The following is a list of dogs that look like Pugs. I’d bet your first question would be, “Why? Why not just get a Pug?”
Well, there are a couple of reasons why this list (and others like it about other breeds) exists. Some people might not be able to get a breed that they’ve had their hearts set on.
The following breeds will serve as suitable substitutes for those searching for a pug-like breed.
List of Dogs that Look Like Pugs
This little fellow is one of the flat-faced dogs (like the pug) and weighs about 10 pounds, and stands about 12 inches at the shoulder. Though the colors differ (unless you’re more interested in the rare brindle Pug), you can see why this breed is on the list.
Overall, the Affenpinscher breed is well-rounded, relating to being a good companion dog, and is probably a little more friendly with strangers than an average Pug might be. Due to their fur type, length, texture, and color, they’ve developed a couple of nicknames. Among them are “Monkey Dogs” and “Ape Terriers.”
2. Brussels Griffon
The large bulging eyes, the appearance of oversized cheeks, and the pushed-in nose compared to other breeds all scream “Pug” in the realm of similarities- aside from Pug, “Chewbacca” may also come to mind due to their head structure and how the coat is cut.
The Brussels Griffon stands up to 10 inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 10 pounds. They’re generally friendly and open to strangers, love to play, and are very affectionate with their families.
This curious little breed will make a great substitution for a Pug should a substitution be necessary.
3. Dogue de Bordeaux
This breed stands up to 27 inches at the shoulder and can weigh over 110 pounds. Having the privilege of being the proportional owner of the “largest head” title in the canine family, the Dogue de Bordeaux is a powerful breed that has a face resembling that of a Pug.
Not just the face but also the overall shape of the head. From the forehead right down, its neck is layers of wrinkles. Couple that with a short coat, and you have an oversized Pug look-alike.
4. Japanese Chin
They’re one of those small dog breeds, lighter, fuzzier, and longer-eared than the Pug, but the resemblance is all in the face with the Japanese Chin. This breed stands around 11 inches at the shoulder and weighs around 11 pounds.
The positioning of its’s nose relative to its eyes is where the Pug’s appearance truly shines, not to be outdone by its stout and wide jowls. This breed is great with the family, peaceful amongst other dogs, and is cautiously friendly around strangers.
5. Lhasa Apso
On the surface, the Lhasa Apso doesn’t resemble a Pug in appearance at all. It has a floor-length coat, long ears, and a differently-shaped head.
But weighing in at 18 pounds and standing about 11 inches tall, they share the same proportions. Also, the same long fur that makes them differ from a pug aids in a pug-like appearance, as it widens the appearance of its head, jowls, and width of its short snout.
But let it be known the Lhasa Apso isn’t typically as well-rounded in attitude and friendliness as the flat-faced Pug breed.
6. Fila Brasileiro
Okay, I understand that these dogs tower over a pug and most of the breeds on this list. However, if you look at the coat of this breed, you can’t help but make the strange connection between the Brasileiro and the Pug.
This behemoth can stand up to 30 inches at the shoulder and rarely weighs any less than 100 pounds. Their short and smooth coat is the only resemblance to a Pug that you’ll find, as they’re known to be problematic far more often, less friendly, and harbors a strong and dominant temperament.
If you’re looking to capture the overall friendly nature of a Pug and the cuteness in the face, the Pekingese would be a great choice. This little ball of fur stands at 9 inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 14 pounds.
Affectionate, loyal, and regal is how they’re described, and when you look past its long, floor-lengthed fur, you see how the Pekingese head resembles that of a Pug. Big eyes, a pushed-in snout, and wide jowls are framed by its long furry ears- a popular apartment companion.
8. English Bulldog
If a Pug didn’t stop growing, you’d probably wind up with dogs that look like pugs but bigger like the Bulldogs- particularly the English Bulldog. These big wrinkled versions of pug characters stand about 15 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 50 pounds.
Some say Pugs were involved in creating the English Bulldog; others say there is no shared DNA to prove that notion. Regardless, the Bulldog is a wildly popular breed that shares many ‘Puggish’ traits, such as looks, shape, and often temperament.
Unfortunately, Bulldogs also share some of the same ailments, such as trachea issues in some pups due to their pushed-in snouts, which can sometimes lead to breathing issues.
