There are just four different Pug Colors that are accepted by most kennel clubs, and those are Fawn, Black, Apricot, and Silver-fawn. Still, if you do a quick search online, you’ll be able to find Pugs of many colors; white, tan, black and tan, dark silver, and also with different patterns like merle and brindle. This article will:

  • clarify once more their differences.
  • aid you with visual references that will take you out of doubt.
  • and also show you some interesting facts so you’re more educated on this subject.

As a Pug lover, you might feel like this is not an important aspect of their bodies, that color doesn’t matter. Still, if you’re as in love with this amazing breed as we are, you have to know that getting a pup with the right Pug Color is key to safekeeping the standard. Are you ready to discover the true nature of Pugs? Let’s get started!

“Mammals have two pigments that are the basis of hair color: eumelanin (black) and pheomelanin (red or yellow). The gene involved in the production of these pigments in many species including dogs is Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1R) which is also called Extension. Other genes modify these pigments to produce the variety of colors and patterns found in the domestic dog.”

UC Davis – Veterinary Medicine

Standard Pug Colors

As we said, there are just four different colors that are common in Pugs and that are accepted by most Kennel Clubs. It’s important to note that, just like with other breeds, the standard Pug Colors vary from Kennel to Kennel, so you’ll find different accepted colors for example in Canada and the US. Here at, we do accept that only four colors are valid; Black, Fawn, Silver-fawn, and Apricot. No more, nor less.

These are the only colors that appear naturally within Pug’s bloodlines, so they don’t appear with the different techniques adopted by dog designers to sell you Pugs of “rare colors”.

Here’s a quick explanation of each color:

  • Black: This should be the most common of Pug colors you can find, though since breeders prefer breeding Fawn Pugs, black ones are greatly outnumbered by them. We say this since the genes which determine black coats are dominant in Pugs. The exact color is S007, giving them a solid black coloration that is simply beautiful. Usually, white markings are present on their chests, but not throughout the body, unless it’s white hairs in their seniority.
  • Fawn: This is the most common of Pug colors because of breeders. It’s important to note the complexity of this color, which ranges from a light cream coloration to a much darker one. That’s why it’s said that the color has a wide range. Also, those colors often can appear in a single dog at the same time, making different shades within the same coat possible.

Silver-fawn: Another color of Pugs, this is actually a variation of the Fawn color. It has light cream and grayish coloration that’s notably silverish. The color is also called silver.

  • Apricot: The least common of the accepted colors. Apricot is actually within the range of Fawn, which is why it’s mostly accepted in other breeds as Fawn. The coloring is clearly orangey-tan, also mixed with cream colors that can give Pugs a different color throughout their coats.

It’s important to note that all non-black Pugs should also have a black mask and ears.

Common markings in the different Pug Colors

Pugs can also have makings and patterns. Here are the accepted ones:

  • Thumbprint or Diamond: This is a little dark spot that can appear in non-black Pug’s foreheads. It is common to see them in Fawn Pugs. They are black or slightly darker hairs, not to be confused with shadows caused by Pug’s wrinkles. Most Pugs (at least 70%) have it, but some don’t. This is a desired trait for shows.
  • Trace: Another darkened spot or line across Pug’s backs. It can only be seen in non-black Pugs, and it’s a highly desired trait for shows; the darker the better. Most of the Pug champions will have it, and Pugs without it are not part of champion breeding programs.
  • Smuttiness: This is what happens when light-colored Pugs have an overlay of dark or black hairs on top of a base of their major color. This happens in most Pugs, though to be considered as smuttiness, it has to be a heavy effect on their coats; enough to cause a black or dark hue on top of their coats. This is accepted in shows, but not desired, and seen as a fault.
  • Masks and black ears: The top of Pug’s ears, as well as their muzzle, should be black. Some Pugs may also have white or lighter colors in their muzzle, and sometimes they appear as they each seniority. This can also be accepted. Also, the definition of “black mask” is wide, so different types of black masks are accepted.

All of these markings and patterns of coats are accepted in most shows.

