Many types of so-called "designer dogs" -- crosses between two purebreds -- sport cute nicknames. The schnauzer-poodle mix becomes the "schnoodle;" the pug and beagle mix is called the "puggle" -- you get the idea. Whatever else a cocker spaniel and pug mix has going for it, it's not a catchy name. This hybrid dog is referred to as the cocker pug.
To determine what type of dog a hybrid might become, you must look at the parent breeds. The American Kennel Club pug breed standard doesn't specify a height, but purebred adult pugs must weigh between 14 and 18 pounds. The overall appearance is "square and cobby," with small, curled-up tails. Pugs have fine, short coats, in either black or fawn. Bred as companion dogs, pugs serve this purpose well. They love to be with their people, and their small size and minimal exercise requirements make them good dogs for city and apartment life.
Originally bred as a hunting dog to flush game, today's cocker spaniel serves primarily as a companion. The AKC cocker spaniel breed standard calls for a dog not exceeding 15.5 inches tall at the shoulder. The dog sports a medium-length somewhat wavy or silky coat in a variety of colors. These include black, black with tan points, brown, cream and red. On solid-colored dogs or those with points, the only white permitted is a small amount on the throat or chest. Parti-colored dogs are allowed, defined as two solid colors, one of which must be white.
Expect a cocker pug to be smaller than the former and larger than the latter breed. It's likely his coat will be either fawn or black. The cocker pug's eyes might be more prominent than those of the average cocker spaniel, but not so close to the surface and "bugged out" in appearance as the pug. That's a good thing -- eye issues are quite common in pugs because of their flat faces. Cocker pugs should have good dispositions, making fine companion and family dogs.
Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome
One advantage to a pug/cocker spaniel cross is that most of the the resulting litter is unlikely to suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome. Brachycephalic breeds are flat-faced and short-nosed, such as the pug. This type of head shape predisposes a dog to noisy and difficult breathing, exercise intolerance and constant panting. Many brachycephalic dogs are born with narrowed nostrils and elongated soft palates, requiring corrective surgery to improve respiration. With luck, the cocker pug inherits the longer snout of the cocker spaniel, or at least a nose that is large enough to allow for easy breathing.
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.