If you’re a fan of tiny dogs (and let’s be real, who isn’t?) pugs and Chihuahuas are both real winners of the toy breed. In fact, they’re both so charming that it can be nearly impossible to choose between the breeds.
Lucky for you, you don’t have to choose at all. The Chug—a mix between a Chihuahua and a pug—is the best of both worlds.
Whether you’re looking to add a Chug to your family, or are just interested in learning more about the breed, this is everything you need to know about the Chug.
- Origin: United States
- Size: very small/small
- Lifespan: 10-13 years
- Energy level: medium
- Breed group: toy dog/designer dog
Much like other mixed breed dogs, it’s not easy to predict exactly what a Chug dog will look like. It may take more after the Chihuahua, or it may resemble the pug more closely—and there’s a good chance it’ll be an interesting (and lovable) mix of both.
As far as size goes, you can bet it’s going to be a small dog—but just how small depends on which parent breed it most closely follows in that department. According to the American Kennel Club, the pug usually grows to be about 10-13 inches tall and weighs 14-18 pounds.
The Chihuahua is even smaller—nearly half that size—growing to an average of just 5-8 inches in height, and weighing no more than six pounds.
You can expect your Chug to fall anywhere between the sizes of their two parent breeds.
There’s a lot less room to guess when it comes to the coat of the Chug. Since both parent breeds have short, soft coats, the Chug will have the same. The color of that coat, however, is less predictable.
Pugs are almost always fawn and black, but Chihuahuas can be any color, and may even be multi-colored. For this reason, Chugs can be nearly any color.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog, you’ve found it in the Chug.
Thanks to their short hair, trims are not a requirement for this easy-going breed. Your Chug will need bathing about once a month, and that bath should also include a skin conditioner to keep their skin from drying out, which could cause itching.
Both the Chihuahua and the pug have similar personalities—they’re loving, spirited, and full of charm—so it’s easy to guess the Chug will inherit many of those same qualities.
The rest of your Chug’s personality is a little more undecided, thanks to their mixed breed status.
While we know pugs have an even, stable, and laid-back temperament, Chihuahuas may be a little more difficult to handle. While Chihuahuas are very intelligent and loyal, they can be wary of strangers and are known for being yappy. This is a good thing when you need to be alerted of a stranger’s presence… but not so much when you’re looking for a little peace and quiet.
Your Chug may take completely after one parent breed or may take on facets of each breed’s personality.
The Chug will thrive nearly anywhere it lands—be it the city or the country, a house with a large yard or a small apartment. Thanks to their small size and moderate exercise requirements, they don’t require a lot of space.
If you do have a yard, however, keep a close eye on your Chug, even if you have a fence. Their small size means they can easily function as talented escape artists, wiggling through or under many fences.
The Chug is a great pet for nearly everyone and can thrive with a single person and a family.
Because they don’t require a lot of exercise, Chugs are great for the elderly, as well as anyone with limited mobility.
The only caveat is that they may not be the best match for families with very small children, as their tiny size (especially if they’re sized more like their Chihuahua counterparts) makes them fragile, and small children aren’t always able to handle with care.
Training a Chug
Since both the Chihuahua and the pug are smart dogs that are eager to please, Chugs tend to be highly trainable dogs.
They respond best to positive reinforcement, so you’ll get the best results when using treats or praise to reward a job well done. If you’re using treats, make sure they’re only given in small amounts to keep your dog from overindulging during training time.
Keep the training sessions short and lively to prevent your Chug from getting bored, and you can expect to see results quickly.
The Institute of Canine Biology explains that a recent study suggests mixed breed dogs are less likely to develop genetic disorders than their purebred counterparts. This means that while there can’t be a guarantee your Chug will be perfectly healthy, it does have a better chance of not running into major health issues as it ages.
Of course, Chugs are still at risk for any health issues their parent breeds are predisposed to. To find out more about those, we have to look at the Chihuahua and pugs for clues about what health issues owners might expect to run into with Chug dogs.
Because of their flat faces, pugs sometimes have issues with breathing, especially in very warm weather. If your Chug displays the flat face of a pug, this is something you should look out for, too.
