The Real Cost of Buying and Owning a Pug

Are Pugs Expensive? The Real Cost of Buying and Owning a Pug

Of all the cute Puppies, Pug Pups are probably the cutest. Owners of Pugs may tell you they are Priceless, sellers on the other will easily put a price tag on them. And then there all kind of hidden costs and of course the lifelong feeding and maintenance of any pet. If you are a first-time Pug owner, this may all be somewhat confusing and it will sometimes be hard to get a clear answer.

What is the real cost of buying and owning a Pug?

A Healthy Pug Pup from a reputable breeder may cost $1500 to $3000, even more of you are looking for pedigree. If you are more flexible about age, you might be able to find a Pug from adoption or rescue for $250 to $500.  The cost over a lifetime, including food, vet bills, and some necessities may be between $18000 to $30000 for a lifespan of 12-15 years

A Pug is a living entity and there are a lot of factors affecting the day to day spending. These ranges are pretty rough and depend on many factors. After owning two Pugs, paying the bills and doing a massive amount of research, I want to share with you all the reasons and considerations for these prices and costs. Is it worth it in the end? By the end of the article, you will be better equipped with the knowledge to make up your mind. Don’t listen to my opinion, I am totally biased.

Why are Pugs So expensive

The price for purchasing a Pug will depend on a few parameters

  • Supply and Demand
  • Geographic
  • Source
  • Pedigree
  • Age

Supply and Demand

Like any other product, a dog is subject to market supply and demand. If purebred Pugs are in high demand compared to what is readily available on the market, their price will rise. It doesn’t matter if the reason is fashion (your favorite celebrity owns one), practical (you just want a good companion dog) or just because they are so irresistibly cute


Price will vary from city to city and from one country to another. A healthy pug from a reputable breeder can cost around $300-$400 in India, but will easily be five to ten times more in California.

You may not be able to control your location but I ended up crossing a border, crossing another state, getting a speed ticket (not necessarily part of the process) and paying the Canadian customs, when I got my first Pug.

Reputable Breeder

If you prefer to buy from a registered breeder you will have higher costs than shelters or adoption (if you can even find them)


If you are interested in a purebred Pug from a good lineage or maybe a show quality pedigree, you will have to pay top dollars


Pups are always in higher demand than older dogs. Pups are cute, people want a healthier dog with longer life expectancy and it’s always riskier bringing home a dog who may have ‘baggage’ from previous owners.

Why buy from a reputable breeder

There are three reasons to buy from a reputable breeder: Health, Pedigree and Moral Responsibility


Breeding Pugs is not as straight forward as other dogs may be. Those large heads and wide shoulders in combination with tiny hips make it very challenging during birth. There is a great tall on the pup bearing bitches and C section are not uncommon. A good breeder will also have assured that the lineage, even if not from high pedigree, is healthy. Two healthy parents go a long way to improve the chances of a healthy pup. Another issue where a responsible breeder is a good bet is the existence of genetic disorders such as Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE). Unlike other genetic problems which all Pugs may share, PDE is affecting about 1.2% of Pugs, is fatal and is only passed only from directly related. That means that it can be pretty much eradicated if any lineage that is infected will not be allowed to breed. Responsible breeders will make sure to have PDE ‘clean’ Pugs to breed.


If pedigree matters to you, a registered breeder is the only way to go. Show dogs and their descendants have higher commercial value for being purebred, their aesthetics, the ‘perfect’ breed proportions, and the papers to prove it. If having that perfect curled tail or just ‘right’ wrinkle on the forehead matters too, that’s fine, but it may cost you more.

Moral Responsibility

If you are new to the world of dog breeding you may not be familiar with terms like ‘Pup Mill’ or ‘Puppy Farm’. This is the ugly side of the pet industry; the side where financial gain trumps the health and wellness of the animals in which it trades. These puppies are supplied to pet stores and often end up in rescues and shelters. These Mills keep the dogs in sub-par conditions with minimal, if any veterinary supervision. Pup Mills are the ‘Sweat Shops’ of the pet industry. The females are bred to exhaustion with little regards to their naturally problematic pregnancies and even worse deliveries. When quantity is more important than quality and there is no regard for the needs of the dog as well as the compatibility of the new owner, these puppies will often find themselves in shelters. There is a reason responsible breeders charge a premium dollar for a puppy, it costs them a lot more.

