How Do I Tell If My Pug Is A Purebred Pug?

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Pugs are sweet and lovable pets and are extremely popular amongst dog lovers. If you have a pug, you may have wondered if your little wrinkly-faced pup is purebred. Pugs must meet specific standards to be considered purebred. Knowing whether your pug is a purebred pug can help gain information about your dog’s health and genetic background. 

Read on to learn more about the pug breed and how to tell if your pug is purebred. 

History of Pugs

Pugs are one of the oldest dog breeds still being bred today. The original pug breed can be traced back about 2000 years to the Chinese royal family. These cute and affectionate pups were originally palace pets, serving as companions to the emperor and his family. 

By the 1500s, the Chinese introduced the dog breed to European traders, and since then, pugs have become beloved by people around the globe. In 1885 the American Kennel Club officially recognized the pug as a dog breed.

Today, pugs are among the most popular dog breeds for domestic pets. With so many mixed breeds and new variations that have occurred throughout the centuries, it can be challenging to determine if your dog is a full breed pug. 

purebred pug

How to Tell If Your Pug is Purebred

It can be hard to confirm that your pug is an authentic purebred. The breed’s long history means that many dogs within the pug gene pool don’t meet the technical criteria to be called purebred. 

If you want to know whether your pug is purebred, there are a few ways to investigate. 

Physical Features

The most obvious and straightforward step for figuring out your dog’s genetics is looking at its physical appearance. By comparing your dog’s appearance with the description in the American Kennel Club’s pug breed standard, you can get some helpful clues about your pug’s background.

A purebred pug should be about a foot tall and weigh 14 to 18 pounds in terms of size. Pugs are small, thick, and square-shaped. If you have a pug with long legs or a long body, it most likely has additional breeds in its genetic profile. 

A pug’s face is particularly recognizable: it has a large head, round eyes, and deep wrinkles. Purebred pugs also have a slight underbite. 

Other classic pug traits include a curled tail, a wide chest, and muscular thighs. 

purebred pug


Another helpful resource is your dog’s veterinarian. Experienced veterinarians have worked with purebred dogs before and can recognize different breeds’ distinct traits and health issues.

Consulting a veterinarian about your pug is important since purebred pugs are at high risk for many health problems that you need to monitor. Your veterinarian will likely be able to guess whether your pug is purebred based on the types of health problems they have. 

Veterinarians can also accurately guess purebred status based on the dog’s appearance and temperament. Dog breeds have specific visual traits and consistent personality traits, which a veterinarian will be able to identify after having treated other dogs of the same breed. 


If you got your pug from a breeder, you should also receive documentation outlining the pug’s family background and health information. This type of documentation should also list the organization with which the dog is registered.

Purebred dogs are certified by clubs or institutions, such as the American Kennel Club. When a purebred puppy is born, a breeder should register the dog with an organization and share information about the puppy’s lineage. 

You can use this documentation to get a more detailed background on your pug’s genetics, as well as pertinent information about medical problems that run in your pet’s family. 

However, documentation and registration can only be so reliable. When you go through your pug’s paperwork, you may find gaps in the information or a lack of detail that won’t be very helpful for your research. 

DNA Testing

If the dog’s paperwork is inconsistent and the veterinarian isn’t sure about the breed, you may want to look into DNA testing

DNA testing for dogs can’t give a full confirmation on breed, but it can identify parentage and genetic markers, as well as determine which breeds in the lab’s database your dog most resembles. 

While DNA testing won’t give you a definitive answer about the breed, lab tests’ information about parentage and genetic traits gives insight into your pug’s health. The results from a DNA test can warn you about congenital illnesses and allow you to take preventative health measures with your pug.

Even if you don’t mind your pug’s purebred status, a DNA test can still be beneficial for learning more about how to best care for your dog. 

purebred pug

Is a Purebred Pug a Good Dog?

Overall, pugs are friendly dogs that make great house pets. They are affectionate, goofy, and intelligent. 

Pugs also make great family pets: they are good with children and enjoy the company of dogs and other animals. While they aren’t easy to train—they have a rebellious streak—pugs are social, friendly dogs that make an adorable addition to any household.

Although pugs are friendly dogs, they are prone to health complications. Purebred pugs have a respiratory condition that causes their flat faces. In addition to breathing issues, pugs are at risk for many other problems, including seizures, hip dysplasia, and eye conditions. 

Be prepared to spend money and time on your pug’s health issues. Pugs usually require extra doctor visits and procedures and special diets and medications. If you don’t have the time or money for a dog with medical needs, purebred pug puppies might not be the best fit for you.

Some people feel that it is more ethical to get a mixed- or cross-breed pug to discourage the continued breeding of purebred pugs. Since purebred pugs have so many debilitating health issues, animal rights activists believe it is wrong to continue to pass those problems on to more dogs intentionally.  

A mixed pug breed will have all of the delightful personality traits of a classic pug but with a lower risk of health problems, making it an excellent choice for anyone who wants a pug but can’t afford the medical issues. 

Final Thoughts on Purebred Pugs

There are many ways to verify your pug’s genetic background. By reviewing the documentation from the breeder and consulting your veterinarian, you can determine if your pug is purebred.

Purebred or not, pugs are fantastic pets, and you will immediately fall in love with your new companion. 

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PugFacts is a small team of devoted PUG owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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Expert tips, advice, and inspiration to keep your PUG healthy and happy

PugFactsGuide is a small team of devoted Pug owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your Pug! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.