NotABully.org is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.
Are you considering a pug companion for your pit bull? These two dogs are very different in appearance and temperament, so you may be wondering if this would be a good match.
Do pugs and pit bulls get along?
Although pit bulls and pugs can get along well with the proper socialization and training, their differences in size, temperament, and exercise needs may not make them the greatest fit for each other.
Here’s what you need to know about the positives and negatives of having both a pit bull and a pug, as well as a few tips for helping these two dogs get along well.
Where Did These Two Breeds Come From?
A good way to understand if two breeds will do well with each other is to look at their history and see if there’s any overlap. So let’s briefly take a look at the history behind these pups.
The pit bull was initially bred in England for a cruel sport known as “bull-baiting,” where dogs were raised and trained for the sole purpose of fighting bulls. It was meant to be a source of entertainment for the lower classes. Fortunately, this horrific fighting was banned in 1835, although it occurred illegally in some places after that.
In the years since, pit bulls have become known as trustworthy dogs, and now they are much-loved family members for millions of people around the world. The breed continues to fight against their historic purpose and undeserved reputation of aggression. They are often considered to be one of the most popular breeds in the U.S.
On the other hand, the pug breed had a much different beginning. The pug breed originated in China centuries ago–perhaps even as far back as 400 BCE. They were never designed to do any kind of work, but rather to be a family pet and lapdog.
With their squished, wrinkly, adorable face and fun temperament, it makes sense that this dog consistently ranks high on the list of most popular dog breeds in the U.S.
It’s obvious that these dogs both have very different backgrounds. But what does that mean for their relationship?
Why Might They Get Along Well?
There are a few reasons that pit bulls and pugs could potentially get along well.
They Are Both Very Affectionate
Both of these dogs are incredibly affectionate. They love their humans!
Pit bulls especially love to please you, and they are constantly seeking attention, whether that’s a good scratch, a belly rub, or an energetic play session.
Similarly, pugs are also very affectionate. They thrive when they’re getting plenty of attention and companionship. Pugs are very playful, and their easygoing, calm nature makes them a good fit for any owner.
Since both dogs are so affectionate, be careful to pay both dogs attention. They might feel the need to compete for your affection if they feel the other dog is getting more love.
They Have Similar Levels of Intelligence.
Pit bulls and pugs are very well matched in intelligence. According to canine expert Stanley Coren, both breeds fall under the category of “Fair Working and Obedience Intelligence,” although pugs are ranked slightly higher.
This means that both breeds will be able to pick up basic commands fairly easily. Although both breeds are highly trainable, they also share the trait of stubbornness, so you might have your work cut out for you!
If your pit bull or pug is not responding to commands, it could very well be from sheer stubbornness rather than lack of understanding. The key to getting past that is to use lots of positive reinforcement as motivation for obedience. Then their intelligence will really shine!
Since these dogs so evenly-matched in intelligence, they should be able to handle the same rigor of training, daily routines, and sharing toys.
What Are Some Potential Problems?
Although there are a few reasons why these two breeds may get along, a pug companion may not be a great match for your pit bull. There are some key differences between the two breeds that could definitely cause problems in the relationship.
There’s A Big Size Difference
Pit bulls and pugs have a big size difference. Pit bulls can easily weigh up to 50 or 60 pounds. They are strong, muscular, and sturdy, with a personality to match.
In contrast, pugs are much smaller, typically maxing out around 20 pounds. Although pugs have big personality crammed into that tiny body, they will be at a distinct disadvantage with the pit bull because of their size.
Although size alone shouldn’t be what makes or breaks your decision to pair a pug with a pit bull, it can definitely cause issues. Your pit bull may want to play too aggressively with the smaller pug, leaving your pug feeling frustrated and frightened.
They Have Very Different Temperaments.
Although pit bulls and pugs do share a few traits, such as attention-seeking, intelligent, and stubborn, that’s mostly where the similarities end where it comes to personality.
Even though they’re small, pugs are strong-willed and stubborn. They love to goof off in order to get attention. They’ve also been nicknamed a “velcro” dog because they will follow their humans around incessantly, and they could suffer from anxiety if separated from their people for too long.
Pit bulls are energetic, agile, and athletic. They love going on adventures like hiking, biking, or swimming. If properly socialized, they are very friendly towards other people and dogs. However, they don’t have the same “silliness” that a pug’s personality will often entail.
These different personalities may mean trouble for a pit bull and pug who are around each other constantly. The pug could very well annoy the pit bull by being so small and playful, and the pit bull could attempt to play too aggressively or even get bored with the pug.
They Each Have Unique Exercise Needs.
These two breeds have very different needs in terms of exercise and athletic ability as well.
Pit bulls are fairly active dogs, and they require at least 45 to 60 minutes of exercise every day in order to remain happy and healthy. Pit bulls also love variation in their exercise routine. One day you might play fetch in the yard for an hour, and the next day you could go on a 30-minute, intense hike instead. Pit bulls are adventurous, so they thrive on these types of activities.
On the other hand, pugs look like couch potatoes next to the pit bull. While they need both physical and mental stimulation, their form of exercise is much different than the pit bull, nor do they need as much exercise every day. Exercise for a pug may be a short walk morning and night, or even a quick run-around in the backyard.
As short-snouted brachycephalic dogs, pugs have a harder time handling hot weather and can be more prone to heatstroke. Thier short snout and wrinkly faces also make them prone to breathing problems if they’re overworked. With that being said, pugs are a little lazy and they love their food, so they can be prone to obesity if not exercised properly. It’s all about finding a good balance with the pug.
Obviously, these two breeds have very different exercise needs, which is something you’ll have to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to pair a pug with your pit bull.
How To Set Up This Relationship for Success
If you want to have both a pit bull and a pug, there are a few things you should do on a consistent basis with the two dogs in order to promote a healthy relationship.
Socialize, socialize, socialize.
Socialization is incredibly important for both of these breeds, especially the pit bull. Before you bring in a pug, make sure your pit bull has been well socialized with other people of all ages, many other dog breeds, and even to new situations or circumstances. They should understand doggy manners, and they should also be well-trained, with a lot of respect for you as their owner. This will help a first introduction to go smoothly.
Similarly, the pug should be comfortable around new people and dogs in various settings. The pug should be old enough to understand signals from your pit bull when enough is enough, and they should be well-trained in order to take directions from you.
A little socialization will go a long way when it comes to helping these two pups get along.
Positive reinforcement is key.
Because they are so affectionate with a desire to please you, both pit bulls and pugs respond incredibly well to positive reinforcement. Both of these breeds hate to displease their humans, and it will take very little from you to make them understand your disappointment when they do something wrong.
This can work in your favor. When the dogs do something well, play nicely, or interact positively, lavish them with praise. Tell them “good dogs!,” give them lots of belly rubs, rub their ears, all of it. They’ll catch on very quickly that the way to receive your affection is to treat their sibling nicely.
Pit bulls and pugs may not be a perfect match for each other, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get along well. You can help set your dogs up for success with each other, and they might just become the best of friends. However, make sure to always watch for signs of trouble between the pit bull and pug so you can separate them before it escalates into a bigger problem.