Chihuahuas sometimes experience heart problems and develop loose kneecaps.
Both the Chihuahua and the pug tend to develop issues with their eyes, meaning Chugs are definitely at risk for this, too.
The best way to ensure your dog doesn’t fall victim to these common ailments is to use a reputable breeder who uses genetic testing to avoid major issues with their pups.
Finally, both the pug and the Chihuahua are known for over-eating and are susceptible to weight gain. While they don’t usually require special diets, talk with your veterinarian about how much food your dog should eat and limit them to that amount, while also being careful not to hand out too many treats—no matter how much they beg.
History of the Chug
Chihuahuas and pugs have been mixing for many years, but along with other designer breeds, Chugs have gained in popularity over the last 20 or 30 years.
To really know more about where the Chug came from, though, we have to look at the origins of both parent breeds to see where this dog truly comes from.
The Chihuahua originates from Mexico, when its ancestors, who were larger, were popular companions to the Toltecs about 1,000 years ago. The Aztecs have been credited with making the Chihuahua smaller sometime around the 12th century.
Americans became interested in the breed in the mid-1800s when they discovered it in the state of Chihuahua (hence the name they bear today). Chihuahuas were first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1908. Roles in movies, TV shows, and even commercials have helped to elevate the Chihuahua to the popular status it enjoys today.
As old as the Chihuahua breed of dog is, pugs are even older.
They can be traced back to around 2,000 years ago in ancient China. Chinese emperors liked small, flat-faced dogs, so the pug (among other breeds) was developed as a pet for the emperors and their families. They enjoyed royal status and could not be obtained by commoners.
In the 1500s, Dutch traders brought pugs to Europe. They became a superstar breed in Britain—and later, in the rest of the world.
Getting a Chug
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Bringing a new dog into your home is not a decision to be made lightly. Not only do you need to decide whether a dog fits with your lifestyle, family, and home, but you also need to take some time to figure out what breed of dog is best suited to you.
If you’ve decided on a Chug, you’re in for lots of unconditional love and endless shenanigans. But deciding on a dog is only the first hurdle you’ll encounter. Now it’s time to track down your Chug.
The two most popular choices for finding Chugs are through breeders and rescue organizations. Both options have negatives and positives, so it depends entirely on what type of adoption experience you’re looking for and what’s available in your area.
Since Chugs are a new breed, there may not be a lot of options for finding one through a rescue organization, but it is possible. Internet searching will turn up options for rescued Chugs, but you may have to travel to find one. If the organization isn’t local, do your research and ask questions to make sure they’re reputable.
There may be drawbacks to adopting a Chug dog through a rescue organization. It’s likely the dog you find will not be a young puppy, and you may not learn much about its past. However, its age may also be a plus—there’s a good chance an adult Chug will be house-trained, and it will likely have been socialized through the rescue. It will also have been spayed or neutered and will have received all of its required immunizations.
All of this reduces the cost of ownership for you—as does the adoption fee, which is usually much cheaper than the price of purchasing a Chug from a breeder.
It’s often more difficult to find reputable Chug breeder since they are not a breed registered by the AKC, and therefore won’t be listed among their approved breeders. Before you commit to a Chug breeder, ask around—your vet or other local breeders may be a good resource. When you visit, be sure to ask about any health issues in the dog’s bloodline, and discuss any genetic tests you might want to run.
More on Chugs
Want to know more about Chugs? Rover has you covered with info about their parent breeds, from top names to the best beds, leashes, and gifts for both.
- Chihuahua Breed Profile: An Essential Guide to the Tiny Wonder Dog
- Pug Puppies: Everything You Need to Know
- Cheagle, Chiweenie, Chug: 18 Cute Chihuahua Mixes You’ve Gotta See
- 8 Things Only True Pug People Understand
- Top 5 Toys for Chihuahuas
- 19 Pug Gifts for Pug Lovers
For more information on what it’s like to buy and care for a dog, here are a few resources to get you started.
- The True Cost of Getting a Dog
- How to Adopt a Dog: Your Complete Guide
- The Best Dog Names for Every Type of Dog
- The Best Dog Toys and Chews
Feature image: Flickr