- Height: varies
- Weight: 10 to 20 pounds
Chugs can have a wide range of personalities, depending on whether he takes after his somewhat suspicious and imperious Chihuahua side or the sweetly comic Pug. At his best, he is friendly and affectionate. At weights ranging from 10 to 20 pounds, he is a comfortable size for most homes. But because he is a crossbreed, his traits are not fixed, so there is not a guarantee that the Chug you purchase will be the size predicted by a breeder.
Don’t forget that while a Chug may inherit the cute appearance of the Pug or Chihuahua, he may also inherit less-desirable traits, such as the Pug’s propensity for breathing problems or the Chihuahua’s tendency to yap. Both breeds tend to have an overload of self-esteem and may need to be protected from themselves. Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes, in particular, can be aggressive toward bigger dogs. Socialize a Chug extensively, and take him to puppy kindergarten to help prevent this problem.
Chugs have a low to moderate activity level that is adaptable to their owner’s lifestyle. They will enjoy a nice walk or active playtime each day, and if you’re talented at training (and the dog’s overall health is good enough — your vet can help determine that), they can participate dog sports such as obedience and rally. A well-behaved Chug can also make a great therapy dog.
If your Chug takes after his Pug ancestors, you can bet that he will enjoy his meals, perhaps a bit too much. Take care not to overfeed him. Excess weight can exacerbate some health problems — including joint problems and breathing difficulties — which are not unusual in Pugs and Pug mixes.
Chugs tend to be smart and can learn quickly, but they can also be stubborn or have a short attention span. Keep training sessions short and fun. If you begin socialization and training early and use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards, you can successfully train a Chug.
Other Quick Facts
- Chugs are companion dogs. They love their people and need to live in the house — never outdoors.
- A Chug will most likely have a short, smooth coat that sheds moderately to heavily.
- Because of their small size, Chugs are best suited to homes with older children who know how to handle them carefully.
The History of ChugsPeople have been crossing dog breeds for millennia in the attempt to achieve a certain look, temperament, or working ability. That’s how many well-known purebreds including the Affenpinscher, Australian Shepherd, Black Russian Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Doberman Pinscher, German Wirehaired Pointer, and Leonberger got their start.
But crossing two breeds over and over does not a breed make. A breed is a group of animals related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most of their characteristics. To achieve consistency in appearance, size, and temperament, breeders must select the puppies with the traits they want and breed them over several generations for the traits to become set.
Cross-breeds such as the Chug have become popular over the past ten or twenty years as people have begun to seek out dogs that are different from the everyday Yorkie or Poodle. For instance, it’s often claimed (falsely, by the way) that cross-breeds are hypoallergenic, have fewer health problems, or can carry the best traits of each breed.
Unfortunately, genes aren’t quite that malleable. Genetic traits sort out randomly in each dog, so without selecting for certain characteristics over many generations, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best of each breed. And no matter what his breed or mix, an individual dog may be more or less allergenic, intelligent, or healthy.
Whatever his breed, cross or mix, love your dog for what he is: a unique, special, and loving companion.
Chug Temperament and PersonalityTemperament is affected partly by genes and partly by environment, so it can vary. A Chug’s temperament can depend on several things including the temperaments of his parents, especially the mother, who is more likely to influence a puppy’s behavior; the amount of socialization he receives; and the particular genes he inherits. He might be more independent if the Chihuahua side of his family dominates or more clownish if the Pug side prevails
Both breeds can be insistent about getting their way and stubborn when it comes to training. If you train a Chug with positive reinforcement techniques, showing him what you like by rewarding him with praise, play, and treats, he’s likely to learn quickly. That doesn’t mean that he will always do what you want. Patience and a sense of humor are important when it comes to living with a Chug.
A Chug shouldn’t be overly shy or aggressive. Say no thanks if a puppy’s parents won’t let you approach them, shy away from you or growl at you, or if puppies do the same.
Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at eight weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Never wait until he is six months old to begin training, or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see the puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know about your lifestyle and personality. Whatever you want from a Chug, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.
