With around 9 million dogs in the UK, it’s clear the title ‘man’s best friend’ is here to stay. Two in five dog owners share their bed with their dog, and 40% have mixed up their dog’s name with their partner’s or child’s. The love, companionship and laughter having a dog in your home can bring is valued closely by many. However, when making the decision to welcome a pet into your home it’s important to be realistic and research the breed you’re looking at; ignorance can cause problems just like neglect or outright cruelty can.
Jugs are a special little breed and make fantastic pets for families or singles, and while good care and responsible ownership should be practised with all dog breeds, there’s a few things to know about the Jug to ensure optimum happiness for both dog and owner.
Medical care and insurance
Keeping on top of your Jug’s health and medical needs is paramount, as with any pet. Make sure that you register your Jug with a vet as soon as possible, and start building up a relationship with them to get your dog comfortable and happy in the surgery environment. Schedule in important vaccinations and tests after researching what’s needed for the age of your dog. Having good pet insurance organised as well goes hand in hand with this, helping to spread costs and be prepared for the proverbial rainy day.
Considering health conditions
While Jugs are not as susceptible to health problems as pure Pugs (see also our article on how to prolong your pug’s lifespan), be a responsible Jug owner and read up on the conditions so that you are fully informed. They can have a big impact on the overall life quality of your dog and your life as an owner. Some Jugs can inherit the short muzzle and wide skull associated with breathing problems called “Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome”. This means they have trouble breathing during exercise and in hot or cold temperatures. These issues are somewhat balanced by the longer face of the Jack Russell, the other half of a Jug, but keep a close eye on your Jug’s breathing just in case. Jugs can also inherit the bulbous Pug eyes, which can be more prone to irritation from environmental triggers or foreign objects, so check diligently for any redness or swelling which might indicate a problem.
Exercise and diet
Jugs are versatile keepers and do well in apartments, flats and houses. How much room they have to roam during the day – a secure, well-fenced garden is ideal – will influence how much exercise they need, but aim for at least two twenty minute walks each day, as these happy little dogs can build up a lot of energy! It’s also important to think about diet for your Jug and create a well-balanced meal plan to provide necessary nutrients and energy but not get overweight – around a third of pet dogs are obese (not too surprising when 42% are regularly fed human takeaway food) and this can lead to all sorts of health problems. Especially as jugs are on the smaller side, even a few little treats can quickly add up.
Training, obedience, and behaviour
Whether you start with a puppy or acquire an older dog, clear and consistent training is really important. It can be tempting with smaller dogs to let them get away with things if they’re being cute or funny, but this can lead to further obedience and behavioural problems down the line. Like many smaller breeds, Jugs are high-energy, playful, and intelligent, so keeping them engaged and responsive is key. Training classes can really help with this, and they also provide a good environment to get your Jug used to meeting other people and dogs.
Above all, it’s important to recognise the commitment you are making when you welcome a Jug – or any dog – into your home. Jugs can live between 12 and 15 years, so the changes to your lifestyle your four legged friend will bring is not a decision to be taken lightly: but if you decide a Jug is for you, many happy years are coming your way.