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The Pug Chihuahua Mix (Chug): Your Cutest Bug-Eyed Canine Companion - PawSafe

The Pug Chihuahua Mix (Chug): Your Cutest Bug-Eyed Canine Companion

Photo of Tamsin De La Harpe

Written by Tamsin De La Harpe

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With two popular parent breeds, it’s no surprise that the Chug (also called the Pughuahua or Pugwawa) is one of the most sought-after and delightful designer dogs. This mixed breed results from crossing the Chihuahua and the Pug, and they look just as cute as they sound. 

Chugs are fun-loving and abound in feistiness, so they’ll definitely brighten up your dull days. However, it’s important to note that they may be under the spotlight for health issues discussed below.

Health is only one of the factors to consider before getting a Pug Chihuahua mix. This article covers all the nitty-gritty details of this mixed breed, like temperament, origins, and maintenance, to help you decide if this little darling is a good fit for you. 

History and Origins of the Chug (Pug Chihuahua Mix)

Pughuahuas are recent developments only a few decades old. They are part of the designer dog trend gaining traction, where breeders breed smaller versions of popular dogs or crosses of popular breeds, like the teacup Pomsky. The AKC does not recognize this designer breed, but you can register them with some designer dog registries.

Both the Chihuahua and Pug parents are ancient breeds with several centuries around humans. Pugs can be dated to about 400 BC, while Chihuahuas have roots from the 9th century AD. These centuries came with fascinating and winding histories that we get into. 

Chihuahuas came from a mute dog called Techichis and found their way into the beloved dog we know today. These dogs are native to Mexico, where the Toltecs were believed to have bred Techichis, which were larger and heavier.

In ancient China, emperors and their families preferred flat-faced dogs, leading to their development, like Pugs, Shih-Tzus, and Pekingese. As prized possessions to royalty, these dogs were extremely closed off, only getting to outsiders as a gift. 

Dutch traders acquired these dogs and consequently sparked their worldwide popularity. Holland’s royal House of Orange spiked this breed’s fame after crediting a pug for saving their lives. They go by many names like Sze (China), Mopsi (Finland), and Doguillo (Spain), a testament to their global affection. 

Even their name has heart-warming origins from the Latin name “Pugnus,” meaning fist. So, they are named after their wrinkly face that looks like clenched fist. 

What are the Physical Features of a Chug?

What are the Physical Features of a Chug?
Height8 to 13 inches ( 20 to 33 cm)
Weight10 to 20 pounds ( 4 to 9 kg)
Lifespan10 to 14 years
ColorBrown, white, fawn, cream, black, chocolate, gold
EyesHazel or brown
NoseDark or bright

Chugs are small dogs that may be slightly smaller than Pugs and a little bigger than Chihuahuas. They have wrinkly faces that look like they’ve been punched in, like the Pug. Their large and sparkly, bug-like eyes appear to protrude outward slightly. 

Even if small, these dogs are sturdy and have a proportional physique without any exaggerated body parts. Their sizes are more predictable than other Chihuahua mixes, such as the rare Chi DanesJack Chis, or Chihuskies. In general, they are roughly about two-thirds of the size of a Pug.

They may have tiny, floppy ears like Pugs or large, erect ones like Chihuahuas. They have Chi dome-shaped heads, and their coats are short, smooth, and glossy. The coats may have typical silver or apricot-fawn colors like Pugs or come in various coat colors like Chihuahuas do. 

General Care of a Chug 

  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Shedding: Mild to moderate 
  • Exercise: 30 to 60 minutes
  • Temperament: Lively, affectionate, eager to please, loyal
  • Training: Moderately difficult to train

Energy Levels

These small dogs are mildly energetic. Luckily, a hearty Zoomie session will stave off most of their energy. However, they still need their dose of daily mental and physical exercise to stay happy and healthy. Many people wrongfully neglect a small dog’s energy requirements, but you wouldn’t do that since you’re a responsible parent. 

Housing Needs

These dogs can adapt to small spaces and apartments. Their size and moderate energy levels make them ideal for life in the city so long as you meet their daily exercise requirements. They’re prone to heatstroke, so look out for high temperatures on a hot day. 

They may bark a little if they are alone or bored, so be sure to know the dog barking laws in your county. 

Exercise Needs

About 30 to 45 minutes of low-intensity exercise should suffice for these mixes. Keeping the exercise sessions short is crucial because their short muzzles make them susceptible to breathing difficulties and overheating. 

Food & Diet Requirements 

Don’t be tempted by this dog’s adorable, wrinkly face since they are prone to weight problems. Keep their food and treats within their acceptable calorie range, about 40 calories per pound. A diet rich in high-quality animal protein (about 25 %), vitamins, and minerals is ideal and occasional supplements like probiotics

The dog can suffer from low blood sugar or hypoglycemia as a toy mix if they go too long without food. Feed them 3 to 4 times per day to avoid the condition. The Chihuahua parents are also known for sensitivity to chemicals and low-quality foods, so choose a proper commercial dog food. Your vet will advise you if your Chug has any medical issues like liver and thyroid problems. 

