With celebrities and influencers in the forefront of fashion, there
is no surprise in the surge of popularity of cute dogs and Pugs in particular. This trend is not happening only in the Unites States but worldwide, and although the prices will vary from one country to another, healthy purebred Pugs are costly to breed and that will reflect on the price.
How much then, will I pay for a Pug, on average?
In the united states, buying a Pug will set you back $1000-$3000. In India, where there is a flourishing market for Pugs, the cost is between 5000Rs to 20000Rs (equivalent to about $70-$280) and in Britain (London) you will have to pay £500- £1500 (equivalent to roughly $660-$2000). These are average prices for a healthy puppy from a reputable and registered breeder. The prices can spike up %200-%300 if you are looking for high pedigree or ‘show dog’ quality. On the other side of the price range you may be able to find a pug in a shelter or rescue and only have to pay a symbolic amount which will cover expenses such as spaying/ neutering vaccination and food.
The price range can be confusing if you are not familiar with the world of canine breeding. There are a lot of considerations and factors you should probably be aware of before getting a Pug. I will try to lay them out in a comprehensive way for you to be able to make a more informed decision.
How are prices set?
If you have ever owned a pug, or any other pet you get attached to, you would feel very cynical to try and put a price tag on them, they ARE priceless. But the reality of the dog industry is that it is an industry and as such, numbers play a crucial part. The prices of dogs are the result of direct cost of the puppy’s expenses, the cost of caring for the mom and her health, indirect costs of the breeder, the pedigree of both parents (or a few generations back), geographical considerations and of course, market demand vs. supply.
Why is the price range so wide?
There are three roughly three categories to the pricing of Pugs which are a reflection of where you will get the dog. (True in most countries)
Reputable & Registered Breeders.
They are the ones all purebred dogs should be bought from. They are responsible for breeders with the right knowledge experience and facilities to breed. The pregnancy and birth of Pugs is no easy feat to the mom. The wide shoulders vs. the small hips make for difficult labor and may require a C-Section. A good breeder will adhere to some restrictions, whether self-imposed or legally. The American Kennel Club has a Guide for Responsible Breeding. (https://www.akc.org/breeder-programs/breeder-education/akcs-guide-responsible-dog-breeding/)
A breeder, especially with Pugs should go beyond these recommendations.
- A female Pug should not whelp more than 4 or 5 litters throughout her life.
- She should also be given a full year between pregnancies, to fully recover.
- No female Pug should be impregnated after the age of eight.
- Both parents’ bloodline should be checked for genetic disease.
- Both parents should be X Rayed for Spinal Or hip issues
- Breed to improve, mix good genes and weed out the bad ones.
Breeding responsibly and following all these restrictions for the benefit of the moms and the Puppies, along with close veterinary consulting and checkups costs a lot of money. This is the reason that buying a healthy, Purebred Pugs with clear conscience to the way they were bred. Is expensive. Buying a puppy with higher pedigree will include all of the above, plus a premium for those who want it and can afford it.
Next on the price scale are the unregistered breeders which will probably sell Puppies for $500-$1500. A family or owner of a female Pug may decide to have a litter or two and give away or sell the puppies. Even with the best intentions there is a good chance they would not do their homework and will cause harm to the mom or the puppies. Buying a puppy from an unregistered breeder will almost always carry a risk of inheriting problems and health issues that an experienced breeder would avoid. I can hardly blame a family that wanted to have their own puppies, but Pugs as a breed, would benefit if breeding would be done more selectively.
Puppy Farms and Puppy Mills
Dog lovers, Humane organizations and sometimes law enforcement have been trying to eradicate the Puppy Mill phenomena. Puppy Mills or Farms are anyone who is breading dogs for the sole reason of making a profit, with little or no regards to the health and well being of the dogs. Moms will be whelp up to twice a year, from a young age until they are exhausted. They will be cared for only to the point where they can ‘produce’ more puppies. The living conditions, quality of food and general care for the dogs will be minimal and often sub-par.
3 reasons to not support puppy farms
- The health of the Puppies is questionable
- Don’t support Pug abuse and cruelty
- Will spread instead of minimizing genetic defects.
California was the first state to take action against Puppy Mills. As of January 2019 the law in California forbids pet shop owners from purchasing puppies from breeders, registered or otherwise. Pet shops in California will only sell puppies who came from either shelters or rescues. Pet shops were one of the easiest outlets for puppy farms to sell their pups and this law is meant to avoid exactly that.
Shelters and Rescue
This is where unlucky and unwanted dogs end up. Sadly a lot of dogs are either abandoned or left behind. It is even surprising to find purebred dogs and yes, even pugs at these establishments.
