Ana Oliveira
Dr Ana Oliveira (DVM, University of Lisbon)
Photo of adult Chug

A Chug is a Pug and Chihuahua mix – a lovely designer dog that combines Pug and Chihuahua-like traits, such as playfulness, loyalty, and affection. However interesting this mix may be, some less-desirable traits may also prevail, including the Pug’s breathing problems or the yapping nature of the Chihuahua. Chugs are best-suited for families with older children and no other pets.

This is an adaptable crossbreed whose personality and even physical appearance are not fixed, as they may vary according to their Pug or Chihuahua parent contribution. Despite what some may claim, this is not a hypoallergenic breed. With proper training, they can excel in canine sports, such as obedience and rally, and they can make good therapy dogs.

About & History

Chugs were most likely developed as a crossbreed in the 2000s. The history of the breed is uncertain and no breeder has been credited with the development of the Chug as a crossbreed. Unlike other crossbreeds, Chugs have no Poodle ancestry in their lineage. Chugs are recognised by the American Canine Hybrid Club, the Designer Breed Registry, the Designer Dogs Kennel Club, the Dog Registry of America, Inc., and the International Designer Canine Registry.

The history of the Pug can be traced back to 206 B.C. in the Buddhist temples of Tibet. It is thought that Pugs were then taken to China, where they were treated like royalty and lived in the palace of the Emperor. They were later shipped to Europe by Dutch traders, making their way to the western world, where they became wildly popular. Chihuahuas are dogs that also carry ancient origins, probably having originated around 300 B.C. in Mexico. Their history is linked to that of the Aztec civilisation. Chihuahuas were kept in the household because they were thought to have healing powers and to guide the dead to the afterlife.


Chug Large Photo

Chugs are usually larger than the Chihuahua, but smaller than the Pug, though size may vary a lot from dog to dog. They have a smooth and short coat, that can otherwise be long if there are longhaired Chihuahuas in the dog lineage. Their colours may be:

  • White or Cream
  • Golden or Light Brown
  • Chocolate or Dark Brown
  • Black & Brown
  • Black

Chugs may also be speckled, brindle, merle, or spotted. They have a very cute and expressive faces that resembles that of a miniature Boxer, with a short muzzle, almond-shaped eyes, and wrinkles. Their ears can be floppy like the Pug’s, or folding at the peak, like the Chihuahua’s. Chugs are small dogs that can weigh up to 9 kg (20 lb) and are generally 15 to 30 cm (6-12 inches) tall.

Character & Temperament

The character and temperament of Chugs are highly variable, depending, of course, on their parents (the mother in particular), their socialisation and genetics. They are generally affectionate, fierce, and charming. They are playful and sometimes too full of themselves, carrying too much self-esteem. This trait can lead to aggressiveness towards other (and bigger) dogs, so socialisation in puppyhood is imperative to prevent this from happening. This type of behaviour is also known as 'small dog syndrome'.

Chugs can be suspicious and independent like the Chihuahua, or comic and fun like the Pug. They love people, but are not so fond of other pets in the household. They can get along with children, but it is probably not a good idea to mingle Chugs with young children, as Chugs can get easily annoyed. As with any dog breed, however, it is important to make sure children are mature enough to know and understand how to interact with their Chug pet.

Always spirited, Chugs are energetic, outgoing and friendly, love attention and are confident about their charm. A Chug can be a good watchdog, due to its barking and territorial tendencies, as well as alertness. They make excellent family dogs and enjoy human company as much as possible. Chugs are also known for making friends quite easily and they are eager to please. They can be bold and stubborn, making it a challenge to train so, along with socialisation, training should take place at an early age.


Photo of Chug puppy

Chugs are smart dogs and they learn quickly. However, they are also quite stubborn and are usually determined to have it their own way, which can make training difficult. To succeed in training a Chug, one should start as early as possible (eight weeks), keeping training sessions regular, short and fun.

Owners should use positive reinforcement (praise, food rewards, and play) and take advantage of the dog’s eagerness to please to teach basic cues, such as 'sit' and 'stay'. Socialisation is also very important and should start as early as possible by exposing the dog to other animals, people, children, different sights, sounds and situations.


With a lifespan of 10 to 13 years, Chugs generally have healthy lives. The increased genetic diversity associated with mixing two breeds may lead to hybrid vigour (or outbreeding enhancement), which means that the offspring will have less health issues than their parents. However, the opposite may also happen, so Chugs may be more susceptible to the health problems of both the Pug and the Chihuahua. These diseases or health conditions include:

Respiratory Problems

Because Chugs tend to have the same facial structure as their Pug parent, breathing may be difficult, as the breathing passage is compact. These are called brachycephalic dogs, as they have a flat and wide skull shape (opposed to the skull shape of long nosed dog breeds).

This facial structure can lead to difficulty breathing, especially when exercising, as the air passage is too narrow, in addition to noises when breathing, like snorting and snoring. It also causes heavy panting due to the dog’s inability to regulate their body temperature, which is normally done by taking in air through the mouth in an effort to cool down the blood in the cappilaries of the tongue. Lastly, it can cause reverse sneezing, which are snorting or gagging sounds resulting from the rapid and repeated forced breathing through the nose.

Eye Problems

Eye problems are common in Pugs and Chihuahuas, due to the shape of their face and the size of the eyes, which protrude from the face. This can make them more susceptible to trauma from sharp corners or objects at the eye level. Other eye problems might include:

  • Cataracts is more common as the dog ages and can be surgically solved
  • Entropion is when eyelids fold and turn inwards, causing irritation and discomfort, leading to infection
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a degenerative disease that leads to blindness
  • Cherry Eye, the inflammation of the tear duct glands
  • Dry Eye, an insufficient production of tears to lubricate the eyes

Patellar Luxation

Common in small dogs, patellar luxation is a problem in the kneecap resulting from a dysfunction of the kneecap (either congenital or following trauma) that jumps out of place sideways.

The kneecap generally goes back to its place, but causes pain and lameness in the process. When this condition is severe or happens very often, surgery is recommended but overall, anti-inflamattory drugs and rest after the episode are effective in treating patellar luxation.


Obesity, or excessive weight, may increase the severity of any health problem, so owners should always aim at keeping their Chug’s weight ideal.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Chugs have low to moderate exercise needs. They are adaptable dogs who will easily integrate their owner’s lifestyle or routines. An active owner will benefit from their Chug’s energetic way, but a less active person will also be able to provide an interesting life to their Chug, who will follow him/her around the house and will be the perfect company for running errands.

All in all, a 30-minute daily walk and some dedicated periods of active playtime are usually enough to keep a Chug mentally and physically stimulated. Exercise also helps in keeping a Chug mentally stable and with less propensity for developing small dog syndrome or other behavioural issues.


Chugs are known to shed moderately, due to their Pug heritage, so brushing their coat regularly is absolutely necessary to remove dead hair and, of course, to reduce the amount of hair around the house. Facial wrinkles should be kept clean and dry by wiping them out with a damp cloth and then drying them. This should be done every day, every week, or every month, depending on the dog’s needs.

Trimming nails, cleaning the ears, and brushing teeth regularly (as Chugs may be prone to dental disease) are all part of the grooming routine. These tasks are also great bonding opportunities for you and your Chug!

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