10 Dog Breeds Most Similar to Pugs

Written by Kellianne Matthews
Published: February 9, 2024
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Originally from China, pugs are easy to recognize due to their adorably wrinkled faces, flattened muzzles, and pig-like curled tails. Their charming personalities and friendly attitude have endeared pugs to people all around the world, from European royals to everyday folks in the United States. Pugs are small, gentle, and loving dogs, with just enough of a stubborn, mischievous streak to continually make you smile. However, pugs may not be the best option in every situation, so let’s take a look at the dog breeds most similar to pugs! 

10. Brussels Griffon

Dog breeds similar to pugs - Brussels Griffon standing in a field

Brussels griffons crave human interaction and companionship.

©Ann Tyurina/Shutterstock.com

Similar to pugs, Brussels griffons are small dogs with big personalities. They are alert, clever, and energetic pups who love to play with their human companions. Brussels griffons develop strong bonds with their human companions and will often follow you everywhere you go. They are adaptable to various environments as long as they get enough exercise and are relatively easy to train. However, Brussels griffons can be headstrong and independent. They also have very sensitive souls and require lots of patience, consistent training, and positive reinforcement.

9. Maltese

Maltese dog, pet, white puppy in garden, summeritme

Maltese dogs enjoy being pampered and spending time with their human companions.

©Tomsickova Tatyana/Shutterstock.com

One of the smaller dog breeds similar to pugs is the Maltese. These tiny pups only grow 7 to 9 inches tall and weigh under seven pounds! Despite their tiny size, however, Maltese dogs have plenty of personality. They are lively and playful, ready to dazzle everyone they meet. Malteses are also extremely loving, affectionate, and gentle. They are incredibly intelligent, but also have a bit of a stubborn streak, so they need consistency when it comes to training. In addition, their luxurious fur coats require more grooming maintenance than pugs. You’ll need to brush their gorgeous white fur every day to prevent mats. 

8. Dachshund

Dogs similar to pugs - Miniature Dachshund standing in long grass

“Dachshund” is German for “badger dog”.

©James Player/Shutterstock.com

Another small and friendly dog breed similar to pugs is the dachshund. Dachshunds are popular dogs with long bodies, short legs, and adorably spunky personalities. They were bred as hunting dogs and they have a high prey drive, especially with small animals. However, they are also extremely loyal to their families and tend to do well with other pets (as long as they aren’t too small). Dachshunds develop deep bonds with their family members, although they are not too fond of strangers. They love to play games and will always make you laugh with their amusing personalities. 

7. Italian Greyhound

Italian greyhound on green grass

Italian greyhounds thrive in environments with other people, and often even other dogs.


The Italian greyhound is slightly taller than the pug but weighs less due to its thin, slender build. Italian greyhounds are generally friendly with strangers and adapt well to their environment. They are very affectionate, love their families dearly, and typically do well with other dogs. They especially love to cuddle and are very much “comfort-seeking” dogs. However, Italian greyhounds are very athletic. They need regular exercise and often experience random bouts of the “zoomies”. 

6. Pekingese

Dog breeds similar to pugs - Pekingese dog walking outdoors

According to legend, Pekingese dogs are actually tiny lions!


Regal and sophisticated, the Pekingese looks like it belongs in a throne room. These charming and confident dogs, however, are surprisingly friendly and love to play, just like pugs! They develop strong bonds with their favorite humans and will shower them with endless affection and loyalty. In contrast to pugs, however, Pekingese dogs are not quite as friendly with children — especially if there is any roughhousing involved. They also have a thick, double coat of fur that requires much more grooming than a pug.

5. Shih Tzu

Portrait of a Shih tzu, shot in nature, vivid colors, blurry background

Many shih tzu owners opt for the adorable “puppy cut” for easier maintenance. 

©Eli S/Shutterstock.com

Sweet as a cupcake, shih tzus are affectionate dogs who love both adults and young children. Although they are small in size, shih tzus are quite spunky and have very friendly personalities.  They typically get along great with other dogs and are friendly and polite with other humans as well. Much like pugs, shih tzus have a mild stubborn streak and a proud attitude. However, unlike pugs, they have long, flowing hair that needs to be brushed every day.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Dogs similar to pugs - Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Running

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are very adaptable dogs.

©Liudmila Bohush/Shutterstock.com

Similar to pugs, cavalier King Charles spaniels are affectionate, gentle, and love their human companions. These affectionate beauties are good with young children and other dogs, moving through life with ease and grace. In contrast to pugs, however, cavalier King Charles spaniels have longer, flowing hair and need at least moderate exercise. But much like pugs, these sweet spaniels will shower you with affection. They make excellent canine companions, whether playing in the yard or snuggling on the couch. 

3. Bulldog

Adorable English bulldog poses in the autumn in the park

Despite their heavy bodies, many bulldogs love nothing more than cuddling.

©Vera Reva/Shutterstock.com

The bulldog is a debonair, British dog breed with a thick body and lots of wrinkles. Although they often have a serious appearance, bulldogs are total sweethearts! They stand just 14 to 15 inches tall at the shoulder but are much denser than pugs and weigh 40 to 50 pounds. Bulldogs are well-known for being affectionate and friendly. They generally do well with children and other dogs when properly socialized. They are loyal companions who love to snuggle up with their humans whenever they get the chance. 

2. Boston Terrier

Boston terrier dog on brown terrace - shallow depth of field

Boston terriers often experience short bursts of energy.


Another affectionate and loving dog breed similar to pugs is the Boston terrier. Boston terriers tend to have a bit more energy than pugs, but they love spending time with their humans and playing. They are compact little pups with an even temper and excellent manners and do well with children and often with other dogs. Boston terriers are friendly and very people oriented. They will always put a smile on your face.

1. French Bulldog

Red tan and Blue Isabella Frenchies looking up

French bulldogs are well-known for their adorable “bat ears”.


Not only are French bulldogs similar in size and stature, but they are also comparable to pugs in their personality and temperament. Affectionate and even-tempered, French bulldogs are great with children and love to play. They are sweet and friendly dogs who love spending time with their human families. They are alert but do not bark too often and adapt nicely to families of all shapes and sizes. Overall, French bulldogs make wonderful companions, just like pugs!

Summary of the 10 Dog Breeds Most Similar to Pugs

French Bulldog
Boston Terrier
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Shih Tzu
Italian Greyhound
Brussels Griffon

The photo featured at the top of this post is © 220 Selfmade studio/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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