Shelters are those sad, awful places depicted in movies such as ‘Lady and the tramp’, where lost dogs, stray dogs and unwanted dogs may end up. They have a bad reputation and earned it. This is the worse place for a dog to end up as they are usually limited in space and resources and do have to euthanize dogs. These shelters are usually funded (or underfunded) by local, city or county government. They include ‘dog pounds’, ‘Animal control’ ‘SPCA’ and other names. The lucky dogs will be snatched away and find a new home, but a lot of them spend the rest of their very short life there. The silver lining, if there is one, is that if you find a dog you like, you will be able to save his life for a relatively symbolic price and you will be able to take him home pretty much immediately.
Rescues on the other hand are usually privately owned and exist through the generosity of donations and volunteers. They exist to try and find homes to all the dogs ‘left behind’. Rescues will often utilize a network of foster homes for short or long-term placement of the dogs. You will be surprised how many pugs end up in rescues. In fact, as rescues in larger cities tend to be more breed oriented, there may be a ‘Pug rescue’ in a city near you. Rescues do try and make a difference and unlike shelters that are not focused on the well being of the dogs, rescues do go out of their way to find a good home for dogs. When you apply for adoption at rescues you may actually be interviewed and screened before getting a dog. The logic behind it is that if you are no ‘fit’ for a dog, there is a good chance that dog will end up in a rescue or a shelter again. A rescue dog will usually have gone a vet checkup and has been vaccinated and neutered or spayed. All that will be covered in if you take her home.
The benefit of taking a dog from a rescue or a shelter:
- You may be saving the dog’s life
- That dog will be forever indebted to you and will love you unconditionally
- You will be part of the solution and not part of the problem (if you were buying directly or indirectly from a puppy mill)
- You get a bargain price.
General Pug Buying advice
With a price tag of $1000 and up, there are many scams, be aware
- Try to ignore the cute Pug and treat this like a business transaction
- Insist on seeing paperwork and registration of the breeder
- Insist on seeing paperwork and registration of the Puppy
- The puppy should be registered and microchipped
- Never pay upfront before seeing the Pup (No, a picture or video do not count)
- Insist on seeing the mom. An honest breeder will be glad to show her and will not make up stories and excuses
Buying a Pug online
The internet is full of picture of cute puppies for sale, and there is nothing wrong with finding a Pug through the internet, BUT: Not everything is as advertised and pictures can be deceiving. Beyond the first contact you should treat this as any other transaction.
- The three steps of a typical online scam:
- The hook: You will find really cute Pug for a bargain price or even free (how can you go wrong with free?)
- Getting you to commit: The seller will always have a very believable story of why they are giving the dog away. Child allergies, moving to a place that is not pet friendly, divorce, new job etc.
- The sting: This is where additional cost will suddenly pop up. Additional airline charges, a special crate for the dog, shipping insurance. You will get believable paperwork/ emails from the airline. If you try and back out now you may be threatened of being guilty of animal abandonment, so you must send the money.
Scammers can be very resourceful and have proof in the shape of authentic emails, airline paperwork, videos and websites.
The only sure way to avoid a scam is to see the pup and the seller with your own eyes.
Colors may make a difference. Merle Pugs
Pugs come in two colors. Fawn and black. There are a few variations of Fawn and some will consider Apricot and Silver as colors by themselves, but that’s another discussion. There is another variation which is called Merle Pugs. These are Pugs with lighter patches and coloring. Some people will try to sell them as rare and exotic but the fact is that this is caused by a gene called the M-Gene and aside from the external features (Beauty is in the eye of the beholder) there can also be an increased risk for both sight and hearing. This gene is recognized as natural for some breeds. Not for Pugs. Some Kennel club will nor register these dogs as Pugs. Whether you love them or not is up to you, but considering the health risk, Merle Pugs should definitely not cost more than normal Pugs.
The cost of bringing a Pug Puppy home
After the initial cost of purchase or adoption, you will hopefully have a healthy neutered or spayed dog (if not, that will cost another $150-$250)
Here is a list of additional items you will need, or want to have for your new Puppy:
- Good quality bowls for food and water. Ideal bowls would have a bottom that is not slippery, as they tend to push the bowl while nibbling, and shallow enough for their short flat mouth. Personally, I prefer stainless steel.
- A good harness fit for a puppy. Harnesses are preferable for Pugs in general and puppies even more, as they put no pressure on the neck. Pugs will also have relatively thick necks and a collar would have to be quite tight in order for it not to slip.
- A good leash. I am not a fan of the retractable ones, but since strength is not really an issue. For puppies especially, I like a combination of lesh-harness that will allow me to lift the pup right into my arms and out of harms way, should I need to.
- A small comfortable bed. You don’t put a baby in a king size bed. Get something a small Pug can snuggle in.
