Puggle

Sarah Mouton Dowdy
By Sarah Mouton Dowdy. Reviewed by Barri J. Morrison, DVM on Aug. 13, 2023
brown puggle dog standing in grass

In This Article

General Care

In the 1980s, the Puggle—a cross between a Pug and a Beagle—debuted in the United States. Because the Puggle isn’t an officially recognized American Kennel Club (AKC) breed and therefore doesn’t have a breed standard, it’s difficult to make definitive statements as to their appearance and temperament. But we can make predictions based on our understanding of the Puggle’s well-documented parent breeds. 

Generally speaking, Puggles are small enough to be lap dogs (14–30 pounds) but are far too full of energy and intelligence to spend their days lounging. They often resemble slightly larger Pugs, but with longer ears, muzzles, and legs; fewer wrinkles; and a Beagle-like tail. If this is hard to picture, think of a much, much smaller Mastiff, and you won’t be far off.

Like their parent breeds, Puggles are affectionate, outgoing family dogs who need close companionship and plenty of activity to thrive. 

Caring for a Puggle

In the absence of a breed standard, it’s helpful to brush up on the parent breeds to get a general idea of what to expect with Puggles.

Pugs are playful and even-tempered, with an outgoing and loving disposition. Despite their rather dignified look and regal history as the companions of Chinese emperors, these squishy-faced dogs are known for having a sense of humor. Beagles, on the other hand, were bred to live and work in packs as scent hounds, enjoying the companionship of humans and other dogs while engaged in hunting. They are skilled at working both independently and in a team. 

Both breeds can be affectionate, gentle family dogs, including in families with other pups. Beagles especially enjoy the company of their fellow canines. And while both the Pug and the Beagle are active, intelligent breeds in need of daily mental and physical stimulation, they’re also prone to obesity when left to their own devices. Neither dog is well suited to long stretches of alone time. Thankfully, their grooming regimen will leave plenty of time for play, as their short, low-maintenance fur needs only a weekly brushing.  

Puggle Health Issues

Both Pugs and Beagles are generally healthy breeds with lifespans of up to 15 years, and the same holds true for their offspring. Still, Puggles can inherit the health problems their parents are susceptible to.

It’s important to find a Puggle breeder who prioritizes health over profit and who is committed to testing to help minimize the incidence of the following conditions (although this list isn’t exhaustive):

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the hip joint doesn’t develop properly and is characterized by a looseness that leads to degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis). Both Pugs and Beagles are prone to the condition. Mild cases are treated with interventions like physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs, while severe cases may require surgery.

Common signs of hip dysplasia include:

  • Limping

  • Reluctance to get up or jump

  • Shifting of weight to front legs

  • Loss of muscle mass in back legs

  • Hip pain

Necrotizing Meningoencephalitis

Necrotizing meningoencephalitis (NME), also called Pug dog encephalitis (PDE), is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. The disorder, which is typically progressive and fatal, is more common in female, fawn-colored Pugs younger than 7 years old. 

Signs of NME can include:

  • Seizures

  • Walking in circles

  • Lack of coordination

  • Abnormal gait

  • Blindness

Musladin-Lueke Syndrome

Musladin-Lueke syndrome (MLS) is a genetic disease in Beagles that affects connective tissue across multiple systems and organs, including bone, heart, skin, and muscle. It’s similar to stiff skin syndrome in humans. 

Signs of MLS can include:

  • Thick, tight skin 
  • Reduced joint mobility

  • Broad skull

  • Wide-set eyes that are slanted and narrow

  • High-set ears with extra cartilage

  • Short outer toes on front feet (or sometimes all four)

  • Tip-toe or ballerina-like gait

Patellar Luxation

When the patella (kneecap) moves outside its normal groove within the femur (thigh bone), this is called patellar luxation (dislocation). The condition is more common in smaller breeds, such as Pugs and Beagles. In some affected dogs it doesn’t cause a problem, but severe cases may require surgery.

