Westie vs Pug Dog Breed Comparison

By John Martin - February 15, 2024

Westie and Pug at a business meeting

When it comes to picking a dog as your pet, you have a lot of options. If you have narrowed it down to Westies and Pugs, here’s all you need to know to make up your mind.

Westie vs Pug: History & Origin

Both these breeds have a long history which makes them fascinating and special. Let’s get started.

Westie: Origin Story

Westies are West Highland White Terrier dogs that are a part of the breed that also has other breeds like the Cairn Terriers, Scottish Terriers and Dandie Dinmonts. But Westies are originally from Scotland and are also referred to as Poltalloch Terriers or Roseneath Terriers.

Officially, these dogs are called Westies and were recognized as such in 1906 by the Kennel Club of England.

Back in the day, these dogs were used to hunt otters, badgers and foxes. They were also used to kill smaller animals like rats. In the 17th century, they were referred to as earthdogs.

It was a very handy animal to have since rodent infestation was a huge problem in the British Isles at the time. The pillaging of grain and the spread of disease became a huge problem for nobles and farmers alike till they started using Westies to solve it.

The exact history of Westies is a little shaky but it can be traced as far back as the early 1700s. It is said that these dogs were bred for a century before they were produced in any dog show. That happened much later and ever since the dog has been a favorite all over.

Pug: Origin Story

Pugs, on the other hand, are originally from China and are said to have a connection to Tibetan Mastiffs. They were a hot favorite of the royals in China and lived luxuriously.

Pugs were brought to Europe thanks to China’s extensive trade relations. These dogs were very much liked by the royalty in Europe too.

By the 1700s, Pugs were featured in several artworks of painters like William Hogarth. But their breeding became standardized in England only in the 1800s.

Pugs made their way to the US in the post Civil War era and in 1885 the American Kennel Club recognized this breed. They became a popular breed and while that dipped after a few years, the public’s interest circled back to this breed soon enough.

Westie vs Pug: Appearance

These two breeds look very different from each other but if you were looking for finer details, here they are.

What Do Westies Look Like?

The Westie is a small dog but it is sturdy. These dogs have a frame that appears to be a bit rectangular and they have a distinctly deep chest and their ears are upright.

Male Westies are about 11 inches in height and 15-22 pounds heavy. Female Westies are about 10 inches in height and 13-16 pounds heavy.

Although some Westies are known to grow almost twice those numbers.

Westies are white-colored dogs and short. They could have a straight coat, hard coat or a double coat which means they need a lot of grooming.

But we’ll get to that in a moment.

What Do Pugs Look Like?

Meanwhile, there are three different types of Pugs. All of them have short noses which is a trademark for this breed.

Typically, they are about 10-13 inches in height and weigh anywhere from 14 to 18 pounds. This is true for both male and female Pugs.

Westie vs Pug: Temperament

A dog’s temperament depends on a lot of things. Here’s a look at what to expect with Westies and Pugs.

Westie Temperament

There are more than a couple of interesting things to note about the temperament of Westies.

Good Stuff

  • They are confident and bold.
  • Westies like to have fun in simple things like belly rubs and squeaky toys.
  • They are happy dogs that do not have self-esteem problems.
  • Most people love having Westies as pets because they are mischievous but in a fun way and their disposition is mostly happy.
  • Westies get along really well with the whole family and almost never start a fight.

Bad Stuff

  • Female dogs are more aggressive than males.
  • They have a high tendency to bark even though Westies are friendly dogs.
  • Westies have a double coat which requires a lot of grooming.
  • They tend to dig a lot and also require a lot of attention from their humans.

Pug Temperament

Pugs are cute dogs that look like they would make great pets. And while that is true to an extent, there’s more to the story.

Good Stuff

  • Pugs are great companion dogs.
  • They like to sit in your lap without bothering you for a long time (but if you don’t have the time for it, this isn’t the dog for you).
  • These dogs are playful, silly and funny which means you will have a great time with these pets.

Bad Stuff

  • Pugs cannot guard, hunt or retrieve objects.
  • They crave a lot of attention and affection and get upset if you don’t respond to their love.
  • The temperament of a specific Pug depends on genetics, training and socialization. So, if you mess up these aspects, you might end up with a Pug that’s always hiding somewhere or is on the other side of the spectrum and hurts the other pets in the house.

Westie vs Pug: Health Problems

This is a very important area to focus on no matter the breed of the dog. With Westies and Pugs, here’s what you can expect.

Westie Health

When you take good care of a Westie, they generally prove to be healthy dogs. But they are prone to some diseases and you should know all about them before you get one.

And it’s important to get health clearances if you are getting a Westie from a breeder. But we suggest adopting a little one from a rescue.

Here are the health conditions these dogs are prone to.

