How Much Do Pugs Cost in California?

When considering to add a Pug to your household one of the considerations is the price. The prices may fluctuate and change due to current availability, pedigree, demand and how far you are willing to go. One of the main factors determining the price is location, and this will change, not just between countries, but also between states and cities.

So, how much does a Pug cost in California?

The going price for a Pug in California is around a Thousand Dollars ($1000). This is an average price for a normal purebred Pug from a reputable breeder. If you are opting for a Pug with pedigree or one destined to be a show dog, the cost can easily run up to even $5000- $6000. On the other end of the price range, you can find Pugs from rescues or shelters for as little as $150 and other shady deals that probably originate in Puppy mills.

Why so expensive? Or why by from a reputable breeder?

Breeding healthy purebred Pugs is a costly business. Having healthy puppies requires health parents and often more than one generation back. Keeping mom Pugs healthy also means not exhausting them with pregnancies, and letting them rest properly. Pugs have big heads and shoulders in relations to the hips, birth can be challenging at best and may often require veterinary intervention and even C-Section. It means keeping up with laws and regulation and it means being licensed by the USDA and adhering to its rules. Just like any business, cutting corners and bending the law may have financial benefits, but in this case, the ones who will suffer directly are the dogs.

Where can I find a good breeder in California?

Don’t be fooled by pictures of cute puppies, and make sure the breeder you are considering is USDA registered (except if they are documented as exempted). They are inspected before being licensed and also undergo inspection and need to report annually.

Be vigilant, and check the breeder?

To save you trouble, I have provided this list of USDA Licensed and/or registered breeders. (Scrawl to page 26 for California). If you have contacted a breeder, do check if he or she is on the list, and if not, be sure to find out why not.

What about Pet Stores?

Pet stores used to be notorious for trying to make a quick dollar by buying puppies from ‘puppy mills. Fortunately, in accordance with the ‘Pet Rescue and Adoption Act’, from January 2019, in California dogs sold in pet stores must originate from shelters, rescues, or other nonprofit organizations. The store is also required to make the origin of the dog available and visible to customers.

Why you need to avoid ‘Puppy Mills’?

Simply put, puppy mills are breeders who care about the profit more than the dogs and supply sub-par conditions for both the moms and the pups. Keeping moms healthy, not over breeding them will have a cost and when it is cut the dogs will suffer. These “puppy farms” will not be registered and will usually also be either illegal or in violation of government regulation. California is the first state to legislate a law forbidding pet stores to buy from unregistered breeders, or any breeder for that matter, in an attempt to end this terrible industry.

Adopting a Pug in California

If you are dreaming of a picture-perfect cute puppy pug, a shelter or rescue may not have been of places you would ‘shop’ in, but it is certainly something to consider. On the other hand, if you are more flexible about e your dog is and the age, you can find amazing dogs in many rescues and shelters. Sadly, many people do not take adopting a dog seriously and do not do their homework in advance, or worse, get a pet on a whim or because they thought it would be cool. These dogs, regardless of cost and pedigree, find themselves in shelters and rescues.

Adopting a dog from a shelter can be a most rewarding experience and you will have a pet who will be forever thankful. They know…

Both our Pugs came to us from families who, for their own reasons, did not want them anymore. Preston came to us when was Just over a year old.  Lev came from an overwhelmed family, who had no idea what having a puppy would be like. She was just six months old at the time. We love both couldn’t see ourselves without them. I could not imagine them ending up in a rescue…

What’s the difference between a ‘Rescue’ and a ‘Shelter’?

‘Shelters’ are usually public or government-funded organizations. There are many organizations, usually with an actual facility where the dogs are, who fall under this category: ‘Dog Pounds’, SPCA, ‘Humane Society’, ‘Animal Control’ or ‘City Shelter’. These organizations, although publicly funded are usually on resources and place. This is where stray and unwanted dogs end up. The very sad truth is that most dogs Purebred or not have a short grace period in a shelter and if they are not adopted within a few days (depending on how full the place is) they will be euthanized. Some privately-owned shelters have a ‘No Kill Policy’

‘Rescues’ on the other hand, are privately funded and usually run by volunteers, and have a network of temporary or permanent foster homes. Rescues exist to find a home for every healthy dog and will provide veterinary inspection, vaccination, spaying and neutering for all dogs.

Adoption process and cost at a Shelter

First and foremost, the biggest benefit is that when you adopt from a shelter you are literally saving the dog’s life. The adoption process from a shelter is much shorter, simpler and cheaper than any other option. The cost will be relatively low as it just covers the publicly funded neutering/ spaying and vaccination. It will usually cost between 4%00 to $200. The process is a quick one, as they literally just want to get the dog out of the door and in the majority of cases, you will be able to walk out with your new pet.

Adopting a Pug from a Rescue

Here there is a bit more of a process and cost. Rescues usually require an application, and an interview to determine if the adopter is right for the dog. There is no point in going through adoption if the dog is going to end up in rescue or shelter again. The dog is often at a temporary foster home. The cost will be from $150 to $500, depending on age and health.

A word about Pug Cross Breeds

If you are here, you probably have an affinity to Pugs. But did you consider Pug crossbreeds? More and more crossbreeds have been popping up recently and unless you are a Pug ‘purist’ there are some very interesting combinations in that group. Some are common and almost obvious like Puggles, Boxer and Pug Mix, Boston Terrier or French Bulldog mixes. But you also have Huskey, and Shih Tzu (Pug Tzu that looks like a baby Wookie). Aside from being adorable, there are two major benefits to all non-purebred Pugs. The first is health. Crossbreeds and Mutts in general, are healthier, genetically better off than breeds who have been swimming in the same gene pool for generations. Any genetic disease is carried and enhanced with inbreeding. The second benefit is that this wonderful dog will often not be the ‘first pick’ and be much easier to find in shelters and rescues. So, if you are considering adopting a Pug from a shelter, rescue or a pet store (in California), be even more considering and look at Pug crossbreeds.


Pugs are wonderful dogs and will quickly become part of your family. Whether you are aiming for a purebred puppy from a breeder or adopting a pug that needs a home I hope you have a bit more knowledge to start the journey.

Addition Questions

Are there any additional costs I should consider before getting a Pug?

The cost of purchasing or adoption of any dog is a one-time expense. Before you start down this road, you need to consider all the other expenses which will occur over the life expectancy of your Pug (12-15 years). The average dog-loving American family will spend $1600 on average, per dog per year. This can accumulate to $2400 over a lifetime of a lucky Pug who lives to be 15. See more details on the cost of living with a Pug in ‘Are Pugs Expensive? The Real Cost of Buying and Owning a Pug’   

Do Pugs have Health issues?

Pugs have been bred for over two thousand years. Any purebred dog has some health and issues which are either genetic or just inherent to their body. A good example is the pug’s odd skull shape the bulgy eyes and the squashed nose. Pugs are part of the flat-nosed group of dogs called Brachiocephalic. These are prone to breathing problems and eye problems. On how to treat and manage these issues, read my article ‘What problems do pugs have? Pug Health and Personality’    

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