Pug vs Frenchie: Which Dog Breed is a Better Family Pet?

It’s easy to confuse a Pug and a French Bulldog (Frenchie), and they look similar, after all. But these two pups have different personalities, histories, and physical characteristics. Which one is better? 

This guide is all about learning the difference between these two breeds. Ready to learn more?

A Pug and a French Bulldog sitting
The Pug (left) and the French Bulldog (right)

Breed Comparison: Let’s Take a Look at the Pug vs Frenchie

Pugs and Frenchies get confused all the time. They both have those smooshy, flat faces and round bodies. They have the same hair length and come in similar colors. It’s no wonder that people sometimes mistake one for the other. 

To make things easy, this chart helps you compare the two:

Pug vs French Bulldog
  Pug Frenchie
Country of Origin China England
Breed Type Brachycephalic breed Brachycephalic breed
Suitable for Families with Children Families with Children
Weight 14-18 pounds 16-28 pounds
Height 10-14 inches 11-15 inches
Lifespan 10 years 12-15 years
Coat Double coat Single coat
Color Black and fawn Cream, fawn, white, brindle,
or a combination
Temperament Clown A bit more serious
Energy Level Average Low
Price $1,000 to $2,500 $1,500 to $3,000
Popularity Top 28 Top 2
Trainability Good Good

Where Did Pugs and Frenchies Originate?

According to the AKC, Pugs originated in China thousands of years ago as pampered lapdogs. In fact, they were so valued that they were owned by emperors who gave them their own luxury housing and guards. 

They later made their way to Europe in the 1500s and were a favorite pet of royalty there. Queen Victoria had many of them and bred them.

They were even considered as the official dog of the House of Orange in Holland after a Pug reportedly rescued the life of Prince William.

Frenchies came out of Bulldogs that originated in England, where they acted as ratters initially for lace-makers. Later, these dogs were bred with French Terriers in France, and that’s how we got the dog we know today.

They became extremely popular in France before they made their way over to the US in the late 1800s, and they quickly became popular in America. Many influential families such as the Rockefellers and Morgans had pet Frenchies.

As you can see, the two small dogs aren’t related at all, despite their similar appearance.

Pug vs. Frenchie Appearance: Visual Differences

Frenchies are larger than Pugs, both in height and weight, though a large Pug and a small Frenchie could be the same size. Pugs are anywhere from 14-18 pounds and 10-14 inches tall. Frenchies are between 16-28 pounds and 11-15 inches tall.

A Pug and a French Bulldog standing
The physiques of the Pug (left) and the Frenchie (right)

Pugs have more wrinkles on their face, and they can have little moles on their cheeks. Chinese breeders emphasized those wrinkly faces because they’re considered good luck, and Frenchies lack these.

Both are brachycephalic breeds, which means they have small noses, narrow tracheas, and long palates. It looks as though their faces have been smashed flat with a short snout.

Unfortunately, these characteristics can cause serious breathing problems in both breeds and overheating, especially in hot weather.

French Bulldogs have upright bat-like ears that are moderate in size and stand erect on their square-shaped head.

Pugs have small, floppy ears that are black in color and have two distinct shapes – rose ear (a small, drop version that folds a bit backward) and button ear (upright at the base, but the top half of the ears fold over).

They also differ in their tails. Frenchies have a stumpy tail that is either straight or screwed. This screwed tail is a legacy of the English Bulldog, which was used to create the Frenchie. The Pug’s tail is small and curled

Frenchies can be cream, fawn, white, brindle, or a combination. Pugs are black or fawn, and if they are fawn, they have a black mask. They both have a short coat, but the Pug’s coat is double and a bit rougher, while Frenchies are soft with a fine, single coat.

If you want to know more about the differences, check out our Pug Colors and French Bulldog Colors guide.

Pug vs. Frenchie Personality and Temperament Comparison

Close-up images of a Pug and a French Bulldog
The funny Pug (left) and the more serious Frenchie (right)

Pugs and Frenchies may look similar, but these two breeds have totally different personalities. Pugs are clowns and like to act as jesters, goofing around and playing. That’s why they’re sometimes called the “comedians” of dogs.

Frenchies are a bit more serious, though they can be silly when in the mood. They love to play but are more chilled than most. They can be downright stubborn, so if they don’t feel like doing something, they won’t.

Both make excellent companion dogs, and that’s what they’re bred to be these days. A Frenchie is a protective dog that is wary of strangers or intruders. They love their people and generally want to be near you at every moment of the day. 

French Bulldogs are also gentle and sweet and don’t need a lot of exercise, though they do want to play a lot indoors. They do well with older kids who are respectful and not too overbearing. 

Even though they can be stubborn, Frenchies are eager to please, so they are fairly easy to train. When it comes to dog park time, they love other dogs and will get right to romping around if you let them. 

On the other hand, Pugs are a bit more sensitive and every bit as stubborn. They love to play, but on their own terms. These dogs are happy, affectionate, and fiercely loyal to their humans.

They are generally friendly with other people and other dogs, but it’s best to introduce them to others slowly to see how they feel before you set them free to have fun. 

Pugs also need less playtime indoors. For the most part, they’d rather just sit on your lap than chase a ball. That said, they tend to be more agile than the bulkier French bulldog.

They also tend to bark more than the Frenchie, though both will alert you if someone comes to your door. They also tend to overeat and are prone to obesity more than Frenchies are.

Both dogs are fairly easy to train, but both have a stubborn streak and need consistency and a firm leader. Both are equally intelligent, but their stubbornness can present a challenge. Positive reinforcement is key to improving their trainability.

This video shares more about the two:

Pug vs. Frenchie: Which Dog Requires More Maintenance?

