Why Are Pugs So Expensive? (Looking Cute Comes With A Price)

expensive pug

No offense to all the pug lovers out there, but a pug owner once told me that a pug’s face looks like it went through a blender. To be honest about it, many would agree that the pug is a dog that you either love or hate.

Not many dog owners realize that pug breeders do charge quite a lot when selling their pug puppies. But why are pugs so expensive compared to other dog breeds?

Pugs are expensive because they are in demand which puts a premium on them. They are also considered a pedigree breed that gives birth to small litter sizes. A pug’s pregnancy is usually a complicated affair that requires a C-section to deliver the pug puppies. All these costs are factored in when the pug breeders are pricing their dogs.

If you are looking to get a pug and wondering why they command such a high px, you have come to the right pale.

What Is A Pug?

pug lying on floor

The pug dog breed has been around for a long long time, almost going back to 400 B.C.

It was said that this dog breed originated in China and was bred as a canine companion for wealthy families and even the royal family.

The pugs were so loved by the royal families that the dogs had their own personal bodyguards.

What Happened To The Pug’s Face?

The calling card of the pug is its smushed up wrinkly face which is similar to the Bulldog and Pekingese. Or like how I would call it ‘A pug with a mug’.

Such an appearance wasn’t due to a freak accident but they were purposely bred to look this way.

The original breeders wanted the wrinkled forehead of the pug puppy to resemble the Chinese word ‘Prince’ or ‘王’

Do Pugs Behave Like Royalty?

royal pug on chair

They may walk with the gait of a Chinese emperor but they definitely do not behave like one.

Pugs are charming and confident pooches that are very loving and loyal to their owners.

This dog breed is also good with kids and other pets. Surprisingly enough, they make good watchdogs given their heightened sense of alertness.

Why Are Pugs So Darn Expensive?

Now that we know a little more about the colorful history of the pug, let us try to appreciate the reasons that contribute to the price of getting a pug puppy.

Everybody Loves Them (well almost)

Despite having a face that only a mother could love, pugs are listed as the 28th most popular dog breed in the world by the American Kennel Club.

Some might say the same as the Bulldog which looks like the bigger burly brother of the pug.

There are 199 dog breeds that are recognized by the AKC. That would put the pug in the top 15% of popular dog breeds.

How many of us can actually say that we were once top 15% in our own schools?

The pug’s popularity can even be seen among movie stars, professional athletes and fashion designers. Having a pug is more than just owning a dog.

It is making a fashion statement.

The pug’s unique facial features helped push it into the limelight. Besides being great family dogs, their chonky bodies and comical features make them extra adorable.

Pugs Are Difficult To Breed

Ask most dog breeders what are some of the most difficult dogs to breed and the pug often comes up.

Pugs are difficult to breed not because they aren’t too keen on mating like the panda.

But it takes a good and experienced pug breeder to know which pugs to mate with to ensure a healthy litter.

The sad truth is that finding a healthy pug is not common. Pugs have many genetic abnormalities that are part and parcel of the dog breed.

This is something that I will touch on further down.

You need a good breeder to know what to include and exclude when breeding pugs. And buying a pug puppy from a reputable breeder costs more.

Pugs Have Pregnancy Complications

nursing pug with her pups

Not only do you need a good pug breeder to get the ball rolling but a good vet is also required to deliver the pug puppies and the bitch safely from pregnancy complications.

Many pug breeders opt to deliver the pug puppies via c-section.

This is because of the larger than normal size of the pug puppy’s head and shoulder which makes birthing through the mother’s canal a lot harder and more complicated.

The UK kennel club states that pugs are 11.3x more likely to have birth complications compared to other dog breeds.

If nothing is done to help the bitch, she and her litter are at risk of dying.

This is why many responsible pug breeders will use a vet who has experience in pug pregnancies. And good vets don’t come cheap.

The Color Of Your Pug

different pug colors

The color of your pug will also play a part in the cost of your pug. If you are looking for a pedigree pug in its AKC-recognized colors, then you will need to get a pug that is either fawn or black.

Fawn is the artsy-fartsy term to describe the tan color of a pug which is the color that I see most pugs have.

A survey was conducted to determine the most common pug colors and 65% of the pugs were fawn and black was a far second at 22%.