Signs of patellar luxation include:

  • Limping

  • Bunny-hopping

  • A popping, cracking knee joint

Autoimmune Thyroiditis  

Beagles are among the breeds predisposed to autoimmune thyroiditis, a condition in which a dog’s immune system creates inflammation that damages healthy thyroid tissue. It’s the most common cause of canine primary hypothyroidism, meaning the thyroid gland isn’t able to make enough thyroxine, the hormone that controls metabolism. Affected dogs are typically given a synthetic hormone for the rest of their lives. 

Signs of autoimmune thyroiditis include:

  • Weight gain 

  • Lethargy

  • Hair loss (usually along trunk, base of tail, chest, nose bridge)

  • Dull, dry coat

  • Cold intolerance

  • Skin darkening

  • Recurrent skin and ear infections

Eye Problems

Both breeds are prone to eye problems, prompting the official breed clubs to recommend that all Pugs and Beagles be examined by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist.

For example, with their large, protruding eyes, Pugs are predisposed to proptosis, where the eye either partially or fully comes out of its socket. Beagles, on the other hand, are more likely to develop a condition commonly referred to as “cherry eye,” where the tear duct becomes inflamed and susceptible to infection.

Brachycephaly

“Brachycephalic” refers to breeds, such as Pugs, that have a flattened face. This unique facial structure can predispose brachycephalic dogs to a wide range of issues, including breathing problems, digestive issues, eye diseases, birthing issues, spinal malformations, exercise and heat intolerance, sleeping problems, skin and ear diseases, and dental disease.

Puggles tend to have longer muzzles than their Pug parent, but that doesn’t mean they’ll avoid the issues associated with brachycephalic breeds. 

What To Feed a Puggle

No two Puggles are the same, so you’ll need to partner with your veterinarian to develop a feeding plan that’s nutritionally complete and balanced for your pup’s age, size, and health history. 

How To Feed a Puggle

Most adult Puggles should eat two meals a day: one in the morning and one in the evening. Because Puggle puppies have a higher metabolism than adult Puggle dogs, it’s generally best to give them an extra feeding in the middle of the day.

How Much Should You Feed a Puggle?

Because both Beagles and Pugs are prone to weight gain, work with your veterinarian to determine how much to feed your Puggle. The vet will tailor their recommendation to your dog’s weight, body condition score, lifestyle, and health needs.

You can also find a recommended daily feeding guide on the nutrition label of your dog food bag. But this will only give you a general idea of how much you should feed your Puggle, based solely on their weight. 

Remember that treats count, so be sure to factor them into your Puggle’s daily calories.

Nutritional Tips for Puggles

As long as your Puggle is eating a complete and balanced diet of dog food approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), they shouldn’t need anything extra. However, nutritional supplements and even prescription diets are sometimes used to treat certain health conditions. Talk to your veterinarian before adding anything new to your dog’s diet.

Behavior and Training Tips for Puggles

Behind every well-adjusted and well-behaved dog is a pet parent who’s put in a lot of time and effort. Luckily, Puggles are very trainable—especially when treats are involved. 

Puggle Personality and Temperament

Puggles are outgoing, playful dogs who love the company of their fellow canines and people of all ages. While it wouldn’t be accurate to call this Pug-Beagle mix a couch potato because they need to work their mind and body each day, they make an excellent cuddling companion after playtime.  

Puggle Behavior

Puggles are social creatures who need companionship and physical and mental enrichment each day. When left alone for long periods, Puggles can become bored and lonely and may act out. Unwanted behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, and house soiling can be a sign of unmet needs.

Puggles are outgoing, playful dogs who love the company of their fellow canines and people of all ages.

Because Beagles were bred to follow their nose, it’s important to help their offspring explore safely. Always keep your Puggle on a leash or within a securely fenced area.  

