Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Hug
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The amusingly named Hug or Siberian Hug is the offspring of mating a male Pug with a female Siberian Husky. The mating should always be this way round, due to the size differences and problems giving birth when the smaller breed is the mother.

There is no denying the Hug is an attractive fellow, of medium size with a short to medium length coat. They are loving and characterful, but can be difficult to train and are consummate escape artists. For this reason, Hugs aren’t an ideal breed for first time owners. However, on the plus side, they love to be adored and can make great family pets when their need for exercise and mental stimulation are met.

About & History

In common with other hybrid breeds, the story of the Hug is a relatively short one and really belongs to that of the parent breeds.

The Pug

The Pug has a long history dating back to ancient China. It’s thought they share some ancestry with another dog of Chinese descent, the Pekingese. The Pug breed was rarely seen outside of China until the 16th century when trade with Europe started. These undeniably attractive dogs with wonderful personalities soon became immensely popular with European royalty, as illustrated by one pug dog that was even credited with saving his royal master’s life.

As the centuries progressed, so the looks of the Pug have changed. Flatter faces became fashionable and selective breeding took place to accentuate this feature. Hence modern Pugs look quite different to their ancestors

The Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky is also a venerable breed, with DNA tests hinting at them being one of the oldest dog breeds in existence. They are thought to have originated as the dogs of Siberian nomads, used as sled dogs and to keep families warm at night!

The Siberian Husky was imported into Alaska in the early 20th century, as part of the Gold Rush. Their suitability to the extreme climate made them invaluable as sled dogs and to provide vital transport when the weather closed in.


A hybrid dog’s appearance can favour either of the parent breeds or be a true mix of both. Thus no assumptions can be made about an individual Hug puppy’s looks when full-grown. Those Hugs that are a true mix will be smaller than a Siberian Husky but bigger than a Pug. They are stocky, solid dogs (but this doesn’t excuse them becoming over-weight) with sturdy straight legs.

The Pug’s flat face impacts the Siberian’s snout, to produce a shorter, but still defined muzzle. Interestingly, the large eyes of the Pug are likely to show up in the Hug, whilst some may inherit the piercing blue colour common in the Husky breed. The Hugs’ ears may be pricked up, dropped down, or a jaunty angle in-between. As for their tail, this may be straight or curled in that characteristic Pug-doughnut.

An attractive feature of Hug is their tendency to inherit the Pugs’ black mask and dark ears, whilst other inherit the tradition facial markings of the Husky. Coat colours are variable with a predominance of fawn (if the Pug parent was fawn) but also leans to black, grey, sable, and white. The coat itself may favour the dense double-coat of the Husky or the shorter smoother hair of the Pug.

Character & Temperament

Both parent breeds can be described as ‘characterful’, which is code for saying they have traits that make them difficult at times. For the Siberian Husky, this is their tendency to escape and roam, whilst for the Pug it is stubbornness. However, both breeds are not malicious or aggressive in their intent, just single-minded.

This does mean their lovechild, the Hug, has the potential to be wilful and difficult to train, along with being lovable and totally adorable. Thus, despite their cuteness, they are not suited to first time owners.

A well-adjusted Hug requires a combination of plenty of exercise (as an outlet for their energy) and reward-based training to iron out their more mischievous side. This need for entertainment and exercise, means that they may not be suited to apartment living and will do best in a spacious home.


Keep in mind that the Siberian Husky has a reputation for ignoring recall and being an escape artist. Then throw into the mix that Pugs can be stubborn, and the result is a dog that has the potential that novice pet parents may struggle to train.

Of course, this can largely be overcome by consistent, sympathetic training that motivates the dog to do as required in a positive manner. But the wise owner is aware training is no ‘stroll in the park’ and is prepared to put the hours in to achieve a well-behaved dog with a reliable recall.


Hybrid dogs are relatively new on the scene, which means there is no established database of health problems to which they are prone. However, just as a Hug may inherit looks from one or other parent, it’s a fair assumption the same is true of health problems.


Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid glands fail to produce enough thyroid hormone. The latter is responsible for the dog’s metabolic rate or how quickly they burn calories. Affected dogs have a number of symptoms, including weight gain, lack of energy, poor coat, and hair loss.

Happily, hypothyroidism is readily diagnosed on blood tests and easy to correct with a daily hormone supplement. However, once hypothyroidism develops, the condition is lifelong which means medication is required for the rest of the dog’s life.

Mast Cell Tumours

Mast cell tumours are a form of cancer, which most commonly affects the skin. The tricky thing with mast cell tumours is that the most aggressive forms can spread and be potentially life-threatening. For this reason, any skin lumps on a Hug need to be taken seriously and should be checked by a vet.

For the least harmful variety of mast cell tumours, surgical removal is curative. However, the most aggressive forms require removal with wide margins of healthy tissue and may still need a form of chemotherapy. Hence, any suspicious skin lumps are best removed before they can do any harm.

Skin Allergies or Atopic Dermatitis

Whereas people with allergies sneeze and have runny eyes, dogs with allergies have itchy skin. Dogs can be allergic to anything in the environment, even common things like pollens or grass sap. Symptoms include excessive licking (usually of the paws), recurrent ear infections, and extreme itchiness.

Ideally, the dog would not come into contact with the thing to which they are allergic. But this is rarely practical or possible, especially with pollen or grass allergies. Instead, there are now many options for allergy control, all of which work well and differ mainly in terms of cost and type of side effects.


The Siberian Husky’s thick coat and the Pug’s flat face mean they both struggle to cope with hot weather. Combined together in the Hug and you have a dog at risk of heat stroke in the summer months.

Take care to avoid exercising a Hug in the heat of the day, walk in the shade, and always take plenty of water when exercising.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The parent dogs are at opposite ends of the energy spectrum with Siberian Huskies being super-energetic and the Pug a couch potato. The end result is a dog that requires moderate to long walks each day, and it’s a mistake for potential owners to hope a Hug is a low energy pooch.


The Hug has a thick coat of short to medium length. Like any dog, they should be checked over after a walk and any twigs or leaves removed from their coat before they form knots. For optimal coat condition, daily brushing is advisable to spread those natural conditioning oils. However, brushing a few times a week is acceptable.

Start as you mean to go on by brushing a Hug’s teeth from puppyhood. This should be done daily, in the same way that people brush their teeth daily. However, never use human toothpaste as the fluoride content is toxic to dogs if swallowed. Instead, use pet toothpaste, which has the added advantage of tasting scrummy to dogs.

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