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Brindle Pug: Characteristics, Care, and Training Tips - PawSafe

Brindle Pug: Characteristics, Care, and Training Tips

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

brindle pug

Brindle pugs are a unique and adorable breed that have recently gained popularity among dog lovers. These dogs are known for their distinctive coat pattern, which features a combination of black, brown, and fawn colors in a striped pattern, like a tiger. 

If you’re considering getting a brindle pug, it’s important to know that they require a lot of care and attention. Like all pugs, brindle pugs are prone to certain health issues, such as breathing problems and skin allergies. Additionally, these dogs are extremely prone to eye problems, so it’s important to clean their eyes regularly with safe canine eye wipes to prevent infections and other issues that could cause bloodshot eyes or worse.

To give you the best information available on these rare Pugs, we’ve consulted some expert sources like Pugs: The Owner’s Guide from Puppy to Old Age. Remember to always research any dog thoroughly before making them part of your family.

Some believe that brindle pugs may have been produced through crossbreeding with other breeds that have the brindle color pattern. But this is not likely because Brindle is just a recessive gene that has probably always existed in Pugs, but has cropped up in purebred Pugs from time to time. 

Color Patterns like brindle or agouti are often seen as “primitive” and show breeders will often breed away from it for more trendy colors. This is unlike color patterns like merle or “dapple,” which often fetch very high prices. This is likely the case for the Pug, where the AKC breed standard only recognizes fawn and black Pugs, while the FCI breed standard allows for fawn, silver, black, and apricot.

But just because the Kennel Clubs don’t allow a specific color or pattern in a breed, does not mean that it does not exist. Brindle may be rare in Pugs, but it is completely possible that purebred Pug is born brindle. And many people adore this pattern.

Brindle Color Genetics

Brindle is caused by a gene or allele called the “K” locus.

According to research, dog coat colors and patterns are determined by genes, like the bits of code in a computer program. Three important genes control whether a dog’s coat will be black, brindle, or some other color.

  1. The ‘KB’ gene is like the boss of all color genes – if a dog has it, the dog will be black, no matter what other color genes it has.
  2. The ‘ky’ gene is the least influential. If a dog has two copies of this gene and no ‘KB’ or ‘kbr’ gene, the dog’s color will depend on what other color genes it has.
  3. The ‘kbr’ gene makes a dog’s coat have a brindle pattern, which means it has black (or dark color) stripes on a lighter background. But the ‘kbr’ gene is like a middle manager: it can only take charge if the ‘KB’ gene isn’t there.

Now, where it gets a bit more complicated is when you mix in other genes, which we refer to as the ‘A’ genes. These genes can affect the distribution and appearance of the brindle pattern. Think of the ‘A’ genes as the art director, deciding where and how to apply the colors. The A gene can create sable, tan points, or agouti.

The brindle pattern is composed of black stripes (from a dark pigment called eumelanin) on a red base ( from a red pigment called phaeomelanin). Other genes can affect the color and intensity of these pigments. For example, certain genes can lighten the black stripes to gray or liver color, or darken the red base. Also, white markings or spots can show up on a brindle coat.

In summary, a brindle pug’s unique coat is decided by a combination of different genes. ‘KB’, ‘kbr’, and ‘ky’ play big roles, but other genes (‘A’ genes) also help paint the final picture.

History of Brindle Pugs

The brindle pug has been around for centuries, with evidence of their existence dating back to the 1700s. They were originally bred in China and were considered a prized possession by Chinese royalty. The pugs were then brought to Europe in the 16th century by Dutch traders, where they quickly became popular with the upper class.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that the brindle pug became recognized as a distinct color variation. The first brindle pug was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1896. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that the brindle pug gained popularity in the United States.

Today, brindle pugs are still a relatively rare sight and they are not recognized as an official coat color by the AKC or FCI. Nevertheless, they are still beautiful creatures and their coat color is not associated with any health issues. However, the Pug breed is known for being unhealthy, which is why many enthusiasts are introducing the Retro pug, to breed them back to safer proportions.

Physical Characteristics of Brindle Pugs

How big does a Brindle Pug get?

Brindle Pugs, like other Pugs, are small dogs. They typically weigh between 14 and 18 pounds and stand about 10 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder. They have a compact, muscular build with a short, sturdy frame that is slightly longer than it is tall.

