Why Are Pugs So Expensive to Buy? + Annual Ownership Costs

why are pugs so expensive to buy

Due to their cute appearance and small size, Pugs are one of the most popular breeds of dog out there. However, they are also very expensive, with well-bred Pug puppies costing a lot of money… and then there’s the yearly costs you will accrue as an owner. This is often over-looked.

If you’re thinking about getting a Pug, please read the following as it explains why Pugs are so expensive to buy, plus how much you will probably need to pay out each year.

Why are Pugs so expensive to buy? Pugs are expensive because they are a pedigree breed, have small litters, will often need a costly C-section to give birth, can have complications during and after pregnancy, and are in high demand. This means the breeders can charge high amounts, plus have expensive vet bills to pay for.

However, even non-pedigrees can still cost a lot, depending on the demand on the breeder and even the colour of their coat.

Now you know a small amount about why this breed is expensive, I wanted to break down all the costs in more detail, including how much a Pug costs each year.

How much does a Pug cost?

Pugs range in price from around $500 up to $2,000, although this price depends on a number of different factors, including the age of the dog, the place you buy it from and even the colour of the fur. Pedigree Pugs have been known to sell for as much as $6,000 dollars.

how much a pug costs
Pugs cost a lot of money to buy due to a range of different factors.

Why are Pugs so expensive to buy?

Here are some of the factors which account into these high costs.

1. Their growing popularity

Pugs have been a popular status symbol dog since they first appeared in ancient China, being owned by numerous royal families in China and Europe and carrying on to becoming well known pets of the rich and famous. The American Kennel Club ranks Pugs as the 28th most popular dog breed, but why?

Toy dog breeds such as Pugs, Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs are very popular because of their small size, making them easy to care for, carry around and also being incredibly loyal.

Pugs are especially loving, being very affectionate towards their owner and loving lots of attention, meaning they make great life-long companions. Pugs are also known to be very cute, with many people loving their flat-nosed, rounded faces that also give them a comical look.

These factors make Pugs very popular, so the breeders know they can charge a premium price to people wanting to buy one.

It’s a seller’s market.

2. The breeding challenges of pugs

Aside from the high demand, Pugs are also expensive because of the challenges in breeding them. Like bulldogs, Pugs often suffer from complications during pregnancy, with many breeders opting for Caesarean sections rather than a natural birth due to their narrow birth canals.

These medical bills and care for the puppies are another reason for the price of puppies to be so high.

The bottom line is this; Pugs invariably have complications during pregnancy and also special aftercare once the puppies are born.

These are factored in by the breeder, meaning most pugs are very expensive to buy.

pug ownership costs
Pugs cost a lot of money not just to buy, but are also expensive to keep each year.

3. Common health problems

Pugs became a recognised breed by the American Kennel Club in 1885. Today Pugs are seen as an incredibly fashionable dog, but this has unfortunately led to a history of overbreeding, resulting in many health issues including breathing difficulties, joint problems and hip dysplasia.

The squashed face that makes them so popular has been breed into them over the years, but this has resulted in them being a breed highly susceptible to health problems. It’s a common concern with brachycephalic dogs.

For example, I’ve previously blogged about how sickly pugs can be, and the problems they can also get with their eyes.

Because of this, getting a healthy Pug from a reputable breeder is highly recommended, although it will be more expensive.

4. Colour can dictate costs

The colour of the fur is surprisingly a rather major factor in how much a Pug costs. Pugs most commonly come in fawn and black, with fawn also being the most popular colour.

Because of their more fashionable nature, fawn coloured Pugs are far more expensive because of the higher demand. If you are looking for a more affordable Pug, consider getting a different coloured Pug for a lower price.

Handy Hint: Don’t buy a Pug until you’ve read all the important things you need to look for in a puppy. This guide also includes the questions you must ask the breeder before buying to ensure you get a healthy and happy Pug puppy.

How much does a Pug cost a year?

But what about the annual costs of owning a pug?

Well, buying a Pug is one thing but knowing the full cost of properly caring for this breed is another. Pugs are known to be rather high-maintenance dogs and are known to suffer from a number of different health issues due to their history of overbreeding, although this does vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on your dog’s bloodline and overall health.

Many people overlook this fact, and are attracted to how Pugs look, get the money together to buy one, and then have no awareness of what costs are in store.

It’s important to understand how much a pug costs a year, as it will be far more than you are probably expecting.

I spoke to a Pug owner and asked them how much it costs to own theirs each year.

Here’s the reality check for you…

  • How much it costs to buy a Pug: $500 to $2,000.
  • Annual food and treats: $550 a year.
  • Dog insurance: $390 a year.
  • Visits to the vet: $170 a year.
  • Annual health check at the vets: $55 a year.
  • Flea treatment and tick collars: $240 a year.
  • Dog toys and bed: $95 a year.
  • Dog walker and dog sitting: $780 a year.

Add all that up, and it costs $2,280 a year to own a Pug! That’s a lot of money and probably far more than you would imagine.

It’s also worth mentioning at this point, that the costs of owning a Pug listed above were given to me by an owner whose dog hasn’t had any serious health complications.

With Pugs being renowned for health issues, the costs above are conservative to say the least!

Owning any breed of dog will naturally end up costing you more than you think. Buying dog food, toys and other products to properly care for your dog at home, as well as veterinary bills and other expenses can soon mount up.

However, because of their known history of health problems as a breed, Pugs are renowned for suffering from a number of different serious health issues, including breathing problems, hip dysplasia, arthritis and skin infections.

Because of this it is recommended that you take out good pet insurance, as you will be visiting the vet a few times a year on top of annual vaccinations, worming, flea treatments and other general illnesses.

Things to look out for when buying a Pug

I previously blogged about the type of questions you need to ask a breeder when buying an English Bulldog. I recommend you read that, as the same questions apply for any pedigree dog breed.

When buying a Pug puppy, finding a reputable breeder is a must. Because of the high demand, puppy farms and illegal puppy sellers make their money selling poorly bred, unhealthy puppies to unsuspecting pet owners wanting to find a good deal.

To ensure you get a healthy puppy, buy from recommended and fully licensed breeders.

You should also consider adoption from animal shelters. It’s a good way of finding more affordable dogs, although Pugs and Pug puppies especially are very quickly snapped up.

Adopting an already adult dog pushes down the price and also gives an otherwise unwanted dog a happy home for many years to come, while also allowing you to avoid to challenging puppy and adolescent stages.


Pugs are a very cute dog, with their squished faces and small, compact form making them very easy to cuddle and play with. Like many small dogs, Pugs are seen to be cute for a number of different reasons, both because of looks and personality.

Pugs are also incredibly sensitive, in both a physical and emotional sense.

But it’s their history of overbreeding that make them more likely to suffer from breathing and orthopaedic problems, meaning that you need to take extra care when picking up and handling your Pug.

And this is where the costs of the breed accumulate and why Pugs are so expensive to buy.

As a brachycephalic breed (meaning that they have a very short, rounded skull that gives them their short muzzle and flat face) they are prone to a range of problems.

I will leave it up to you to ask yourself the ethical questions before you consider buying a Pug based on all the facts I’ve laid out today.

Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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