Like humans, Westies are also bound to have eye problems like cataracts. This will make their vision cloudy and it usually happens with age but juvenile cataracts are also a thing among Westies. However, surgery can fix it.

Westies are also prone to a condition that enlarges their skulls irregularly when they are 4-8 months old. It’s believed to be a genetic problem that is passed on from their parents which is why you should look at their medical history.

Unfortunately, painkillers can provide them some relief but there is no treatment for this condition. Sometimes, this problem gets solved when the dog is about one year old but sometimes it leads to jaw problems that last forever.

Sometimes the jaw trouble makes it harder for them to eat and sometimes it leads to surgery. The best way to ensure it doesn’t become a big problem is to give them good nutrition.

Some Westies might have a condition called Legg-Calve-Perthes in which the leg bone or femur does not get enough blood. Since this is connected to the pelvic region, the dog ends up limping because of disintegration.

It might also cause atrophy and it happens around the time the puppies are about 6 months of age. Surgery can fix this problem and the dog will be free of the pain.

And finally, there is the lung disease pulmonary fibrosis. This affects the tissues that connect to the lungs and stops the oxygen from reaching the blood.

The specifics of this health condition are not the same for all Westies which makes it difficult to state how it will play out. But it is lethal as it can cause the heart to fail or lead to other diseases too.

A lot of times, you will see no symptoms at all. But sometimes, the dogs lose stamina, have trouble breathing and might even have dry coughs.

Unfortunately, there is no prognosis or cure for this condition. But maintaining a good diet and limiting exercise can help prevent it.

Pug Health

Pugs are also considered to be healthy breeds but because of their bone structure and a few other factors, they are prone to some health problems. You can take care of most of them but you should know what they are nevertheless.

Let’s take a look.

Pugs are prone to a brain disease called Pug Dog Encephalitis or PDE. Vets are not sure what causes it and there is no test to detect it or treatment for it.

There is a genetic component to this disease and researchers are trying to figure out what causes it. This disease can affect the dog and be fatal in a matter of days to weeks.

So, this is a rough situation and it occurs in puppies. You will find them having seizures, going blind over time and then they go into a coma and eventually die.

Pugs are also prone to epilepsy which also causes seizures. And older Pugs can also become incontinent due to nerve degeneration.

It’s tough to tell when they have this problem and we don’t yet know what causes it. But you can get medication to help their condition.

Pugs also have large eyes which causes many eye problems like proptosis when their eyeballs get dislodged from the socket. There’s also distichiasis which causes their eyelashes to grow unusually.

These little canines are also prone to a whole range of allergies. You know something is wrong when they start rubbing their face a lot or licking their paws.

You also want to keep an eye on yeast infections around the thick parts of the skin like the neck, armpits, inside their ears and feet. The dog will be very itchy when it has a yeast infection.

Like all dogs with short noses, Pugs are likely to have badly-shaped vertebrae. But this doesn’t always lead to problems.

When it does, the Pug will have a weak gait and the walk will be uncoordinated. Sometimes it can lead to paralysis.

Westie vs Pug: Care & Grooming

Now let’s take a look at how to care for these two breeds and also look at their grooming needs which are quite opposite to each other.

How to Care For and Groom a Westie

With Westies, you must start with crate training because this will make sure that the dog doesn’t injure themselves in the house. Crates are also said to be good napping spots for these dogs which is an added benefit.

Getting your Westie crate trained while they are still a puppy will help you keep them confined. That comes in handy in situations like being in the hospital.

But remember not to keep them in there for more than a couple of hours unless they are asleep at night.

By the way, Westies also like to swim but they should not be left unsupervised because even though they like it, they are not great at it.

That’s how to take care of them. When it comes to grooming, Westies need some attention.

You must get rid of the dead hair regularly so that the dog’s coat is healthy and looks good. You can consider clipping the coat to keep it neat.

If not that, you must find groomers and make an appointment once every 4-6 weeks. Meanwhile, you must still brush their coat every day.

And don’t give them too many baths because they have a hard coat which doesn’t respond well to it.

How to Care For and Groom a Pug

Pugs are silly and goofy and luckily, they are easy to maintain too. That’s why they make for such good companion dogs.

These dogs are small and tend to be a little inactive when they are at home. This makes them an excellent choice for those who live in apartments.

But that is also what causes obesity and that’s a problem. You must take them for walks and give them moderate exercise every day.

This breed doesn’t do well in hot weather so don’t tire them out. But they are agile and obedient which makes them a good candidate for canine sports.

Pugs have a short and glossy coat which doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. But you must use a medium-bristle brush to brush it on a weekly basis because they do tend to shed a bit.

They also don’t need to be bathed too often unless there is odor. But check their nails and trim them regularly because long nails bother them a lot.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, this has made it easier for you to make a choice. Happy pet parenting!