Grooming Needs

It’s fairly easy to groom a Chug, thanks to their short coats. They need a coat brush 2 to 3 times weekly with a rubber glove or pin brush. They also need regular teeth brushing at least twice a week because brachycephalic breeds are more susceptible to dental problems. 

Ear and eye cleaning wipes will help prevent infections in these areas. Additionally, nail trimming with a dog clipper will prevent overgrown and ingrown nails. Take special care of their wrinkles by wiping them dry regularly to prevent infections like skin fold pyoderma. 

The Health of a Pugwawa or Chug

The Health of a Pugwawa or Chug

Chugs are predisposed to several health conditions compared to other dog breeds and mixed breeds. You may notice a lot of congested grunting with this mix if they take after the severely shortened Pug muzzle. 

These dogs are susceptible to joint issues like hip dysplasia on top of breathing issues like Brachycephalic Airway syndrome (BOAS), which can result in physical abnormalities like enlarged tonsils. Painful spinal issues are also common.

The pug parent is a controversial breed, with contenders bringing up the breed’s distressing health conditions that shorten their lives. The same ethics controversy extends to Pug mixes, including the Chug in question. 

Chihuahuas add a little sturdiness to the mix, but they’re still characteristically unhealthier than most mixes. For one, their extremely shortened muzzles make it difficult to breathe, not to mention their reduced skulls cause soft tissues to get crammed and squished.

The price for these adorable, wrinkly sweethearts is potentially many trips to the vet. In fact, some experts claim that Pug and Pug mixes cannot be considered typical breeds because of their insane susceptibility to disease. 

Nonetheless, don’t despair if you’re sure this Pug mix is for you. This list of Chug health conditions will enable you to prepare for what to expect from your future dog. Crossbreeding the Pug may also be one of the few ways to save the breed.

Severe Health Issues

  • Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome (BOAS) — 54 times more likely;
  • Hip dysplasia; 
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM);
  • Narrow nostrils;
  • Eye issues due to shallow eye sockets;
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthe Disease affects the hips;
  • Heatstroke;
  • Hypoglycemia;
  • Pug dog encephalitis (PDE)- A neurological disease so prevalent it was named after the breed;
  • Spinal problems due to curled tail genetics; and
  • Various types of cancer. 

Mild to Moderate Health Issues 

  • Skin issues like skin fold pyoderma due to wrinkles
  • Allergies 
  • Dental issues 
  • Obesity 

Occasional Health issues 

  • Epilepsy 

Chihuahua Pug Mix Temperament and Trainability 

The Chug’s temperament can vary, as they can take after either parent breed. Generally, they’re outgoing, charming, and very loving, with an even temper. They can be spunky and fun-loving, brightening up even the dullest of moments. They are small dogs with big personalities that take everything head-on. 

These dogs were bred for companionship, so they thrive off their loved ones’ company. They are prone to separation anxiety if left alone for too long, so try getting them if you have a stable routine. They are sensitive, and their feelings are easily hurt, so it’s best not to be too stern or punish them. 

These dogs do well with patience and positive reinforcement. They are not considered the most intelligent or easy-to-train dogs. However, they can learn with praise and persistence. They are extremely emotionally intelligent, however. Without socialization and training, they may become snappy, insecure, and prone to anxiety issues.

Sociability with Other Pets and Children 

Chugs are generally friendly with children but should always be supervised by them to prevent unforeseeable accidents. Some of them can be grumpy and snappy with children who are too loud, rough, or who invade their space.

They can do fine with other animals but be careful of bigger dogs that can hurt them. Early training and socialization improve their interaction with other animals and children. 

Suitable Homes for a Chug 

  • Apartment dwellers or people who live in smaller spaces;
  • People with less-active lifestyles, like senior citizens;
  • Non-allergic households;
  • Adult supervision around children or preferably homes without small children;
  • People that are ready for medical issues that may crop up; and
  • Regular schedules that allow someone at home most of the time. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Much Does A Chihuahua Pug Mix Cost?

Depending on a breeder’s reputation, you’ll pay $600 to $1000 for a chug puppy. You can also get one through adoption for about $300. 

How Long Does The Chihuahua Pug Mix Live?

Chugs can live for 10 to 14 years with the right nutrition, health care, and exercise. Their life expectancy increases if your mix is from a reputable breeder who performs all necessary genetic tests. 

Final Thoughts 

Chugs are excellent family pets if you can meet their exercise, diet, and training requirements. Their health is in question by many people, calling Pugs and Pug mixes unethical breeds. They may have serious breathing issues like BOAS due to their shortened muzzle.

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.