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7 Dog Breeds that Actually Look Like the Pug

Is that a Pug?!

Look at that dog!

Its adorable smushed face & stubby little feet…

Can they tell that I’m not a Pug?!

It must be a Pug, right?!


A Pug with a sheet over its head
This is a Pug.

There are tons of breeds that look like the Pug

Pugs are a highly-mistaken breed…

A million times a day, Pugs are mistaken for Frenchies, Boston Terriers, and more!

Don’t be one of those people…

These 7 breeds look like Pugs…

  1. French Bulldog
  2. Boston Terrier
  3. English Bulldog
  4. Brussels Griffon
  5. Pekingese
  6. Japanese Chin
  7. Chinese Shar-Pei

Read on the learn the difference between Pugs & their doppelgängers so that you don’t offend the next Pug you see.

Why these breeds get mixed up

People mix Pugs up with these breeds for pretty much one reason: they all have flat faces.

To the average person, a flat-faced dog is seen as just a “Pug” or a “Frenchie”... there’s no differentiation between the breeds in their eyes— they’re all the same.

Pugs — and their lookalikes — are what are known as brachycephalic breeds (a fancy way to say “flat-faced”).

These breeds all have the following in common…

  • Flat faces
  • Short coats
  • Short & stubby tails
  • Small/medium-sized

7 Pug Lookalikes

The Pug has many lookalikes, but these breeds are by far the most common ones that are mistaken for Pugs.

Note: This list does not include any mixed Pugs. We felt that mixed Pugs were too similar to the Pug itself and not worth including as they’d make this list too long. If you’re interested in these mixed Pugs, be sure to check out these 43 Pug Mixes.

1. French Bulldog

The French Bulldog — or the Frenchie — is by far the most popular flat-faced dog in the world right now.

They’re intelligent but notorious for being stubborn.

With their goofy antics & adorable appearance, they’re able to keep crowds entertained for hours (just like the Pug!).

It’s also probably the most highly mistaken breed for Pugs.

Frenchies are America’s most popular dog breed

As of 2023, Frenchies are ranked #1 on the AKC’s most popular dog breed list!

You can’t go long at all without seeing a Frenchie nowadays…

Frenchies are everywhere

Whether it be one walking on the street, one in a TV commercial, or with your favorite influencer— Frenchies are everywhere!

What French Bulldogs look like

The Frenchie is a short & stocky breed with a muscular build.

A French Bulldog

They’ve got wrinkly flat faces, just like the Pug, and if you don’t know the subtle differences, you might mistake them for each other.

Why Frenchies are confused for Pugs

Both Frenchies & Pugs have…
  • Wrinkles
  • Flat faces
  • Small size
  • Short stubby legs
How to spot a Frenchie
  • Ears— Frenchies have pointy bat ears while the Pug has what are known as “rose ears” which are somewhat pointy, but fold/droop halfway through
  • The tail— Frenchies have shorter & stubbier tails than Pugs… Pugs usually have longer tails that are curled
  • They’re bigger— Frenchies are typically bigger & stockier than Pugs

2. Boston Terrier

About the Boston Terrier

Known as the “American Gentleman,” the Boston Terrier is a friendly, intelligent breed that originates in the United States.

Recognized as a non-sporting breed by the AKC, Boston Terriers are small, standing between 15 and 17 inches tall. 

What Boston Terriers look like

They have short tails, short coats, pointy ears, and typically come in some combination of black, brindle, seal, and white markings.

A Boston Terrier on the beach
A Boston Terrier

Boston Terriers are easily recognized by their distinctive square heads and short muzzles.

Why Boston Terriers are confused with Pugs

Out of all the breeds that look similar to Pugs, I think Boston Terriers are one of the most similar.

It’s not just Boston Terriers! There’s dozens of Boston Terrier mixes that also look like Pugs!

They have the same squishy face that we all love and if you aren’t aware of their subtle differences, you might mistake a Boston for a Pug too! 

Boston Terriers & Pugs both have…
How to spot a Boston Terrier

3. English Bulldog

About the English Bulldog

English Bulldogs were first bred in – you guessed it – England!

Their history dates back to the 5th century and a now-extinct breed known as the Alaunt.