Coat and Color

Brindle Pugs have a coat that is short, smooth, and glossy. Their coat colors can range from light to dark brindle, which is a pattern of stripes that can be black, brown, or a combination of both. The stripes are usually on a fawn-colored background, but they can also be on a silver or apricot-colored background. Some Brindle Pugs may also have a white blaze on their chest.

Facial Features

The Brindle Pug’s most distinctive feature is its wrinkled, flat face with a short, black muzzle and large, dark eyes. Their ears are small, thin, and velvety, and they fold forward, framing the face. Brindle Pugs also have a curly tail that is usually carried tightly over the back.

Overall, the Brindle Pug is a charming and distinctive breed with a unique combination of physical characteristics that make them a popular choice for many dog lovers.

Personality and Temperament of Brindle Pugs

Brindle Pugs are known for their playful, affectionate, and charming personalities. They are friendly and outgoing, making them great companions for families with children or other pets. They are also known for their intelligence and adaptability, which makes them easy to train and socialize.

One of the most distinctive traits of Brindle Pugs is their loyalty. They tend to become very attached to their owners and will follow them around the house. They are also known for their love of attention and will often seek out affection from their owners.

Despite their small size, Brindle Pugs have a big personality. They are known for their sense of humor and their ability to make their owners laugh. They are also very curious and will explore their surroundings with enthusiasm.

When it comes to temperament, Brindle Pugs are generally very calm and laid-back. They are not known for being aggressive or overly energetic. However, they do require regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy.

Overall, Brindle Pugs make excellent pets for those who are looking for a loyal, affectionate, and playful companion. They are easy to train, adaptable, and have a charming personality that is sure to win the hearts of anyone who meets them.

Health and Lifespan of Brindle Pugs

Common Health Issues

Brindle Pugs are generally healthy dogs, but studies show they are prone to certain health issues that are common in the Pug breed. One of the most common health issues in Brindle Pugs is Brachycephalic Ocular Syndrome, which affects their eyes. This syndrome can cause problems such as entropion, cherry eye, glaucoma, cataracts, corneal ulcers, and dry eye. These eye problems can be painful and can lead to vision loss if left untreated.

Another health issue that Brindle Pugs are prone to is epilepsy, which is a neurological disorder that can cause seizures. Diabetes and hypothyroidism are also common in Brindle Pugs, which can lead to weight gain, lethargy, and other health problems. Luxating patella, a condition in which the kneecap dislocates, is also common in Brindle Pugs.

Skin problems are another health issue that Brindle Pugs may experience. They are prone to allergies, which can cause itching, redness, and other skin problems. Additionally, Brindle Pugs are prone to skin infections and hot spots, which can be painful and require veterinary treatment.

Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome in Pugs

Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome (BOAS) is a medical condition seen in dogs with short noses and flat faces, like pugs. The term “brachycephalic” comes from Greek words meaning “short” and “head.”

This syndrome refers to several upper airway problems found in these breeds. Because of their unique head shape, certain parts of the airway are squished or flattened, which can lead to difficulty in breathing.

The main issues seen in this syndrome include:

  1. Stenotic nares: This means the nostrils are too narrow, making it harder for the dog to breathe through the nose.
  2. Elongated soft palate: The soft part at the back of the roof of the mouth is too long and blocks the windpipe, making it harder for the dog to breathe.
  3. Tracheal stenosis: The windpipe or trachea itself is narrower than it should be.
  4. Everted laryngeal saccules: Little pouches in the throat can turn inside out due to the increased effort to breathe, further blocking the airway.

Signs of this syndrome include noisy breathing, snoring, difficulty exercising, and on very hot days or if the dog gets overly excited, they can even collapse from lack of oxygen.

Treatment can include avoiding situations that over-excite the dog or increase its need for oxygen, keeping the dog at a healthy weight, and avoiding heat stress. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to correct some of these problems and help the dog breathe more easily.

Always remember to consult with a vet if you notice any signs of this syndrome in your pug. They are the best source of advice for your pet’s health.

How Long Does the Brindle Pug Live?

The lifespan of a Brindle Pug is typically between 12 and 15 years. However, this can vary depending on a number of factors, such as genetics, diet, exercise, and overall health. By providing your Brindle Pug with proper care and regular veterinary checkups, you can help ensure that your furry friend lives a long and healthy life.