What You Need to Know About Chug HealthAll dogs, whether purebreds, crossbreeds, or mixes, have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the mixed breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the mixed breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
Chugs may be susceptible to the health problems of both the Chihuahua and Pug, but there’s also a chance that the genetic diversity introduced by mixing two breeds may lower the chances of developing certain inherited diseases. The very nature of genetic variation makes this difficult to predict for a mixed breed dog. Please refer to the breed guides on Chihuahuas and Pugs for an overview of some of the inherited diseases reported in these two breeds.
Not all inherited conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. At a minimum, ask the breeder to show evidence that both of the puppy’s parents have the appropriate certifications from health registries like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Canine Eye Registry Foundation, etc.
Don’t fall for a bad breeder’s lies. If the breeder tells you she doesn’t need to do the tests because she’s never had problems in her lines, her dogs have been "vet checked," or gives any other excuse for skimping on the genetic testing of their dogs, walk away immediately.
Careful breeders screen their dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas. A puppy can develop one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live a good life. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and common causes of death.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Chug at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier dog.
The Basics of Chug GroomingChugs may have a short, smooth coat or a longer coat if there’s a longhaired Chihuahua in their family tree. It’s likely that a Chug will shed because of his Pug heritage. Pugs are one of the biggest shedders around, and short-haired Chihuahuas do their share of shedding, too. Brush the Chug coat daily to remove shedding hair, bring out shine, and reduce the amount of dog hair floating around your home.
If your Chug has facial wrinkles, it’s important to keep them clean and dry. Wipe them out with a damp washcloth or baby wipe, dry the folds thoroughly, and apply baby powder or corn starch to help them stay dry — be careful to avoid getting any in the eyes. Some Chugs require this wrinkle treatment daily, while others can get by with having it done once or twice a week or even every three to four weeks.
In addition, trim a Chug’s nails every few wweeks, keep his ears clean and dry, and brush his teeth regularly — daily if you can — with a vet-approved pet toothpaste. Small dogs are especially prone to periodontal disease.
Finding a ChugWhether you want to go with a breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.
Choosing a Chug BreederChug puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they’re so popular. Cute puppies sell, and that makes the Chug a favorite amongst puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. There’s no need to pay big bucks for a Chug. You may find a wonderful example of this cross-bred dog at your local shelter or through adoption organizations such as Petfinder.
If you choose to purchase a Chug, select a breeder who has done health testing to help ensure that her puppies won’t carry genetic diseases common to Chihuahuas and Pugs. If you are going to pay several hundred dollars or even $1,000 or more for a dog, you should get your money’s worth. Buying from a breeder who is smart and caring enough to do health certifications, even for a cross-breed, is the best way to do that. And while there are no guarantees in life, it’s also a good way to minimize the possibility of big veterinary bills.
Avoid breeders who only seem interested in how quickly they can unload a puppy and whether your credit card will clear. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from websites that offer to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected. Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run.
Lots of breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppy over-availability, multiple litters on the premises, the choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Those things are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the crossbreed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
The cost of a Chug puppy varies depending on the breeder’s locale and whether he has obtained health clearances on the pup’s parents. The puppy you buy should have been raised in a clean home environment, from parents with health clearances. Puppies should be temperament tested, vetted, dewormed, and socialized to give them a healthy, confident start in life.
Before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Chug might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up. An adult may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive, and demanding than a puppy. With an adult, you know more about what you’re getting in terms of personality and health and you can find adults through breeders or shelters. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog through breeders, ask them about purchasing a retired show dog or if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home. If you want to adopt a dog, read the advice below on how to do that.
Adopting a Dog From a Chug Rescue or ShelterThere are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. Here is how to get started.
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.com can have you searching for a Chug in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Chugs available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Chug. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Rescue Groups
Most people who love Chugs love all Chugs. That’s why enthusiasts have rescue organizations devoted to taking care of homeless dogs. A reputable Chug breeder can help you find a dog that may be the perfect companion for your family. You can also search online for other Chug rescues in your area.
The great thing about rescue groups is that they tend to be very upfront about any health conditions the dogs may have and are a valuable resource for advice. They also often offer fostering opportunities so, with training, you could bring a Chug home with you to see what the experience is like.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a dog. These include:
What is his energy level?
How is he around other animals?
How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors, and children?
What is his personality like?
What is his age?
Is he housetrained?
Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone that they know of?
Are there any known health issues?
Wherever you acquire your Chug, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Puppy or adult, take your Chug to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.