The German Shepherd Pug Mix is a modern cross between the purebred GSD and the purebred Pug. Also referred to as the “Shug,” it is a medium sized designer dog breed that has more recently become popular along with various other fashionable mixes. It combines the herding dog traits of the GSD with the even-keeled and charismatic temperament of the Pug.
To better understand this mix, let’s take a quick look at each breed’s history. Both dogs have some amazing qualities and interesting backgrounds.
History Of The German Shepherd:
Between the two breeds, the German Shepherd came a couple of centuries later in the late 1800’s. It is a medium sized working dog breed that was developed by a man named Max von Stephanitz.
It was created over a period of time using local herding dogs used by shepherds to protect their flocks of sheep. Because of this it was incredibly smart and skilled.
Also called the “Alsatian,” the breed came together in 1899 when Max purchased a dog that caught his attention at a dog show. The dog, named “Hektor Linksrhein” had all of the characteristics that he desired for the new breed.
The GSD was a conglomeration of all the traits that makes GSDs so special today. It was intelligent, fast, smart, trainable and had an excellent sense of smell.
He renamed the dog “Horand von Grafrath” and the first ever German Shepherd was cemented in history. Around that same time, he also founded the “Society for German Shepherd Dogs.”
By the year 1923, the organization had 50,000 members paying dues in over 500 branches throughout Germany. Horand was the focal point of the breeding programs and was bred with many other dogs owned by society members.
Several offspring from Horand became the breeding pool from which the modern-day German Shepherd descends. It was slowly refined over time and the result is an amazing breed known for its courage and loyalty.
History Of The Pug:
The Pug is a toy dog that originates from ancient times in China going all the way back to 400 B.C. They were kept as companions for the wealthy during the Song Dynasty.
Known for their small stature and wrinkly little faces, the friendly lap dogs were considered royalty among Chinese emperors and even Tibetan Buddhist monks.
The Pug really started to gain popularity and traction in the sixteenth century when it was brought to Europe. It became very popular after a Pug named “Pompey” saved the Prince of Orange from a group of assassins.
In the seventeenth century, a pug was even there when William III and Mary II accepted the throne of England in 1688. Following this pivotal moment, the popularity of the breed continued to spread to other countries in Europe.
It would eventually make its way to Italy and France in the 18th century. Napoleon Bonaparte sent countless secret love letters to his future wife Josephine while she was in Les Carme’s prison. He would hide them in the collar of her Pug “Fortune II.”
Later in the 19th century, Queen Victoria had a big impact on the breed. She owned many Pugs and played a crucial role in the creation of the Kennel Club in 1873. Her affection for Pugs transferred to other Royal family members including King George V and his son.
The Pug’s appearance changed a little in the late 1800’s when a new more modern looking version of the breed was imported from China. They had the signature short noses and legs that we are used to seeing today.
The breed would eventually land in the United States in the 19th century and were finally recognized by the AKC in 1885. Since that time their noses and legs have grown even shorter which has unfortunately led to more health issues.
History Of The German Shepherd Pug Mix:
There isn’t much documented history on this mix because it isn’t a pure breed dog nor is it registered with the AKC.
That being said, it was one of many designer dog breeds that became popular in the 90’s. So, it has been around for at least 30 plus years.
Unfortunately, mixing dog breeds can lead to certain health issues. And the creator of the first “Labradoodle” even regretted his canine concoction.
“I opened a Pandora’s box and released a Frankenstein monster,”Wally Conron – USA Today
Keep in mind, cross breeding has been going on for thousands of years and most modern day dog breeds, like the German Shepherd, were created in the last three or four centuries.
What Is The Mix Called?
Most designer dog breeds combine the two breed names to create a new, usually short, name for the cross. In this case they took the “Sh” from Shepherd and the “ug” from Pug to create the name “Shug.”
German Shepherd Pug Mix Appearance:
Like most designer dog breeds, their appearance can vary depending on which breed’s genes are most prominent.
Most of the time the Shug will have the signature fawn colored Pug coat and the similar black markings that are traditionally seen on the German Shepherd. Their face will usually have the signature black mask as well.
Their coat will be short and straight but could be wiry like a GSD’s. They may also occasionally be other colors like black, brindle or cream.
The Shug’s nose will be much shorter and flatter than the GSD’s. The ears could go either way and be floppy like a Pug’s or erect like a German Shepherd’s.
The tail combines the best of both worlds producing a tail that is curly like a Pug’s but longer like a GSD’s.
German Shepherd Pug Mix Health:
Because the Shug’s facial features and specifically the nose more closely resemble the Pug, it is more prone to breathing related issues that come with the scrunchy little nose.
Specifically, Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, or BOAS, is common among dog breeds with short flat snouts.
Fun Fact: According to Willows Veterinary Centre & Referral Service, research shows that 60% of all Pugs suffer from BOAS.
The condition occurs when the normal air flow of the lungs is obstructed by several different factors related to their flat stubby nose. It normally begins when they are young and the head shape is still developing.
German Shepherd Pug Mix Temperament:
The temperament of a Shug is the best of both worlds. It has the affection, charm and mischievous nature of a pug combined with the courage, intelligence and loyalty of a German Shepherd.
Both breeds make excellent family dogs so the Shug is no different. It is good with children and other pets but like the GSD may be somewhat wary of strangers.
Additionally, the stubbornness of a Pug may shine through making them a little harder to train than the German Shepherd.
Overall, they are great with families although they might be a little mischievous at times and get into some trouble. Similar to the Pug, they may shadow you for attention.
German Shepherd Pug Mix Size:
The Shug is a medium size dog that is similar in height and weight to an Australian Cattle Dog or German Pinscher.
If you’re looking for a guard dog, you may want to consider a full bred GSD. Shugs top out at around 16 inches tall and max out at 50 pounds. They won’t offer you the same protection of a full-grown German Shepherd.
Because they are smaller than a traditional GSD, they are more well-suited for apartment living and don’t need as much space.
However, they aren’t too keen on being left alone for long periods and may have separation anxiety if apart from their family for too long.
Where To Buy A Shug Puppy?
Finding a Shug puppy isn’t easy and I couldn’t find any breeders. This rare designer mix is more often than not the result of accidental breeding.
If you do happen to stumble across a breeder, make sure they are reputable and have a history of dealing with this particular mix.
The Shug is a charming and sweet animal with some of the energy of a German Shepherd and the chill temper of a Pug. It combines loyalty with royalty and will win you over with its smug little face and curly tail.
Interested in learning more about this mix. Vanessa De Prophetis, a proefessional groomer, talks about her Shug “Goblin” in this Newsweek article even comparing it to a Gremlin at one point.
She describes its distinct look and sweet personality along with some of his quirks and play time rituals. It’s a good read if you are considering purchasing one of these pups.
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Do you know anything about this unusual mix? Let us know! We would love to hear about your personal experience!