- A good gentle brush. Puppies have one coat of puppy hair which is very manageable compared to the double coat you will have to deal with when they grow up. A soft brush will do the job and will also get your pup used to grooming
- A grooming glove is also a great tool for light everyday brushing.
- A good gentle shampoo. There are excellent shampoos and conditioners made for dogs. Pugs skin is often sensitive to chemicals, and with the tiny quantities you will be using, it’s a well worth investment to get a hypo allergenic or an organic product.
- A small crate, for training or travel. It is good to have your puppy crate trained so she will fill comfortable to be in her crate whenever the need arises. We still feed our Lev in her crate.
- Toys, Puppies need toys to play with and for teething. Get plenty of those and your shoes may be spared.
- If you want your Pup contained to a certain area, get a puppy playpen. The size should give enough room to play, but not too big for a puppy.
- A rubber anti slip mat, if you are lifting your pup to clean or groom on a slippery table or countertop.
- A warm or water-resistant coat, if the weather and temperature command it. This is purely practical. Puppies don’t have their double coat yet, and you may just want to keep them warm and dry.
- Scissors or other nail cutters, if you want to get into that.
- Doggy toothbrush and toothpaste. No one is going to notice your dog’s breath more than you
A lot has been written about dog food (See ‘How to Feed My Pug? What, and How Often?’) This is a subject worth researching. The quality of food you will give your Pug will affect it’s growth and health for years, probably more than any other external factor. Pugs love to eat but don’t need a large quantity, so whatever type of food you decide to go with, get her the good stuff. It’s only a few more dollars per month, and is well worth it. The food should add up to $20-$30 a month and up to $50 for very generous feeding.
Animals get sick, and need medical care. It is also advised to schedule routine checkups for vaccinations, de-worming and general care. For a generally healthy puppy or dog this will cost $200-$400 a year.
Pugs also have a list of medical conditions they may be prone to. These include an array of eye related issues, some breathing related, skeletal and skin sensitivities or allergies. Some of them can be avoided, and most of them can be solved in a simple manner if they are not neglected. Some of the more serious ailments may cause you vet bills to become more significant. These are not something to panic about, but surely something to be aware of. What does it mean in terms of cost?
These conditions which will not be included in your routine checkups may cost a few hundred dollars and if complicated up to a few thousand dollars to include surgeries and other costly medical treatment. Statistics show that at least one of these emergencies will occur during the lifetime of a dog. This is why it may be wise to consider Pet Insurance for you Pug
Getting your Pug insured gives the piece of mind that whatever emergency you and your Pug encounter, money will not be an issue. Spending a large sum of money out of the blue (and these things never come at ‘good time’) can be difficult for most families, and the trick here to avoid this being an issue, at all, in any sense. Very basic coverage will start at $20 and the most commonly selected plans average on $30-$50. Naturally, the more you spend the wider the coverage. It is always better to start at a young age before any pre-existing conditions start. I highly recommend looking into Pet insurance for your peace of mind. Check out my article ‘How Much Does Pet Insurance for a Pug Cost?’
Having a Pug in your life means you have to take care of him or her. This will include all their needs, food, all types of ‘gear’ and medical care. Statistics show that Americans would spend about $1600 a year, on average on their dogs, roughly $1000 of that for medical bills. That means an average of over $20000 over the life of a Pug.
Purebred vs. Crossbred and Mutts?
With purebred dogs, you are pretty much sur to get what you paid for. Whether it is the esthetics of the breed, its temperament or any other trait you were looking for. You will also get all the genetic baggage that comes with it. Even well selected healthy purebreds will have genetic issues which were passed from generation to generation in a sort of ‘inbreeding’ and have become a part of the breed.
Mutts on the other side of the genetic mix, will often have multiple bloodlines and breeds to draw from. Nature has a way of improving health and selecting the fittest. Mutts will generally be healthier than purebreds when it comes to genetics. When it comes to Looks and behavior, they will be less predictable. They can still be beautiful dogs (who am I to judge) and have great temperament, but when you get a puppy, it may be a roll of a dice.
Crossbreeds have the best of both worlds. Their features and characters are quite predictable and they are less prone to genetic problems. There is a growing number of very interesting Pug crossbreeds and they are becoming more and more popular.
What medical issues do Pugs suffer from?
Pugs have a unique build, that aside from making them the cutest breed (I may be bias), comes with some medical deficiencies. These big soulful, bulgy eyes are prone to accidents, scratches, infections and in extreme cases they may even pop out of their socket. Those broad shoulders and tight hips make are not so much fun when it comes to hip conditions like Hip Dysplasia and whelping.
Good selective breeding will eliminate most of the acute genetic defects and ongoing medical care will prevent most of the rest from complications, but it is important to be informed to the potential medical issues your Pug may encounter. Read more in ‘What problems do pugs have? Pug Health and Personality ‘