Puggle Training

All dogs go through a critical development period from birth to around 16 weeks of age. During this time, they learn how to interact with humans and other animals. Talk to your breeder about how they approach socialization, as this can have repercussions in your full-grown Puggle.

Both Pugs and Beagles are eager to please, but they can also have an independent streak. Consistent positive reinforcement training that uses rewards instead of punishment is the best way to teach your Puggle while building the human-animal bond.

Just remember: If you’re using treats as a reward, factor them into your dog’s daily calorie count. Play, toys, and anything else your dog enjoys can also be used as rewards.  

Fun Activities for Puggles

  • Leashed walks

  • Fetch

  • Nose work

  • Hide-and-seek with toys

  • Obedience training

  • Skills training

Puggle Grooming Guide

The Puggle’s grooming needs are relatively low, but don’t underestimate how much hair can be shed by such a small dog. And if your Puggle has wrinkles (a gift from their Pug side), you’ll need to take some extra steps to keep them clean and healthy.

Skin Care

Wrinkles require extra maintenance to keep moisture, dirt, food, and other debris from irritating your Puggle’s skin. Clean their wrinkles once a day with a wet washcloth or with dog-friendly face wipes. Gently separate each fold, wipe it out with a swiping motion until it’s clean, and then dry it thoroughly with a towel before moving to the next wrinkle. 

Talk to your veterinarian about how often you should bathe your Puggle to keep their skin healthy and free from irritation. Some Pugs and Beagles require frequent baths—weekly or even twice a week.

Coat Care

Pugs and Beagles both have short fur that is easy to maintain, so your Puggle will too. A weekly brush session will keep their coat looking good and help control the inevitable shedding.

Eye Care

The Puggle’s parent breeds are prone to eye issues, so you’ll want to make a habit of regularly checking your dog’s eyes for anything out of the ordinary. Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns. 

Ear Care

Both Pugs and Beagles are prone to ear infections. Talk to your veterinarian about how often you should clean your pup’s ears, and regularly check them for signs of infection, such as redness, odor, or discharge in the ears.

Considerations for Pet Parents

Here are some questions to consider before adding a Puggle to your family:

  1. Can I brush a dog’s coat at least once a week?

  2. Can I regularly clean and dry a dog’s wrinkles? And can I provide frequent baths if needed?

  3. Am I OK with fur on my clothes and furniture?

  4. Do I have the time to provide a dog with mental and physical exercise every day? Can I provide a place to play that isn’t too hot?

  5. When outside, can I keep a dog either on a leash or within a fenced area?

  6. Do I have the skills and patience to train a dog who can be willful using positive reinforcement?

  7. Can I give a dog the daily companionship they need? 

  8. Can I track calories as part of keeping a dog at a healthy weight?

  9. Am I financially prepared to provide veterinary care?  

  10. Can I provide a dog with a loving home for their lifetime, which could be 15 years or more?

If you can answer these questions with an enthusiastic “Yes!” you may be ready to adopt a Puggle. 

Puggle FAQs

How long do Puggles live?

Pugs have a lifespan of 13–15 years, and Beagles have a lifespan of 10–15 years. Thus, we can reasonably expect the lifespan of a Puggle to be 10–15 years. 

Do Puggles make good pets?

Puggles are a great pet for people of all ages who are committed to providing them with the companionship and mental and physical exercise they need every day.

Are Puggles healthier than Pugs?

Possibly. Because of their Beagle parentage, Puggles may avoid some of the issues experienced by their brachycephalic Pug parent. However, there is no guarantee, and the health of a Puggle is largely determined by the practices of the breeder.

Do Puggles bark a lot?

Both Pugs and Beagles are talkative breeds, with the latter being especially vocal. However, positive training can help keep barking to a minimum. 

Featured Image: iStock/Wirestock


Sarah Mouton Dowdy

WRITTEN BY

Sarah Mouton Dowdy

Freelance Writer


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