If you're looking for a small, cute designer dog, the chug could fill the bill. This cross between the pug and the chihuahua ideally combines two toy breeds into a canine larger than the tiny chihuahua but smaller than the not-very-big pug. Wonder why they didn't call it the puhuahua?
As a crossbred, the chug isn't recognized for registration by the American Kennel Club. In a perfect world, the chug combines the loving personality of the pug with the obedience of the chihuahua. Reality might mean inheriting the less desirable traits of each breed, such as the stubbornness of the pug with the snippy, yappy side of the chihuahua. Odds are that the average chug falls somewhere between perfection and the worst-case-scenario.
Because both breeds are quintessential house dogs, the chug makes a good choice for people living in an apartment or with limited space. Both breeds require minimal exercise, so the chug can generally be satisfied with daily walks around the block or using the newspaper in cold weather. Most chugs have short coats, needing little grooming, unless one of the parents was a long-haired chihuahua who passed coat length to the offspring. Even with short coats, however, expect moderate shedding.
Pug coats are either fawn or black. Chihuahuas come in any color along with white markings, so the cross runs the color gamut. The AKC standard lists the chihuahua's weight at a maximum of 6 pounds, while the pug weighs between 14 and 16 pounds. Splitting the difference, you can expect the chug to mature around 10 pounds. Pugs have notorious appetites, so if your chug takes after this side of the family, be careful not to overfeed him or you could wind up with a chunky chug.
The chihuahua is alert, while the pug is more laid-back. Both breeds do well in the show ring, but you can't show a chug in an AKC show. Once again, training all depends on what side of the family your chug takes after. If he has a good temperament along with obedience, he might make a good therapy dog, visiting patients in nursing homes, hospitals and rehabilitation centers. If your chug has the pushed-in face common to pugs, he might not be up to strenuous exercise without encountering breathing problems.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.