Retro Pug (Pug & Jack Russell Terrier Mix) Info, Pictures, Facts, FAQs & More

Retro Pug or Jug dog Pug Jack Russell Terrier mix

Dog lovers can easily spot a Pug when they see one. Their wrinkly and adorably squashed faces make them so popular. But have you ever heard about retro Pugs?

No, they are not funky Pugs dressed in 70s clothing but these dogs sure sparked up a new craze in the dog breeding world.

For now, let’s just say that they are the upgraded version of the typical Pug with shallow eye sockets.

If you’re itching to know more about them, stick around and let me tell you everything you need to know about retro Pugs.

What Is a Retro Pug?

A retro Pug is a designer breed produced from crossbreeding a purebred Pug and a Jack Russell Terrier.

The resulting dog strongly resembles a Pug in many ways including its wrinkly skin and muscular build. However, they have longer snouts which reduce the risk of respiratory-related health issues.

As mixed breeds, their parents can pass on traits specific to each dog breed. In the case of retro Pugs, their short-muzzled face is replaced with a longer snout that is more ideal for their health.

However, they still maintain most of the standard Pug’s lovable appearance.

If you are considering this breed as a pet, you won’t be disappointed because they are great companions. The only downside of owning them is that they easily develop separation anxiety once left for a long time.

Other Names of Retro Pugs

Retro Pug is such a cool breed name but you’ll be excited to know that there are several fun ways to call these dogs.

First off, the term retro Pug comes from the German word “Retromöpse.” This term was created by German breeders who pioneered the health improvement of the Pug breed. 

Aside from retro Pug, you can also call them retro Mop or Jug dog which is adapted from crossing the breed names Pug and Jack Russell Terrier. Other amusing names include Mopshond and Moppie!

Retro Pug vs. Purebred Pug: Are Retro Pugs Better?

Now it’s time for the battle of the breeds. Retro Pugs are considered enhanced versions of the standard purebred Pug but how exactly do they differ?

Here’s what a purebred Pug looks like with its signature short muzzles:

Purebred Pug with short muzzle

Because of their short muzzles, purebred Pugs are prone to the brachycephalic syndrome. Dogs affected with this condition can have a combination of the elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, and everted laryngeal saccules.

Having one or more of these abnormalities can cause the Pug’s airways to be blocked, thus making it difficult to breathe.

Some common symptoms include noisy breathing, excessive snoring, fatigue, and retching while swallowing.

And here’s what a retro Pug looks like with its elongated snout:

With their elongated snouts, retro Pugs have significantly lowered the risk of suffering from this condition. For this reason alone, it’s safe to say that this mixed breed is better than purebred Pugs.

Aside from breathing problems, they are also less likely to have eye prolapse or cherry eye disease caused by having a small, squished face.

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Retro Pug History and Origin: Where Does the Retro Pug Come From?

Retro Pugs have been around for 10 to 15 years. Crossbreeding Pugs and Jack Russell Terriers have been practiced by many breeders for quite some time.

It was only recently that the term retro Pug was used as the official name for this mixed breed.

Let’s first talk about traditional Pugs since their health issues encouraged the development of the retro Pug dog. 

Traditional Pugs date back thousands of years ago in ancient China. Back then, they looked quite different from the modern Pugs we’ve come to know. 

Instead of a flattened face and bulging eyes, they had long muzzles and floppy ears.

It was only within the last 100 years when the trend for having flat faces started. Breeders forced these traits on their Pugs, not knowing the impact these could have on their health.

They became popular in the European monarchy and were a personal favorite of Queen Victoria. Later in the 19th or early 20th century, long-faced Pugs made a comeback in the form of retro Pugs.

Due to public awareness about the health problems or complications associated with short-muzzled breeds like Pugs, many groups began advocating to fix and provide alternatives to this problem.

A British movement called the Campaign for the Responsible Use of Flat-Faced Animals (CRUFFA) is a strong supporter of this cause.

They aim to educate dog lovers and breeders to prefer retro Pugs over standard pure breeds. Thus, retro Pugs gained more popularity in recent years.

Retro Pug Appearance: What Does a Retro Pug Look Like?

For some, it may be hard to distinguish a retro Pug from a normal purebred Pug since they look very similar.

The most notable difference can be seen in their snout. As a result of being mixed with Jack Terriers, retro Pugs have longer faces and less bulgy eyes.