The benefits of adopting a rescue Pug

Our world is full of unwanted dogs (yes, even Pugs) who find themselves in shelters and rescues which are full of well-intentioned people, but are usually overcrowded and underfunded. When adopting an abandoned dog and giving him/her a loving home, you will have a very appreciative pet and a warm fuzzy feeling that comes with doing a good deed. You may be righting the wrongs the poor creature may have endured, and you will probably even be saving on the initial cost of buying a Pug. It’s a win-win situation. The payment to the shelters is usually just to cover spaying or neutering, vaccinations, and other veterinary expenses, which you would have probably have had to spend anyway.

Now that you have a pug, what are the additional/ ongoing costs?

Pugs need stuff. Pugs are not the type of dog you tie in the yard and just provide some food and water. (not that any dog deserves that). Starting from food, bowls for food and water, a leash and collar etc. As a future, responsible dog owner, do consider these costs. Shelters are full of dogs whose owners did not. I have divided the costs to three categories:

  • The bare necessities
  • Health -Vet Bills
  • Extras

The bare necessities

Food is probably first on this list. Fortunately, pugs are small and should not be overfed, they have a nasty tendency for becoming overweight. ‘Which dog food is better for your Pug?’ is a debate we can have a few articles to debate, but in any case, this should not be the place to save money. The difference in price is in the two-digit difference per month and food will be one of the key elements in keeping your dog healthy and your vet bills down to a minimum. Consult your vet and get the good stuff. Without going into the complex size and weight calculation we’ll say around $20-$30 a month.

Bowls for water and food, a collar and leash, a bed, maybe a small kennel for training and transportation, a good brush, treats for training and maybe a jacket (if you are in a cold climate). If you get the generic ones, (which are usually totally adequate), will be a one-time expense of $100- $200. Of course, you can find beautiful bowls for over $50 and beds at $150, if you so desire.

Health -Vet Bills

This is where things get potentially expensive.

One-time expenses, such as spaying or neutering $180- $240

For a healthy Pug, 3-4 yearly visits to the vet for preventative care, vaccination, heartworm, and the occasional blood works will cost $200-$400

On top of that Pugs have a list of issues that may find them during their lifetime including Structural and circulatory Hip problems, Eye related issues (see a full list in…, skin conditions and infections to the Fold above the nose. Any of these can start at $400 and end at $5000 or $6000. You can, statistically, expect to have at least one of these or other emergencies to occur during the lifetime of your pug. The American Humane Society estimates vet bills of about $1000 a year.

All that is for a generally healthy dog. You can see that an unhealthy or unlucky dog can cost a lot.


This where you can add all the fun stuff like toys, fancy dress, beds, and other gadgets. They would usually not amount to what you pay the vet, but can easily add up.

See our ‘Recommended Gear’ for ideas and reviews of fun and functional products for Pugs.


A 2016 survey of the American Pet Products Association found that Americans spend an average of about $1600 a year on their dogs. Multiply by 12-15 years and you get $19200 – $24000. Considering Pugs are ‘above average’ dogs, expect to spend a bit more.

Expect the unexpected

We have covered all the main expenses and issues involved in bringing a Pug to join your household. Healthy dogs can quickly get sick and accidents do happen, you need to take all this into considerations and be prepared for it both mentally and financially.

Consider Pet Insurance

You have seen what the average cost can be to have a Pug in your life. Having pet insurance will give you the peace of mind knowing that when the day comes, money will not be an issue. The cost of caring for a dog is one of the two main reasons they end up in shelters.

Bringing a Pug home is a joyous occasion and will add warmth love and plenty of funny moments. Children adore Pugs and the feeling is usually mutual, and we haven’t even discussed their quirky antics and funny noises.


Related Questions

Do Pugs have eye problems?

Pugs, with their big soulful eyes, are indeed prone to a range of complications and conditions. You can see the full list in the full article. The good news is that the majority of eye-related problems can be treated, and with early detection may not leave permanent damage and not cost a lot.

Do Pugs Bark A lot?

Pugs are not considered a very noisy dog when it comes to barking. The will mostly bark as a form of communication to let you know they want something, in most cases, it’ll be some love or just food. Read more on the barking habits of Pugs in my related article.

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