Have you ever seen a miniature Pug?
Like your regular Pug, but in an even tinier package!
There are a few ways to make a Pug even smaller.
But this tiny dog is often actually a cross breed.
Miniature Pug or Mini Mix?
A mix between the Chihuahua and a Pug.
This breed is also sometimes known as a Chug.
You can also make a pure breed smaller by combining two of the smallest Pugs you can find.
But these often come with health problems relating to being the runt of the litter.
So let’s take a look at the options.
And answer some important questions!
Check out these other mini breeds
“How big is a miniature Pug full grown?” and “What’s a micro mini Pug?”
What Is a Miniature Pug?
The cross between a Chihuahua and a Pug, known sometimes as the miniature Pug, will typically resemble a Pug but with a slightly longer snout.
However, whenever two different breeds are crossed, the outcome can be unpredictable.
A miniature Pug can also be created by breeding two runts of the litter together.
But this is a dangerous game, which often results in serious health problems.
A mini Pug full grown will weigh between 3 to 10 pounds.
Much lighter than an actual Pug.
What Is a Pug?
The Pug belongs to the toy group of dogs.
Their history dates back some 2,000 years to ancient China.
These small but sturdy dogs have had a surge in popularity over the last decade or so.
This is largely due to their natural charm and loving temperament, which usually extends to children and other pets.
Distinctive physical features include a large round head, big dark eyes, and a wrinkled brow.
An adult Pug stands between 10 and 13 inches and weighs between 14 and 18 pounds.
Their short, smooth coat requires little grooming and comes in silver or apricot-fawn with a black face mask, or they can be all black.
Bred as a companion to royalty, they make an ideal house dog and require only minimal daily exercise.
The Pug is a brachycephalic breed, signified by a short flat face and deep facial folds.
This gives them an almost humanlike demeanor and is one of the things that Pug lovers find so appealing about the breed.
What’s the Appeal of a Miniature Dog?
In some ways, a small dog seems like having a puppy forever.
For those who want a dog but live in an apartment, or don’t want the extra work of a big dog, a pint-sized pup holds a big attraction.
How Do You Get a Miniature Dog?
There are three ways to miniaturize a dog breed.
The first is to mix a standard breed with a smaller breed, as in the case of the miniature Pug.
The second way is to introduce the gene for dwarfism, also known as achondroplasia.
The final way is to repeatedly breed from the smallest, or runts, of litters.
The creation of miniature breeds is a fairly new practice and is not without warranted controversy.
Problems With Miniaturizing Dogs
Both the Chihuahua and the Pug are already very small dogs.
Each of these breeds has more than their share of inherited health problems.
Breeding for extreme conformational traits has been shown to result in an increased risk of certain diseases.
Using the gene for dwarfism has been linked to intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
There are even breeders who try to create even smaller dogs by breeding two runt Pugs together.
These dogs are referred to as micro mini Pug puppies or pocket Pugs.
When dogs are way under the breed standard, they can already possess health issues like hypoglycemia and heart defects.
Breeding two extremely small dogs together is very likely to cause even more health issues and is highly unscrupulous.
Miniature Pug Dog Health Problems
Like any mixed breed, the mini Pug dog is at risk for health issues that affect the parent breeds.
Unfortunately, the health issues for this small dog are many.
Even worse news is that the Pug and the Chihuahua share many of the same health problems.
Putting the miniature Pug at an even greater risk for certain conditions.
Before we discuss any mutual conditions, let’s look at one of the miniature Pug’s most concerning health issues.
Regrettably, some of the physical characteristics that people find so appealing about the breed are causing them the most problems.
Brachycephaly in Miniature Pugs
The endearing short muzzles, wrinkled facial skin, and bulging eyes are associated with brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome.
This makes them prone to seriously compromised respiratory systems.
That would be bad enough, but brachycephaly also causes the miniature Pug other problems.
Their short flat faces make it very difficult for them to regulate their body temperature.
This means they can overheat very quickly in warm weather.
Never take a miniature Pug outside in hot weather, and always bring water along during walks.
Miniature Pugs need exercise like any breed.
However, their compromised physiology greatly restricts them and also means they require longer to recover afterwards.
Abnormally shallow eye sockets, which make the eyes protrude, are another issue for brachycephalic breeds.
The mini Pug’s eyes are not only at a greater risk for being scratched, they’re also susceptible to corneal ulcers, an eye disease which also affects the Chihuahua.
You might not realize it, but the Pug’s cute little corkscrew tail can also cause them problems.