English Bulldogs were initially bred to help butchers control their livestock (horses, cattle, boars, etc.) & to be in bull-baiting.

What English Bulldogs Look Like

An English Bulldog

Why they’re confused with Pugs

English Bulldogs & Pugs both…
How to spot an English Bulldog
  • Bigger— They’re a bit bigger than Pugs

4. Brussels Griffon

About the Brussels Griffon

The Brussels Griffon is a seriously cute pup with an inquisitive, intelligent, and sensitive nature.

The breed is named after Brussels, in Belgium, where they were first bred. 

They are small dogs that weigh up to around 11-13lbs (5-6kg) and make ideal companion dogs for elderly owners as well as gentle family pets.

What Brussels Griffons Look Like

a Brussels Griffon
A Brussels Griffon

Why they’re confused with Pugs

  • Both are small
  • They both have short/flat snouts
How to spot a Brussels Griffon
  • Smaller— They’re a bit smaller than Pugs
  • Longer hair— Brussels Griffons have longer hair than Pugs, especially on their face/beard (Pugs have short coats)

5. Pekingese

The Pekingese, also known as the “Lion Dogfor its fierce disposition & loyalty, is a small toy breed that is as loving as it is cute.

Both originate from China

Just like the Pug, the Pekingese originates from ancient China. The Pekingese gets its name from the city of Peking, which is now modern-day Beijing.

Both breeds were bred to be companion dogs for royalty & wealthy members of society.

What Pekingese look like

A Pekingese
A Pekingese

Why they’re confused with Pugs

How to spot a Pekingese
  • Size— Pekingese are slightly smaller than Pugs and weigh less
  • Their hair— Pekingese have fluffier & longer coats than Pugs
  • Their face— Pekingese have smaller faces than Pugs; Pugs have rounder & fuller faces

6. Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin, also known as the Japanese Spaniel, is a toy breed known for being dainty & cat-like.

Loved by royalty

Similar to the Pug, the Japanese Chin was loved by royalty in both China & Japan, though its true roots are in China.

They were revered for their small size & gentle, loving dispositions— for these royals, they believed smaller was better.

The Japanese Chin…

  • Is originally from China
  • Is known for being “cat-like”
  • First came to the United States in the 1850s
  • Loves to spin (something known by Japanese Chin lovers as “Chin Spinning”)

What the Japanese Chin looks like

Why they’re confused with Pugs

  • Their size— both are smaller dogs, but the Pug is a bit bigger
  • Their ears— both have droopy ears
How to spot a Japanese Chin
  • Longer hair— unless their hair has been cut short, you’ll be able to instantly spot a Japanese Chin apart from a Pug due to their longer coats
  • Smaller than Pugs— Japanese Chin are much smaller & petite than Pugs

7. Chinese Shar-Pei

The Chinese Shar-Pei, also known as the “Chinese Fighting Dog” and the “Chinese Bulldog”, is an adorable medium-sized dog with unmistakable wrinkles.

Origins in China

As its name suggests, the Shar Pei originates from China just like the Pug.

Believe it or not, the Shar-Pei dates back to 200 B.C., but it wasn’t until 1992 that the Shar-Pei was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Purpose of Shar-Pei vs. Pug

While the Shar-Pei & Pug share a place of origin, they were both bred for different purposes

Shar-PeiBred for hunting & guarding
PugBred for companionship

What Chinese Shar-Pei look like

Once you see what a Shar-Pei looks like, you’ll never confuse them for a Pug again, however, the two breeds do share some similarities in appearance.

A Chinese Shar Pei
A Chinese Shar Pei

Why they’re confused with Pugs

  • Wrinkles— both breeds are quite wrinkly
  • Their ears— both have rose ears that are droopy
  • Smushed faces— both the Shar Pei and Pug are “brachycephalic” breeds (a fancy word for flat-faced)
How to spot a Chinese Shar-Pei
  • It’s bigger— with adult Shar Peis weighing anywhere from 35–64lbs, it’s much larger than the Pug which is 14–18lbs
  • Its wrinkles— while both the Pug & Shar Pei have wrinkles, the Shar Pei has much deeper & prominent wrinkles all over its body