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Nicole Cosgrove

The Pug-Zu is a mixed breed whose parents are the purebred Pug and purebred Shih Tzu. He is a small dog with talents in obedience and tricks. He should live between 9 to 14 years and is a friendly and quirky dog great as a companion and family dog.

This is a great dog for families or as a companion but he does need lots of attention and he will not be happy being left alone for long periods of time. As long as you do not mind about what level of shedding he has he could be a great addition to your life.

Here is the Pug-Zu at a Glance
Average height 8 to 12 inches
Average weight 8 to 22 pounds
Coat type Long, silky, flowing or dense, short to medium
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Moderate to high
Shedding Moderate to frequent
Brushing Daily
Touchiness Slightly sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Low to moderate
Barking Occasional
Tolerance to Heat Low
Tolerance to Cold Moderate to good
Good Family Pet? Excellent
Good with Children? Very good
Good with other Dogs? Very good
Good with other Pets? Very good
A roamer or Wanderer? Low
A Good Apartment Dweller? Excellent
Good Pet for new Owner? Excellent
Trainability Moderately easy
Exercise Needs Moderate
Tendency to get Fat Fairly high
Major Health Concerns PDE, Epilepsy, Nerve Degeneration, Eye problems, Hemi-vertebrae, Vaccination sensitivity, Patellar Luxation, Legg-Perthes
Other Health Concerns Skin problems, Allergies, Demodectic Mange, Staph Infection, Yeast infection, Hip Dysplasia,
Life Span 9 to 14 years
Average new Puppy Price $300 to $1100
Average Annual Medical Expense $435 to $535
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $530 to $630

Where does the Pug-Zu come from?

Some people are very positive about Pug-Zus and other designer dogs like him. Designer dogs are deliberately bred mixed dogs, usually using two purebreds. However some are not so happy about this recent trend. There are already plenty of mixed dogs in shelters and this trend has attracted a lot of puppy mills and bad breeders creating new mixed breeds just to make money. The important thing then is to make sure you do not buy from such places if this is the dog you want. Take your time and do your research. With no origins known about the Pug-Zu we can look at the parents to get a better feel for them.

The Shih-Tzu

The Shih-Tzu comes from either Tibet or China and is one of the oldest breeds still around. They were treasured as companion dogs and were referred to as little lion dogs. They were docile, intelligent and happy. The first breeding pair to leave China and come to England happened in 1928. In 1969 he was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club.

The Shih-Tzu today is still a great companion dog. He wants to please you and be with you, he is very affectionate and loves to receive it too. He is happiest when in your lap and is a happy little dog when he has lots of attention. He can be lively and likes to play and is friendly too.

The Pug

This is another Chinese dog also very old, his ancestors can be found as far back as 206BC. Chinese emperors valued them and they were a very pampered companion. In the 1500s when trading began between China and Europe the Pug became popular elsewhere too, France, Germany and Italy for example. He came to America around the time after the civil war.

Today he remains a great and popular companion dog. He is devoted and happy to be in your lap for as long as you will have him. He will be very loyal and affectionate to you and while he does have a playful side he is also quite a chilled and calm dog overall.


The Pug-Zu is a very quirky dog with a lot of personality. He is loving, funny, playful and friendly dog who can be a great companion and family dog. He loves his food and treats, can be rambunctious and lively and is also quite smart. Sometimes he can develop small dog syndrome but since for Pugs that is rare, this is not always something to watch for. He is loyal and loves to be around people. He can have a stubborn side but otherwise is sweet and happy. He is curious too and quite outgoing. He demands a lot of attention and will be very affectionate in return.

What does the Pug-Zu look like

The Pug-Zu is a small dog weighing 8 to 22 pounds and standing 8 to 12 inches tall. He can look more like a Pug, more like a Shih Tzu or be a mix of them. His tail can curl but as tightly as a Pug, some have a black mask on his face, his coat can be medium to long in length, fluffy or smooth. Common colors are brown, white, black, fawn, apricot and brindle.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Pug-Zu need to be?

He is fairly active for his size, he will need at least 30 minutes a day outside walking along with some play time indoors. He can live happily in an apartment due to his size and things like trips to a dog park would be something he would really enjoy. Just watch he does not overexert himself as he can overheat. Sometimes he will seem happier to laze around but he needs a certain amount daily to stay healthy. While it is not a requirement to having this dog access to a yard would a good place for him to be curious and play in, but that is just a bonus.

Does he train quickly?

The Pug-Zu is a moderately easy dog to train, he will not need extra attention but it will need some repetition and patience. Be positive but firm and use treats as a motivator, he loves his food and will respond well to them. He tends to be obedient and eager to please and that will help. Early socialization and training is very important even for a small dog like this so do not skip it.

Living with a Pug-Zu

How much grooming is needed?

Because Pugs can vary quite a bit in how much they shed so can Pug-Zus, ranging from low to frequent. He will need to be brushed daily if he has a long coat as it it tangles very easily. He should also be taken to a groomers to be trimmed regularly. While there he can have other things taken care of like his nails clipped if they are too long. Bathing can be done at the groomers or by you at home and should just be done when he needs it. Use a dog shampoo to avoid affecting his natural oils. His hair in his head can get into his eyes so can be tied up or trimmer more often to control it. Shorter haired dogs will need less coat maintenance. His ears will need checking and wiping once a week and his teeth should be brushed at least twice a week if not more often.

What is he like with children and other animals?

He is very good with children, with other animals and with other dogs. Early socialization and training helps. He will play happily with any of them and is affectionate to children too. New animals coming into the home may need some investigation from him but he will soon adjust as see them as another member of the family.

General information

As he is so friendly even to strangers he is not usually the best of watchdogs. He is not always going to bark to alert you of an intruder for example. His barking is an occasional thing otherwise. He should be fed ½ to 1 cup of good quality dry dog food each day and it should be divided into two meals. Remember he does like his food so it is a good idea to measure and monitor.

Health Concerns

There are health issues the Pug-Zu can inherit from either parent such as PDE, Epilepsy, Nerve Degeneration, Eye problems, Hemi-vertebrae, Vaccination sensitivity, Patellar Luxation, Legg-Perthes, Skin problems, Allergies, Demodectic Mange, Staph Infection, Yeast infection and Hip Dysplasia. This can be avoided by buying from a trusted breeder who is able to show you health clearances for both parents. Visiting the puppy to see the conditions it is kept in, as well as the well being of other animals there is also a good way to avoid having a sickly animal.

Costs involved in owning a Pug-Zu

A puppy of this mixed breed can cost between $300 to $1100. Other costs will include a carrier, crate, collar, leash, bowls and then things like blood tests, shots, deworming, chipping and at some point neutwring. Some of those things may be done and covered in the price of the puppy, that will depend on where you buy from. They come to between $360 to $400. Yearly costs for medical needs like check ups, shots, pet insurance and flea prevention come to between $435 to $535. Yearly costs for basics that are non medical come to between $530 to $630 for things like grooming, license, training, treats, toys and food.


Featured Image Credit: Left – SneakyElbow, Pixabay; Right – Ihar Halavach, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.