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Black Pug Dogs

Black Pugs

solid black Pug dog
A rare solid black Pug - Her double curled tail and button ears makes her even more special. 


Among the possible colors for this breed, the solid black Pug dog is very popular. A true black Pug will be that color depending on the genes of the parents. There are 3 possible types of black coats: 

1) The first is a solid black, the dog will have no other colors at all on the body (no markings), Good breeding practices and good health will lend for a very glossy and shiny coat.

2) The 2nd type will have small patch of a secondary color...if this is the case, that 2nd color is know as a mismark (In show, this is not a disqualification, however it is a fault)

3) The 3rd type will be a blended coat. Other colors may be a dark tan or red and the way in which the coloring is blended together often is in the brindling pattern (stripes). This type of color patterning is not accepted by the AKC (there are some other dog breeds can be registered as Brindles), but not the Pug). 

Therefore this and the mismark would all be categorized as black or fawn depending on the base color, because if a person is registering a Pug and there is no option to check off coloring that accurately describes the dog, one must choose the color that comes the closest. This is why some brindled or parti (2 colors) Pugs are registered as black.
Note: Some solid black coats can gradually develop a red tint if sun exposure is high over a long period of time (years of taking a daily walk in the sun, for example)... With this said, since exercising in full sunlight carries the risk of dehydration and overheating, it is recommended to head out for walks in the morning and/or earlier evening when the sun is not at its brightest and hottest...And to use a thin coating of sunscreen on any areas of the body that only have a thin coat of hair (belly, sometimes the elbows, etc).
Black Pug with no markings
A solid black Pug puppy. The shiny coat is a sign of excellent health.  He is also wearing a harness, which is always recommended.
Black Pug with mismark white
This Pug is black with white mismarks. 
Pug dog with heavy black brindle
Fawn or black? It's a bit tricky at first, however if you look closely you'll see this is a fawn Pug with super heavy black brindling. This brindle marking is extremely rare with Pugs and is not an official marking. This Pug would be registered as a fawn with black markings. 

Lord Pugsley, photo courtesy of the Bonaccorso Family

Genes - Black Vs Fawn

The black gene is the strongest and will rule over any other color, it is the dominant gene.  

This may lead you to wonder why there are more fawn Pugs than black ones; the main reason is that breeders choose more often to produce fawns.  

If both colors were equally represented within all breeding programs, there would be many more litters of black Pug puppies than there currently are.

Each pup's color is determined by a pair of color genes, one comes from the dam, the other from the sire.
  • If both genes in the pair are black, the Pug will be black. 
  • If one gene is black and the other is fawn, the pup will be black since it is the dominant gene and overpowers the fawn.   
  • If both genes are fawn, the Pug will be fawn. 

Personality Differences

There is much debate over whether coat color directly affects personality. The answer is...indirectly. 

Black is a trait passed down from parent to puppy and therefore, temperament can be passed down as well. This brings about the whole debate of nurture VS nature... Is behavior inbreed or does a dog's environment and the method of care by his owners shape personality?.... 

It has been our experience that while genetic traits regarding temperament can be passed down, it is how a Pug is raised, trained and treated that will greatly shape how he or she responds and behaves.

Another element to this is that this breed is so full of character and has the capacity to show such great swings of emotion, that each Pug is full of life and unique. There will be an owner of a fawn who insists that fawns are more active and the owner of a black Pug who insists that it is fawns that are more laid back... 

We must remember that if you own or encounter a Pug and take a look at his personality, you are observing that particular dog and a blanket statement cannot be accurately said to encompass all dogs of the same color. 
Black Pug dog from 18th century
By William Hogarth [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Black Pugs are known to exist as early as the 1700's thanks to William Hogarth's painting of one in House of Cards (1730). The artist was an owner of Pugs and portrayed many in his paintings so that there is an exceptional visual record of this dogs' appearance from over 250 years ago.  You'll notice that this far back in the breed's development, the body was more slender (and the face was not as flat)

History shows us that this color was revered and ancient Chinese rulers often owned many black Pug dogs since they were thought to be more special than others...they lived in both special kennels on the property and indoors as trusted pets.

When you look back at the history and origin of this breed, puppies were imported from China and exhibited for the first time in England in 1886. The black color had not been seen in Europe until this time.
It was during this period that English Lady Annie Brassey first decided to show her puppies at the Maidstone Show that was held that year. As far as anyone knows, it is believed that she brought them back from when she traveled to China.  

Due to her efforts, black Pug dogs where shown more and more and started gaining acceptance and popularity...With the very first Champion being Ch. Duke Beira. Black Pugs actually became recognized as a separate variation of the Pug in 1896 by the Kennel Club in London.


Despite their coloring, interestingly black Pugs carry the fawn gene, known as SS. The B gene produces the black coat color. Generally, it is not acceptable to breed a black Pug to a fawn. 
Crossing colors will not improve the coat or color of either type. Therefore, with no benefit to the pairing, most breeders will focus on one certain color.
solid black Pug dog puppy
Lola, Photo courtesy of Sanchit Gupta

Summary of Important Facts About Black Pugs

  • They generally have just 1 coat…most fawns have 2 coats (an undercoat and an overcoat). Some mistakenly believe that all will have 1 coat, however some do and some do not.  
  • Pugs of the color may shed less than fawns and this will depend, in great part, on whether they have the single or double coat.      
  • There is no different in the appearance of black Pugs VS fawn Pugs, except for the color..The body structure, size, ears [either rose or button], tail [loose, single or double curled tail] and so forth are exactly the same with no deviation.  
  • There is zero difference in the temperament of the dog due to coat color - Some general temperament is hereditary and most is a culmination of how the dog is raised, trained and treated.  
  • Black Pugs carry the fawn gene and therefore, 2 black dogs may produce a light coat if both parents pass down the SS gene, which is quite a surprise to many. 
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