What Is the Difference Between a Pug & a Bulldog?

by Jane Meggitt
Both pugs and bulldogs often suffer from respiratory issues because of their short noses.

Both pugs and bulldogs often suffer from respiratory issues because of their short noses.

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The pug and the bulldog are both short-haired, flat-faced and wrinkly, but few would mistake one for the other. The American Kennel Club includes the pug in the toy group, while the bulldog is listed in the nonsporting category. The bulldog originated in England, while the pug hails from China. While the most striking difference between the pug and the bulldog relates to size, both make fine companion dogs.

Size and Weight

The pug is much smaller than the bulldog. At maturity, he weighs between 14 and 18 pounds. A full-grown bulldog weighs three times as much, with males tipping the scales at approximately 50 pounds and females about 10 pounds lighter. Though neither breed standard includes a height limit, the pug usually stands between 11 and 12 inches tall at the shoulders, while the bulldog's height at the shoulder ranges between 16 and 17 inches.

Permissible Colors

The AKC permits only two colors in the pug breed standard: black or fawn. The latter has a black face mask. Bulldogs come in a variety of shades, including red brindle and other brindles -- a striped effect -- pure white and solid fawn, red or fallow. The latter is a blonder shade than fawn. Piebald, or white with another solid color, also is acceptable.

Temperament Differences

Bulldogs and pugs share many similarities in temperament -- they're both affectionate -- but the pug is generally more alert and active. Your bulldog barks only when absolutely necessary, while the pug might bark when it's not necessary at all. Pugs love to play with their people, while playing isn't high on the bulldog's "to-do" list. Bulldogs aren't generally territorial -- theirs is a "live and let live" philosophy. The pug does guard his territory, although not excessively.

Rolling and Strolling

Both breeds don't require much exercise, so they're suitable for apartment or city living. However, there's a distinct difference in the way they move and carry themselves. The AKC standard calls for the pug to exhibit a "free, self-assured and jaunty" gait. The bulldog is another story. The AKC calls his style "peculiar," as it consists of rolling and shuffling motion, tilting a little sidewise. His joints appear loose as he does his "bulldog stroll."

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About the Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.