Care and Maintenance of Brindle Pugs

Diet Requirements

Brindle pugs require a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain their health. A diet that is high in protein and low in fat is ideal for them. They may need special diets for skin problems and allergies as these are common in pugs. Other health issues, like their tendency to gain weight also affects their ideal diet.

It is important to avoid overfeeding brindle pugs as they have a tendency to gain weight easily. Feeding them small meals throughout the day is better than giving them one large meal. Fresh water should always be available to them.

Exercise Needs

Brindle pugs are a small breed and do not require a lot of exercise. However, they still need to be exercised regularly to maintain their physical and mental health. Short walks around the neighborhood or playtime in a fenced yard is enough to keep them active.

It is important to avoid overexerting brindle pugs as they are prone to respiratory issues. Avoid exercising them in hot and humid weather conditions as it can cause heatstroke.

Grooming Tips

Brindle pugs have a short and smooth coat that is easy to maintain. Brushing them once a week with a soft-bristled brush or pet grooming glove helps remove loose hair and keeps their coat shiny. Bathing them once a month with a gentle shampoo is sufficient.

It is important to keep their wrinkles clean and dry to avoid any skin infections. Regularly check their ears and clean them with a damp cloth to prevent any buildup of wax or debris. Trim their nails once a month to prevent them from getting too long.

Overall, brindle pugs are a low-maintenance breed that requires basic care and attention to keep them healthy and happy.

Training a Brindle Pug

Training a Brindle Pug can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both the owner and the dog. Pugs are  not extremely intelligent, but they are eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. However, like any breed, Brindle Pugs have their own unique traits that should be taken into consideration when training.

One important aspect of training a Pug is socialization. Pugs are known for being friendly and social dogs, but they can also be prone to separation anxiety if not properly socialized. It is important to expose your Brindle Pug to a variety of people, animals, and environments from a young age to help them develop confidence and reduce anxiety.

Another important aspect of training a Brindle Pug is consistency. Pugs can be stubborn at times, so it is essential to establish consistent rules and boundaries early on. This includes setting limits on where the dog is allowed to go in the house, what furniture they are allowed on, and what behaviors are acceptable.

Positive reinforcement is also an effective training method for Brindle Pugs. Rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, or playtime can help reinforce desired behaviors and encourage your dog to repeat them. It is important to avoid punishment-based training methods, as these can be counterproductive and damage the bond between the owner and the dog.

Overall, training a Brindle Pug can be a fun and rewarding experience for both the owner and the dog. By focusing on socialization, consistency, and positive reinforcement, owners can help their Brindle Pugs become well-behaved and happy members of the family.

Brindle Pugs and Families

Brindle Pugs are a popular breed of dog that are well-suited for families. They are known for their affectionate and playful nature, making them an ideal companion for children and adults alike. Here are a few reasons why Brindle Pugs are great for families:

  • Small Size: Brindle Pugs are a small breed, typically weighing between 14 and 18 pounds. They are easy to handle and can be comfortably housed in small apartments or homes with limited space.
  • Lively Personality: Brindle Pugs are known for their lively and playful personality. They enjoy interacting with their owners and are always up for a game of fetch or tug-of-war.
  • Low Maintenance: Brindle Pugs have a short, smooth coat that requires minimal grooming. They shed moderately, but regular brushing can help keep shedding under control.
  • Good with Children: Brindle Pugs are generally good with children and make great playmates. They are patient and gentle with kids, and their small size makes them less intimidating than larger breeds.

Overall, Brindle Pugs are a great choice for families looking for a small, affectionate, and easy-to-care-for pet. With their lively personalities and gentle nature, they are sure to bring joy and companionship to any household.

Where to Get a Brindle Pug

When it comes to getting a Brindle Pug, there are two main options available: adoption or finding a reputable breeder. Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research and make an informed decision.

Adoption Options

Adopting a pug, possibly a brindle one, can be a rewarding experience. Pugs are known for their distinctive looks, gentle personalities, and loving nature. The adoption process may vary slightly depending on the organization, but generally, it involves these steps:

Step 1: Research

Before making a decision, understand what it means to adopt a pug. They are a brachycephalic breed, which can come with some health challenges. Be ready for snorts, snores, and the potential for some additional health care costs. If you’re looking for a brindle pug specifically, know that this color might be harder to find as it’s less common than other pug colors.

