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10 Dog Breeds That Are Similar to Pugs (With Pictures)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

pug dog sitting on the floor looking up on the camera

10 Dog 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 dogs in the United States, ranking 36th out of 200,1 but they are also known for bringing home ribbons and trophies when competing in the show ring.

The Pug is categorized as a brachycephalic breed, a.k.a. a flat-faced dog. Their skin folds and bulging eyes help distinguish this pup from others, so here are 10 breeds that are similar to the beloved Pug.

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The 10 Dog 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 their mouth, they sometime looks like a Pug. They also tend to have an affectionate and friendly demeanor.

  • 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
  • Similar body size
  • Gentle
  • Can be loud barker

  • 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 laidback as the Pug.

  • Short coat
  • Likes to snort
  • Pushed-up face

  • Longer legs
  • The Pug’s face is flatter
  • Bostons 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 fuzzy Pug due to their similar snouts, though.

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 snout
  • 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. They were 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 tends 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 small breed, though the Pekingese is usually smaller in height and weight.

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

  • Longer coat
  • Pugs are slightly bigger
  • 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 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 face
  • Small, stubby legs
  • Wrinkles around their face

  • Larger and more upright earts
  • Stockier and bigger than Pugs

7. English Bulldog

English Bulldog standing on grass
Image Credit: Corrie Miracle, Pixabay
Height: 12–16 inches
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 medium size of the English Bulldog, they can weigh up to 50 pounds, unlike the Pugs at 14–18 pounds.

  • Wrinkly face
  • Snorting sounds
  • 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 was 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 feline-like behaviors, like resting in high areas and sneezing or snorting like a cat. This breed is also known for doing the “Chin Spin,” though, which is not one of their kitty-like behaviors.

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

  • Droopy ears
  • Small breed

  • Has a slightly longer coat
  • 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, they originated in China. The breed dates as far back as 200 B.C. and was bred for guarding and hunting. They were not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 1992, however. Unlike the Shar Pei, the Pug is not a guard or hunting dog; they were bred for companionship.

Similarities between the Pug and Shar Pei exist but are minimal. The Shar Pei is much bigger, and their wrinkles are not specific to their face. The Shar Pei also has a wrinkly body, and their wrinkles or folds are much deeper than those of the Pug.

  • Droopy ears
  • Flat face
  • Wrinkles

  • Pugs were bred for companionship
  • Bigger
  • 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 standard Tibetan Spaniel, along with the black shading around the snout, is distinctive of the breed and 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.

  • Companion breed
  • Small size
  • Facial features

  • Coat length
  • Lacks signature wrinkles


Although the Pug is among 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 who 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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