French Bulldog vs Pug – What are The Differences?

Getting a new dog is one of the most exciting and joyful times in life, but deciding what breed can be overwhelming because there are so many to choose from! If you are comparing the French bulldog vs pug to choose your next dog, this article will help you understand their differences and help you make your decision regarding which is the best choice for you. Let’s dive in to compare these two flat-faced dog breeds!

French Bulldog Vs Pug; What Are Their Similarities?

If you’re considering between a French Bulldog and a Pug we should start with looking at how the two breeds are similar.  Although they are two distinctly different breeds, they do share the following similarities:


Both breeds are considered small dogs. The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that French Bulldogs should weigh less than twenty-eight pounds and Pugs should weigh between fourteen to eighteen pounds.

Keep in mind that if you search for a “pet quality” dog of either breed, they are not going to be bred to conform to the AKC standard as they are being bred to be a pet, not to be shown. This means a pet quality dog may weigh more or less than those weight parameters. There is no difference between show and pet quality dogs other than a show quality dog must adhere to the AKC’s breed standard or they cannot be shown. Both make wonderful companions; however, you should expect to pay more for a dog that was bred to conform to breed standards than you would for a pet quality puppy.


Both breeds have comparable life spans. The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that French Bulldogs often live approximately ten to twelve years and Pugs often live approximately thirteen to fifteen years. Of course, there will be some dogs that are longer lived and others that are shorter lived.

Puppy Delivery

It is common for both the French Bulldog and the Pug to require caesarian sections (also known as a C-section) to deliver puppies safely.  This of course adds to the cost as a qualified professional is needed to assist with this.  

They are both Brachycephalic

Both the French Bulldog and the Pug have short noses and flat faces. Dogs with these features are referred to as Brachycephalic breeds. Though there are healthy brachycephalic dogs, breeds that fall into this category are at a higher risk for medical conditions involving their palate, nostrils, and airways.

Although endearing in appearance, owners of Brachycephalic dogs must take extra precautions for the health and safety of their dogs:

  • These dogs are more prone to difficulty breathing in general, making their exercise needs fairly low since this difficulty breathing makes physical activity more trying for them.
  • To protect your flat faced furry friend from his or her airway being further restricted, they should only be walked with a harness, never just a neck collar.
  • A brachycephalic dog should not be heavily exercised in hot temperatures due to their sensitivity to heat stroke.
  • Owners should also keep in mind that these breeds should not be generously fed. The potential for breathing difficulties is worsened by obesity, which means that diet and exercise must be strictly adhered to in order to help dogs maintain a healthy weight.

Owners should also be prepared for their flat faced friends to snore in their sleep because of their Brachycephalic anatomy.

Pug vs French Bulldog; What Are Their Differences?

Despite their similarities, they are two totally different breeds and have the following differences:

French bulldog and a pug


When comparing a pug vs Frenchie, the biggest difference is their physical appearance.

French bulldogs are built like miniature bulldogs, with wider shoulders and narrower hips. Their most signature feature is their erect bat like ears.

Pugs are often built like little barrels with legs. They have lop ears, not erect ears like the Frenchie. Their most signature feature is their curly tail.

Both breeds are available in some similar colors, such as fawn or black. However, the French bulldog is available in a much wider array of colors than the Pug.


Although both breeds are seen regularly, the French Bulldog currently ranks fourth out of the one hundred ninety-seven breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club while the Pug ranks twenty eighth.

Mixed Breeds

Generally speaking, mixed breeds of the French Bulldog are not as common as mixed breeds of the Pug. The Pug is most commonly mixed with the Chihuahua, called a “Chug”, or a Beagle, called a “Puggle”. French Bulldogs have been cross-bred with other small breeds to create “teacup or mini French Bulldogs.

