Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Pugapoo
Rachelegreen / commons.wikimedia.org

The Pugapoo is a hybrid dog – the result of breeding a Pug with a Poodle. This blend of genes gifts the Pugapoo a longer nose than a purebred Pug, making them less prone to breathing problems. Both parent breeds have outstanding natures, which is passed down to their pups. The loving, intelligent, and mischievous Pugapoo makes a wonderful canine companion, although their small stature does make them physically vulnerable around toddlers.

The Pugapoo’s looks depend on which parent they most take after. This includes their colour and coat type with some Pugapoos retaining the fawn body and black mask, and smooth coat of the Pug, whilst others inherit a curly, black coat from the Poodle parent. The Pugapoo tends towards low shedding, but cannot truly be described as a hypoallergenic breed.

About & History

The Pugapoo is a relative newcomer, with a history that largely runs parallel to that of other hybrid breeds. To discover more about the breed requires us to look at the history of the parent breeds.

The Pug

The Pug has been around since the birth of Christianity with their origins in ancient China and thought part related to the Tibetan Mastiff (there is a similarity of looks, if not of size!). It may be the Chinese Foo-dogs are a representation of these early Pug dogs, with Pug-like dogs the favourites of Chinese Emperors at this time.

In the 16th century as trade between China and Europe opened up, so the Pug found new countries to adore them. The breed quickly became established with royalty, especially the Dutch Royal family. One particularly famous dog saved the life of William, Prince of Orange, by barking a warning when a military camp was subject to a surprise attack. When the prince later became King William III of England, he brought his pugs along and spread the pug charm to another new country.

The Poodle

As for the Poodle, their name derives from a German word ‘pudel’ meaning to splash around in water. This name aptly reflects their origins duck-hunting dogs in Germany. However, the Poodle as we recognise them was bred in France with a variety of other European water dogs.

These dogs were large, much like the modern standard Poodle. With the rise in popularity of this breed, there came the development of toy and miniature Poodles. They found their own niche as performing dogs and canine companions, ensuring there was a Poodle hearth to suit every home.


Pugapoo Large Photo
Rachelegreen / commons.wikimedia.org

A hybrid dog inherits a mix of genes from either parent. The characteristics each puppy portrays are inherited according to the laws of genetic probability, and even within the same litter, the pups can look very different. The prospective pet parent to a Pugapoo will find the litter made up of dogs ranging from the long nose and curly coat of the Poodle to the flat-face and fawn colouration of the Pug. However, in reality, the majority of Pugapoo puppies are a blend of both traits.

Thus a Pugapoo is most likely to have a slightly elongated nose and drop ears. The texture of their coat can range from smooth through to curly. Indeed, should they have a curly coat then trimming may be necessary, whilst a shorter or smooth coat just requires regular brushing. Coat colours range from fawn with a black mask, to black, apricot, or even white.

The physique of a stocky Pug and an athletic Poodle are very different, and again, the Pugapoo reflects this. Taking the middle ground, a Pugapoo is likely to be of small stature with a reasonable length of leg and a slim to stocky body. An intriguing feature is their tail, which can be a classic Pug curly doughnut that rests on their rump, or the straight, whippy wag of the Poodle.

Character & Temperament

It’s hard to find fault with either the Pug or Poodle temperament. Both are loving and loyal, and delightful characters to boot. Arguably the Poodle is gifted with more ‘smarts’ than the Pug, but in recompense the Pug has that added ‘cute’ factor. Happily, the Pugapoo is reliably a cheerful dog that loves to be around people.

What can also be said is they are bright dogs that like to know what’s going on. A bored Pugapoo will create their own entertainment, which includes chewing, digging, or barking. Indeed, these little dogs can have a big voice, which neighbours won’t appreciate. Be prepared to give a Pugapoo plenty of exercise and attention to prevent nuisance barking.

With regards to suitability to be with other pets and children, the Pugapoo ticks both boxes. However, be aware that the Pugapoo’s small size does make them physically vulnerable should children be too rough. Thus, it’s best to wait until the children are older and can be taught how to behave appropriately around a smaller dog.


Photo of Pugapoo puppy
Rachelegreen / commons.wikimedia.org

Poodles were traditionally circus dogs because of their intelligence, trainability, and athleticism. However, at the other end of the scale, the Pug can be somewhat stubborn and be set in their ways. Blend the two together in a Pugapoo and an owner must be patient and consistent with training.

Key to training success is keeping things fun and motivating the dog. Happily, Pug’s are very food motivated, so using reward-based training methods that involve treats is a guaranteed way to win the Pugapoo’s co-operation.


As a hybrid breed, there is little statistical data specific to the health problems of the Pugapoo. However, certain conditions are prevalent in the parent breeds, so these may pop up in some of Pugapoo pups.

Diabetes Mellitus

The Poodle carries an increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes). This is exacerbated by being overweight and indeed when females are not neutered. Keeping a Pugapoo slim and desexing females will help keep them healthy.

Patellar Luxation

Also known as ‘wobbly kneecaps’, this condition causes the dog to skip steps on a backleg. The patella (or kneecap) is not properly anchored, which makes it slip out of position and mechanically lock the leg. After a few steps, the kneecap ‘unlocks’ allowing the dog to carry on. Mild cases can be managed with occasional pain relief. However, more severely affected dogs require corrective surgery.

Addison’s Disease

This is also a condition to which Poodles are prone. Addison’s Disease means the body doesn’t produce enough natural steroid hormone and therefore struggles to cope with stress.

The symptoms wax and wane and range from stomach upsets to weakness and collapse. The condition deteriorates over time, and can be life-threatening. However, once diagnosed, dogs can be treated with steroid supplements and lead a relatively normal life.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Pugapoo is active for their size and will enjoy moderately long walks and plenty of play. However, be careful with exercise in hot weather, especially if your Pugapoo inherits the Pug’s flat-face. Be mindful of whether the dog is panting excessively, and always take water along on walks in warm weather.

Be aware that Pugs are prone to weight gain, so it is important to give them sufficient exercise in order for a Pugapoo to keep a trim waistline.


The grooming needs of a Pugapoo can vary considerably, depending on their coat type. The Pug and the Poodle are at opposite ends of the grooming spectrum when it comes to clipping. Whereas the short coat of the Pug never requires clipping, the hirsute Poodle often requires a six-weekly parlour trip to keep them neat. The Pugapoo can fall somewhere in between depending on the coat traits.

When given sufficient exercise, the Pugapoo shouldn’t need their nails trimmed. However, a point often overlooked is the need for daily tooth brushing. Without adequate dental care, the Pugapoo is prone to plaque and tartar, which causes gum recession and wobbly teeth.

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