Both Frenchies and Pugs are brachycephalic dogs, and that means they have short faces, which can be a problem in extremely hot weather. Both dogs are prone to breathing problems, and both should be kept indoors when the weather gets hot. 

A standing Pug and a sitting French Bulldog
The Brachycephalic Pug (left) and Frenchie (right)

Remember, those short noses mean health issues requiring many vet visits and maintenance like medication or care.

Both dogs are about the same in terms of grooming, with their short hair needing just a quick brushing now and then and regular bathing. Both breeds need regular dental care to deal with their frequent dental problems.

Pugs need more brushing because they have a double coat, and you need to wipe out the folds of their skin weekly.

Which dog needs more exercise, a French Bulldog or a Pug?

French Bulldogs and Pugs are not high-energy dogs. You don’t need to take them out on a jog for an hour every day, and you don’t need to walk them for hours and hours. Frenchies tend to be a bit lower energy, so they need even less exercise than the Pug. 

All dogs have physical exercise needs, but with their short noses, both of these dogs can’t handle a lot of cardio. Instead, they prefer to play games or to have their minds challenged rather than being physically active.

That’s not to say that they can’t run around and have fun, but you’re more likely to see them playing indoors with a ball than doing a challenging agility course. They’re happy just spending time clowning around with you.

Who sheds more? The Frenchie or Pug?

Every dog needs grooming, but both Pugs and Frenchies need less than many other dogs. Neither needs hair trimming, and neither needs daily brushing, and you can call them low maintenance when it comes to their grooming needs.

Pugs tend to shed more, and they also usually have more wrinkles, so that means you need to brush them more often and wipe down the skin in their folds to avoid disease or hot spots.

Both shed, but the Pug sheds more. You can do all of this grooming yourself, and no need to head to a groomer.

Which dog eats more, a French Bulldog or a Pug?

These dogs have a similar feeding requirement, though Frenchies will typically eat a bit more because they are relatively larger. 

For more details on feeding each breed, you might want to check out our guide to the “Best Dog Food for Pug.” We also have a “Best Dog Food for French Bulldog” guide. Both of these will help you feed your best friend.

Do French Bulldogs Have Fewer Health Problems than Pugs?

A Pug and a French Bulldog lying down
The sad, yet cute, Pug (left) and Frenchie (right)

French Bulldogs and Pugs have more than their fair share of health problems. All brachycephalic dog breeds have a short muzzle and serious eye problems (especially the Pug). They are also prone to heatstroke and snoring because their air intake is compromised.

Both dogs are sensitive to anesthesia, and both can have brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS). 

Pugs love to eat and eat if you let them. That’s one of the reasons why they’re more prone to obesity, though both dogs can get overweight if you aren’t careful. 

Pugs tend to live longer, though they have plenty of health problems along the way. Some of the common Pug problems you may encounter are hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, epilepsy, skin allergies, Pug dog encephalitis, and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease.

Here are some of the Frenchies’ common health conditions to watch for. They are prone to heart problems, back problems like Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) / Intervertebral Disc Degeneration, ear infections, congenital hemivertebrae (or butterfly vertebrae), knee and elbow luxation. 

Both dogs are prone to being gassy, conjunctivitis, skin problems, and allergy issues.

Pug vs. Frenchie Puppy Prices: Which is More Expensive?

A Pug puppy and a French Bulldog puppy
The equally cute Pug (left) and Frenchie (right) puppies

Frenchies typically cost much more than Pugs. That’s because they have difficulty breeding naturally, so many are born via c-section. This increases the cost of breeding and results in smaller litters.

Frenchies range between $1,500 to $3,000 or more, while Pugs are more like $1,000 to $2,500

Both are subject to backyard breeding, so you should be careful to check the American Kennel Club to see which they have recommended breeders. 

Don’t miss out: Why French Bulldogs Cost So Much Money?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Smiling Pug and Frenchie
A cheerful Pug (left) and a smiley Frenchie (right)

Which is more popular, the Pug or the French Bulldog?

The Pug is an exceptionally popular dog, and they rank around 28th in popularity out of 200 breeds that belong to the American Kennel Club.

Know which dogs are even more popular? That’s right, the Frenchie. These pups with the Bulldog breed background rank the second most popular breed, with the AKC only behind the Labrador Retriever.

Do Frenchies and Pugs get along with each other?

All dogs can get along given the proper training and introduction. Frenchies and Pugs are similar in size and not too different in personality, so they are natural friends. 

Of course, use caution when introducing them to each other because you never know when two dogs will get along or not. 

These two pups are so similar that people have bred them together to create a designer breed called the Frenchie Pug or Frug. If you want to learn more about this dog, check out our guide to the Frug”.

If you want to purchase one of these lovely little dogs, you better get out the wallet. They cost a lot!. Expect to pay at least $1500, and probably a lot more.

Should I Get a Pug or a Frenchie?!

A Pug sitting on grass and a French Bulldog sitting on sand
Both good pets, the Pug (left) and the Frenchie (right)

Which dog calls your name? Both are good family pets and affectionate dogs. Both have health problems and have a small litter.

The Pug is more prone to obesity and takes a bit more grooming. Frenchies cost more and tend to have more health problems, especially if you want to breed your dog. 

Neither dog is better than the other, necessarily. But a Frenchie is probably better for you if you want a quiet dog. A Pug is probably better if you want a dog that is a bit smaller and lives a bit longer.

Bringing a new family member home can be a challenge. If you want a little help with the process, we have a guide called “Getting a Dog” that can help you out with the whole thing from start to finish.

Further reading: Learn and Compare More Similar Dog Breeds

 

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