Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Pushon
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The Pushon hybrid is a rather unusual looking dog with its large eyes, small skull and scruffy fur. They typically inherit the curled tail of their Pug parent but will have longer limbs and a fluffier coat thanks to their Bichon Frise side. Petite yet stocky, the Pushon is sturdier than one might assume. It’s rare for the Pushon to have the snow-white fur of the Bichon – most will have cream, grey and black hues, particularly around the face.

Pushon dogs are friendly and outgoing, though some may be slightly reserved when they are first introduced to a new dog or person. They can have a comical nature and relish any opportunity given to them to play games and have fun. Separation anxiety can be a big issue in a number of individuals so this is not a cross-breed that is suited to being left alone for too long.

About & History

Most designer dogs were originally developed during the last few decades of the 20th century and the Pushon is no exception. The trend for mixing Pedigrees together in the pursuit of creating a new breed that was potentially an improvement on its parents took off mainly in America and, it was here, that the Pushon first came to be.

The Pug

Many people mistakenly believe that the Pug is a relatively new breed as they have enjoyed a huge surge in their popularity in recent years. However, nothing could be further from the truth as these dogs are truly ancient and have existed for many hundreds of years. The earliest Pugs can be traced back to China to around 400 B.C.

Gradually, they spread throughout Asia and then eventually made their way to Europe. There, the Dutch took a big shine to them and they were named as the official dog of the House of Orange. We know that they occupied a high standing in society as they can be seen in a number of portraits alongside their royal masters throughout the 16th and 17th centuries.

There’s no denying that the physical appearance of the Pug has changed over time and its ancestors would have had far less exaggerated features. In recent years, there has been a call from the veterinary world to consider altering the appearance of the Pug, to lessen the breathing and skin issues that they experience due to the way they look.

The Bichon Frise

Bichon Frises are well-loved for being cheerful and affectionate and they make excellent family pets. They have been around for a long time and the first Bichons can be traced back at least 600 years. They hail from the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife and were spread internationally by sailors who visited the Spanish territory. As with the Pug, they were a firm favourite among the royals of Europe who would even carry them around in baskets! They belong in the Kennel Club’s Toy Group and are closely related to the Havanese.


While not classically beautiful, there is a certain charm to the Pushon with its deep brown eyes and shaggy coat. While small, they are not ‘shrunken’ like their Pug parent and have well-proportioned bodies and limbs. Usually, their ears are set high on their head and hang down to the level of their eyes. Their muzzle is longer than that of the Pug and they have a well-defined stop. Their body is compact and ends in a whimsical tail that curls over the top of their back and often has a lovely plume of fur.

Pushons are small, growing to between 25cm and 32cm. When fully grown, they will weigh between 6kg and 9kg. As obesity can be an issue in the breed, their weight should be monitored closely. The fur of the Pushon is straight and short to medium in length. During the warmer months, they can shed a significant amount. Black, fawn and grey coats all feature and many will have a facial mask and ears that are darker than their body.

Character & Temperament

Bred from two sweet-natured dogs, the Pushon melts hearts and makes friends wherever it goes. They are gregarious, always keen to socialise with both humans and dogs. It’s not unheard of for them to become over-reliant on their human owners and separation anxiety is one of the biggest behavioural issues within this hybrid. This can largely be prevented by ensuring they are not left alone for too long and are kept both physically and mentally stimulated.

A dog full of its own importance, the Pushon isn’t too shy to let its feelings be known by barking and jumping up. They dislike being ignored and can be quite forceful when it comes to requesting people to spend time with them. This behaviour can be curbed by ensuring they are shown sufficient attention and are trained from a young age.


Pushon dogs do not lack intelligence and have the ability to master a wide range of tricks and cues. Some will be more willing than others to participate in training sessions but all will respond best when bribed with treats! Their food-driven nature is a trait that can certainly be used to the trainer’s advantage, though low calorie treats should be used when possible.


The Pug has recently come under fire for being one of the least healthy Pedigrees and several schemes have been started in an attempt to save the breed from a potentially disastrous future. One of the main ways of improving breed health is by outbreeding them to others, which is where the Pushon comes in! Though the Pushon is not guaranteed to be healthier than its parents, responsible breeding can make it a likely eventuality.

Legg-Calves-Perthes Disease

LCP Disease is an orthopaedic disease whereby the bone of the femoral head disintegrates in young dogs. Signs include lameness, discomfort and muscle wastage over the affected limb. X-rays are generally sensitive enough to detect the disease and most animals can be treated with surgical intervention and physiotherapy.

Patellar Luxation

A common issue in small dogs, the knee cap may pop in and out of place or, in some cases, will remain permanently displaced. When the kneecap is out of line, dogs will hold the limb up and can be seen to ‘hop’ during their walk. Over time, arthritis develops and affected animals become inevitably painful when walking.


Epilepsy causes seizures and usually develops before an animal reaches six years of age. Many dogs will need daily tablets to reduce the frequency and severity of their fits, though these medications can cause side effects, such as weight gain and lethargy.

Atopic Dermatitis

Allergic skin disease result in chronic itching and discomfort which dogs attempt to alleviate by scratching, licking, rubbing and chewing at themselves. While this temporarily makes them feel better, it leads to broken skin and secondary infections, which will worsen the pruritus. Ideally, we would identify what the dog is allergic to and remove it from their environment, though this is not always possible.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The Pushon does not have excessive exercise needs and can be walked a couple of times a day on lead. As well as walking, they like to have the opportunity to explore their garden and have a good sniff. Those Pushons that have smaller muzzles should be watched closely when exercising in warmer weather, as they could be prone to over-heating.


While the Pushon’s coat is not overly long it should still be brushed regularly as they can shed quite a lot. Their pendulous ears require regular checking and cleaning and some may need their ear canals plucked if they are prone to infection.

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