Are Pugs and French Bulldogs Related? Here’s The Answer!

French Bulldogs and Pugs are both popular dog breeds. They are a favorite among apartment dwellers who want docile pets that thrive in a small space. Since they bear physical similarities, we can’t help but wonder: are Pugs and French Bulldogs related? In this post, I will answer this question together with a guide that will help you choose between the two breeds.

Are Pugs and French Bulldogs related?

Since Pugs are sometimes called ‘Dutch Bulldogs’, many people think that they are close cousins of Frenchies. However, after DNA tracing, experts found that Pugs don’t actually belong to the Bulldog family.

In fact, their origins trace back to Pekingese – a dog bred to be companions of the Chinese imperial family back in the days. On the other hand, French Bulldogs are a cross between two breeds imported from England.

It’s quite fascinating that two dog breeds that originated from different sides of the world have so much in common. Their skin folds, stocky build, and brachycephalic anatomy are the reasons why many people still confuse them with each other.

Similarities of Pugs and Frenchies

While they hail from different lineages, Pugs and Frenchies have these things in common:

are Pugs and French Bulldogs related
Photo Credits: Karla Akins

🐶Coat color

Both French Bulldogs and Pugs come in fawn colors. However, Frenchies can be found in a wider variety of coat colors, including fawn and white, brindle, cream, tan, and so on. Aside from that, both these breeds have dark snouts.

Basically, these are the coat colors of the two breeds:

Standard AKC-approved French Bulldog coat colors:

  • White
  • Fawn
  • Cream
  • Brindle
  • Fawn & Brindle
  • Fawn & White
  • Fawn, Brindle, & White
  • White & Fawn
  • Cream & White
  • Brindle & White
  • White & Brindle

Standard AKC-approved Pug coat colors:

  • Black
  • Fawn

As you see, the American Kennel Club only recognizes two standard Pug colors, while there are a total of 11 for Frenchies. This part can help you differentiate one breed from the other.

🐶Face shape

Both Frenchies and Pugs have wrinkled faces. However, Pugs tend to have deeper and more pronounced wrinkles than Frenchies. Chinese breeders prize this feature as it’s believed to bring good luck.

Aside from that, these dogs have brachycephalic facial anatomy. This means that they have flat faces, tiny nostrils, and elongated palates. Aside from that, they have narrow tracheas that make them prone to breathing issues.

On the other hand, Pugs can have tiny moles on their cheeks, but Frenchies don’t.


In terms of temperament, both French Bulldogs and Pugs have a friendly disposition. They love being with people, and they will welcome strangers with open arms. Also, they are great with kids because of their goofy and tolerant attitude.

Because of this personality, both of these breeds can suffer from severe separation anxiety. As a result, they require companionship to prevent destructive behavior and intense vocalization.

Moreover, both dogs are affectionate and will love cuddles. Frenchies and Pugs are charming, and they are eager to please their owners.

However, you should know that these two dogs also have stubborn streaks. Such attitude can get in the way of training, which I discussed below.

Nevertheless, the positive defeats the negative traits of Frenchies and Pugs. They are humorous canines and are fiercely clingy. That means you won’t run out of company, even in the bathroom.

However, just like any dog, both Pugs and French Bulldogs can still be aggressive if not socialized and trained well. Therefore, it’s important to do the work as a pet owner if you want to raise these two breeds as well-rounded canines.

🐶Suitability to dog owners

If you’re a first-time dog owner, both French Bulldogs and Pugs are great options. They are laidback canines who will be happy to stay by your side. Overall, these two dogs aren’t very high maintenance, but they still need regular care to avoid health problems.

If you’re working at home, these two breeds will suit you well. However, families who are always away from home should consider other canines as these breeds require continuous human interaction.


