Mutt or Designer Dog? Helpful Information About Pugsunds
Is a Pugsund the Right Dog for You?
If you are considering bringing a pugsund into your home, you may benefit from my experiences with raising one. While they are not all the same (any more than dogs of any breed are), reading my story may be helpful to you. I am not in the business of selling dogs of any breed, so I have no vested interest in "selling" you on a pugsund.
Strictly speaking, my dog Chopper is not a “designer dog” as his birth was unplanned. He is a hybrid. It was a “breeder error,” with champion bloodlines on both sides. But theirs was a forbidden love—mom was a pug and dad was a miniature dachshund. This combination is known as "pugsund" or "daug."
How I Fell in Love With a Pugsund
A few years ago a coworker of mine was trying to give away this "mistake puppy" her sister's dog had given birth to. Already having three dogs at home I was not in the market for another, but after I held him my resolve melted, and I agreed to be third on the list of potential puppy parents.
Prospective adoptive parents one and two opted out, and it seemed to be fate that I would bring Chopper home with me. I have two dachshunds and, in my eyes, the fact that he was half Dachshund was a point in his favor.
Chopper was only 6 weeks old in the above photo, and had already been away from his Pug mama for a week (not my choice).
This puppy was taken away from his mom much too soon. Puppies learn early social skills, as well as getting care and nutrition from their moms. However, this pup's mom's owner wanted to be rid of him.
Physical Characteristics of Pugsund
- He weighs about 14 pounds, and is thicker and more muscular than a dachshund.
- His face is not as flat as a pug. His longer nose seems to make breathing easier for him than for most pugs.
- His eyes are large, somewhat sensitive and easily irritated.
- He has a hound's sense of smell. He can smell a buried bone, and he loves to dig.
- He has short, coarse hair, and sheds profusely, especially in the summer.
- He has a curly pug tail.
You won't always get the same characteristics in a mix like Chopper. He is truly a mutt. He has a full brother who is longer and slimmer and his sister is shorter and thicker, though they all look similar in their color and facial features.
Some breeders have selected for the characteristics they want over several generations. They are true "designer dogs" and will have more similar characteristics.
Many breeders will tell you that you can predict the temperament of a dog by the breeding. I would question this assertion as I have noticed marked differences in dogs from the same litter. One is adventurous, another is timid; one is boisterous, another is calm. While certain generalizations can be made about different breeds of dog, they are, in the end, individuals.
It soon became apparent that Chopper had an independent streak that none of my dachshunds had. While they preferred to be near me, Chopper was outside on the porch enjoying his solitude. I don't know if this is the pug in him, or just a variant in his personality.
While he can be very affectionate, it is at his discretion. He dislikes being fawned over, he prefers to come to me when he's ready for attention.
Handsome, but Stubborn
While housebreaking him was exceptionally easy, the rest of Chopper’s training was much more difficult. While my other dogs only wanted to please me, Chopper could not care less.
He was stubborn with me and aggressive with strangers. This little dog was hard-headed, and he did not like being told what to do.
It was pretty challenging to convince him that I was the “pack leader.” By the time he was five years old, he was pretty well behaved. He still obeys with reluctance.
He considers himself a guard dog, and he takes that role very seriously. The mailman and the UPS guy are his sworn enemies.
Who Should Get a Pugsund?
I believe the ideal guardian of a Pugsund should be someone who has experience raising dogs.
While these puppies are extremely cute, and their unusual looks draw lots of attention, they are not passive dogs; they can be a real handful. If you are considering getting a Pugsund puppy, be prepared to put a lot of effort into his training if you want a well behaved pet.
That does not at all mean that I regret bringing Chopper into my family. I love this ornery little dog.
The Aging Pugsund
At the age of 12, Chopper looks like an old dog, and he has for several years. He gains weight easily, so I have to watch his diet to keep him from getting too fat. His spirit is still lively, but he can't run and jump the way he used to. His joints hurt him. He also has bad teeth.
By comparison, my dachshund, who is a year and a half older, is in much better physical condition than he is.
Consider a Pound Puppy
At this point I would like to say that if you are in the market for a dog, consider visiting the pound first. There are so many good dogs there of every imaginable breed. If you like small dogs, there are lots of chihuahua mixes lately. They are very cute mixed with a pug or a doxie.
My two Dachshunds came from Dachshund rescue, and my sweet, gentle Rottweiler came from the pound, she was hours away from death.
Whatever breed you choose, please spay and neuter your pets. Don’t be part of the problem.
© 2011 Sherry Hewins