As one of the smallest dogs, the Pug is also the epitome of friendliness and fussiness, having a massive following of enthusiasts worldwide. They were popular lap dogs with modern celebrities and royalty in the 18th century, although their appearance was much different back then.
Besides the typically black, bridle, apricot, or fawn-colored canine, a rare white version results from leucism, albinism, or crossbreeding. Controversy surrounds all White Pugs that result from designer breeding as some consider it unethical, plus the small gene pool they’re bred from can have adverse health effects.
While white isn’t a standard color for the Pug according to the AKC breed standard, there are also variances between dogs with leucism and albinism. Continue reading to learn more about White Pugs’ history and facts.
Fawn, white, blue, silver-fawn, black, apricot-brindle
Active and loving families with or without kids and other pets, committed elderly owners
Affectionate, loyal, loving, intelligent, gets along with other pets but can be stubborn
Lack of melanin production alters the DNA of standard-colored Pugs to result in albinos that have a white coat, a pink mask, and lighter eyes. However, this condition is responsible for multiple other health issues, including deafness and light sensitivity.
Conversely, leucism is like albinism, but there’s more melanin production than the latter condition. The only difference is that leucistic Pugs aren’t prone to the same health problems as their albino counterparts, but the coloration and pink pigmentation is almost similar.
White Pugs can also be purebred from white-coated or fawn-colored parents, but they’ll have black features on their muzzles, around the eyes, and paw pads.
In essence, what you’re looking at when you see a White Pug is an albino, a leucistic dog, or one crossbred at thin margins from similar-looking parents.
White Pug Breed Characteristics
The Earliest Records of White Pugs in History
It’s unclear when the White Pug emerged, but the AKC breed standards don’t accept the color. They’ve become popular in the 21st century due to celebrity trends, but there are photo records of the dog in the hands of ancient emperors.
Considered one of the oldest dog breeds, Pugs trace their origins back to China 1400 BC, when they were the sweethearts of Chinese royalty. Ancient records suggest that around 700 BC, writings by Confucius referenced Pug-like dogs with flat faces and short muzzles, along with the Shih-Tzu and Pekingese.
At the time, no one else but royalty could own a Pug, but soldiers and monks were allowed to keep one under strict observation. Over time, the Chinese sold Pugs to Russians and the Japanese until the 16th century, when Dutch traders brought them to the rest of Europe.
The breed became the favorite pup of European royal families, and in 1861, it was exhibited for the first time in England. In 1871 when the studbook began its first volume, there were 66 Pugs, and in the 19th century, Queen Victoria developed a love for the dog.
They were introduced after the Civil War in America and were recognized by the AKC in 1885. They’ve gained popularity since 1931’s establishment of the Pug Dog Club of America.
How the White Pug Gained Popularity
Controversially, unethical breeders who capitalize on rare albino breeding have popularized the uncommon White Pug by advertising their dogs as purebred. They exploit genetic mutations like albinism and leucism or breed white-coated gene pools so tightly that congenital disorders become commonplace for these dogs.
Breeders also mix the breed with different dog breeds to achieve the pale coat color, but the results are often a dog that’s different in looks and temperament from the traditional Pug. However, the Pug has been a popular dog as a breed, starting in China, Japan, Russia, and Europe before arriving in America.
Monarchs like Queen Victoria and William the Silent are responsible for the Pug’s popularity, often visiting their British subjects with these dogs. The breed also became a mascot for a society of freemasons named the Order of the Pug due to its steadfast loyalty and devotion.
Today, white or otherwise, Pugs are popular in many countries worldwide thanks to their endearing personality, and the AKC’s ranking for this breed is number 33 out of 284.
Formal Recognition of White Pug
The American Kennel Club formally recognized Pugs in 1885, but only two colors, black and fawn, made the breed standards. Besides the AKC, the United Kennel Club, UKC, and the Federation Cynologique Internationale, FCI, don’t consider white a Pug coat color.
Black mask is the only color listed in the AKCs breed standards for the Pug, while the UKC and FCI recognize black, silver, apricot, and fawn. Like the coloring brindle, purebred Pugs can be white, which isn’t considered a standard color, so these individuals can’t become show dogs.
Top 6 Unique Facts About White Pugs
1. Pink Pigmentation Is the Telling Difference Between Albino and White-Coated Pugs
One way to determine if a Pug is white due to albinism is to check for its around-the-eye pigmentation, which is pink instead of black. A White Pug will not have this coloration, but the eye color of an Albino Pug is often blue and not pink.
2. Marshmallow, the White Pug, Popularized This Rare Coat Color
It was not until people saw the Marshmallow, the White Pug, that they took notice due to how adorable this rare dog was. All this attention made the breed much sought after, with this mascot becoming an internet sensation with his own YouTube and social media accounts.
3. White Pugs Are Expensive
The median price for White Pug puppies is $1,022, with some breeders charging between $2,000 and an insane $19,000 for these designer dogs. Always buy the breed from reputable kennels, as unscrupulous puppy mills will pass off Albino Pugs as purebred, white-coated ones.
4. There Are Waiting Lists for Owning a White Pug
Due to the rare color variation of White Pugs, there’s often a long wait if you’re buying from a reputable dealer that prioritizes the welfare and well-being of these dogs. That’s because it may take a while to breed pups that have the coloration and don’t exhibit any health issues or genetic disorders.
5. Albino, Leucitic, and Fawn-Colored Pugs Don’t Shed More Than Others
Despite common belief, Pugs of a lighter fur color are not heavier shedders than those with black-mask or apricot coats. It’s only due to the noticeability of their white hairs, which are easier to spot on dark surfaces, making them appear as though they’re shedding more.
6. Breeders Can Arrive at White Pugs by Mixing a Pug With Other Breeds
Mixed breeding is another way that breeders can arrive at a pure White Pug, which involves mixing another dog into the gene pool to add new colors. Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs are the common breeds chosen for this crossbreeding.
However, these hybrids often lack the polite disposition and unique flat-faced look of the breed, but that also helps mitigate health problems.
Does a White Pug Make a Good Pet?
Thanks to a typically easygoing, cheerful, and affectionate nature, all Pugs make great pets, and so do white-coated ones. They adapt well to living in small spaces like apartments and only need grooming at least once a week due to their easy-to-maintain coats.
White Pugs require moderate exercise daily to keep them healthy and happy, and they’re a perfect fit for families with small children. Early training and socialization are important so that the breed is comfortable around other people or pets without reactions of aggressiveness or fear.
Socialization also brings out White Pugs’ loving and friendly traits, especially towards people and pets that treat them kindly.
But you should note that this breed, especially if your White Pug results from albinism or leucism, is susceptible to various health conditions. These include breathing difficulties, a common challenge with brachycephalic or flat-faced dogs. That can make your White Pug uncomfortable in hot weather, while their folded skin is vulnerable to allergic dermatitis.
White Pugs also stand a greater risk of developing skin cancer, especially those with albinism, so it’s essential to minimize their exposure to the sun.
The White Pug exists due to either melanin deficiency or crossbreeding, making this dog the rarest form of the breed. And although their coat color falls outside most kennel club breed standards, White Pugs exist due to selective breeding, leucism, or albinism.
These dogs come from a unique lineage and have adorable personality quirks that endear them to all manner of owners from different walks of life.
Featured Image Credit: Chelle129, Shutterstock