Reproduction and Acquisition Cost

Pugs are able to reproduce naturally, while French Bulldogs often require artificial insemination to breed due to their narrow hips. Between the costs of artificial insemination and caesarian sections often being required to breed Frenchies, expect for the cost of a French Bulldog puppy, even a pet quality puppy, to be higher than that of a Pug puppy.

Pug vs Frenchie Histories

These dashing dog breeds each have rich histories:

The French Bulldog’s History

french bulldog history

The Frenchie originated in England in the 1800s. These bat eared snorting snugglers particularly found favor with lace makers in Nottingham, England, so much so that they became the mascot for the industry. The industrial revolution in England forced these lace makers to move their business elsewhere, and the majority of them chose to move to France, hence the name the “French Bulldog”.

The Pug’s History

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Pug originated in China approximately two thousand years ago. These flat faced fellows were highly favored by Chinese emperors and were only kept by the members of the imperial court, emperors and their families. For many years, outsiders only obtained a Pug if they were gifted one. In the 1500s the Pug got their fifteen minutes of fame that led to their popularity spreading. Legend has it that a Pug barked to warn the Prince of Orange when his soldiers were about to be under attack, giving them the time they needed to prepare to defend themselves. The Prince of Orange then took his Pug back to England with him, where the breed gained popularity. The name Pug is said to have originated from the Latin word “pugnus” which means fist, as some say their wrinkled little faces resemble a clenched fist.

French Bulldog vs Pug Personalities

The American Kennel Club (AKC) describes the Pug’s personality as “charming, mischievous and loving”.

The French Bulldog’s personality is described as a super lovable, adaptable, playful and smart.

If you ask owners of either breed, they will probably have lots of positive things to say because after all, they are a little bias! The best way to decide between these two breeds is to try to spend time with different dogs of both of breeds and see who you click with better.

Remember that dogs are individuals, and as such, not all dogs of the same breed will behave the same way. Consider volunteering for a French Bulldog or Pug rescue and fostering a dog, or getting involved with the rescue in another way such as transporting dogs to veterinary appointments or to adoption events as a way to spend time with the breeds.

Some animal shelters will allow you to take a dog out for a walk or ride to get them out of the shelter for an afternoon as well.

The experiences you have will help you determine which breed is better suited for your lifestyle and family, and you might even find your furry friend in the process!

French Bulldog vs Pug Care

Considering the care a dog will need before adopting a dog or puppy or buying a puppy is crucial; your furry friend will depend on you and you must be prepared to provide care for their whole lifespan. Both breeds are a commitment of at least ten plus years, making the decision to get a Pug or French Bulldog not one that should be taken lightly.

Although dogs do require a significant commitment in general, both breeds are considered relatively low maintenance. Whether you get a French Bulldog or a Pug, you should expect to perform the following tasks to care for them:

  • Feeding your dog two meals a day and ensuring fresh water is always provided, as well as exercising self-control by not giving your dog a snack every time he or she asks for one.
  • Walking your dog daily, exercising discernment during hot weather by choosing to walk early in the morning or late in the evening rather than mid-day.
  • Regularly grooming, which for these smooth coated breeds means regularly brushing their coat, bathing, ear cleaning, nail trimming and teeth brushing.
  • Spending time quality with your dog by playing with, petting and cuddling him or her.
  • Arranging for and paying for preventative and potentially emergency veterinary care.
  • Looking out for your dog’s best interests and ensuring he or she is always well cared for, safe, happy and healthy.

Summary – The French Bulldog Vs Pug

The French Bulldog and the Pug both make excellent companions; you cannot go wrong no matter which dog you choose. They share similarities, such as their Brachycephalic anatomy, low exercise needs and low grooming needs. Both dogs also have the potential to live over ten years, making ownership of either dog a significant commitment. If you are struggling to choose between these two breeds, try to spend time with dogs of each breed to help you make your decision.

PS – Want to know the differences and similarities between a Boston Terrier and the French Bulldog?  We also have an article on English Bulldog vs French Bulldogs if you want to check out that comparison. 

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