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Why Are Pugs So Expensive? Initial & Annual Costs

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Thinking of getting a pug and adding some love to your family but wondering why they cost so much? This incredibly popular breed is expensive, with the best of a pedigree bunch scoring upwards of $6,000 per pup.

Why are pugs so expensive

Not only that, but there are also several annual costs that are unique to pug ownership. Even if you’ve had dogs before, if you’ve never had a pug in particular, there’s a lot of information you’re missing. 

Before you take the plunge and hand over your hard-earned money for one of these expensive cities, it’s important you understand the commitment you’re making, as well as the reason behind you splashing all of that cash. 

Not only are they more popular as time goes by, but pugs are also associated with a variety of different health complications as a result of overbreeding. That, plus several other factors, pushes up the cost of a pug puppy considerably.

How Much Is A Pug Puppy?

Depending on the mother’s pedigree status, age, and location of the breeder, you could pay anywhere between $450 and $2,000 for a pug puppy. The finest pugs of the highest pedigree have been seen to fetch (pardon the pun) over $6,000!

This price can differ across the world, of course: these estimates are accurate for breeders in the United States, but you might be able to get a better deal or even end up paying over the odds in other countries. 

As with buying anything – but especially when it comes to introducing a new member to your family – if the price sounds too good to be true, then it definitely is. Nobody would be selling a pug for cheaper than necessary without reason!

Of course, if you really wanted to save some money, you could rescue a pug from a shelter. Some places even have lists, so you can wait and see if a pug on the younger side comes in for those seeking that puppy or adolescent dog experience.

Why Is It so Expensive to Buy a Pug?

So, you know how much you’re going to have to spend for a pug, but why is it so expensive when compared to buying puppies of other breeds? Well, let’s break it down by reason…

Potential  Pregnancy Complications And Breeding Difficulties

Much like bulldogs and other medium or smaller breeds, pugs will often suffer from complications during pregnancy or while giving birth as a result of naturally narrow birth canals. 

As a result of this, most breeders will choose to deliver their puppies via a Caesarean section, a surgery that can cost a great deal extra when you account for post-surgery care and any care that the puppies might need afterward.

Since such problems are so common, it is also the norm for breeders who opt for Caesarean deliveries to account for that cost in the price of their puppies, though even those who birth puppies naturally might add on a few hundred for vet bills.

Consistent Health Problems

Having been around in the USA as early as 1885 – which is when the American Kennel Club first recognized them as a breed -pugs have been overbred significantly in order to meet the demands of a country now obsessed with them.

Unfortunately, their squashed little faces, arguably one of the reasons they are so popular, might be a trait that has been bred into their DNA. Still, they come with an array of health difficulties, in particular with their noses, eyes, and breathing abilities.

This is a result of pugs being brachycephalic, which refers to the short, rounded shape of their skull, responsible for the “flatness” of their face as well as a shorter muzzle. Cute as this is, it can really impede how well they breathe.

As well as this, pugs are also prone to other conditions like arthritis, skin infections, hip dysplasia, and joint problems. These are a result of continuously breeding pugs with malformations in order to appease buyers who find deformations to be cute.

Many sellers will account for any veterinary bills in their prices, as it is a commonplace for pug puppies to have extra appointments in order to find any respiratory problems early while they can still possibly be treated.

It’s worth bearing in mind that as an owner, you will then take on the responsibility of ensuring your pug has all of the necessary veterinary checkups and appointments they need, which requires annual payment. More on that in a little bit…

Popularity In Modern Culture

You probably wouldn’t guess this, but the fact that pugs are so popular means breeders will often be able to double their usual asking price for a pug puppy. They are ranked 28th in the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular breeds!

As they are on the small side, with an amusing little squashed face that makes them look a little naive, if not absolutely adorable, pugs are beloved for their unique but cute appearance, which also drives up the price of puppies.

Because so many families are desperate for a pug, breeders are able to charge more than they really should, taking advantage of the pug as an icon in popular culture. You can get pug-themed accessories just about anywhere!

Plus, because their litters tend to be a lot smaller than the average dog, there are very few new pug puppies being born at any one time. This means that demand is pretty much always high, so the prices very rarely decrease.

Different Fur Colors 

As with many other breeds, the color of a pug’s fur will also dictate how much the breeder can charge for them. Light fawn (a kind of tan) and dark black are the most common pug fur colors, which is convenient as a fawn is the most popular color!

