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Pug-Zu (Pug & Shih Tzu Mix) Dog Breed: Info, Pics, Care & More!

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 14, 2024 by Dogster Team

Pug and Shih Tzu

Pug-Zu (Pug & Shih Tzu Mix) Dog Breed: Info, Pics, Care & More!

When you cross the loving and affectionate Shih Tzu with the entertaining and confident Pug, you get a hybrid known as the Pug Zu. This adorable mix has all the best traits of both parents and makes for a fun and lively companion.

Breed Overview


8 – 12 inches


10 – 20 pounds


9 – 12 years


White, brown, fawn, black, brindle

Suitable for:

Families with children, active people, those with plenty of time to spend with a dog


Loyal, easy to train, intelligent, affectionate, playful

This breed is beloved by everyone, including first-time dog owners. These small, non-aggressive dogs are smart enough to be trained easily while maintaining their easy-going nature. They are playful and gentle with kids. They’re also energetic despite their small size.

Some Pug Zus look more like Pugs, and some look more like Shih Tzus. The hybrid is not always a 50% mix of each breed, and some can be products of multigenerational mixes. That said, while two Pug Zus may look different, their personalities should be similar.

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Pug Zu Puppies

Since the Pug Zu is a hybrid breed, the puppies aren’t sold as purebred dogs. This makes finding a breeder difficult. This isn’t always an intentional mix to create. Some people find themselves with accidental litters and advertise the puppies at a low price just to get rid of them.

While Pug Zus are ideal family dogs, they are not effective guard dogs. Their overly loving temperaments prevent this. If you want your dog to protect you, this isn’t the right pet for that. These dogs are suited for apartment living due to their size and the fact that they thrive wherever their people are. If owned by a family, they will love everyone in it, and if owned by one person, they will bond with them. In general, they’re a very loyal and friendly dog.

Image Credit: Left-  Katrinbechtel, Pixabay | Right – Chaoss, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Pug Zu

Pug Zus are fun-loving, entertaining dogs that like to be the center of attention. They thrive when they receive attention and love from their families. Always wanting to be around people, the Pug Zu is prone to separation anxiety and doesn’t do well if left alone for long periods. They should be companions for households that aren’t often left empty.

They are gentle and patient around children and make fun playmates for them. As long as the children are gentle with the dog, the Pug Zu is naturally accepting of everyone and knows how to play well with kids.

While these dogs are extremely sociable, they should still be socialized as early as possible to get them used to people and other animals.

Pug Zus are smart and clever. They respond to training well and can learn new things quickly. They can be stubborn at times and decline to do what is asked of them, but a strong routine with positive reinforcement will be able to override this, especially if you use a treat that the dog enjoys as motivation.

Since Pug Zus are highly food-motivated, using treats along with proper training methods will keep them behaving the way that you want them to.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Pug Zus are loving, fun family dogs and suitable pets for people of all ages. If you have a Pug Zu as a single owner, the dog will bond to you and consider you their family. If you welcome a Pug Zu into your home with children, the dog will consider them playmates and friends. This dog has a welcoming and friendly personality and loves people.

This is not an ideal dog for a family that isn’t often home. Pug Zus need company and want to be around people as much as possible. Consider your schedule before bringing this dog home.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

Pug Zus get along with other pets. They are more accepting of other pets in the home if they grew up with them from puppyhood. Other pets, especially other dogs, can help them through their separation anxiety when people leave the house.

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Things to Know When Owning a Pug Zu

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

The Pug Zu is excited to eat and will eat as much as they’re given, so it’s important to control the amount of food that you provide them. Don’t allow them to free feed. Measure out a nutrient-rich kibble twice a day to meet their caloric requirement. Use treats sparingly. This breed is prone to becoming obese and should be monitored to maintain a healthy weight.

Exercise 🐕

These little dogs are active and their energy level could surprise you. They enjoy long daily walks for exercise and mental stimulation. Two 30-minute walks per day will keep them happy. If those walks could be combined with time spent in a fenced-in area chasing a ball, that would be even better. Indoor exercise is also something that they enjoy. Games of fetch could be played inside. Since this is a social dog, they may enjoy trips to the dog park or play dates with a friend’s dog.

In hot weather, care should be taken to not overexert your Pug Zu. They are prone to overheating. When it’s hot, stay inside or in the shade as much as possible, and don’t let your Pug Zu run for long periods.

Training 🎾

Pug Zus are smart and easy to train. You can take them to classes, work one-on-one with a trainer, or watch training videos online to learn the proper training methods. Once they get the hang of a new trick or command, they will love to show it off. Learning new things is fun for them.

While they are considered easy to train, this is true only if the correct methods are used. They respond best to positive reinforcement and strong routines. Repetition and patience are necessary to show them the correct ways to behave.

