Pugs Come in a Variety of Hues. A Picture Guide to Colors and Patterns

We can’t deny that the topic of dog coat color and the genetics behind all of the many colors, tints, patterns, and combinations may be somewhat perplexing. When you compare a breed’s standard colors to the available colors, you’re often left scratching your head, even more, perplexed than before.

What about the lovely, very cute pug, America’s 28th most popular breed? Pugs come in three hues, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) description: Silver, Apricot-Fawn, and Black.

However, if you look closely at the AKC’s official breed standard, only fawn and black are included.

Do you see what we mean when we say “scratching your head”?

Pug puppies for sale come in a variety of hues. While various colors, such as Blue, Chocolate, and White, as well as patterns such as Merle, Brindle, and Pied, are available, the AKC only accepts Fawn and Black in the show ring. The fawn hue comes in a variety of shades, ranging from light cream to apricot.

Let’s take a deeper look at the numerous typical Pug hues and shades, as well as the less frequent (unusual) varieties available today.

The Colors of Most Common Pugs

Before we look at the most frequent colors found in today’s Pugs, we think it’s important to understand the AKC’s position on Pug color.

Breed Standards of the American Kennel Club

Only two colors, fawn and black, are permitted in the AKC show ring. Any other color is considered a disqualifying factor. While black is black, fawn comes in a variety of tints and hues ranging from light to medium cream.

Pugs that are truly silver or apricot (both of which can seem extremely similar to pure fawn depending on the shade) can be registered as a fawn and so compete, or they can be classified as an alternate color, which would state their true color but would be a show ring disqualification.

So, while the AKC only allows two colors in the show ring, it allows both silver and apricot-fawn Pugs to be registered as fawn Pugs.

Breeding Standards of Other Clubs

There are four pug colors recognized by the Fédération Cynologique International (FCI), often known as the World Canine Organization: fawn, black, silver, and apricot. The Kennel Club of the United Kingdom (KC) follows suit.

Only fawn, including light and dark tints, silver-fawn, and black, is permitted by the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC).


The color fawn is found in nearly two-thirds of all Pugs. The fawn hue can be anything from a light cream to a medium cream to various colors of gold, or it might be a cream backdrop with silver undertones. This most frequent color can have hints of very faint orange or even subtle hints of red, but a rich cream color is preferred.

While many fawn pug puppies for sale are the same color throughout, some may have a mix of fawn tones on their bodies, with some places being significantly lighter or darker than others.

Black Pugs should have a uniform, thick black coat all over their bodies. On rare occasions, a small white mark on the chest will appear, and even more rarely, one or more of the paws will be white.

This is a major flaw in the show ring and is caused by the presence of a party-factor gene. This white coloration can occur in any coat color, but black Pugs have a particularly prominent white coloration.

Because black is a dominant color, pugs with two black genes appear to have a rich, bluish-black color in sunlight and will always birth black puppies.

Pugs with one black color gene and one fawn color gene are also black, but their coats have a rusty or brown sheen in the sunlight. Depending on whose color genes their mate contributes to, they can produce either fawn or black puppies.

Silver Pugs have a wonderful grey luster to their coats, which range in color from medium to dark. The silver-fawn color is a variant of a fawn that is exceedingly pale. If the dog can be registered and the owner chooses to do so, both hues can be registered as a fawn.

Apricot Pug Puppies

Apricot is a darker shade of orange than fawn. A pug that is midway between a light fawn and a rich apricot may be described as an apricot-fawn at the discretion of the owner. Apricot Pugs frequently have a lighter patch on their chest or elsewhere on their body, especially above the face mask.

An apricot or apricot-fawn can be registered as a fawn or as an alternate color by owners of an AKC-registrable Pug.

Mask and Ears with Special Markings

A pug wearing is a traditional face mask and black ears. A thick black facial mask should be worn by all non-black pugs, beginning beneath the chin, covering the muzzle, and extending over the eyes. Ears should also be black.

Thumbprint Marked Pug Thumbprint Pug

A dark thumbprint (a darkened area of pigment) on the forehead and a dark trace (a line of darker color on the back) is extremely desirable characteristics, but not all pugs have them. All markings should be as dark and strong as possible, according to the AKC.

Smuttiness Pug Smuttiness Markings

Smuttiness is a trait that certain pugs exhibit. This overabundance of black hairs interspersed with a lighter colored coat is referred to as this condition.

Scattered black hairs on a light-colored dog are natural and do not qualify as smuttiness, but if the coat appears to be a different color, the dog is considered to have smuttiness.

In the show ring, snarkiness is considered a flaw, and points will be subtracted from the final score. However, it is not a disqualification.

Breeders selling unusually colored pugs are actively, purposefully breeding away from breed standards, which may result in the loss of some traditional pug features. If you’re searching for a high-quality, purebred pug that looks exactly like a pug, keep all of this in mind.

Does the color of a pug change as it gets older?

It’s not uncommon for a non-black pug’s coat color to lighten or deepen as they grow older, especially during the first year. The apricot hue may not appear at birth, but it will emerge as the puppy matures.

The level of snobbishness evolves throughout time, either melting away or deepening. As the puppy grows older, the black on the face mask and ears may become more prominent. A dark trace may lessen or become more prominent over time.

Gray hairs, especially around the muzzle, are common in black pugs as they get older.

Associated issues

Does the color of a pug’s coat affect its temperament?

While some individuals believe their black Pug is more lively and engaging than their fawn Pug, their perceptions are based only on the personalities of their dogs, not the color of their coats. A genetic link between coat color and temperament has yet to be discovered.

Does the Color of a Pug’s Coat Affect Shedding?

Not at all. The color of a dog’s coat has little bearing on its shedding habits. Shedding is a breed-specific feature that is not color-dependent. The majority of pugs have a double coat that sheds only infrequently.

On the other hand, some black Pugs only have one coat. A single coat will not shed as much hair as a double coat. As a result, shedding quantities are determined by coat type rather than color.

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