However, genetics is still a game of chances. In some cases, the gene of the Pug might still be stronger, resulting in a flat face and consequently suffering from the same health issues.

They also have long ears that flop to the side instead of small, button ears. Another noticeable difference between these breeds is their coat color. 

While regular Pugs are often fawn or black in color, retro Pugs can be a bit darker and usually have more black markings on their face and along their backs.

Instead of a short, glossy coat, they can also have a denser and rougher coat texture.

In terms of build, purebred Pugs are short with barrel-like body structures. Retro Pugs, on the other hand, are generally thinner and have longer legs which are also ideal for holding up their body weight.

READ NEXT: Long-Haired Jack Russell Terrier: A Complete Guide to the Rough Coat Jack Russell

Retro Pug Size and Weight: How Big Do Retro Pugs Get When Fully Grown?

Like their parents, the retro Pug is expected to be a small mixed breed. A retro Pug will fall somewhere between 9 and 15 inches in height and 13 and 18 pounds in weight once they reach maturity.

Because of their small size, they are ideal pets for apartments and small houses. However, you need to be extra careful to avoid accidentally stepping on them, especially when they are still puppies.

If you are wondering about their parents’ size, I also got you covered. Standard Pugs stand between 9 and 12 inches in height and weigh anywhere from 14 to 18 pounds when they mature.

On the other hand, Jack Russell Terriers grow between 10 and 15 inches tall and weigh around 13 to 17 pounds during adulthood.

Retro Pug Temperament and Personality: Do Retro Pugs Make Good Family Dogs?

Jack Russell Terriers and Pugs are known to be very friendly dog breeds, and they are also perfect for small children. If you are considering a dog for the family, a retro Pug is just the perfect fit.

They are intelligent, loyal, and loving dogs so they can easily adapt to a home setting. Once they get comfortable with each member of the family, they will start to become more protective of them.

Although they are not aggressive dogs, they can show violent behavior when they feel that you are in a threatening situation.

They need to be properly trained and socialized to know how to react to strangers and act in case of perceived danger.

Retro Pugs love to be the center of their owner’s attention. They may not be the most athletic dogs, but they are sure to be one of the most playful.

They can suffer from separation anxiety if you leave them alone for some time. Having another dog or pet around can relieve this anxiousness.

Depending on how you train them, they can grow up to be quiet and laid back or quite yappy dogs so you need to be assertive and prepared.

READ NEXT: Male vs. Female Pug: What’s The Difference?

Retro Pug Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Retro Pugs Healthy Dogs?

As mixed breeds, retro Pugs are actually considered healthy dogs with a long life ahead of them. Their average lifespan falls between 13 and 16 years.

However, even though they are less prone to have eye problems and breathing difficulties, retro Pugs suffer from health issues common to their parents.

Here is a list of health conditions to look out for when owning a retro Pug:

  • Allergies: When you notice that your retro Pug is frequently itching and suffering from skin lesions, then it might be because of skin allergies. While fleas are often the main culprit, they are also quite sensitive to pollen and dust mites. Intense itchiness can also be triggered by gluten and dairy products.
  • Hip Dysplasia: This health problem refers to abnormal development of the joints that typically affects the hip and shoulder. If neglected, hip dysplasia can lead to arthritis which causes localized pain and decreased mobility.
  • Skin Cancer: Skin lesions caused by allergies can also be a sign of skin cancer. Older retro Pugs can develop mast cell tumors which can affect other organs in the dog’s body.
  • Epilepsy: Jack Russell Terriers are known to experience seizure attacks when they are young so your retro Pug might inherit this brain disorder. Treatment for epilepsy involves a lifetime medication of anticonvulsants.
  • Dental Problems: Even though their faces are more elongated, the retro Pug’s jaw is still too small to accommodate their teeth. This makes them more susceptible to tartar buildup, cavities, and gum disease.

With these health issues related to brachycephalic breeds, you can be more careful about your dog’s diet and lifestyle.

Regular visits to the veterinarian should also be done to detect any abnormalities or underlying health problems.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Breeding Retro Pugs

In general, crossbreeding is a practice that hasn’t been fully embraced by the entire dog community. There are many contradicting opinions about whether or not this should be performed.