You can also have pugs in the non-standard colors of silver and apricot.

What Is The Most Expensive Pug?

The price of a pug puppy can fall within a wide range. At the low end, we are looking at about $500 and a top-tier pug can cost you $3000.

The price of a pug depends on a few factors:

  • Bloodline
  • Breeder
  • Pedigree
  • Age
  • Color

Most dog owners can expect to spend about $1000-$1500 for a healthy pug puppy without any serious health issues.

The one factor that can really tip the scale of a pug’s price is the color. If you are looking to buy a pug that is blue, merle or brindle, you can expect to pay in excess of $4000 for the dog.

Get Your Pug From A Reputable Breeder

I cannot stress this enough but you need to only get your dog from reputable breeders. Yes, they cost more but you are doing your wallet and the dog a favor in the long run.

If you are buying your dog from a non-registered pug breeder, it is probably a puppy farm or a backyard breeder.

These breeders do not have any care or concern for their dogs.

All they care about is money and selling off their puppies to potential pet owners regardless of how unhealthy the dogs are. Dogs from these breeders are not in good shape and are treated poorly.

I have been to an adoption drive for dogs from such breeders and I can wholeheartedly tell you, the sight of those dogs made me really really sad.

So make sure to only get your pups from a registered and reputable breeder.

If you want to get a pug without paying too much for it, there are organizations that specialize in rescuing and rehoming pugs like Pugnation LA.

This is a great way to own a pug and help give them another chance of a forever home.

Are Pugs Expensive To Own?

I am not going to sugarcoat it but pugs are expensive dogs to own. This is due to a number of genetic abnormalities that these dogs are born with.

Brachycephalic Breed

bulldogs wrinkly faces

Pugs are brachycephalic which means that they have breathing difficulties due to the shape of their snouts or muzzles.

Other dog breeds in this category are Bulldogs, Boxers, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, etc.

The muzzles are too compressed against their head which makes it hard for air to pass through their noses properly.

It is common to hear a pug dog wheeze and snort due to this reason. The sounds can be even more amplified if they were to exert themselves.

If your pug has brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome it has to undergo corrective surgery to ensure that it can breathe properly.

Eye Problems

Is it me or do pugs look like they have been crying?

Pugs are also known for their large eyes and puppy dog look. With their bulging eyes, the risk of injury is a lot higher when they knock into obstacles or get into fights.

They are also prone to getting eye discharge and weeping eyes.

Allergies And Skin Irritation

Pugs are very prone to getting allergies and ear infections. These issues can start when your dog is as young as a year old.

The pug’s wrinkled skin on their faces body can cause a build-up of bacteria and dirt which can lead to skin infections.

Hip Dysplasia

Pugs are prone to hip dysplasia which is a condition whereby the hip joints tend to deteriorate over time. Pugs with hip dysplasia will have mobility issues and walking can be painful for the dog.

There isn’t a cure for hip dysplasia but early detection and treatment can help the pug owner manage the symptoms a lot better.

What To Look Out For When Buying A Pug?

Buying the right pug isn’t getting the cheapest one on sale. There are a few things that you need to look out for even when buying from reputable breeders.

When selecting a pug puppy choose one that responds to you and doesn’t show any fearful or aggressive behaviors when picked up.

Listen closely to the breathing of the dog. Is the breathing clear or is the dog making a lot of weird breathing sounds?

The eyes should also be bright and clear without looking excessively wet or with discharge.

Hip dysplasia can affect pugs as young as one year old so make sure to notice the way it walks to see if it is having any mobility difficulties.

Are Pugs Worth Getting?


Whether a pug is worth getting depends a lot on your intentions. If you are a first-time dog owner who just wants a dog as a companion, then a pug might not be the best choice for you.

But if you have experience owning dogs and have always wanted a pug, then you will need to consider the financial commitment that can occur when owning a dog breed with known health issues.

Owning a down in America can cost between $2000-$9000 a year. it depends on how far you want to go when it comes to spoiling your dog and the type of dog food it eats.

This expenditure is not inclusive of the vet bill that you will most likely incur when owning a pug dog.

If you are mentally and financially prepared for this, then yes, pugs are worth getting based on their personality

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