German Shepherd Pug Mix Guide

Shug resting on grass

It is hard to picture two dogs that look less alike than Pugs and German Shepherds, isn’t it? This mixed-breed combines the traits of its parent dogs into one adorable package of playful joy you won't be able to resist. 

In this guide, we will share those traits with you in-depth. We will also tell you what you need to know about training, grooming, feeding, and caring for these energetic dogs we call “Shugs” for short. 

Shug Traits

Height10-26 inches
Weight14-90 pounds
Barking levelLow
Energy levelModerate to high
IntelligenceModerate to high
Coat colorsTan, black, brown, cream
PersonalityLoyal, affectionate, brave, vigilant, playful, mischievous
Easy to trainHigh
Lifespan12-15 years

Facts About the German Shepherd Pug Mix

  • According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), people kept marmosets in the 1700s as pets, calling them “pugs.” Since pug dog faces and marmoset faces look a bit alike, they also started calling their Pug dogs the same thing.
  • Napoleon's wife Josephine was the owner of a Pug named "Fortune." She trained him to carry letters to Napoleon when they could not communicate in the open.
  • The historical crown prince of Holland, William, was saved from death by a Pug. After that happened, the Pug was declared the official dog of the House of Orange.
  • Technically, a German Shepherd is called a “German Shepherd Dog.” That is why the abbreviation is “GSD.”
  • Some famous GSD owners have included Roy Rogers, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.
  • German Shepherds are considered some of the most intelligent dogs in existence.

Pug German Shepherd Mix Appearance

Now that you know some trivia about German Shepherds and Pugs let's look at the appearance of the mixed breed Shug.

Pugs are medium-sized dogs, while German Shepherds are large dogs. We have seen a range of estimates for the size and weight of Shugs, so in our table, we gave the largest possible range, based on the minimum and maximum measurements for the parent breeds. How big or small your Shug is will depend on which genes are dominant.

Tan, black, brown, and cream are the most common colors for the coat. Pugs, as you know, have dark faces and light bodies. German Shepherds sometimes have this same distribution of colors, which is a common outcome with a Shug as well. But there can be variations.

The facial shapes of Pugs and German Shepherds are entirely different from one another. So, there is a degree of unpredictability in what the face of a Shug will look like. Sometimes it may be flatter like a Pug's. Other times, it could feature a longer nose like a German Shepherd's. In many cases, it will fall somewhere in between.

Likewise, the ears could resemble the floppy ears of the Pug or the upright ears of the German Shepherd. It seems most common for a Shug’s ears to be floppy.

Shug Temperament

Pugs are playful, affectionate dogs that like to get into mischief. German Shepherds share their loyal and loving nature but are also vigilant, courageous, and highly intelligent. So, your German Shepherd Pug cross could have any combination of these personality traits.

Whether he takes more after his mischievous Pug parent or his watchful German Shepherd parent, one thing is sure—he is going to be an affectionate companion who loves your time and attention.

German Shepherd Pug Mix Care Guide

German Shepherd Pug mix

Photo: Reddit/aww

By now, you are probably eager to call your local shelter to see if there are any Shugs up for adoption. But wait—you should first make sure that a Pug German Shepherd Mix will be a good fit for your home.

Let’s go over the Shug’s health and nutritional needs, grooming requirements, exercise needs, and more.


Pugs can easily become obese. On the other hand, German Shepherds are more likely to appear scrawny in their younger years. If you have a young Shug that appears skinny despite feeding him proper portions of a balanced diet, you can usually wait it out. As your dog gets older, he will put on weight naturally.

Be especially mindful of portion sizes and activity levels if your pet takes after the Pug parent. Do not let him gain too much weight. Gauging portions can be a bit tricky. An adult Pug only eats around 1 cup of food daily, whereas a German Shepherd can eat 2.5-3.5 cups per day.

Consider your dog’s size and metabolism as you shoot for a balanced middle ground. We suggest you ask your vet what they think is suitable.

Grooming Requirements 

Pugs have short, smooth coats that require moderate grooming. They do tend to be big shedders. What about German Shepherds? These dogs have double medium-length coats, which also shed profusely and require moderate grooming.