Let’s first take a look at some of the advantages of breeding retro Pugs:

  • Improved health: The primary reason for breeding retro Pugs is to lessen the possibility of getting brachycephalic syndrome and eye prolapse common to normal Pugs.
  • Unique look: Because of the mixed genes, retro Pugs have a different appearance but usually take on most of the standard Pug’s features. They have longer legs, floppy ears, and longer faces.
  • Lowered risk of congenital diseases: While there is no concrete basis for this claim, many owners and breeders suggest that mixed breeds are less inclined to inherit congenital diseases associated with their purebred parents.
  • Potential to become a pure breed: Many of today’s purebred dogs are produced from selective crossbreeding. Because of the ongoing advocacies for improving Pugs and other flat-faced breeds, retro Pugs have the possibility to be standard purebred dogs.

Meanwhile, here are some noted disadvantages of producing this designer breed:

  • Unpredictable size: While retro Pugs are assumed to be small dogs, there is no established breed standard for their height and weight. You might be shocked to have a larger dog than expected.
  • Difficult to predict their temperament: While both Jack Russells and Pugs are smart and sociable dogs, it can be hard to tell if they will be energetic, loud barkers, or quiet observers which is the contradicting personality of both breeds.
  • Predisposition to other health issues: Breeding retro Pugs doesn’t eliminate the potential for other health conditions such as hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and skin cancer.
  • Higher price: As the interest in designer dogs increases, the price is only expected to go higher. Only a few breeders would be able to sell retro Pugs, which translates to a more premium price.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of breeding a retro Pug can help you assess if this is the dog for you. You can better weigh the pros and cons before deciding to buy one.

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How to Take Care of Your Retro Pug?

Like any other dog, it’s only essential to know how to properly take care of a retro Pug. Owning a pup is a huge responsibility. Your actions will dictate if they will grow healthy and happy as they deserve.

To give them an active life full of love and nourishment, you can follow some of the recommendations discussed in this section.

Feeding and Diet

Due to their size, retro Pugs are prone to being obese. To avoid gaining too much weight, replace fatty treats with vegetables and fruits. 

They may also be intolerant to certain foods. Because of this, it’s important to exclusively feed them high-quality food. 

While kibble and other commercial dog food are good options, you can also try creating a meal plan that includes protein-rich meat like beef, chicken, turkey, and lamb.

Cleaning and Grooming

Retro Pugs are low maintenance dogs considering they have short, low-shedding coats. Brushing their fur once or twice a week is ideal for getting rid of loose and already fallen hair.

Because of their sensitive skin, owners should limit their baths to once or twice a month. Look for any sign of skin allergies such as extreme itching and small wounds.

Regular cleaning of the skin folds, eyes, ears, nostrils, and paws is also necessary to avoid any skin infections. To keep their nails short and manageable, clip them every six weeks.

Dental hygiene is also a priority for retro Pugs. Brush their teeth once a week or provide them with dental chews so they flash their pearly whites and keep a fresh breath.

Training and Exercise

If your retro Pug carries the Jack Russell Terrier’s personality, they will need a good amount of exercise to reduce their destructive behavior such as chewing on valuable items or ruing the floor.

While Pugs will gladly engage in physical activities, too much exercise can be damaging to their health. If your retro Pug still has a short muzzle, it’s advised to avoid strenuous activities altogether. 

Your vet can give you a more specialized training plan to follow in keeping your retro Pug in shape.

As intelligent dogs, you can easily begin socialization and housebreaking at a young age. However, they can get a little stubborn so you better carry an extra bag of patience.

Retro Pug Puppy Prices & Expenses: How Much Does a Retro Pug Cost?

If retro Pugs passed your next pet checklist, you need to set aside that budget for buying one. The price of a retro Pug usually starts at $800 and goes as high as $1,500

This can even increase depending on the length of the puppy’s snout. Retro Pugs with longer muzzles are usually priced a lot higher.

The final price tag will usually depend on the breeder, the dog’s bloodline, health, and papers. Aside from buying from a breeder, you can also try your luck and adopt from a rescue or shelter.

Typical costs from these sources range from $100 to $450 depending on their age.

For an idea about the initial cost of owning a retro Pug, you can refer to the table below:

Type of ExpenseAverage Cost
Dog Food$50
Leash and Collar$20
Food and Water Bowl$11
Training Treats$25
Chew Toys$23
Dog Bed and Crate$84
Dog Brush$15
Dog Shampoo$10
Cleaning Essentials$45
Total Initial Cost$283

The expected average cost of the initial expenses for your retro Pug is $283. Their needs won’t differ so much from a regular Pug.

