So you may have never heard of the white pug before, and that’s normal. Not even some of the most experienced dog owners have heard of the white pug. Well, why is this?
This is because although it exists due to crossbreeding, it is very very rare and it’s not actually acknowledged by the American Kennel Club breed standard, which only accepts black or fawn pugs.
Though people often refer to the white pug as being, well, white, it isn’t actually a traditional standard color. They get their color from selective breeding and can be a pale fawn, albino, or crossed with another breed to simply give them a lighter coat.
However, some say the selective breeding process or genetic mutation means white pugs don’t actually qualify as pugs, but we still believe they’re some of the cutest pups you’ll find out there.
That’s why this article has gathered all the information you need to know about the white pug, as well as the darker side of breeding them which causes many health problems you should be aware of.
The White Pug Genetics
White spotting does exactly what you’d think it would do, it causes white spots. Normally described as patches, they can cover the entire pug’s body and can be as small, medium, or large.
But none of these white spotting genes occur naturally in pugs, instead, they have been slowly introduced by crossing them with other breeds.
Pug-mix dogs with white spotting genes will inevitably have a personality that combines elements of the pug and other dogs in their ancestry and family tree.
However, one risk you take here is that it becomes impossible to reliably predict which qualities of each breed a puppy will receive when born. That’s before we even come to the health problems as a result of this mix.
White fur can also come about from the recessive gene for albinism. Dogs with albinism don’t make pigments anywhere on their skin, on their coat, on their eyes, or on their nails.
Each different breed of dog has a different gene that causes their albinism, and the one which causes it in pugs happens to be recessive. This means dogs who carry one copy aren’t affected and it is only the dogs that inherit two copies (from having both parents as carriers) who are born with albinism.
By definition, the condition is caused by a lack of melanin in the body of any organism. It’s rare and it is a congenital disorder triggered by the activation of those recessive genes. This condition is then manifested when an organism is missing the melanin-producing cells in the body that function healthily.
Having flashbacks to your school biology lessons yet? A purebred albino pug should have a typical pug-like personality, yet the health problems that come with albinism can shape their disposition.
Unfortunately, when purchasing a white pug, it may be impossible to tell if they are a true albino. This requires some genetic testing, yet if you find the pug has a pink nose, blue eyes, or pink around the eyes, this could be a strong sign.
White Pug Temperament
Risks Of Breeding
Now, this depends on genetics, just like humans. The temperament of a white pug will be determined by how they came to be white. We all know the classic pug personality.
We’ve seen them around our friend’s houses, on the street, in the park. They’re cheeky, they’re fun, they’re adorable, endearing, and affectionate.
We’ve not met one person yet who doesn’t like pugs and rightly so. Well, these qualities are guaranteed if your pug is purebred with a very pale fawn coat.
Yet breeding for a different color is where it becomes tricky and you may notice some changes.
By prioritizing color over temperament, you may be sacrificing those personality traits of a purebred pug, and character flaws might be passed on as a trade-off for that perfect white fur.
You may even find yourself with a pug who has a history of severe separation anxiety which opens its doors to a whole world of problems.
But How Do White Pugs Usually Behave?
However, more generally if we’re looking at the temperament of typical white pugs, they tend to be strong-willed and stubborn. They’re not so much as aggressive, yet they want nothing more than to please their owners.
The good news is that they can be trained. With hard work, dedication, patience, and lots of treats, you can reach proper obedience, meaning they’re perfect for families with children, cats, or other dogs.
White pugs also love people. They love children and other pets, so they’ll fit in perfectly with your family.
When dogs crave the attention of their owners, they’re known as velcro dogs and this is a perfect way of describing a white pug. Once you and your pug have built up a solid foundation of trust, they’ll automatically become your new shadow.
They want to be in their owner’s life, and this includes following them into the kitchen, onto the sofa, onto your lap, or even sharing a bed. But be careful, they can become lazy if you let them so always keep them active and on the move.
They are low-energy dogs and enjoy sleeping, so do ensure you give them enough exercise, especially as they love their food and are prone to becoming overweight if you neglect this responsibility.
Often, the white pug may be referred to as the ‘clown dog. This is because all though they are generally low-energy dogs, they still have their bursts of energy where they become playful and silly.
They are often also vocal dogs and tend to snort, bark, snore, and make other frequent noises all day long. Some of these noises however are due to them being a brachycephalic dog breed, meaning they also have a broad and short skull.
Being a very intelligent and playful breed, they’re very affectionate dogs and if they are left alone for too long, they can become mischievous and start to act up. This can be something to consider if you know you’re away at school or work all day.
To sum up the personality of a white pug, they’re playful, loyal, and love their owners but they might like food or sleep that bit more!
How Do I Groom My White Pug?
Grooming any dog can be a tricky process and every puppy needs daily attention and grooming, but the pale color of a white pug understandably requires that extra bit of care.