Unaccepted markings in Pugs

The next markings and patterns are not accepted in KC or shows:

  • Brindling: Even though some argue that Brindle Pugs are a thing, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only Brindle Pugs are not accepted, but you should also refrain from getting one! Why? You see, usually, they appear as a result of mixing Pugs with French Bulldogs (that have Brindling as one of their variations),  resulting in a very troubled dog. They are cute, but no, they’re not real Pugs nor can be 100% Pugs.
  • White markings: White markings are not accepted in show rings, and in some, they can be major flaws that cause Pugs to lose a lot of points. Still, this can happen. Even in 100% champion Pugs bloodlines white markings in paws, chest, and the rest of the body can appear on top of a coat of a different color.

Kennel Clubs and Pug Colors

To clarify even more this subject, let’s revise briefly the different Kennel Clubs and their opinions regarding those colors.

  • AKC: This KC accepts only Fawn and Black. Still, other colors may also be registered, but not accepted in shows.
  • KC: The original Kennel Club from the UK, allows the mentioned four colors: black, fawn, apricot, and silver. We embrace their standard!
  • CKC: In Canada’s Kennel Club three colors are accepted: Fawn, silver, and black. However, it’s important to note that this KC is more flexible regarding Fawn Pugs. This means a light apricot or dark apricot (tan) can also be considered within the range of Fawn. This makes the Apricot accepted indirectly.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI): They allow the same standard as the UK Kennel Club.

Color Misconceptions

As we researched to write this article, we ran into some Pugs under the description of “Silver”, and others under “Tan”. However, as we came to notice immediately, both had dark Silver (more like a shiny washed-up black color) and dark full Tan colorings. Others mentioned that Brindle was common in Pugs as well as White.

None of these colors are accepted. Usually, they don’t even come from Pugs! The Tan, dark Silver and Brindle can all be traced back to the French Bulldog. If someone is trying to sell you a Pug that has one of these coat colors, don’t buy them. Even if they look healthy, if they come from a mix with French Bulldogs, it’s highly probable that they will develop a plethora of issues as they age.

Check out more about the French Bulldog and Pug mix here.

Top 3 FAQs: Pug Colors

1Does color affect temperament of in dogs?

No! Color is just natural selection that comes directly from the available colors in your dog’s genetic pool. That genetic pool comes from both parents (and those before them). If by chance your dog inherits a perpetual bad mood, it will also be caused by his parents, not his color.

2Can I dye my dog’s coat?

You can, sure. But you shouldn’t! It can cause allergic reactions, hair loss, and damage in different levels to their hair and skin (especially in allergic Pugs).

3Is a color better than the other?

Kind of. In the case of Pugs, at least 80% of black Pugs have single coats. The rest  of them, different colors included, have double-coats. That’s why some black Pugs will shed less. Still, they will be a Pug just like any other!

Pug Colors in puppies and seniors

Another important thing that you should know is that the color of Pugs may vary from their birth to their seniority. For example, Fawn Pugs can be light in color as puppies, and grow to have Apricot or darker shades of Fawn in their coats. Also, in senior Pugs, graying hairs are also a thing. They are most common to note in Black Pugs, but they may also appear in Pugs of other colors, especially in their mask.

Other Pug puppies may have heavy smuttiness that turns into defined traces. And others may have rather light ears and masks, that will darken a lot as they grow.

Pug’s eyes

Another important trait in Pugs is his eyes. Pug’s eyes are simply described as “dark”, yet this is an effective way of describing them. This refers to different shades of brown, with seemingly black-brown eyes being accepted. Also, all purebred Pugs have brown eyes.

Pugs with other eye colors are usually mixed or subject to health issues!

“The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the condition of a dog’s coat and skin give a better indication of his overall nutritional status. The skin is the largest organ of the body and when it is not getting the nutrition it needs, problems are readily observed”

Pet MD


Some people see breed’s standards as an impediment to getting the dog they want. Still, standards are the only safety measures we have against bad breeders, dog designers, and to protect the actual appearance of Pugs. Even if you’re thinking of getting a pet quality Pug, you should always make your decision based on Pug’s standard.

This is vital to keep Pugs beautiful, healthy, and with the awesome temperament, they usually have. All of this can be changed with genetic modifications and different traits of breeds added into their genetic code from other breeds. This is easily done by mixing them with Frenchies, English Bulldogs, Boston terriers and other dogs “similar” in appearance. Still, we know a true Pug when we see one.

Finally, if you love Pugs as they are, why would you want a “rare” Pug?

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