9. Boston Terrier
Standing up to 17 inches tall and weighing in at about 25 pounds, the Boston Terrier shares two major visual features with a Pug. The two features are the overall appearance of its face and the short, smooth coat.
Also, they do share many of the same positive traits. Among them are being wonderful family dogs, being good with children, good with other dogs, being very playful, trainable, and typically doing well with strangers.
10. French Bulldog
The French Bulldog stands up to 13 inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 28 pounds, making it about the same proportions but much heavier than the Pug. They closely resemble each other in appearance, coat length, and texture but most often differ in color.
The width of the face, the pushed-in type of nose, and the wrinkles give the Frenchie a Pug-like appearance but have pointy ears, which are only broken up by not having as much bulbous head as a Pug, and also having upright pointy ears.
Another big dog that looks like a pug on this list is the Sharpei. A Shar-Pei shares a few traits with the Pug, but its size is not among them. This breed can stand 20 inches at the shoulder and weigh 60 pounds.
A Shar-Pei can resemble a Pug from the forehead to the eyes due to the wrinkles and forward-bent, rounded ears. They also share similar coat types (though Shar-Pei’s coat is coarser) and similar colors.
Matching temperaments is a different ballgame. Overall (painting with a broad brush), Shar-Peis are not nearly as well-rounded or even-tempered as a Pug.
12. Shih Tzu
The Shih Tzu weighs up to 19 pounds on average and stands up to 11 inches at the shoulder. Like the Pekingese, the fur of this breed is often kept at floor length, whose facial fur can give the breed a long, bearded appearance.
However, the large eyes, tucked-in nose, and pink tongue (often hanging out like a Pug) can shape a Pug-like appearance. Also akin to the Pekingese, the Shih Tzu shares many of the same positive traits attributed to a Pug, such as friendliness and affection.
13. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed (otherwise known as Cavaliers) shares similar proportions to the Pug, standing up to 13 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 18 pounds. They are also very similar in temperament, though the Cavalier is notably more trainable.
As far as appearance goes, they don’t share too many similarities at all, with one exception. The Cavalier has eyes that are comparable to the Pug, being large and expressive.
14. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are up to 16 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 38 pounds. Staffies are similar to pugs in only a few ways, mostly due to the shape of its head and ears.
Adding to that similarity would be the compact face with a wide mouth. A Staffie is far more trainable than a Pug, but their temperament similarities are stunningly similar.
This isn’t to be mistaken with the American variety of the Breed, which shares greater temperamental differences with both the Pug and the British variety of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Boxers tower over a Pug, standing 25 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 80 pounds. If you were to look at a typical Boxer, they wouldn’t strike you as appearing similar to a Pug at all.
However, if you can catch a glimpse of a Boxer with its ears folded over rather than standing upright, you’ll see why the Boxer made the list. Wrinkled foreheads, stubby faces, and large, expressive eyes all help to attribute a Pug-like appearance.
16. Bull Mastiff
Being a large, extremely powerful breed, the Bull Mastiff dwarfs a Pug standing up to 27 inches at the shoulder and weighing up to 130 pounds! Running along the same track as the Bulldog, you might wind up with a Bull Mastiff if a Pug never stopped growing.
They share very similar appearing coats, ear shapes, and head shapes. Wrinkles also dawn the head and face of the Mastiff, just as you’d find on a Pug. All that said, the temperaments are very different between the two breeds.
If you’re torn between a Pug and a Shih Tzu, why not get your hands on a Pug-Zhu? In appearance, they have many characteristics one may expect from a Pug, but it is possible to wind up with one with a longer snout.
However, coats can vary in length, color, and texture due to being a mixed breed. Sizes also vary but will not likely ever grow to be larger than a Pug. Fortunately, the combined temperament between the two makes for a great family pet.
The Pugalier is a cross between a Pug and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The reasoning behind this breed is to create a Pug with a slightly less pushed-in snout to have a Pug without breathing restrictions.
Most of these pups look extremely similar to a Pug, also sharing similar weights and heights. They tend to be easy-going, enjoying some play with owners or families.
The Japug is a mix between a Pug and a Japanese Chin. They share very similar appearances and sizes to a Pug but tend to be a bit on the smaller side due to the petite nature of the Japanese Chin.
These are loving and loyal dogs, but their temperament differs from a Pug. Being lazier and less keen on being bothered by children are two notable trait differences. Coats and colors will differ within the mix.
