Pug vs French Bulldog What’s the Difference

Pug vs French Bulldog

Pugs and French Bulldogs (sometimes called Frenchies) are both small breeds with uniquely short noses that give their faces a similar scrunched look. Both are great companions and family pets, even for small households – like apartments.

They are both naturally cheerful, gentle, and clever. Though there are some pretty big differences in the breeds. Read on to help you pick your next pup.

Pug vs French Bulldog Comparison Table

  Pug French Bulldog
Average Age 12-15 years 11-14 years
Average Weight 14-18 lbs Less than 28 lbs
Average Height (at the shoulder) 10-14 inches 11-13 inches
Typical behavior with kids Friendly Mostly Friendly
Typical behavior with people Friendly/Affectionate Mostly Friendly, Affectionate with family
Typical behavior with other dogs Friendly (assuming early socializing) Mostly Friendly
Pug vs French Bulldog Comparison Table

Pug vs French Bulldog: History

Pugs and French Bulldogs have a very different history, but interestingly they were both popular in Europe before coming to America just before the 1900s.

Pug History

Pugs are an older breed of dog, dating all the way back to BCE 206 in China. They were prized in the dynasties of China and were regarded like royalty – including being guarded by their own soldiers.

In the 1500-1600s, China began to trade Pugs with Europe where they were also adored by the upper echelon of houses. The breed was owned by several famous royals including Marie Antoinette and Queen Victoria.

In 1885 Pugs came to America and were recognized by the American Kennel Club. They were initially highly popular, but that popularity waned in the 1900s.

French Bulldog History

French Bulldogs were originally developed in England out of a desire to have a toy version of the Bulldog. They were generally well-loved in Europe and earned their nickname, Frenchies, because of their popularity among French lace workers. They eventually came to America in the late 1890s. 

Pug vs French Bulldog: Temperament

Pugs and French Bulldogs are both very loving and affectionate to their owners. These are two breeds who embrace the lapdog life. They have no problem hanging out on a couch and cuddling to your heart’s content.

Pug Temperament

While Pugs can be quite playful, they are perfectly happy to cuddle up with you on a couch for movie day or to read a good book. They are a good sedentary dog who will just crave your love and affection.

Like most dogs, early socialization is very helpful to ensure this breed is well-rounded and well-behaved. They tend to be friendly towards other dogs, kids, and strangers.

French Bulldog Temperament

French Bulldogs are also a more sedentary dog breed, but compared to Pugs they are a little more energetic. Daily walks will help ensure that they get both the energy out and are able to keep their weight down. 

They are very affectionate and want to spend a lot of time with their families/people. They also are a clever breed that is eager to please you.

Pug vs French Bulldog: Grooming

Grooming needs vary from breed to breed and Pugs and French Bulldogs definitely have different needs.

However, they should both be seen by a vet on a regular basis to ensure they stay healthy. Their owners also should help accustom them to grooming techniques at a young age.

Pug Grooming

Pugs are a double-coated short hair breed. Even though their hair is short they do shed – a lot. Weekly brushing will help to alleviate some of these shedding issues, but you will probably still find their hair on all of your clothes.

Pugs benefit from regular baths, nail trims, and ear cleaning. Their wrinkles require some special attention when bathing. If not properly cleaned they can develop infections.

Finally, pay close attention to both the Pug’s eyes and gums. They are susceptible to eye injury and gum disease.

French Bulldog Grooming

French Bulldogs shed less than Pugs, despite the fact that they both have a short coat. Like Pugs, French Bulldogs need regular cleaning of their ears and wrinkles as well as trimming their nails.

On the whole French Bulldogs are easy to groom.

Pug vs French Bulldog: Training

Both Pugs and French Bulldogs are clever and stubborn. Because of their small stature and stubborn nature, it is vital that they are trained at a young age and that the rules and expectations remain in place throughout their lives.

Pug Training

While Pugs aren’t known for their intellect, they are fairly clever. This combined with their stubborn nature means they tend to pick up habits – both good and bad – quickly. 

As the trainer, you need to decide the rules for your Pug early and then hold to them. So, if you don’t want your pup on the couch, establish that expectation early. Once they start a habit, it is very difficult to break it.

French Bulldog Training

French Bulldogs benefit from short, focused, fun training sessions. While treats work well to train them, be cautious of potential overfeeding – this breed can put on extra weight quickly.

French Bulldogs are clever and willing to work. Having a regular schedule can help them to be more successful with things like potty training and crate training.

Pug vs French Bulldog: Lifespan

One thing everyone wants to know is how long will my new friend be in my life?

Pug Lifespan

Pugs typically live to be about 12-15 years old.

French Bulldog Lifespan

French Bulldogs have slightly shorter lifespan: 11-14 years.

Pug vs French Bulldog: Health

Both Pugs and French Bulldogs – while individually healthy – do, as breeds, have several potential health concerns. In addition to allergies and hip dysplasia (which both are at risk for) there are some unique concerns to watch for with each breed.

To help ensure you don’t have to worry about these diseases, make sure that you take your Pug or French Bulldog to the vet regularly and if you get your pup from a reputable breeder, make sure to ask for health clearances.

Pug Health

Unfortunately – due to the shape of their bodies – Pugs do have a lot of potential health problems. They are generally healthy and not all Pugs will develop any or all of these issues.

The health problems to look out for are:

  • Walking dandruff.
  • Pug Dog Encephalitis (only affects Pugs).
  • Epilepsy.
  • Nerve Degeneration.
  • Corneal Ulcers.
  • Dry Eye.
  • Eye Problems (Proptosis, Distichiasis, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and Entropion).
  • Demodectic Mange.
  • Staph Infection.
  • Yeast Infection.
  • Hemi-vertebrae.
  • Legg-Perthes Disease.
  • Patellar Luxation, and Vaccination Sensitivity.

French Bulldog Health

French Bulldogs do tend to be slightly healthier than Pugs, but they also have several ailments that can affect them.

When selecting a French Bulldog, you should be aware they may develop: Brachycephalic Syndrome, Hemivertebrae, Patellar Luxation, Intervertebral Disc Disease, Von Willebrand’s Disease, Cleft Palate, and Elongated Soft Palate.


If you are looking for a playful clever pup to snuggle up and watch a movie with, either the Pug or French Bulldog might be the right choice for you.

If you are concerned about shedding or health issues, a French Bulldog might make the right pick due to being slightly healthier and shedding less. Whereas a pug is the bigger love bug and has a slightly longer lifespan.

Whichever choice you make, you are sure to receive an affectionate and clever fur baby.