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10 Breeds That Are Similar to Pugs (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

10 Breeds That Are Similar to Pugs (With Pictures)

If you have ever met a Pug, you cannot help but fall in love with the breed. Their antics and expressions are priceless. They are not only one of the most popular in the United States, ranking 28th out of 204, but they are also known for bringing home ribbons and trophies when competing in the show ring.

The Pug is categorized as one of the brachycephalic breeds, aka flat-faced breeds. And although the skin folds and bulging eyes help to distinguish this breed from others, here are ten breeds that are similar to the beloved Pug.

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The 10 Breeds That Are Similar to Pugs

1. Shih Tzu

shih tzu dog walks in the garden
Image Credit: Yarnawee Nipatarangkoon, Shutterstock
Height: Up to 11 inches
Weight: Up to 19 lbs
Life Expectancy: 10–16 years

Although the Shih Tzu can have a bearded appearance, they have a tucked-in nose, pink tongue, and large eyes like a Pug. When the tongue of a Shih Tzu hangs out of its mouth, it sometimes looks like a Pug. It also tends to have an affectionate and friendly demeanor.

  • Very close in size
  • Hanging tongue
  • Friendly and affectionate

  • Long hair
  • Bearded appearance

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

female cavalier charles king spaniel
Image Credit: BJkenel, Shutterstock
Height: Up to 13 inches
Weight: Up to 18 lbs
Life Expectancy: 9 to 15 years

Although the most obvious appearances shared by the Pug and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are the large and expressive eyes and size proportions, they also share a similar temperament. The Cavalier does tend to be easier to train, however. The Pug and Cavalier are both outgoing and gentle breeds but like to bark.

  • Large and expressive eyes
  • Body size
  • Gentle breeds
  • Can be loud barkers

  • Cavaliers are more trainable
  • Overall appearance

3. Boston Terrier

Boston Terrier
Image Credit: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock
Height: 10–12 inches
Weight: 12–25 lbs
Life Expectancy: 11–13 years

The Boston Terrier can easily be mistaken for a Pug. Their height and weight are close in range, and they have short muzzles and big eyes like a Pug. They have pointy ears like a bat, unlike the droopy ears of a Pug, however. This breed loves to chill around the house but has no problem going for a walk or just enjoying the outdoors. They are spunky and not as laid back as the Pug.

  • Short coats
  • They snort
  • Pushed-up faces

  • Has longer legs
  • Pugs’ faces are flatter
  • Terriers have shorter tails

4. Brussels Griffon

brussels griffon_otsphoto_Shutterstock
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock
Height: 10 inches
Weight: 8–12 lbs
Life Expectancy: 10 to 15 years

Although the Brussels Griffon is similar in size to a Pug, they tend to be a bit smaller. They are often mistaken for a Pug due to their similar snouts and size.

The Brussels Griffon is an intelligent, sensitive, and curious breed. They are small and are ideal for apartment dwellers. Their gentle nature makes them excellent pets for families with children and older people.

  • Flat/short snouts
  • Size

  • Pugs have short coats
  • Brussel Griffons have bearded faces and long hair

5.  Pekingese

Image Credit: T.Den, Shuttestock
Height: 6–9 inches
Weight: 8–14 lbs
Life Expectancy: 12–14 years

Both the Pekingese and Pug originated in China. The breed has a lion-manned face that is a bit smaller than the round and full face of the Pug and was bred as lap dogs for the wealthy and royals. Like the Pug, a Pekingese is known to be a gentle breed. They can be a bit willful, however. When it comes to meeting someone new, the Pekingese also tend to be aloof.

A Pekingese can sometimes be mistaken for a Pug because of the similarities in their coats. Although the length is longer, the colors and patterns are similar. They are both a smaller breed, although the Pekingese are usually smaller in height and weight.

