Puggles, which are an adorable crossbreed of pugs and beagles, aren't actually very new as far as breeds go. They don't have a storied or exotic history like some of their purebred peers (ahem, Shih Tzu). In fact, they hail from good old Wisconsin, most widely recognized for purveying some of America's finest cheddar cheese. These hybrid dogs emerged in 1987 from the controversial Wallace Haven's Puppy Haven Kennels, which specialized in trendy crossbreeds before it was purchased by the Wisconsin Humane Society and shuttered.
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Arguably, the puggle's popularity peaked in the 1990s and early aughts as they were seen in the arms of celebrities like Uma Thurman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Though this dog is an oft-criticized designer pup, there are still plenty of puggles in shelters who are looking for new homes — and they make excellent pets, drawing their personality and looks from both high-energy beagles and distinctive pugs.
Unfortunately, with the benefits of both breeds come the health issues, though puggles are generally considered healthy. This can impact the overall puggle lifespan, which is rather average for a medium-sized dog.
Puggle life expectancy
The typical puggle lifespan is 12 to 14 years. This is slightly less than purebred pugs, which live an average of 13 to 15 years, and slightly more than some beagles, which have an average life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. It's right in line with the average lifespan of dogs, in general.
Like all breeds, the puggle life expectancy is greatly impacted by certain factors like diet and disease. If your pup is properly cared for and fed a healthy diet, it may live on the longer side than one that skips out on vet visits and overindulges on junk or misses out on the proper nutrients (it's the same for humans, too!)
Overall, these dogs live their lives with the exuberance of a beagle (if you were hoping for a low-energy pug, prepare to be disappointed) and the cuddliness of pugs. They're adaptable, good around other dogs, and great for small apartments.
Puggle lifespan: health factors
Puggles don't tend to have the same propensity for health problems as purebred dogs. While they are susceptible to hereditary health problems from both breeds, it's possible that your puggle may inherit any of these issues. If they do, it can greatly impact their life expectancy and quality of life.
Some of the most common puggle health problems stem from the beloved pug. This includes Brachycephalic syndrome, an issue with breathing that's caused by their flat snouts. They're also known to have eye problems like cherry eye and progressive retinal atrophy, which may require surgery and can affect your pup's vision.
These dogs are also susceptible to hip dysplasia, which causes arthritis and the inability to walk. This is only exacerbated when your dog is overweight, which also causes a wealth of other health problems. Additionally, since they have a lot of (frankly adorable) skin folds, they are susceptible to skin infections if not properly cleaned.
Adopting healthy hybrid dogs: considerations
Puggles are not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, though they are recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club. Since they're considered a trendy "designer" dog rather than an official breed, they're often bred in puppy mills by non-reputable breeders, where they're subject to unhealthy, inhumane conditions and prone to myriad health problems like heart disease, epilepsy, and kidney disease. Often, this is because these breeders don't remove sick dogs from their breeding pool.
In the United States, there are 2,000 to 3,000 of these large-scale commercial breeding facilities licensed by the USDA, but many also operate illegally or aren't required to have a license at all. According to the ASPCA, a USDA-license isn't even the hallmark of a humane breeding operation, and it can be difficult to tell what is and isn't reputable.
In order to make sure you adopt a healthy puggle (or any hybrid dog) with a good life expectancy, it's best to avoid any breeders that don't offer a health guarantee on new puppies and don't allow you to pop in for a visit. Reputable breeders are always honest about health problems that occur in their dogs, and they don't have anything to hide about their dogs' living conditions. Beyond that, there are plenty of health puggles in shelters that need loving homes, even if they aren't puppies.
- Vetstreet: Puggle
- Embrace Pet Insurance: Puggle
- Rover: 8 Things Only Puggle People Truly Understand
- Milwaukee: Puppy Hell
- American Kennel Club: Pugs
- American Kennel Club Beagles
- American Canine Hybrid Club: American Canine Hybrid Club Hybrid Breeds
- One Green Planet: 5 Common Illnesses That Occur in Puppy Mill Dogs and Why You Should ALWAYS Adopt
- ASPCA: How to Avoid Cruelty
- ASPCA: Puppy Mill 101
- Portage Daily Register: Largest puppy breeder in state purchased by Wisconsin Humane Society
- American Kennel Club: Get to Know the Pug