8 Reasons Why Pugs Are Expensive | Cost of owning a Pug

Small, vocal, cute, and cuddly, a Pug is a popular dog in the USA but why are pugs so expensive?

Pugs are expensive dogs due to their popularity, cute face, and small controllable size. The price of a pug puppy may vary from $500 to $1500 usually without breeding rights.

Reasons Why Pugs Are Expensive

1. High Popularity

A Pug is literally America’s sweetheart and families who adopt Pugs usually stick to this breed throughout their lives.

The AKC gives the Pug the 29th rank on their list of dog breed popularity in the USA.

But honestly, it feels as if they are much more popular than that. You would be surprised to find the majority of families that have either owned a Pug, want to own one, or currently own one. 

Pugs are used as a status symbol, making it a dog prized as a pet. However, there are other reasons why a Pug is an ideal family dog. Reasons for this high popularity in families include:

  • Pugs are friendly dogs that are safe for families with small children
  • Incidents of Pug attacks or aggression are rare
  • Pugs truly are man’s best friend as they can understand us better
  • Pugs are usually easier to train due to size and temperament 

Any family with small kids can consider getting a Pug with peace of mind. A dog like this when trained properly avoids any safety concerns due to good temperament. 

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2. Difficulty Breeding Pugs

Any authorized purebred breeder will tell you the same thing about breeding Pugs.

Pugs are not the easiest dog to breed and come with many risks and irregularities attached to them.

Difficulty in breeding is a major reason why there are not too many Pug breeders. 

Here are the reasons why it is difficult to breed Pugs: 

  • Pregnancy success rates are very low for this small dog 
  • Most times, birth will require a vet to perform an emergency C-section
  • But even then, litter sizes are small and already cannot satisfy the high demands
  • Vet bills are high for this breed at just birth

All of these reasons dissuade breeders from choosing to breed Pugs. But for dedicated Pug breeders, the risks are endless. 

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3. Health Risks

Some breeders take advantage of the high popularity of this small adorable squashed face dog breed and do not follow good breeding practices to retain good DNA.

This is done solely to make fast money, paying little thought to the long-term after-effects.

Unfortunately, this has bad effects on the Pug breeding line. Honestly, this should be made illegal! You can play your part by not supporting such irresponsible breeders. 

It is vital that you only buy Pugs from reputable breeders. Reputable breeders can ascertain their Pugs are derived from healthy parents and there is documentation to prove it.

But, Pugs are not the healthiest of breeds, and this further increases their price.

Being a brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breed, their face is such that Pugs are more prone to breathing difficulty and sinus issues.

Pugs are greedy dogs and can easily become obese due to overeating. In effect, obesity and pre-existing joint issues can result in hip dysplasia (a costly condition). 

Health conditions like the ones stated above can result in decreased life quality and lifespan. It also leads to the excessively high vet and medicine bills for treatment that is not guaranteed to save your dog. 

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4. Coat Colors

It comes as no surprise that some Pug coat colors are more popular than others. This is why some coat colors are hard to find. But if you find them, they usually have a hefty price attached to them.  

Coat colors like merle and brindle are very popular for their unique looks though not recognized by AKC. Also, such dogs if bred on purpose may have a slight risk of additional health issues.

The AKC Pug breed standards clearly state that the only accepted coat colors are fawn or black. Other coat colors include merle, brindle, and white. 

In today’s world, coat color may be seen as a status or trend. But, real Pug enthusiasts will know the real importance of getting a breed standards-approved Pug coat color.

Getting other colors can invite unnecessary costs as they are more prone to some health issues.

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5. Demand

As mentioned, Pugs are very popular among all groups of people. Added to this their litter size is small.

This creates higher demand and that means these dogs sell out much quicker! This is bound to cause demand and supply issues and in turn, further, increase their price. 

Sometimes, traveling to a low Pug demand area can help you bring down the price. But stay wary of the breeding line and legitimate documentation. Even ask to see the parents before purchasing a new Pug. 

6. Location

Pugs are known to naturally have higher prices in some locations. Further, you should look to buy a Pug near your home else transportation costs are high.

So if you want to buy this Chinese dog and import it from China to the USA, be prepared for a hefty bill.

Dogs bought in the same country you live in are much less expensive. Within a country, Pug prices will vary from state to state.  

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7. Breeder Certification

When considering getting a Pug, never prioritize price over breeders.

Pug puppies that are cheap may have severe health flaws. Making a wrong decision like this can cost you large sums of money in the future. It will also lead to a short-lived life for your Pug. 

Avoid buying a Pug from uncertified (backyard) breeders, as these dogs do not come with certification. Sometimes documents can also be forged to conceal improper breeding habits.

As a prospective Pug buyer, you can ask to see their premises and the Pug parents. If they are hesitant to show you, something is “fishy”.

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8. Age

Everyone wants a Pug puppy!

This is why buying Pug Puppies is so costly. If you are on a tight budget and really want a Pug, check out rescue centers and dog shelters. There is nothing wrong with adopting an adult or senior Pug. 

With enough love and positive reinforcements, adult Pugs can be trained. They are still cute and are just as cuddly as a Pug puppy. All Pugs regardless of age, share the exact same lovable aloof temperament and comical behavior.  

How Much Does a Pug Cost?

A Pug can cost between $500 and $1500 in the USA. Unfortunately, these dogs come with documentation but not the right to breed, for obvious reasons.  

If you want the right to breed as well, expect to pay more.

Further, the best pedigree Pug puppy can bear a price anywhere from $1900 to $6000! This is definitely not affordable for everyone. 

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Total Cost of Raising a Pug Per Year

If you are serious about bringing a Pug into your home, there is much more to think about than just the cost to buy a Pug. Let’s decode the total cost of raising a Pug per year.

Pug puppies (weighing under 18 ounces) require 1 cup of food. But adult Pugs are hungry dogs that consume 1.5 cups of food. 

Yearly it costs $500-$600 to feed an adult Pug.

Other expenses include insurance, health check-ups, medicine, collars, diapers, bed cost, etc. 

Here is an approximate break-up in a table:

Estimated Costs of Raising a Pug Amount
Pug Cost (to buy) $500 to $6000
Pug Food Cost $500 to $600 (more depending on the brand)
Insurance $380 to $410
Health Check-Up$50 to $100
Medicine Costs $60 to $150 (approx., can be more or less)
Dog Bed Cost $55 to $100
Diaper Cost$100 to $500 (quality dependent)
Dog Pad $18 to $50
Dog Collar$13 to $60
Dog Toys  $8 to $22
Prospective Costs of Raising a Pug

This puts the total amount at a minimum of $1450, but this excludes any unexpected illnesses. Some of which may require surgery which costs a lot of money, upfront.

Most of these figures are just low-cost approximates. In real life, the cost of raising a Pug can be much more. Do not take this decision lightly as it is a lifelong commitment likely to be costly!


What is the average price of a Pug? 

The average price of a Pug is $500 to $1500. But, as quality and demand increase, prices can easily touch $6000+. Factors that influence Pug price are age, breeder certification, coat color, location, etc.

Are Pugs expensive to own?

Yes, Pugs are expensive to own and raise.
Apart from the cost of buying a Pug, raising them has many costs. Food costs, vet bills, maintenance, and grooming costs all add up to quite a bit! Expect to put aside upwards of $1450 every year to raise your Pug. Add extra to this for unexpected events. 


Several features of the Pug make it a popular and expensive dog breed. Here are some reasons for high Pug demands:

  • Pugs are a pedigree breed
  • They are small and easy to manage
  • Their flat face makes them appear cute 
  • Everyone has one and you want one!