How To Tell If Your Pug Is Full Breed? (Signs, Papers & DNA)

Ever wondered how to tell if your pug is full breed? Maybe your little pug’s legs are longer than average or he has an apple-shaped head. 

As much as you love your pug the way they are, you might be curious about whether they are full breed or not. Your best bet is to check against the pure breed standards set by an authorized organization.

Both full breed and mixed breed pugs have pros and cons, so many pug owners want to know whether their dog is a full breed. Their reasons are to understand their health challenges, care for them better, to know their personality, and so on. 

how to tell if your Pug is full breed

Some owners waste time with unreliable ways to tell if their pug is a full breed, so it’s important to know what works and what doesn’t.

What Is The Meaning Of ‘Full Breed’?

full breed Pug puppy
It can be hard to tell if a Pug puppy for sale is full breed or not.

Recognized as one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, pugs have existed since 400 B.C in Asia. Some people will argue that there are no full breed dogs in the world because they’ve all been mixed with other breeds over several decades, that’s not entirely true for pugs.

These friendly pets are generally considered full breed or purebred which means that they are not a result of mixing with other breeds. Instead, they are a result of mixing with their own breed for several centuries. 

Desirable features like their cheerful personality, calm demeanor, and cuteness overall make them an excellent consideration for cross-breeding.

Several new breeds have come up as a result of pugs crossbreeding and some of them look so much like full breeds with very little to differentiate them. If you already have a pug or you’re considering buying one, how can you tell that it is a full breed? Consider this information: 


When you buy a pug from a registered and certified breeder, you should also get registration papers. These documents indicate your dog’s breed, its parents (sire and dam), the institution/club where your dog is registered, health-related information, and other details. 

A well-established organization/club (you must be registered with one) will have a 5 generation pedigree (lineage) certificate indicating details of your dog’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. It will also state whether your pug and its parents were full breed or outcross. Unfortunately, the institution will only provide you with as much information as the breeder provided them.

Some breeders are not straight forward. Just like some of them will claim that a pug doesn’t have any health challenges (even though it does), they can also claim that your dog is a full breed even though it’s not. Registration papers alone are no longer enough to guarantee that your dog is a full breed.

Ask a Veterinarian

A seasoned veterinarian may be able to tell you if your pug is a full breed. Their experience with interacting and treating pugs gives then a certain level of authority in that area. They know the anatomical features and disposition of full breed pugs and can easily differentiate them from the rest.

The health conditions specific to full breed pugs might give the vet an indication of whether yours is the same. You’ll probably have more visits to the vet with a full breed pug because of their inherited medical issues caused by centuries of inbreeding. That said, the vet’s analysis might not be a guarantee all the time. 

DNA Testing

Contrary to what many pug owners believe, DNA tests cannot determine whether your pug is a full breed or not. It’s probably why established labs like Wisdom Panel and American Kennel Club (AKC) DNA Testing have emphasized on their websites that their tests do not determine if your dog is full breed. 

However, the tests can provide you with your pug’s DNA profile to verify its parentage and genetic identity. Some DNA labs can also perform extensive tests to determine how close your pug’s DNA profile matches a particular breed

Note that several lab tests are limited and can only recognize a third of the registered breeds, which will make those matches inconclusive and unreliable. Some labs can also test pugs for various inherited diseases.

American Kennel Club Full Breed Standard

Pug puppies
A full breed puppy has some standards they should meet

Just like other full breed dogs, a full breed pug has been bred over generations and its puppies will look the same and have a similar personality. A full breed pug has a set of standards that describe its physical outlook and personality. 

The American Kennel Club (AKC), an organization that advocates for purebred dogs approved the official standards of the full breed pug in April 2008. Here’s an idea of what those standards are: 

General Outlook

Full breed pugs generally appear square and thickset. If your pug is lean with long legs or short with a long body, they’re likely not full breed pugs. 

General Size 

The pug should be multum in parvo which you can see by its compact form, hard muscle, and well-knit proportions. 

The typical weight for female pugs is 13 – 18 lbs or 6 – 8 kilos. For males, the ideal weight is 13 – 20 lbs or 6 -9 kilos. The typical height for the female is 10 – 12 inches or 25 – 30 cm. For males its 12 -14 inches or 30 -36 cm.


The pug’s head is massive and round without any indentations on its skull. It has large, dark-colored eyes, with a soft facial expression. A pug’s face is huge. With his mouth closed, you shouldn’t see the tongue or teeth. 

All the deep wrinkles on the face fold over his nose, adding character to his facial expression. When excited, its eyes are fiery. Its ears are small and thin with a velvety texture.

It has huge, deep-set wrinkles and a short, square muzzle. A full breed pug’s bite is slightly undershot – where the lower jaw is longer than the upper one. 

Neck and Body 

The pug is strong with a thick neck, wide chest, and short body. It has a short back and curled up tail. The perfect pug has its tail curled twice. 


The legs are average length, straight, and extremely strong. At the side view, you should see the elbows directly below its withers. It has laid back shoulders and strong pasterns. 

The pug’s feet are not as long as a hare’s, nor as round as a cat’s. Its toes are separated and have black nails. The dewclaws are usually clipped off. 


This area is muscular and strong with the short legs straight on the ground. The back view will show the legs are parallel. The rear balances well with the front with thick thighs and full buttocks. Its feet are similar to the one in front. 


A pug’s unique markings are obvious. Some of them are the moled cheeks, natural black muzzle/mask, or diamond mark on its forehead. The markings should be distinct. There’s a black line starting at the back of the head to its tail. 

Coat Color

Acceptable coat colors are jet black or fawn. Unlike the black pug, a fawn pug will create a distinction between the trace and the natural black mask. A black pug should be jet-black and shiny. Any white speck on the black pug is a ‘mismark’. 

White spots shouldn’t be a problem for fawn pugs because they blend well with the light coat making it almost invisible. Between the two, fawn pugs are more popular and one of the reasons is the contrast it creates with the black muzzle. The contrast is striking and should be very distinct.

Coat Texture

It has a short coat that feels soft and smooth. 


If you’re looking from the front, the pug carries its front legs well with strong pasterns. Its paws should touch the ground straight with the middle toes forward. 

The rear legs should be in line with the front legs. The front and back limbs converge to a small extent. The pug’s demeanor is lively, cheerful, free, and confident. 


Pugs are calm, composed, stable, and playful. They are also charming, outgoing, and loving dogs. 

How are pugs automatically disqualified from being called ‘full breed’? If they are any other color except black or fawn, they do not qualify as full breed pugs.

How To Tell If Your Pug is Full Breed

The best way for you to tell if your pug is full breed is by measuring it against the standard requirements approved by the American Kennels Club (AKC). Documentation from breeders may not be accurate, but veterinary doctors and DNA tests have their shortcomings too.

So what happens if your pug falls short of the standard requirements? You keep loving them and they keep loving you. There are worse things than can happen than your pug not having a pure bloodline. 

If you’re obsessed about owning a full breed pug, check out a couple of local animal shelters in your neighborhood. Research indicates that 25% of dogs coming into shelters are full breed.

Final Word

You can’t go wrong with a Pug, whether you get a mixed or full breed dog, you’ll have pet that gives you unconditional love for several years!

Black Pug Site