The puggle skyrocketed to popularity in the 1980s for good reason: This mixed breed combines the petite frame and adorably squishy features of the pug with the energy and athleticism of the beagle. At 10–15 inches tall and weighing 14–30 pounds, they’re also apartment-sized—but be forewarned, puggles are not lapdogs.
While not aggressive, the puggle temperament is generally pretty high energy. They love to stretch their legs and play and need an energy outlet. Puggles make wonderful companions for active families and enjoy being around other dogs.
As with all mixed-breed dogs, what you get with a puggle is a bit of a grab bag. You might have a puggle with a more puggish nose or a puggle with a more beagle-y build. In general, however, puggles tend to have a medium-short snout, tawny coloring, longer legs than a pug, and floppy, forward-folding ears. They have large, dark eyes that can often have the pug’s globular prominence, and can also inherit the pug’s underbite.
The puggle’s coat is short and fine and often soft and glossy like a pug’s. A puggle will typically have fewer wrinkles than a pug, maybe some folds around the face, giving them adorably exaggerated expressions. A note for those with allergies: This breed does shed so it’s not considered hypoallergenic. Puggle size will vary, but they fall within the range of 10–15 inches tall and weigh 14–30 pounds.
There’s a reason people who love pugs might opt for a puggle. “They want a pug who is a little taller, a little more athletic and energetic—a lot of pugs tend to be sort of on the lower energy range,” explains Irith Bloom, a certified dog trainer and board member at the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. “The addition of the beagle sort of gives you a more active dog,” she says. Like their beagle forebears, puggles love to run and they love to play, and they get along with other dogs well.
The puggle temperament is a sweet and fun-loving one. Puggles tend to be very affectionate to their owners and friendly with new people. They love children, though it’s important to teach children how to be gentle with dogs. “Children do very painful things to dogs sometimes. And any dog can lash out if a child falls on them or pulls on their ears,” Bloom says.
How intelligent a pug is can really vary from dog to dog, but in general, they are moderately intelligent and can be trained with patience and positivity, especially if you start with a young puggle. One trait Bloom has noticed in puggles is a kind of single-mindedness, in which they become obsessed with something and tune their humans out, a tendency that comes from their beagle side.
A puggle will be very happy in a home with a yard they can run around in, though be ready for some digging and barking. They can also live in apartments with an owner who is dedicated to giving them regular, thorough exercise. “You want to let them get out that fun energy in a way that's fun for both of you. Otherwise, they will find ways that you don't think are fun,” Bloom warns. As with other bored dogs, they might go after your sofa or curtains.
“What you'll often get is what I call a pogo dog, where they jump up and down like a pogo stick because they're actually very athletic,” Bloom says. Because of their energy level, puggles make great exercise buddies. You can take them on walks, as well as moderate jogs and hikes.
Puggles aren’t very happy being left alone for long stretches of time but do love the company of other dogs. Make sure your other dog is ready for an exuberant companion who loves to play.
Since pugs can be heat-sensitive, make sure your puggle has plenty of water, cool places to rest, and shade when you’re outdoors in hot weather.
The puggle’s coat is short and soft, and sheds seasonally, with some regular shedding between seasons. Brush them weekly with a medium bristle brush or a rubber grooming mitt to remove loose hair, and give them a bath if they get into something messy. If your puggle is particularly wrinkly, make sure to clean their wrinkles daily with pet wipes, baby wipes, or a damp cotton ball, and clean their ears.
As discussed above, your puggle needs plenty of exercise—some sources say at least an hour a day—that you can provide with walks, jogs, hiking, games of tug of war or fetch, and playtime with other dogs at a dog park.
Depending on your puggle’s personality, training a puggle can require some work. Puggles can inherit a mischievous streak from their pug side and a bit of distractedness from their beagle side (though not always), so patient, positive training is key. “Pugs are into food and beagles are into food, so one of the things that you will almost certainly get in a puggle is food drive,” Bloom says. “Which means any kind of training that uses treats as a reward is going to be really successful,” she suggests.
Make training sessions fun and avoid harsh methods with the puggle. “If they start to understand that when they do what you want, really good stuff happens for them, they will be much more willing to do what you want,” Bloom explains
One of the traits puggles are bred for is a longer snout than the flat-faced pug. “This means they breathe a little better,” Bloom says. “They are less prone to say snoring and the sort of snorty snoring thing that you'll get out of any flat-faced breed.” If you have a particularly flat-faced puggle, however, it can be prone to some of the same breathing issues pugs can face, including difficulty breathing, wheezing, and noisy breathing.
Since the puggle is highly food-motivated, they can be prone to overeating, so be sure to watch your puggle’s weight and give them plenty of exercise.
While there’s no official record of when the first offspring between a pug and a beagle came into this world, we do know the puggle became popular in the U.S. in the ’80s. The New York Times suggests that during this time people sought out smaller dogs for their smaller, urban homes, and many of those would-be dog owners wanted small pups that weren’t frilly lap dogs. Enter the puggle. This athletic little pup has an illustrious background. Pugs were developed over thousands of years as cherished companions at the Chinese Imperial Court, and outsiders could only receive one as a gift. Later, they became the mascot for the Dutch royal court and became popular in England when William and Mary of Orange assumed the British throne, the AKC writes.
Beagles, on the other hand, were bred in England as hunting dogs—unlike other hounds developed for the nobility, beagles could be hunted on foot, meaning that common folks who didn’t have horses could use the dogs. Beagles were imported to the U.S. after the Civil War, according to the AKC, where they were immensely popular for rabbit hunting.
Thanks to both of these unique backgrounds, the puggle has both an aristocratic and a working dog heritage.