Screw tail is another disease brachycephalic breeds are genetically predisposed to.
The spiral formation of the tail is a result of misshapen bones that won’t allow it to lie flat.
If the deformity occurs higher in the spine, it can be very painful and cause severe neurological problems.
Symptoms include weakness of the limbs, incontinence, and in severe cases, paralysis.
You can learn more about screw tails by reading this article.
The Chihuahua and the Pug have the same amount of teeth as any dog.
The problem is that little dogs have little mouths, and their teeth crowd together.
This puts the miniature Pug at a high risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
Cleaning their teeth daily will help prevent this, as will avoiding sweet treats.
Regular dental checkups are always a good idea.
Pug myelopathy is a spinal condition believed to be unique in Pugs.
This widespread problem is the most common reason for lack of coordination in their rear limbs and can progress to paralysis.
The cause of this disease is a neurological deficiency that develops in the spine and involves the vertebral bones and compression of the spinal cord.
Initial signs of Pug myelopathy include staggering, feet dragging, and incontinence.
Due to their small size, Chihuahuas have trouble giving birth and often require cesarian sections.
If a Chihuahua is the dam and the Pug is the sire of a miniature Pug, the mother is very likely to have difficulty birthing.
Serious complications for both the mother and the offspring are possible, due to the puppies’ large heads.
Chihuahuas are also prone to epileptic seizures.
Before a seizure, they may be unresponsive or become restless.
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to several days.
During the seizure a Chihuahua may twitch.
Their limbs might get stiff, or they might start kicking.
Foam can appear around the mouth, and they could lose control of their bladder and bowels.
Confusion and disorientation can continue for hours afterwards.
This is a very common orthopedic ailment for both Chihuahuas and Pugs.
Patellar luxation occurs when the kneecap is dislocated.
The knee cannot extend properly and stays bent.
It can result in weakness and pain, and in severe cases surgery may be required.
How to Avoid Unscrupulous Breeders
Miniature Pug puppies, like many miniature breeds, are a hot commodity, and breeders are getting thousands of dollars for these pint-sized pups.
Unfortunately, this is a huge incentive for disreputable breeders to create smaller and smaller dogs.
If you see advertisements for micro mini Pugs or teacup Pugs, this is definitely a breeder to avoid.
Another red flag is if there is no waiting list and puppies are immediately available for purchase.
Ask questions about their breeding practices.
Any reputable breeder should be informed about the health issues surrounding miniature breeds.
The breeder should also be happy to let you see the puppy’s parents and siblings.
Most importantly, make sure the breeder provides proof that their dogs have been health tested for genetic problems.
Final Thoughts on the Miniature Pug
Miniature breeds are usually prone to more health issues.
Their unnaturally small size means they also become injured more easily.
When you have two small breeds like the Chihuahua and the Pug, who already have many health problems, you can see that this is a dog who is greatly at risk.
The only way to stop breeders from creating very small dogs is to not buy them.
Perhaps this is a fad that will soon cease to be popular.
But in the meantime, dogs specifically bred to be tiny and fragile are suffering.
References and Further Reading
- Pug Dog Club of America.
- O’Neill, D. “Report on a discussion about ‘Animal Health and Welfare: Breeding for extreme conformations in dogs and cats’ at the European Parliament in Brussels,” The Royal Veterinary College UK, 2018.
- Fasanella, F. et al. “Brachycephalic Airway Obstructive Syndrome in Dogs: 90 cases (1991–2008),” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2010.
- Brown, EA, et al. “FGF4 retrogene on CFA12 is responsible for chondrodystrophy and intervertebral disc disease in dogs,” PNAS, 2017.
- Roedler, FS, et al. “How does severe brachycephaly affect dog’s lives? Results of a structured preoperative owner questionnaire.” The Veterinary Journal, 2013.
- Appelboam, H. “Pug appeal: brachycephalic ocular health.” UK-Vet Companion animal, 2016.
- Poma, R., et al. “Absence seizures with myoclonic features in a juvenile Chihuahua dog.” Epileptic Disorders, 2010.
- Fisher, SC, et al. “Constrictive myelopathy secondary to hypoplasia or aplasia of the thoracolumbar caudal articular processes in Pugs: 11 cases (1993–2009).” Journal of the American Veterinary Association, 2013.
- Papazoglou, VC. “Surgical management of screw tail and tail fold pyoderma in dog.” Journal of the Hellenic Veterinary Medical Society, 2016.