When it comes to small dog breeds, there are so many to choose from that it might be hard to decide. Small dogs are full of energy, personality, and are easy to take with you wherever you go!
So how do you know what small dog breed is best for your home?
Hello dog moms and dads! My name is Bri, and I’m a long-time dog mom who is currently spoiling an American Bulldog and Pitbull mix named Bruce. Now Bruce is definitely not a small dog.
Weighing in at 90 pounds, I’d say he definitely fits into the large dog category. But I love every last ounce of my big baby! However, I have always had a soft spot for small dog breeds.
Two of the breeds that I would look into if I were ever to bring home a small dog (don’t tell Bruce I said that), would be the Pug and the French Bulldog.
Whenever you are bringing a new dog into your home, it’s important to make sure you are prepared for your new fur baby.
Getting the proper toys, food, treats, leashes and collars, saving up for emergency vet bills (because you WILL have a panic moment when your dog eats an entire tennis ball) and so many other factors go into preparing your home for a dog.
Overview of Pugs
Ahh, Pugs. The graceful, elegant small dog breed. Okay maybe not, but this mischievous breed did have a royal background.
In fact, Chinese emperors used to prefer this breed over any other, eventually spreading to Holland and becoming the country’s royal House of Orange’s mascot.
Pugs fall under the toy group and have no other purpose in this world than to love their owner.
As typically happy dogs, they are well known for their human-like expressions and show a ton of personality.
They are known to be curious, sweet pups who have the puppy dog eyes mastered under their thick wrinkled foreheads.
Overview of French Bulldogs
When I think of a French Bulldog, I automatically think of old school royalty. These dogs just have that demeanor about them that screams high maintenance (I can relate).
These dogs fall under the non-sporting group (another thing we have in common) and are one of the world’s most popular small dog breeds.
French Bulldogs are a cross breed with toy breeds and bulldogs. They were first bred in – you guessed it – France and were popularized in Paris.
Once the citizens of Paris saw these little nuggets, they were hooked. French Bulldogs soon became the staple of the fancy, luxurious lifestyle in Paris. C’est magnifique!
Pug vs French Bulldog Size and Temperament: Which is Bigger and How do They Behave?
Pugs and French Bulldog are typically within the same size range. Both are small dogs, weighing in around 20 pounds and only ground about a foot tall.
As far as behavior, once again these pups have pretty similar characteristics. However, they do slightly differ.
While both dogs are full of personality, the Pug is well known for being mischievous and clever. They will show expressions of surprise, happiness and curiosity in ways that make you think they’re tiny, wrinkly humans!
French Bulldogs are also high energy dogs. They are extremely playful and alert dogs, but don’t tend to bark very much. These little pups bond very well with other dogs and humans alike.
Pugs and French Bulldogs are lovers. They are extremely loyal breeds and will bond closely with their family.
Both dog breeds have a ton of energy and need plenty of exercise. As small dog breeds, it is easy for them to become overweight so daily walks are vital to their health.
Pug vs French Bulldog Life Span, Diet and Health: What’s Their Life Expectancy
Both of these dogs have a pretty substantial life expectancy.
However, the pug does have the French Bulldog beat by a few years with an average of 13-15 years while the French Bulldog’s sits around 10-12 years.
The biggest concern with French Bulldogs is that they are unable to swim.
You can train one all you want, but they are front-heavy dogs and just are not built for water, and should never be left alone near a pool, hot tub or any body of water.
French Bulldogs are also more likely to have eye conditions such as cherry eye or cataracts and, like any bully breed, are known to have skin allergies and disorders.
Pugs are well known for their buldging eyes, which may be cute to some but can also cause them problems. Corneal ulcers and dry eye have been common in this bred.
Both these breeds are “flat-faced” and are subject to breathing problems. Neither breed will be happy in hot or humid weather due to their breathing issues.
For each breed to be healthy, they should be put on a high-quality food diet. Both are prone to obesity and should have minimal table scraps.
Treats are very helpful in training these dogs but should also be given sparingly to avoid becoming overweight.
Pug vs. French Bulldog Appearance: What do They Look Like?
Aside from their small size, Pugs and French Bulldog look nothing alike.
Pugs come in three colors; silver, apricot-fawn with black facial features or all black.
They have large heads and what I like to call squishy faces, meaning they have lots of wrinkles. These dogs also have the cutest curled tail like a little piglet.
French Bulldogs are best known for their bat ears. The come in an array of colors, including all black, all white, fawn, or mixes of all three colors. Their short noses and wrinkled faces make them irresistible.
Both breeds have muscular bodies under their soft, lovely fur.
Pug vs French Bulldog Shedding and Grooming: What Kind of Coats do They Have?
Pugs and French Bulldogs are both short-haired dogs.
French Bulldogs are well known for having beautiful, silky coats, but are commonly prone to skin allergies which can trigger human allergies as well.
However, they seldom shed and only need brushing weekly.
Pugs have soft coats as well but shed much more than a French Bulldog. Weekly brushing can help manage the shedding.
Both breeds need minimal baths unless they get into something particularly dirty or are experiencing dry skin. Their nails grow quickly, and need trimmed often, as long nails can cause them pain.
Pug vs French Bulldog Training: Can They be Trained Easily?
Pugs are born to be people pleasers, so training them is no issue. They are extremely sensitive dogs, so harsh punishments are not a good idea for these pups because it can cause them to fear their owner.
French Bulldogs are not hard to train if started at an early age. These pups tend to be more rambunctious and need a lot of socialization.
They are stubborn dogs by nature, but like Pugs are people pleasers and want to show off their smarts.
French Bulldogs are also very food driven (once again something we have in common) and respond well to treats during training.
If you are struggling to train your Pug or French Bulldog we have created a great article which reviews Brain Training 4 Dogs an amazing programme that can teach your dog amazing tricks!
If you would like to see our review of this click here!
Pug vs French Bulldog Environment and Family Dog: Are They Good With Children?
As I’ve said before, both of these breeds are people pleasers.
They are excellent family dogs who will not be bothered by high energy children playing with them, in fact, they prefer it.
However, if a family is particularly busy and not home much to give these dogs attention, neither breed would be a good fit.
Pugs and French Bulldogs form very close bonds with their owners and would be lonely if they are spending long hours by themselves.
As small dogs, each are equipped to live in small or large places. They are highly alert breeds but won’t be bothered by city noises and other people.
However, both breeds would be better fit for a climate that does not get too hot or humid.
Pug vs French Bulldog Running Costs and Availability: Are They Expensive?
As two of the most popular small dog breeds, be prepared to spend a good amount of money on a pure-bred puppy.
I got lucky by adopting a senior dog who was extremely inexpensive, but you can’t put a price on puppy love!
Other than the typical vet bills that you will see with any dog, neither of these breeds are very expensive to maintain.
Owners should however have money saved for emergencies in case one of the health conditions mentioned earlier shows up.
With low grooming requirements, this also won’t break the bank. The most you’ll spend on these dogs if you’re anything like me is for their toys, treats, and of course their outfits!
Final Thoughts: Pug vs French Bulldog
If you want a dog with entertaining facial expressions and you don’t mind some heavy snoring, the Pug is definitely for you.
If you want a fancy pants dog with a rambunctious personality full of life and playfulness, go with the French Bulldog!
If I were you, I would definitely just go with one of each! Hopefully this helps you find the perfect breed for you. Happy Pet Parenting!