If you are puzzled by the numerous Pug dog colors, then read this article.
Pugs come in three colors which are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC): that’s Silver, Apricot-Fawn, or all Black. However, fawn and black are the most common breeds.
Pugs coat color and genetics variation are the key sources for numerous colors, patterns, and shades.
That’s why we still have some other common Pug colors which are not under AKC’s list but recognized by the FCI and other kennel clubs.
Such colors include Blue, Chocolate, and White with Merlie, Pied, and Brindle pattern. These variations are common to the fawn color Pugs.
A common feature with all non-black Pugs is the presence of a black mask and black ears.
In this article, I’ve comprised a complete coverage of common colors and shades that come with Pugs today.
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Pug Dog Colors
American Kennel Club Breed Standard
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) standard, only two colors stand out in Pugs- fawn and black.
While black Pugs are easy to spot, the fawn poses confusion to many Pug owners. Fawn covers numerous shades and hues ranging from light to standard cream.
The silver and Apricot are the most common Pugs shades and can be categorized under fawn shades.
Also, they might end up in the alternative color category which will reveal their exact color but won’t qualify to contest in the show ring.
To be precise, only two colors will contest in the AKC show ring, however, silver and Apricot-fawn Pugs are listed as fawns.
Both the FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale) and KC (The Kennel Club of the UK) recognize 4 colors, which include- Silver, Apricot, fawn, and the black Pugs.
Fawns should not be assumed to be always solid, in fact almost 2/3 of all Pugs are fawn in color. A closer glance at the Pug’s fawn color, you’ll notice they may have a light cream, medium cream, shades of gold, or silver traces on a cream background.
Most fawn Pugs are preferably considered to have a rich cream color but sometimes it may vary from shades of faded orange to light tones of red.
Normally, most fawns are uniform in color, though you’ll note others have a mixture of fawn shades with some shaded or lighter spots than others.
Silver and Silver-Fawn
The silver color is not common as expected with most Pugs. These Pugs have a nice gray sheen that spreads all through to their coats. The gray color range from partial dark to dark.
It’s easy to notice black ears and black masks on the silver and silver-fawn Pugs and times a trace. ( A trace refers to a darker line that runs down the back, a common feature with non-black Pugs.)
There are some dissimilarities for the silver-fawn color but it’s normally very light.
This Pug color is not a standard color as far as ACK is concerned but still, you may register both colors as fawn if you wish to under alternate color.
The FCI and KC recognize the silver color Pugs.
A closer look at Apricot Fawn Pugs, you’ll see a warm or deeper trace of orange color compared to fawn.
This may vary depending on the breed as some may fall in between a light fawn and deep apricot hence registered under Apricot-fawn.
Apricot Pugs have a patch of lighter color either on their chest or somewhere above the facial mask. Often, most people find it hard to identify their Pugs as either apricot or apricot-fawn.
You can tell an apricot Pug from their black masks and black ears. They fall under the non-black Pugs so you might notice a trace on their back.
Under the AKC standards, owners with registrable Pugs can list their apricot or apricot-fawn as a fawn or under alternative color.
Most black Pugs are uniform in color, which is a solid black covering the whole body. In some rare events, you might see black Pugs with a white marking either on their chest and paws.
This white patch is available on the other coat colors but it’s dominant on black Pugs. The white pattern is a result of a part-factor gene and it’s a big concern in the AKC’s show ring.
When the black Pugs age, you may spot gray hair on their face or various parts on their body, unlike the other Pug colors which might not be possible to see.
In some instances, Pugs with two black color genes tend to appear bluish-black when exposed to sunlight and the black dominant color will produce to black puppies.
Alternatively, Pugs having solid black genes with a single fawn color gene will appear as black but with a brown sheen to their coat in sunlight.
Depending on the gene color dominant on their mate counterparts, the black Pugs will bear fawn or black puppies.
The black Pugs shed the least among all the other colors. Check out this comprehensive article I did on Black Pug vs Fawn shedding.
Brindle is a term that refers to a coat pattern interlacing light and dark colors hence resulting in a striped look. The pattern creates an ambiguously tiger-like appearance.
A closer look at this canine, it gives you dark and light interlacing colors. This effect makes the Pug appear like a stripped dog, nonetheless, the pattern is quite dominant in other dog breeds.
The brindle Pugs are a rare breed due to the selective breeding choices to get the pattern.
Moreover, brindle color patterns are not recognized under any of the known kennels clubs and get disqualified in the show ring.
This solid white Pug is also a rare breed in the Pugs color line-up. It’s sometimes confused for an albino as a result of mixing other Pugs breed to achieve the white color.
A Pug thumbprint is the darkened patch of color on the forehead. However, this is not a common feature seen on black Pugs. Thumbprint is quite a prominent feature on Pugs but I noticed it’s not present on all non-black Pugs.
A better way to describe this is about 3 out of 4 non-black Pugs have been reported to have a thumbprint. The thumbprint mark can be spotted right from the puppies level and it’s unlikely for a Pug born without to develop once it’s grown.
Smuttiness refers to the scattered black hairs seen spread all over the light-colored (fawn, silver, silver-fawn, apricot, or apricot-fawn) Pugs body.
Just like the thumbprint mark, the smuttiness is not common to all the non-black Pugs therefore not enough features to classify as Pug. The smuttiness is normally thin to an extent you can spot the lighter fur underneath.
The tiny pinch of black hair scattered on light-colored pooch is a common feature hence doesn’t qualify as smuttiness, however when the pattern has a distinct color then it fits to be referred to as smuttiness.
The trace is a collection of dark hair that runs down the Pugs’ back and it’s visible on non-black breeds. The dark color can either start from the nape of the neck or just below the neck.
It slides down mostly in a straight stroke right up to the base of the tail. The trace is a very common mark but it’s not present on non-black Pugs. Its thickness and density will differ depending on the breed.
The Mask and Ears
The mask is a defining feature seen in all non-black Pugs. It’s a black facial mark that starts beneath the pooch chin, covers the muzzle, and stretching up to the ears.
However, the mask will vary on different Pugs. The ears have a black color and it’s seen on all Pugs.
Which is the Most Common Color in Puppies and Seniors?
The color of Pugs will vary right from the puppy level going up at its senior age. For instance, fawn Pugs tend to be light in color at birth but develop an Apricot or darker layer on their coat.
Moreover, aged black Pug will grow some gray hairs that may appear on other breeds but won’t be easily noticed. Also, you notice the facial mask and ears may change as the Pug creeps into its senior age. Normally, it tends to darken.
Frequently Asked Question
What the rarest Pug Color?
Brindle is the rarest Pug color to find. It’s normally stripes of interlacing light and dark colors that the breeder deliberately bred into a dog.
What Color Pug is better?
Fawn color Pugs are the most common breeds hence tend to be the most preferred. They have a defining black marking on their ears stretching all over to the muzzle and down then chin.
Do pugs change color?
Yes, Pugs coat will develop a darker coat as they step into their senior age. Normally, they develop gray hair on their face and various other body parts. This is more clearer on black Pugs.
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It is clear that the standard Pug colors are conflicting with the other colors, shades, patterns that are still available.
According to the American Kennel Club, only three Pug colors are listed. That is Silver, Apricot-Fawn, and Black.
The standards are aimed to allow you to get a quality Pug that is beautiful, healthy, with desirable temperature.