather into one place. There are some adorable grins on display here; check out these winning smiles!

smile 2
You can just start to see the hint of s smile with this guy. (Image licensed and purchased from StoryBlocks.com)
pug smile 01
Look at the grin on this little fella! (Image licensed and purchased from StockUnlimited.com).
lifes good
Pug life… is good. Image copyright Sassfrasturnip on Reddit.
You got to admit, it’s quite infectious! Image copyright Dippydaloo on Flickr.
He may be tired, but he can still crack a smile. Image copyright Desxiree on Flickr.
snow smiles
Smiling in the snow. Image copyright DaPuglet on Flickr.

Videos of pugs smiling

And then here’s some live action pug grins on YouTube.

How to tell if a pug is happy?

Pugs don’t always smile to show happiness. Our own friend’s pug rarely opens his mouth wide with a big toothy grin, but instead exhibits other traits which suggest pleasure.

For example, you might have a pug that does one or a combination of the following to show their happiness towards you and with life.

  • He wiggles his rear end.
  • He wags his little tail (as far as a pug can).
  • He will be playful
  • He will want your attention (and even bit a bit clingy).
  • He will poke his tongue out
  • He will give you the classic puppy dog eyes look.
  • He will relax and open his mouth.
  • He will not be in a destructive mood.
  • He won’t have lost his appetite.
  • He will be healthy and happy.

How to keep your pug smiling and happy all the time

To keep your pug healthy, happy, and possibly even smiling as much as possible, then it’s all down to responsible ownership. Here are a few things which might sound obvious to most owners, but still worth repeating to keep your pug’s smile intact.

  • Exercise your pug to keep them active and engaged.
  • Feed your pug a nutritious and tasty daily diet.
  • Take your pug to the vet for regular health checks.
  • Clean your pug regularly, paying attention to the skin folds and ears.
  • Buy your pug toys to play with.
  • Consider getting your pug a companion to avoid loneliness.
  • Stick to a routine with your pug so he knows what to expect each day with no stress.
  • Keep your pug’s temperature just right, both indoors and out.

Why do dogs appear to smile?

As I explained earlier, a pug smiling isn’t the same as a human smiling. However, scientists do believe that they way dogs relax their mouths and body to look at us is something they have learned to do in response to our own behavior.

Through centuries of being domesticated, dogs have learned to “smile” back to us to get something they want, or to reflect happiness.

It’s really interesting how they have evolved to give us a smile in order to get a positive response back, like a doggy treat or food. You can read more about this on LiveScience.com.

Handy Hint: I’ve also published a guide which tells you what signs to look out for to make sure your pug is happy and loves you. There are 21 reasons that signify happiness.


Now you know just how adorable their grin can be, take a look at some of my other pug related articles. Over the coming months I will be publishing a lot amazing pug breed content so please bookmark Doggysaurus and keep coming back for updates.

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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