Pugs are prone to having trouble with their anal glands and to avoid leakages, or unwanted squirting of anal fluids, you need to take your pug to the vet to empty them every few weeks, or learn how to do this yourself. But we’re warning you, it’s not a pretty task.
Additionally, the wrinkles on a pug’s face create warm, sweaty, and humid creases which can become a breeding ground for fungal and bacterial infections. So make sure you clean their face daily.
As these faces are pushed in, the structure of their tear ducts can change too. This results in eyes that run or get gooey. In white pugs, in particular, these tears can stain and cause a reddish-brown mark around the eye. This is caused by porphyrin in the tears.
Luckily, you can actually buy specialist wipes and cleansing products to remove these stains. But be careful around such sensitive areas and be sure not to irritate them further. Check your pug doesn’t react or wince in pain as you wipe.
Is The White Pug Safe To Breed?
The short answer is no, not exactly. Experienced breeders have created purebred pug pups which are as white as can be, by breeding from pale fawn dogs over many years.
Yet this type of breeding can actually be quite dangerous in the long term and although creates puppies with perfectly pug-like personalities, can actually have adverse health effects on your pup.
Additionally, although albino pugs can sometimes be born with a white coat, and can normally have a perfect pedigree pup of their own, albinism can cause its own set of health problems.
Finally, those successful pup dog crosses can have traits common with a traditional pug, but combined with a white coat that has been inherited from a different breed means their temperament and health depends upon their ancestry. So is the white pug worth it? Is it worth the risks to your newborn puppy’s health?
If we look at the health of a pug more closely, two-thirds of pugs will have painful hip deformities caused by hip dysplasia or Legg-Perthes disease. Around two-thirds of pugs will also suffer from elbow dysplasia and the extreme flattening of their face puts them at high risk of breathing difficulties and damage to their corneas.
Their screw tail is linked to deformities in the spine and spina bifida type diseases and they’re more than likely than the average dog to get skin cancer. Not looking good, is it?
It doesn’t stop there either, and white pugs have even further health problems. Albino pugs tend to have increased light sensitivity since they lack pigmentation in their eyes.
This means time outdoors will be limited, especially when the sun is at its hottest and you’ll only really be able to take them for walks in the early morning or afternoon hours, otherwise, the damage from the sun can make them go blind in their lifetime.
You might even notice they will be photo-phobic, so avoid using the flash!
Albino pugs will also have a higher risk of skin cancer. The lack of melanin removes the natural sun-block that other dogs have and this makes them prone to sunburn and skin cancers such as melanoma.
This of course can affect your pug’s temperament, and they might be more cautious of their surroundings or easily startled. Additionally, an albino’s skin is not only sensitive to the sun but is known to contract fungal infections including ringworm (dermatophytes).
The symptoms of this include red raised rings on your pug’s body and if you do find they have this symptom, be extra careful as it is actually contagious and can be passed onto humans.
Finally, these dogs can get dandruff more easily than other dogs, and this is caused by several different types of fungal manifestations.
But albino pugs aren’t the only ones with health problems. As mentioned earlier, so can pug crosses. These pug crosses of course will depend on the health of their parents and the health of their ancestors.
Creating white pugs by deliberately introducing the extreme white gene from the white spotting series for example is linked to hereditary deafness or hearing loss.
So Why Are White Pugs Still Being Sold?
Well, sometimes the health of a pup is not on the front of a new dog owner’s mind. What is on their mind is how great they’ll look on their next walk through the park.
Crossbreeds and hybrids are constantly increasing in popularity because simply put, they’re hard to come by. Not many people have them and if you get your hands on one, you’re sure to be the center of attention.
They’re fashionable, adorable, and come in a variety of different colors. Well, the white pug is a perfect example and breeders realize this. Breeders will continue to crossbreed, despite the risks because buyers will continue buying and that’s the unfortunate reality.
Marshmallow the pug is a perfect example of this. If you type in ‘Marshmallow the Pug’ into google, you’ll get an image of the most adorable white pug you’ve ever seen.
Marshmallow is an internet sensation and even has his own social media accounts and YouTube channel.
But dog owners became obsessed and all of this attention only made them want a ‘Marshmallow’ of their own, so breeders had to act fast and the sale of white pugs skyrocketed.
We’d all love a cute little white pug. They’re adorable, right? They make the best family pets, they are known as designer dogs and they can become your best friend and shadow. However, in the long run, they may not be the most ethical choice pets.
As we’ve outlined in this article, pugs can experience a whole array of health problems and these generally compromise their welfare and quality of life.
When white pugs are created from selective breeding and crossing with other breeds, these health problems only escalate and albino pugs have a whole range of health problems of their own, so it’s best to do your research on which dog you might take home next as sometimes having all the attention on you and your new crossbreed just isn’t worth it.