In terms of health, Pugs and French Bulldogs have a fair share of problems. Here are some that you have to know:

are Pugs and French Bulldogs related
  • Breathing issues. Due to their flat noses, Frenchies and Pugs are prone to breathing problems. They easily overheat, so it’s important to keep them indoors most of the time. These breeds are also notorious snorers and can suffer from canine sleep apnea.
  • Obesity. Frenchies and Pugs are greedy eaters, so they are at high risk of being obese. They are highly food-driven and will always beg for food if you let them. This is why you should practice portion control for these dogs, or they will grow obese, which will take its toll on their short legs.
  • Orthopedic problems. Due to their short legs, Frenchies and Pugs can suffer from a slew of orthopedic issues like hip dysplasia, arthritis, elbow dysplasia, and so on. This is why you should limit their physical activities and control their weight.
  • Gastric torsion. These two dogs have deep chests, so when they eat too fast, their tummies can easily get filled with air and food. This can lead to gastric torsion, a deadly condition if not treated right away.
  • Allergies. My friends used to joke that Pugs are the canine version of asthma. These doggos are mired with allergies, similar to French Bulldogs.
  • Eye problems. Cherry eye, corneal ulcers, and dry eye are just some of the common problems Frenchies and Pugs experience. This is because their eyes have a bulging appearance.


Frenchies and Pugs aren’t the easiest to train. They require a firm owner who’s willing to take the time and effort to perform regular training. Both of these breeds take time to house train, so expect accidents all over the house.

Moreover, these two breeds are stubborn, and they will get whiny if they don’t get their way. Also, Pugs and Frenchies aren’t the smartest in the bunch.

To give you an idea, here are some of the behavioral problems you’ll face from these two breeds:

  • Stubbornness. Both of these canines are headstrong, and they will try to get what they want. And if you don’t give in, they will become sulky dogs. This can be a big problem when encouraging them to follow commands.
  • Clinginess. Frenchies and Pugs won’t let you get out of their sight. They will follow you around and will become vocal when you shut them out. This is why they suit homes with regular companions. Otherwise, you’ll be brewing more behavioral issues.
  • Begging. Since both Pugs and Frenchies have a massive appetite, they will always beg for food. This is why you should never toss them table scraps or any food outside their feeding schedule.
  • Pulling. These canines might be small, but their stocky breeds can give a strong pulling of the leash. This can be corrected with rigorous training.
  • Chewing. Pugs and Frenchies aren’t aggressive chewers, but they have a tendency to mouth things. Most canines outgrow this behavior after teething, but some will keep on nibbling on various items at home.

🐶Energy level

are Pugs and French Bulldogs related

In terms of energy level, both Frenchies and Pugs have manageable intensity. They love fun playtime, but you shouldn’t expose them to excessive exercise. Remember that they are flat-nosed breeds prone to breathing problems. Their moderate energy level makes both of these breeds safe around kids.

Still, you should always provide ample mental stimulation to these dogs. When bored, Pugs and French Bulldogs will become vocal canines, which will put you in a lot of trouble with your neighbors.

Also, French Bulldogs can become territorial if trained as watchdogs. But like Pugs, you can count on Frenchies to attack a burglar. In fact, they will easily yield to strangers if given food or toys.

🐶Apartment living

Both of these breeds will be happy to stay in a small apartment. They don’t have excessive energy, so they don’t need a large yard. Besides, this brachycephalic breed is prone to overheating, and they should never be exposed to excessive heat outdoors.

Differences of Pugs and Frenchies

While French Bulldogs and Pugs have a lot in common, they have the following differences:


Generally, French Bulldogs are larger than Pugs. French Bulldogs can grow up to 28 lbs. and 12 inches tall. On the other hand, Pugs are a tad smaller at 18 lbs., but they can grow taller at a maximum of 14 inches. Nevertheless, both of these breeds remain small.

Moreover, Pugs have stocky necks than Frenchies. Still, both should be walked on a durable dog harness instead of a collar.

🐾Ear shape

French Bulldogs have prominent bat ears the stand erect while Pugs have floppier lugholes. Aside from that, Pugs’ ears have a velvety texture while those on Frenchies are smoother.

Still, there are exceptions to this nature as some Frenchies can have floppy ears. Others would also have one erect and one floppy ear, which is completely normal and rarely a cause of concern.

🐾Coat type

Frenchies are single-coated, while Pugs are double-coated. This is why Pugs shed more than Frenchies because they have an extra undercoat. Such undercoat sheds heavily as the season changes to allow the Pug’s body to thermo-regulate.