The Affenpug is a mix between a Pug and an Affenpinscher. Like the previous mixes, coat types and textures can range all over the place due to the differences between the breeds. That said, the coat of this mix tends to lean more toward that of the Affenpinscher than the Pug.
More often than not, the Affenpug will be more petite than a full-bred Pug and will not grow any larger than a Pug.
The Bugg is a mixed breed between a Boston Terrier and a Pug. A Bugg usually won’t get much heavier than 25 pounds and stand any taller than 18 inches at the shoulder (much like a Pug).
These friendly and energetic dogs love to play and spend a lot of time with their owners. That said, they don’t like being alone and can become anxious or barking when left alone for too long. If you’re interested in this breed, you can buy it from $500 to $1500.
If you haven’t figured it out by the name, the Puginese is a mix between a Pug and a Pekingese. Some dare says that this mix is the best of all in that all of the best traits of either breed are embodied by the Puginese.
The downside of this mix is that obesity can come easily and quickly. They have also proven slightly difficult to train, but not impossible. Puginese does look much like a Pug, but due to the mixing of the breeds, the color combinations and coats are less predictable.
23. Ori Pei
The Ori Pei is among the few mixes in this list that have a relatively predictable size and weight. They typically grow up to 15 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 30 pounds. The mix used for these pups is a cross between Pugs and Shar-Peis.
Now, Shar-Pei dogs are already on this list as dogs that look like Pugs. Therefore, it should be understood that the Ori Pei resembles more of a Shar-Pei than a Pug in appearance. Due to the introduction of a more evenly-tempered Pug, the Ori Pei has a more friendly temperament than the average Shar-Pei.
A Box-A-Pug is a cross between a Boxer and a Pug, but you’d not necessarily know it when you see the dog. This mix leans heavily on the Boxer side concerning appearance (and size in that they’re larger than a Pug). They can weigh up to 25 pounds and stand up to 20 inches at the shoulder.
This is a playful and cheerful mix; high in energy, affectionate, and friendly, but might be a little stubborn in the training department.
The Pugasa is a cross between a Lhasa Apso and a Pug. This perky mix typically stands about 11 inches tall and weighs about 18 pounds. Most often, they look like a shaggy-haired Pug or a shorter-haired Lhasa Apso, varying in length and color.
The Pughasa is reportedly good with families, children, and other dogs. They are a little more independent than others in the “mixed” category but enjoy sharing affection.
Brachycephalic or Brachycephalic Syndrome
All of the above Breeds (from 1-16) can suffer from a condition called Brachycephalic Syndrome. To make short of it, it is a condition that can be suffered by breeds with a flat-faced appearance (pushed-in appearing snouts).
The shape of the head creates difficulties throughout their airways, causing them to snort, wheeze, make gagging noises, or make other noises attributed to these types of breeds.
The following mixed breeds of Pug-based dogs(from 17-25) are less prone to suffer from the extreme ends of this hereditary syndrome as a purebred Pug might, but is still susceptible.
Why Not Just Get a Pug?
It’s a valid question worth answering. This can be for a host of reasons, a few being that the breed is too expensive, wouldn’t do well in a would-be owner’s environment or climate, health concerns, family structure, no puppies available any time soon, etc..…
There are also behavior differences that one may favor over a particular breed that could be considered. For example, if a person doesn’t want to worry about their Pug chasing tires as cars fly by (which many choose to do), they’d find a breed that resembles their long-desired Pug but less that particular tendency.
A logical solution would be to find the next best thing. Or at least a breed that looks as similar to the original breed as possible without the concerns keeping one from attaining the original article.
No doubt, Pugs have a particular look that is adorable and desirable in a small, friendly little package.[ Small, but they say that pugs can take down lions ]
If you want a Pug and have decided that this Chinese dog breed will be a good fit for you or your family, Get a Pug!
They make for wonderful pets, family dogs, and even guard dogs (at least as far as raising the alarm goes).
Being patient with breeders and waiting for a litter to be ready is a good idea.
Mainly to give you time to make sure you’re choosing the right companion that will be with you throughout the next 12-15 years (no purchase of any breed should be off the cuff, but dealt as a serious long-term decision with the weight of strong commitment).
But if you’re looking for a breed that bears certain resemblances to a Pug, like the retro pug but doesn’t want or can’t have a Pug, I am certain this list has given you food for thought and some breeds to explore.