That means that grooming requirements are similar regardless of which type of coat your Shug has. Brush once or twice a week to keep up with the shedding. Clean your pet's ears, trim his nails and brush his teeth as part of his grooming routine. Good news—you should only need to wash your dog once in a while.

Exercise Needs

Pugs and German Shepherds tend to have very different attitudes about exercise. While a German Shepherd might get frustrated with you for spending too much time on the couch when he wants to go out and play, a Pug might refuse to get off the couch!

You will need to get to know your mixed-breed pet's exercise needs as an individual. If he is more like a Pug, he may become frustrated with anything but moderate exercise. On the other hand, if he is more like a GSD, he could become frustrated if he does not get longer walks and play sessions. 

There are two things to watch out for:

  • If you do not exercise your dog enough, behavioral problems and/or obesity could result. These issues relate to the GSD and Pug heritages, respectively.
  • Pugs can overheat, as can Shugs that take after them. So, on a scorching day, it is better to play indoors.

Is It Easy to Train a Shug?

Both Pugs and German Shepherds want nothing more than to please their human companions. That means that both breeds are highly trainable.

The German Shepherd is renowned for being incredibly smart and hard-working as well. So, training a Shug can be a real treat for you and your pet. 


With proper care, your Shug can enjoy excellent health for many years. But it is essential to know what to watch out for. This mixed breed may inherit a susceptibility to any diseases that either parent breed is prone to. 

Prestige Animal Hospital says Pugs may sometimes experience dental problems, infections, obesity, parasites, liver problems, eye problems, mange, allergies, joint issues, diabetes, and other conditions.

As for German Shepherds, the Mid-Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue lists these common health issues: Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), epilepsy, bloat, joint dysplasia, skin allergies, lupus, thyroid disorders, and others. 

None of this should worry you—every breed of dog in existence is prone to specific health issues. You just need to do your best for your pet.

Also, watch out for the fact that Pugs are “brachycephalic," meaning they have those short, flat noses. Dogs with these noses may sometimes get "brachycephalic syndrome," which is a respiratory problem. Whether you need to be alert for this depends on which nose shape your mixed breed inherited.

Cost of Owning a Shug

Adopting a Shug puppy could cost anywhere between several hundred and several thousand dollars. Want to save money getting a Shug so that you can spend that money on dog care instead? Adopting a Pug German Shepherd is a lot less expensive. Plus, you will be saving a life.

After the first year, annual costs for owning a Shug are estimated to be between $800 and $3,000.

Do Shugs Make Good Family Dogs?

GSDs and Pugs are both excellent breeds for a household with children. Pugs are generally good with other dogs as well. German Shepherds are rated as "moderate" concerning how they socialize with other dogs.

When you adopt a Shug, he should bond pretty quickly with other household members, human and canine alike. Just handle introductions to other dogs with care.

Is a Pug German Shepherd Mix Right for You?

A Shug might be a good fit for your household if:

  • You have enough room for your pet to run around and get plenty of exercises.
  • You have sufficient time to play, exercise, and train with your Shug.
  • You live by yourself or with children or other pets. A Shug can be a fit for any type of household.
  • You are okay with some barking.
  • You are all right with some shedding but do not want to spend tons of time grooming.
  • You want an intelligent dog that enjoys mental stimulation and learning.

Pros and Cons of Shugs

To review what we learned, let’s go over the advantages and disadvantages of Pug German Shepherds in summary form:


  • Unique variations in appearances between Shugs make every pet’s looks one-of-a-kind.
  • This dog balances the high energy of the German Shepherd with the more calm, quiet temperament of the Pug.
  • Pug German Shepherd mixed breed dogs are good with children and typically with other pets.
  • You rarely have to wash a Shug, and you can groom him just once or twice weekly.
  • Shugs can be an absolute joy to train.


  • A Pug German Shepherd could misbehave if not given enough exercise and attention (but this depends on the dog's personality).
  • Pugs can be prone to respiratory health problems and overheating, which can affect a Shug.

The Bottom Line

If you cannot decide between the mischievous, playful Pug and the intelligent, courageous German Shepherd, a Shug cross dog could be the best-of-both-worlds pet of your dreams.

Contact local shelters and rescues if you are ready to find your Shug. Somewhere out there, your future pet is waiting for you to bring him home.

Featured photo: Reddit/THGL

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