Moreover, it would be easier to groom a French Bulldog at home compared to Pugs. Nevertheless, you should still bring both these dogs to a groomer for professional grooming.


French Bulldogs tend to be more expensive than Pugs. On average, a Frenchie costs around $2,500 to $5,000. On the other hand, you can find a Pug from a legitimate breeder for as low as $1,000 to $1,500.

These prices change from time to time. The reason why Frenchies cost more is their coat variations. Rare colors cost like blue merle will set you back for a couple more thousand bucks. In fact, a blue merle French Bulldog from an elite breeder can cost as much as $10,000+.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that Pugs are poorly bred. Pedigree breeds can be bought at a couple of thousands. In some cases, the cost of Pugs can exceed that of a standard Frenchie.

Whatever breed you’re getting, remember that an extremely cheap cost is a red flag. This could mean that the dog is produced in a puppy mill and will be mired with health problems later on.


In general, French Bulldogs live a tad shorter than Pugs, which is mainly because of their bigger size.

On average, Pugs have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, while Frenchies can live between 11 and 14 years. However, the difference is almost negligible since a dog’s lifespan is highly dependent on diet, lifestyle, health care, and more aspects.

Which one is the best pet?

The question is this: which one is the best pet, a Frenchie or a Pug? The answer to this is quite subjecting and will always depend on the pet owners’ preference.

But to help you out, here are some of my recommendations to differentiate the two breeds:

Get a Pug if you want a dog that…

  • Doesn’t require a lot of exercise
  • Will be happy to stay indoors
  • Loves cuddles and affection
  • Thrives well with kids and other pets
  • Won’t consume a large space
  • Has a goofy personality

Don’t get a Pug if you don’t want a dog that is…

  • Has a higher predisposition to multiple health problems
  • Prone to separation anxiety
  • Too sluggish
  • Can get whiny and jealous
  • Requires more grooming attention
  • Prone to wheezing
  • Hard to train

Get a Frenchie if you want a dog that…

  • Popular among dog owners
  • Easier to groom
  • Love cuddles
  • Doesn’t require a lot of exercise
  • Has fewer wrinkles to clean
  • Doesn’t bark a lot

Don’t get a Frenchie if you don’t want a dog that…

  • Farts a lot
  • Stubborn and difficult to train
  • Prone to separation anxiety
  • Known for multiple health issues
  • Has an expensive price tag

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What dogs are related to French Bulldogs?

A: Basically, every Bulldog breed is related to Frenchies. This includes English Bulldogs, American Bulldogs, Catahoula Bulldogs, Olde English Bulldogge, and so on. Also, Frenchies and Boston Terriers both descended from English Bulldogs.

Q: What breeds are Pugs related to?

A: Pugs are more related to Pekingese and Tibetan Mastiff. While they have facial wrinkles, they aren’t related to French Bulldogs or any Bulldog for that matter.

Q: Can a Frenchie mate with a Pug?

A: A Frenchie and a Pug can be crossed, resulting in a breed called Frug. Since these two breeds have similar traits, a Frug will have an excellent temperament. However, this new breed also shares the same health problems of its parent dogs.

Q: Are Pugs French?

A: No, Pugs aren’t French. They actually originated from China and were just brought to Europe back in the 16th century. From there, Pugs became popular in Europe, specifically in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, many breeders all over the world are producing standard Pugs.

Q: Which is healthier, Frenchie or Pug?

A: Both French Bulldogs and Pugs suffer from breathing issues due to their brachycephalic nature. Overall, it’s not easy to tell which breed is healthier than the other because of their massive similarities. The key here is getting your pup from a legitimate breeder to reduce the potential health issues.

Q: Can I raise Pugs and Frenchies together?

A: Definitely! Pugs and French Bulldogs have similar personalities that match. They have manageable energy levels, friendly temperament, small size, and nature suitable for first-time owners. These two dogs also thrive inside apartments.

Final words

Are Pugs and French Bulldogs related? Unfortunately, no, but they do share a lot of good traits. Both Pugs and Frenchies make great family and apartment pets. Also, they are friendly, affectionate, and won’t resist a warm hug. You can even raise them together!

But just like any dog, you should research if the breed suits you well. This is to ensure that the dog won’t end up in shelters.

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