Step 2: Choose a Rescue Organization

The next step is to choose a rescue organization to work with. Here are a few reputable options to consider:

1. Austin Pug Rescue – Based in Austin, Texas, this group focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement of pugs in need.
2. Pug Rescue of Sacramento – Also known as PROS, this organization serves Northern California, rescuing pugs and pug-mixes in need.
3. Pug Nation Rescue of Los Angeles – This group in LA rescues all pugs, regardless of age or medical condition.
4. Pacific Pug Rescue – This rescue group serves the Pacific Northwest, focusing on abandoned and neglected pugs.
5. Pug Dog Welfare & Rescue Association UK – Based in the UK, this organization works to find homes for pugs who need to be rehomed due to their owners’ change of circumstances.
6. Pug Partners of Nebraska – This group rescues and rehomes pugs in Nebraska and the surrounding areas. They also provide a list of other national rescue groups.

Step 3: Application

Once you’ve chosen a rescue organization, the next step is usually to fill out an application. The form may ask about your lifestyle, work schedule, living conditions, and any other pets you have. They use this information to match you with the right dog.

Step 4: Home Check

Some organizations require a home check. They want to ensure the environment is safe and suitable for a pug.

Step 5: Meeting and Adoption

Once your application has been accepted, you can meet potential pug matches. If everything goes well, you’ll be able to adopt and bring your new family member home.

Remember, adopting a pet is a long-term commitment. Be sure you’re ready to provide the necessary care and love for your pug throughout its life. It may take time to find the right match, especially if you’re looking for a specific coat color like brindle, but the wait will be well worth it!

Breeder Information

If you decide to purchase a Brindle Pug from a breeder, it’s important to find a reputable one. Look for breeders who are members of the Pug Dog Club of America or other reputable breed clubs, as these organizations have strict breeding standards and codes of ethics. Also consider contacting the International Retro Pug Club for healthier pugs.

When researching breeders, ask for references and visit their facilities if possible. A good breeder will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with information about the health and temperament of their dogs.

Keep in mind that purchasing a dog from a breeder can be more expensive than adoption, and you may have to wait for a litter to become available. However, you will have more control over the dog’s upbringing and early training, and you will have a better idea of the dog’s health history.

Overall, whether you choose to adopt or purchase a Brindle Pug, it’s important to do your research and make an informed decision. With the right care and attention, a Brindle Pug can make a wonderful companion for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does a brindle Pug Puppy cost?

The cost of a brindle Pug puppy can vary depending on the breeder, location, and demand. On average, a brindle Pug puppy can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000. It is important to do research on reputable breeders and not to purchase from puppy mills or pet stores.

What is a reverse brindle Pug?

A reverse brindle Pug is a Pug with a dark coat and lighter stripes. The stripes are not as prominent as in a regular brindle Pug. The reverse brindle Pug is also known as a black brindle Pug.

How are brindle Pugs created?

Brindle Pugs are created through breeding. It is a genetic trait that is passed down from the parents. If one parent is brindle, then typically about half of the litter will be brindle too.

Are brindle Pugs rare?

Brindle Pugs are quite rare, and they are certainly less common than fawn or black Pugs. Some people may want them for their rarity, while show dog enthusiasts may consider their color a fault.

Are brindle Pugs hypoallergenic?

No, brindle Pugs are not hypoallergenic. They shed moderately and can trigger allergies in sensitive individuals.

Do brindle Pugs shed?

Yes, brindle Pugs shed moderately. Regular grooming can help minimize shedding and keep their coat healthy and shiny.

What is the rarest color for a Pug?

The rarest color for a Pug is white. White Pugs are not recognized by the American Kennel Club and are considered a fault in the breed standard. White Pugs are also prone to health issues such as deafness and blindness.

Final Thoughts

The Brindle Pug may not be as well-known as other pug colors, their striking coat patterns and charming personalities make them a great addition to any family.

One of the most notable features of the Brindle Pug is their coat. The brindle pattern is a mix of dark and light colors that create a unique and eye-catching look. While the exact colors can vary, most Brindle Pugs have a mix of black, brown, and tan in their fur.

Meet Your Experts

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Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions. Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.