Though they’re equally as common, you’ll find breeders charge a few hundred bucks more for a fawn pug just because there’s more of a demand for them generally. Want to save some money? Opt for a black pug instead!

Pedigree Status And Personality

Although they’re not exactly the prettiest or poshest pups, full pug dogs are definitely considered to be pedigree. Therefore, if your pug puppy was born to a pug mom and a pug dad, then you’ve got yourself a pedigree pug!

They are also widely recognized as gentle, sociable dogs that make excellent companions, described by the American Kennel Club as being “even-tempered and charming” – their happy-go-lucky nature lets breeders charge you more for them.

What Are the Annual Ownership Costs For A Pug?

On top of the initial cost of purchasing your pug puppy, you’re also looking at paying further fees every single year. For some of these, you’d have to pay for any puppy, but others are exclusive to pugs, as they are a particularly sickly breed.

The Cost Of Owning A Pug – Yearly Breakdown 

Do bear in mind that these are estimates only, and your own pug might be cheaper or more expensive than our guidelines suggest!

  • Canine insurance: $300-400+
  • Food, snacks, and treats: $500-$600+ 
  • Hired dog walker or sitter: $400-$800+
  • Annual veterinary health check: $55-$100+
  • Unexpected vet visits: $150 average, could be more
  • Flea treatments or tick collars: $200-$250+
  • New toys or a replacement bed: $100+

All of those costs combined come to at least $1700 a year just to own and properly take care of your pug – that doesn’t even begin to cover all of the unexpected costs that we haven’t mentioned here!

It’s important to note that these are averages based on the cost of owning a Pug with no significant health complications or severe issues – depending on the quality of the puppy you receive, you might end up spending a whole lot more.

That being said, it costs a pretty penny to own and care for any breed of dog, and you always end up spending more than you estimate. As long as you go into this equipped with the right knowledge, there’s no reason you won’t be fine.

Speaking of…

What Should You Look For When Buying A Pug?

Why are pugs so expensive

As with any breed – but especially when it comes to getting a pedigree dog – ensuring you opt for a reputable, reliable breeder is imperative. Buying a pug from the side of the road or down some shifty alley is not at all recommended.

Due to their ever-increasing popularity, it’s also easier than ever to find a badly-bred and sickly litter of pug puppies sold by illegal breeders or living in horrific conditions on puppy farms. Don’t give in to the opportunity for a bargain – it’s not worth it!

You can only guarantee that the puppy you get will be as healthy as possible by buying from fully licensed and legal breeders if they have positive reviews or have been recommended by a reliable source, then even better!

Always try and visit the puppies a few times – be sure you get to see them in a clean, well-looked-after space, interacting with their mother and siblings. Pups should never be removed from their moms before they are ready – this is a huge warning sign.

If you want to enjoy the companionship of an adorable pug without fuelling the industry that has led to their unhealthy deformations or simply avoid paying thousands of dollars in fees, you could consider adoption instead.

Have an open mind! Not only will you be rescuing a perfectly lovely dog from spending the rest of its life in a shelter, but you can also save a huge chunk of money in the process. Give a dog a loving forever home without breaking the bank!

Plus, if you’re worried about coping with a puppy (they require way more commitment and effort than you expect), then you can skip difficult adolescent stages and adopt an adult dog. Either it’s ready and willing to learn or trained already.

Conclusion: The Pugly Truth…

So, to put it as straightforwardly as possible, pugs are so expensive because not only are they considered a pedigree breed that produces small litters, but they also come with several health complications during pregnancy and for the rest of their life.

By no means does that mean everyone should give up on pugs altogether!

They are beautiful dogs that deserve love and attention like any other breed! However, if everybody were responsible and only purchased from quality breeders, then the health issues present would decrease.

Unfortunately, while costs stay so high and pugs continue to be one of the most popular breeds around, it’s likely that the criminals who run puppy farms and force dogs into unimaginable conditions will continue to abuse the market.

It’s difficult to say whether owning pugs is an ethical practice or not – nobody can stop you from buying one, nor can they make you buy one from a reputable source as opposed to from an illegal breeder.

While it’s difficult to eradicate farming completely, you, as an individual owner, can do your part by taking especially good care of your pug, ensuring you protect them from hereditary joint problems and skin infections for as long as possible.

Being the best carer, you can be and encouraging fellow pug enthusiasts to do the same is a great place to start, as is donating to shelters and rescue charities. 

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.