If you thought dogs couldn’t get much cuter than the Pug or more adorable than the Shih Tzu, just wait till you meet their offspring, the Pug Zu. Small, as cute as a button, and super-affectionate, they make incredible companions to people who have the time and energy to invest in this doting but occasionally demanding breed. Find out more about the latest designer doggy on the block with these 10 things you didn’t know about the Pug Zu.
1. Their origins are a mystery
The history of the first designer dog is well documented. A breeder in Australia decided to combine the Poodle and the Labrador to create the Labradoodle, a hypoallergenic breed that was intended to be the best (and most allergy-friendly) service dog in the world. After that, everything gets a little hazy. The most we know about the Pug Zu is that they came to prominence in the early 2000s in the US. As to exactly which breeder decided to cross the Shih Tzu and the Pug, no one knows. No one knows exactly why or when either. The most anyone knows is that they’re here now and, judging from their ever-increasing popularity, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
2. They’re a cross between the Pug and the Shih Tzu
While the origins of the Pug Zu are shrouded in mystery, the origins of their parent breeds (the Pug and the Shih Tzu) are well known. As Wag Walking explains, the Shih Tzu is an ancient breed that’s believed to have been developed from the Lhasa Apso from Tibet and a small dog from China, like the Pekingese. It was a favorite with Chinese royalty as far back as the Tang dynasty (618-907). During the Ming dynasty, they became popular with the wider populous. During the Chinese Revolution, however, they were almost driven to extinction. Only 7 females and 7 males survived, yet somehow, those 14 dogs managed to produce enough heirs to save the breed. Eventually, they made their way overseas, and they’re now a hugely popular companion pet. Like the Shih Tzu, Pugs originated in China and were a favored lap dog among royalty – so revered were they, they were even provided with their own guards. Since making their way to Europe and America, they’ve become one of the most popular breeds around
3. No two dogs look the same
Like all crossbreeds, there’s no standard for how the Pug Zu should look. Even pups that come from the same litter can look hugely different from one another, depending on whether they take after the Pug, the Shih Tzu, or both. Many have slightly curled tails, although it’s rarely as tightly curled as the Pugs. The tail may be plumed, or it may not. Coats can be medium-length or long, fluffy or smooth, and come in either brown, white, fawn, apricot, brindle, or black.
4. Their maintenance needs vary
Just as their appearance varies, so does the Pug Zu’s grooming needs. Pug Zus with long coats like the Shih Tzu will need to be brushed daily to prevent tangles. They’ll also need to be trimmed regularly to stop their hair from falling into their eyes. Bathing should only be done when needed (e.g. if they roll in dirt) as too much bathing can interfere with oil production, leading to dry skin and irritation. Dogs with shorter coats will need fewer growing sessions, although regular brushing will help with shedding. Other maintenance needs are standard: teeth should be cleaned 3-4 times a week, ears should be checked and cleaned weekly, and nails should be trimmed once a month or so if they don’t wear down naturally.
5. They’ve got bags of energy
Despite their small size, the Pug Zu has energy to spare. They’ll need at least 30 minutes of activity per day to prevent boredom. They don’t, however, require a huge yard to play around in, and providing their exercise needs are met, they’ll be just as happy living in an apartment as a family home. As they tend to overheat during hot weather, avoid highly energetic games during the summer and stick to gentle strolls around the park instead.
6. They make excellent family companions
Pug Zus are doting, affectionate pooches who make friends easily and quickly. Although they can occasionally develop small dog syndrome, it’s not as common as it is amongst other small breeds, and can be easily averted with early socialization and training. They love kids, mix happily with other pets, and are exactly the kind of sweet, happy-go-lucky characters most of us would love to have around.
7. Their heath can be a concern
Although crossbreeds tend to be healthier than purebreds, it’s not guaranteed. In the case of the Pug Zu, there are several health problems to watch out for. According to Pet Keen, some of the most common major ailments include PDE, epilepsy, nerve degeneration, eye problems, hemivertebrae, vaccination sensitivity, patellar luxation, and Legg-Perthes. Minor ailments include skin problems, allergies, demodectic mange, staph infection, yeast infection, and hip dysplasia.
8. They’re tiny
As you’d expect of two tiny dogs like the Pug and the Shih Tzu, the Pug Zu is tiny. According to Dog Product Picker, the Pug Zu typically measures between 8-12 inches in height, with females usually measuring around an inch less than males. Regardless of gender, they’ll usually weigh between 8 and 22 lbs. As they can pack on the pounds easily, it’s crucial to control their diet and restrict access to table scraps or unhealthy treats.
9. They can live for up to 14 years
Although lifespan depends on factors such as diet and exercise, most Pug Zus can expect to live between 9 and 14 years. As their health can sometimes be a concern, regular checkups with the vet will help catch any potential issues before they become a major problem, thereby giving them the best chance at a long and healthy life.
10. They can cost up to $1000
Depending on factors such as breeder, location, health, and lineage, you can expect to pay anything between $300 and $1000 for a Pug Zu puppy. If you’d rather save some cash and give a home to a needy dog instead, it’s worth putting feelers out to your local shelter to see if they have any Pug Zus available for adoption.