  • Both originated in China
  • Gentle
  • Coat color and pattern
  • Smaller breed

  • Has a longer coat
  • Pugs are slightly bigger
  • Are more aloof

6. French Bulldog

a black french bulldog standing on grass
Image Credit: Tanya Consaul Photography, Shutterstock
Height: 12 inches
Weight: 16–28 lbs
Life Expectancy: 11–14 years

A French Bulldog can easily be mistaken for a Pug. They have similarities and some subtle differences, however. Unlike the Pug, a Frenchie has bat ears that are pointy and a short, stubby tail. They are also slightly bigger than a Pug.

  • Flat faces
  • Small, stubby legs
  • Wrinkles around their face

  • Ears are larger and more upright
  • Stockier and bigger than Pugs

7. English Bulldog

English Bulldog standing on grass
Image Credit: Corrie Miracle, Pixabay
Height: 12–16 in
Weight: Up to 50 lbs
Life Expectancy: 8–10 years

The English Bulldog is another breed that can easily be confused for a Pug. Despite the small size of the English Bulldog, they can weigh in at up to 50 pounds, unlike the Pugs at 14–18 pounds.

  • Wrinkly faces
  • They make snorting sounds
  • They can be gassy

  • Can weigh up to 50 lbs

 8. Japanese Chin

japanese chin in grass
Image By: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock
Height: 8–11 inches
Weight: Under 12 lbs
Life Expectancy: 10–12 years

The Japanese Chin is a toy breed that is popular among the Royals in both Japan and China. The name “Chin” means cat-like which is appropriate for this breed. They are dainty and owners claim they have cat-like behaviors, like resting in high areas and sneezing or snorting like a cat. This breed is also known for doing the “Chin Spin” which is not one of their cat-like behaviors.

The Pug and Japanese Chin are both smaller breeds, the Japanese Chin is a bit smaller, and both have droopy ears.

  • Droopy ears
  • Smaller sized breed

  • Has slightly longer coats
  • Slightly smaller than a Pug

9. Shar-Pei

brown shar pei standing on grass
Image By: Cavan-Images, Shutterstock
Height: 17-20 inches
Weight: 35–64 lbs
Life Expectancy: 11–12 years

The wrinkly-faced Shar-Pei is also known as the “Chinese Bulldog” and the “Chinese Fighting Dog.” Like the Pug, it originated in China. The breed dates as far back as 200 B.C. and was bred for guarding and hunting. It was not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 1992, however. Unlike the Shar-Pei, the Pug is not a guard or hunting dog; it was bred for companionship.

The similarities between the Pug and Shar-pei are minimal. The Shar-Pei is much bigger, and its wrinkles are not specific to its face. The Shar-Pei has a wrinkly body, and its wrinkles or folds are much deeper than those of the Pug.

  • Droopy ears
  • Flat face
  • Wrinkles

  • Pugs were bred for companionship
  • Is a bit bigger
  • Has deeper wrinkles

10. Tibetan Spaniel

Two Tibetan Spaniel Dogs Playing
Image By: Alexas Fotos, Pexels
Height: 10 inches
Weight: 9–15 lbs
Life Expectancy: 12–15 years

When it comes to size and facial features, the Pug and Tibetan Spaniel are remarkably similar, even though the Spaniel does not have any wrinkles. The fawn coat of the Tibetan Spaniel, along with the black shading around the snout, is distinctive of the breed and is highly recognizable. This breed has a small body and head with oval-shaped eyes like a Pug.

Regarding temperament, the Tibetan Spaniel makes an excellent companion dog. They love to interact with family and pets and require mental and physical stimulation.

  • Both companion breeds
  • Small size
  • Facial features

  • Coat length
  • Lacks signature wrinkles


Although the Pug is amongst the most popular small breeds in the United States, other breeds have similar appearances, temperaments, and sizes. For example, if you love the wrinkly face but want a breed that is a bit larger, you may want to get a Shar-Pei or an English Bulldog. The Tibetan Spaniel may be a better option for someone that does not want a dog with a wrinkly face but is looking for a companion breed like the Pug.

So, whether you are looking for a wrinkly face, small stature, or a quirky personality, there is a Pug-like dog for everyone.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Dim Hou, Unsplash

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