Just when we thought that pugs had reached the upper echelons of adorable, they found a way to prove us wrong.
Our favorite snub-nosed canines are causing pure “panda-monium” amongst dog lovers, thanks to a trendy coloration featuring a crisp white coat with black markings. These darling doggies are called panda pugs because of their similarity to China’s famously cuddly vegetarian bear
Before we dive into answering, “What is a panda pug?” we’ll take a look at the more common coat colors available, as well as the limited list of AKC-approved pug colors.
Common Pug Coat Colors
It’s helpful to know the most common colors, markings, and variations you might find to appreciate how rare a panda pug is.
Fawn and black pugs are the most common shade you’ll find, but other hues have emerged over their 2000-year history.
The top-ranking coat color, fawn, covers a spectrum of tan and off-white hues. This coloration often includes a black “mask” and ears.
Black pugs are second on the list. Many breeders are particular about their black pugs because any “parti” gene in their bloodline could result in white spots on their coats.
Silver-coated pugs are a variation of fawn. Their coat looks greyish, ranging from a light, almost metallic grey to darker steel.
Apricot takes on an orange-red hue and appears darker than standard fawn.
Brindle is the only “rare” color that doesn’t result from recent cross-breeding in the bloodline. The consensus is that the coloration is twenty generations old, far enough back that DNA tests return “purebred” on brindles.
Breeders have tried to remove brindle from the gene pool because the AKC breed standards do not accept it, but the charming speckles persist.
Pugs may have a black mask, which starts at the chin, covers the snout, and shades around the eyes. Pups that have the mask also have black ears to match.
Smuttiness is the number of black hairs mixed into the coats on fawn-coated pugs. It gives them a shadowy appearance but is typically not a preferred trait.
Finally, the trace is the line of dark-colored hair that trails from a pug’s neck down to its tail. For dog show participants, a dark black trace gets favored over lighter ones.
Breed-Approved Pug Coat Colors
According to AKC guidelines, black and fawn pugs are the only breed standard accepted. Some shades of silver and apricot can qualify as fawn, but that largely depends on the dog’s official paperwork and the organization’s opinion on that particular coat.
What Are Panda Pugs?
A black and white pug is referred to as a “panda” because of its breathtakingly beautiful coat coloration that resembles panda bear markings.
These little cuties have snowy white fur with black blotches, similar to our bamboo-munching bear friends. However, the most desirable variation is black circles surrounding icy blue eyes.
This coloration is very rare but has become a sought-after option for pug enthusiasts.
Are Panda Pugs Purebred?
Any unique color variation for dogs, including panda pugs, results from cross-breeding somewhere on the family tree.
While pug breeders have a hot debate about the “hybrid” vs. “purebred” status of these black and white pups, panda pug genetics are pretty straightforward.
First, it’s crucial to have a little background on genetics and coat colors. Pugs inherit traits from their parents, just like humans.
When a litter of pugs comes into the world, each parent passes on one version (allele) of a trait, depending on their DNA code. Some of these traits are dominant, and some are recessive. There are three possible combinations of each feature we can have:
- Two dominant alleles (homozygous dominant)– The dominant allele shows physically
- One dominant and one recessive allele (heterozygous)– The dominant allele shows physically
- Two recessive alleles (homozygous recessive)– The recessive allele shows physically
For example, in humans, dimples are a recessive trait. A baby could only have dimples if both parents passed on the recessive allele.
If either parent had two dominant alleles for dimples, it would be genetically impossible for the baby to have dimples because any recessive alleles would hide behind the dominant ones.
Panda Pug Genetics
The same goes for pugs when it comes to coat colors.
Dogs have a gene called the S locus, which codes for white markings on their fur. The dominant trait is no white markings (S), while the recessive trait is having white markings, or piebald (sp).
This particular trait is unique because they exhibit incomplete dominance, which means that even one recessive gene will show, but not as much as double recessive genes. A single piebald gene will give the dog some markings, while a double will make them particularly white.
That’s the same reason a human born from parents who have light and dark skin will have a skin tone somewhere in between. Human skin tone also displays incomplete dominance.
Another allele exists called Irish spotting, but scientists haven’t discovered where precisely in a dog’s genetic code it exists yet.
A dog with one copy of the Irish spotting allele will have white “accents,” while a dog with two copies will have a white neck, face, legs, tip of the tail, and chest.
Examples include breeds like Border Collies, Boston Terriers, and Australian Shepherds.
While geneticists haven’t quite cracked the panda pug genetics combination, they believe that their unique coloration comes from introducing the Irish spotting and piebald alleles into the bloodline. Aussies are a forerunner because panda pugs often have striking blue eyes.
That means that panda pugs are not purebreds, as they would not have these coat markings if another dog with that allele were not somewhere in the bloodline.
How Much Does a Panda Pug Cost?
Panda pug cost varies based on a few different factors:
- Gender of the dog
- Whether the dog will breed
- The seller’s markup
- The parent’s pedigree
In general, though, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2000 to $3500 for a panda pug. The cost rises if you want to breed the dog, especially if the pup is female.
Conclusion – What Is A Panda Pug?
Panda pugs are certainly one of the most adorable variations, thanks to their charming black spots and gorgeous blue eyes. If you’re interested in shopping around for one, check with the breeder about the pup’s family history, including what breed contributed to the bloodline.