For more information about the ongoing expenses of owning this dog, you can refer to our article specific to Pug costs.

RELATED: How Much Does a Pug Cost? (2023 Price Guide)

Places to Find Retro Pug Puppies for Sale or Adoption

Retro Pugs are commonly referred to as Jugs by retro Pug breeders in the United States. To purchase this pup, you can look into commercial breeders online or search for a rescue that may have available Pug mixed breeds.

If you want a brand new Jug puppy, you can check out these platforms that can direct you to some trusted and reputable breeders in the country:

  • Lancaster Puppies This is an advertising website that posts a list of available designer puppies including retro Pugs. Most of the breeders are from Pennsylvania but occasionally, there are breeders from Ohio, Indiana, and New York.
  • Greenfield Puppies – Operating for over 20 years, this platform aims to promote different retro Pug breeders who are carefully screened and checked for poor breeding practices and mistreatment. Most of the available puppies are located in Pennsylvania so if you are near that area and you are looking for a young dog to buy, you are quite lucky.
  • Keystone Puppies – This is a family-owned company that also promotes responsible designer breeders. They personally visit the registered breeders on their platform, and they even offer a health guarantee for each purchased puppy as well as shipping services.
  • PuppyFinder – Through this website, you can safely browse for Jug listings bred by verified breeders. Like in the other platforms, you can easily view an overview of the puppy and the breeder details.

RELATED: 10 Best Pug Breeders (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

If you prefer to adopt and avoid puppy mills, here is a list of Pug rescues that may also offer retro Pugs:

  • PugPals This Pug rescue is operated by volunteers from different states including Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Montana. The adoption process follows the same standard procedures as other rescues. They often have a waiting list for those who want a specific Pug mix, gender, and other features.
  • Pug Rescue of Austin Founded in 2003, this rescue is focused not only on saving purebred Pugs but all other Pug mixes. Their rescued dogs range from under a year old to 12 years old and above.
  • Pacific Pug Rescue Aside from rescuing Pugs and Pug mixed breeds, they aim to educate people about the breed in general as well as the importance of regulating the domestic animal population. All questions regarding adoption are available on their website.
  • Tiny Paws Pug Rescue This California-based rescue has been rehabilitating and putting Pugs and Pug mixes into new homes since 2016. They are open for applications from other states.

Before making any official transactions with a breeder or rescue, make sure that they are registered and adhere to the necessary standards of breeding and operation.

Visit their websites and social media platforms to read testimonies from previous customers and adopters.

RELATED: 10 Best Pug Rescues for Adoption (2023): Our Top 10 Picks!

Frequently Asked Questions

Retro Pug or Jug dog sitting on a bench

Do Retro Pugs Bite?

Retro Pugs are naturally friendly dogs as a result of their parents’ combined temperament.

However, their behavior might change depending on their environment. Like other dogs, they will show violent behavior when they are mistreated or provoked. Growling and potential biting may occur.

Do Retro Pugs Shed?

Taking on standard Pug genes, they shed their coats throughout the year. However, the shedding is not as extreme as with other breeds.

Their soft, short furs are not prone to matting, but they must be brushed at least once a week. 

Are Retro Pugs High Maintenance?

Retro Pugs or Jugs are considered low-maintenance designer breeds. They may have stricter diet requirements due to skin allergies.

Depending on your vet’s advice, you may need to use a special shampoo for their sensitive skin.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a small designer breed bearing the traits of two clever dogs with lesser health problems, then a retro Pug is a great choice to be your new family member. 

With the controversy about Pugs being forcibly bred to have flattened faces, considering a retro Pug is a good idea.

This can lessen the risk of having breathing-related health problems that have taken the lives of many Pugs throughout the years.

When you decide to purchase these pups, make sure to buy from a reputable breeder that will fully disclose everything you need to know about the breed, including health, temperament, and special needs.

1 comment

Annie Desmond May 28, 2022 - 3:30 am

Thank you for your very informative article! I live in Northern California and I’m starting to research my next dog which I hope will be a pug. I am very interested in finding some breeders anywhere in the US or even abroad that are breeding for the healthiest pugs or pug mixes available. Would you have any recommendations for other people to contact? I would sure appreciate it! I am a professional dog trainer and my husband and I own a dog boarding and training facility in Sonoma County, California. Thank you!


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