When photos of Marshmallow the white pug first hit the internet, it didn’t take long for the white pug craze to begin. Everyone wanted one and I will not lie, I too considered getting one of these adorable little buddies. So what is it about them that makes them so unique?
A white pug can obtain this coloring in one of three main ways. The first is leucism, where the melanin production is lower than normal. The second is albinism, where there is no melanin produced at all. Finally, it could be due to mixed breeding with breeds that have white coloring genes, in which case it is technically not a pure pug.
In the sections below, we shall take a look at the difference between the two main causes of white coloring in pugs which are albinism and leucism. That way if you decide to get one you know exactly what to expect.
Leucistic VS Albino
Leucistic and albino pugs are often mistaken for each other. However, they are fundamentally different in terms of everything from the cause to the manifestation.
Albinism In Pugs
Albinism in pugs is a result of genetic mutation in the genes responsible for producing melanin.
The result is an albino pug with an absolute lack of melanin.
This covers everything from the fur and eyes to blood vessels.
With albinism, the fur on the pug will be completely white in color but maintains the other coat features of the parent. Other surfaces like the paw pads, nose, and rim around the eyes take on more of a pale pink hue. Finally, the lack of pigmentation results in blue or even translucent eyes.
This trait is recessive in nature. This means that both parents need to either be albinos or carriers of the gene for it to manifest in the pug. For this reason, albino pugs are incredibly rare.
Leucism In Pugs
A leucistic pug on the other hand gets its white coloring from a different genetic mutation affecting pigmentation.
This affects melanin formation at a DNA level. Unlike albinism which causes total lack of pigmentation, a leucistic pug will have melanin on their irises, paw pads, noses, and even blood vessels.
They will appear a darker shade of blue or even brown for the eyes and dark pink for the rest of the surfaces.
However, the fur, much like in albinism, is completely lacking in melanin and results in white coloring all over the body from the root to the shaft.
Are White Pugs Healthy?
Whether or not a white pug is healthy depends on the cause of the trait. If it is as a result of leucism, then the pug will only have the regular health issues that other pugs suffer. However, if the white fur is due to albinism, there are some issues associated with the total lack of melanin.
Let us take a closer look at all of these.
General Pug Health Issues
Pug Dog Encephalitis
This is an inheritable disease that progressively eats away at the pug’s brain matter. It is unfortunately incurable with most affected doggies having to be put down.
This is a condition characterized by blockage of nasal airways. It is a result of the brachycephalic facial structure that the dog has and often results in major difficulties breathing.
Pugs have a really big appetite. They are also extremely lazy. This is not a good combination and if you do not watch what you feed the doggie, they may end up being obese.
Pugs are prone to a number of allergies. These include allergic dermatitis from things like dust mites, pollen, and even grass. They also often suffer from food allergies ranging from gluten intolerance to meat allergies.
Health Issues As A Result Of Albinism
Susceptibility To Sunburns
Melanin plays a huge role in protecting the pug’s skin from damage after exposure to UV from being out in the sun. It is, therefore, best to minimize outdoor time with albino pugs.
White dogs are generally at a greater risk of developing skin cancer but none are as vulnerable as those with albinism. As with sunburns, one of the best ways to protect your white pug is by minimizing their exposure by any means necessary.
How To Take Care Of White Pugs?
Pugs in general need a lot of tender loving care. However, with their additional special needs it is safe to say that white pugs need a little extra attention and effort. Here are 4 key ways you could give your pretty pooch a happy home and a chance to live out their life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
Minimize Direct Sun Exposure
As earlier stated, white pugs are prone to a lot of sun-related issues from skin cancer to photophobia. Part of raising one of these beauties is keeping them out of the sun as much as possible.
And if you must go out in them, invest in doggy clothes that offer some degree of protection through coverage.
Invest In Regular Pet Visits
A lot of the terminal health issues faced by white pugs may be dealt with better if they are caught early. Therefore, find and stick to a vet visit schedule so you do not find out something important when it is too late.
Feed The Doggy The Right Food
White pugs are very likely to become overweight so what and how much you feed them is very important. For the former, we recommend the Pet Plate fresh food subscription service. They offer a wide variety of natural foods with meal plans that are specifically tailored to your dog’s needs.
Find Fun, But Simple Exercises
White pugs not only do not like to exercise but are also put at risk whenever they go out. It is therefore up to you to find fun ways to keep them physically and mentally stimulated for their own sake.
Do White Pugs Shed? Grooming Tips for Leucistic Vs Albino Pugs
There is a common misconception about white pugs that paints them as heavier shedders than regular pugs. This is simply not the case.
What happens is that their fur, being light-colored and medium length, is easier to spot on surfaces. It, therefore, appears like they are shedding more when they really aren’t.
There is also no difference between shedding patterns for leucistic and albino pugs as long as the coat is healthy.
However, there is no denying the fact that white pugs, like any other pug, do shed. What’s worse is that they do it year-round. You will therefore have to go out of your way to minimize this.
In this case, brushing is the most important grooming habit.
With their degree of shedding, it is advisable to brush the white pug’s fur between 2 to 3 times a week or even more if there is a need for it. This helps by deshedding the already loose fur and therefore prevents it from falling off all over your home.
Another crucial grooming practice when raising a white pug is regular washing. Due to their white fur, they tend to show dirt and grime very easily. However, this does not mean you wash them too often as their skin and fur need the natural oils on them for protection. It is, therefore, best to simply go with a one to two monthly washing schedule.
In the meantime, you could use doggy wipes to get rid of any stains or messes on their fur.
Temperament Of White Pugs
There are subtle differences between the temperament of a regular pug and a white one but they are very similar for the most part. For some perspective, here are the most important personality traits you may encounter.
This is just a really nice way of saying that white pugs are stubborn. If they are not trained early, they have very little inclination towards obedience and just love getting into mischief.
White pugs have what is affectionately referred to as Velcro personalities. They will identify a member of the family and form what can only be described as an obsessive bond.
Eager To Please
This is particularly the case when they are younger and it definitely makes life a lot easier when it comes to training. You just need an effective way to show your approval.
White pugs are also very smart dogs. They are also very intuitively caring which makes them ideal for families with children.
These doggies are predominantly calm and just like to either sleep or sit back and watch the world go by. However, they have a silly and playful side that is very fun to watch.
White pugs love nothing more than sleeping and relaxing in general. They only ever get bursts of energy for exercise when they are in their playful moods.
They are very docile and hardly ever cause trouble whether it is with another dog, a child, or even strangers in your home.
How Much Is A White Pug? Purebred white pugs are extremely rare and can cost between $1,500 and $6,000. This is way more than the $600 to $1,500 range for regular pugs. If your pug is white due to albinism, you also have to factor in special care needs and additional health bills that come with the mutation.
How Much Are Albino Pugs? Albino pugs are among the most expensive in the breed costing $1,500 to $6,000. There are even some being sold for record-high prices as much as $19,000. Typically, it depends on where you get the pug. If you go for shelter adoptions, you may not have to pay as much. The problem is that this is a game of chance and you might not get an albino pug very easily.
Do Pugs Have Blue Eyes? A pug can have blue eyes as a result of low levels of melanin. This is particularly common in albinism and is part of the “blue eyes, pink nose” spot diagnosis duo used by vets. This makes them more prone to issues like photophobia due to inadequate protection of inner eye structures from UV rays from the sun.