Food is their greatest motivation, so high-value treats will help them learn even faster.

Grooming ✂️

Your Pug Zu will need regular nail clippings. Also, since they are prone to dental diseases, brushing their teeth is a helpful way to reduce the amount of plaque and tartar that can build up. You can reduce the need for extractions in the future by keeping their teeth clean now.

The amount of grooming that your Pug Zu will need depends on the coat that they inherited. A dog with a Pug coat will need daily brushing to help control the shedding and remove any debris in the hair. Bathing is required when your dog is dirty or starts to have an odor. Using a moisturizing conditioner will keep their skin hydrated.

If the Pug has a Shih Tzu coat, it will be longer and may require trimming. A professional groomer can give your dog a haircut, along with a nail clip and bath during the session. Brushing the coat daily can help keep it clean and tangle-free.

When you are clipping your dog’s nails, it’s a good time to check their ears for signs of infection. Swelling, redness, and a foul odor are signs of this. Your dog will need to see the veterinarian for medication to treat this ailment.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Pug Zus are generally healthy dogs and don’t normally suffer from the same genetic health issues as their parent breeds. They are still prone to certain health problems, though. Here are a few of the most common conditions to be aware of with your Pug Zu.

Minor Conditions
  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Dry Eye
  •  Sinus Infections
Serious Conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation

Minor Conditions:

Atopic Dermatitis

This is an allergic reaction in the skin causing severe itching.

Dry Eye

This is caused by inadequate tear production that leads to inflammation of the eye tissue from being too dry.

 Sinus Infections

Due to the Pug’s respiratory anatomy, they are prone to sinus infections and respiratory problems.

Serious Conditions:


Repeated episodes of seizures are known as epilepsy. If your dog has a seizure, your vet can help determine what type of seizure it was and the best course of treatment for it.

Hip Dysplasia

The Pug side of the dog may be more responsible for this than the Shih Tzu, but hip dysplasia can be genetically passed down if one parent has it. This occurs when the hip socket is misaligned, causing pain and difficulty walking.

Patellar Luxation

When the kneecap slides out of place as the dog walks, this is known as a luxating patella. If you notice your dog skipping or carrying their back leg for a couple of steps as they walk, this could be what’s occurring.


Male vs Female

Once you’ve decided on this breed, the next thing to decide is getting a male or a female puppy. Both sexes share many of the same characteristics that make them ideal pets, but there are a few key differences between the two.

Male Pug Zus are charming with strong desires to please their owners. They like to be spoiled and are more playful than the females. They seek out attention, seeming to need it more than females. They tend to get distracted easily, and you must get their focus again to continue training. They are easy to socialize with people and clingy with those they love.

Female Pug Zus are friendly, affectionate, and loving but not clingy. Females are also slightly smaller than males. They are more independent and less playful, and they mature faster than the males do. The female Pug Zu loves attention from people but is less likely to seek it out at all times, preferring to be alone. They are more focused and less distracted, making them slightly easier to train. They’re more suspicious of strangers but more willing to get along with other animals.

What you choose comes down to your personal preference. With females, they will go through heat cycles and need to be spayed if you don’t intend to breed them. With males, they should be neutered if you aren’t breeding them. Whichever you pick will make a loving companion for your family.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Pug Zu

1. They like to show off.

The Pug Zu is smart, and they know it. When they master a new trick or command, they enjoy repeating it to show off their skills. They are proud of their ability to do a job well.

2. They are food-motivated.

This works well when teaching them the new tricks that they like to show off. Pug Zus will do just about anything for a treat. Rewarding positive behavior with them is easy as long as you have their favorite snacks. This, combined with their intelligence, makes training a breeze.

3. Some Pug Zus shed and others do not.

It depends on which coat they inherit. Since Pug Zus can look different, they also have different coats. If the coat is closer to that of the Shih Tzu, it will be longer and shed minimally. If it’s closer to a Pug’s, it will be shorter and shed much more.


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Final Thoughts

Pug Zus are clever little dogs with plenty of love to give and fun personalities to entertain you. They make excellent companions and adapt well to new people and new environments.

This dog is easy to train and highly food motivated, so you will be able to teach them anything that you want quickly. Even though they may be small, they have high energy levels and love spending time outdoors playing games or going for walks.

Due to their gentle and calm dispositions, these dogs are suitable companions for children and will bond with their family members quickly. They love being around people and can develop separation anxiety if they are left alone for too long.

Their affectionate personalities make Pug Zus popular choices as family pets. Whether you choose a male or female Pug Zu, you will have a loyal and loving companion.

We have lots more Pug Mixes and Shih Tzu Mixes for you to explore!

Featured Image Credit: Left – Pug (SneakyElbow, Pixabay); Right – Shih Tzu (Ihar Halavach, Shutterstock)

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