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What Is A Retro Pug? Are Jug Dogs Better Than Pugs?

Who wouldn’t know a Pug? Even non-dog lovers can spot the unique small pooch with its wrinkles, short snout, and face that looks punched in.

Many people love the Pug, but even the most dedicated will admit that this breed has its downsides, particularly in the area of health.

The short snout may make it adorable, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. 

Breeders have since worked to provide better alternatives for the Pug. One result is the Retro Pug (also known as Jug Dog).

The Retro Pug or Jug Dog isn’t a more fashionable Pug, but it is more designed. It was developed through a cross between the Pug and the Jack Russell Terrier.

This article is a complete guide to this designer breed that has since sparked waves amongst pet parents.

We shall look into different facts and information on this breed, as well as answer the question: “Are Retro Pugs better than Pugs?”

Retro Pug Breed Overview

Close Up Jug Dog - Retro Pug Standing on Grass
Photo by: @bear_bella_thejugs
Height9 to 16 inches
Weight13 to 18 pounds
TemperamentLoyal, confident, friendly
PurposeCompanion dog
Lifespan13 to 16 years
Puppy Price$800 to $1,500

What is a Retro Pug (Jug Dog)?

The Retro Pug is not a pure breed. It is a designer breed that resulted in a cross between the Pug and the Jack Russell Terrier.

The Pug Jack Russell Terrier mix is similar to the purebred Pug in many ways, but the genes of the Jack Russell Terrier account for the differences. 

The Retro Pug was intentionally developed to counteract some of the Pug’s weaknesses, and as we’ll see later on, the physical traits of the Retro Pug help achieve this objective. 

The term Retro Pug was derived from the German word “Retromöpse.” It also goes by the names Jug Dog, Retro Mop, Mopshond, and Moppie. 

Retro Pug History

The Retro Pug has gained popularity in recent years, and many people know the reason breeders developed it. However, its exact origin is uncertain.

To understand where it comes from, we’ll have to look into the origin of both the Pug and the Jack Russell Terrier. 

Pug History

Pug Pup

The Pug originated in China and is one of the oldest dog breeds, dating back to the Han dynasty between B.C 206 to A.D. 200.

It is one of three short-nosed dogs that came from China, the others being the Pekingese and the Lo-Sze. However, the snout of the old Pug was longer than in modern times. 

Pugs were highly revered in China, and Emperors had them as companions. Some even had their guards. 

In the 1500s and 1600s, China got into trades with European countries, and that was how the Pug got into Europe.

It also became a companion to royals in Europe and even saved the life of a royal named William, Prince of Orange.

Other famous people of old that owned a Pug include Marie Antoinette and Josephine Bonaparte, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte.

It got especially popular during the Victorian Era, with Queen Victoria owning many. 

After the Civil War, the Pug got into the United States and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.

Breeders intentionally shortened the Pug’s snout to achieve an adorable look, but that came with its disadvantages. 

Jack Russell Terrier History

Jack Russell Terrier Dog Sitting on Floor
Photo: franciskocz / Getty Images

This breed was developed by a man named Jack Russell, a Parson. It originated in England in the mid-1800s.

Compared to the Pug, Jack Russell Terrier is a younger breed.

Many breeds were used to develop the Jack Russell Terrier, including the Fox Terrier, Black and Tan Terrier, Corgis, and Daschunds. 

It started as a hunting dog, which was Russell’s main objective. The Jack Russell Terrier was to hunt alongside the Hounds, drawing out foxes from the dens so the Hounds could finish the job.

It soon became a favorite amongst hunters, and by the 1930s, it was popular in the United States.

It got recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2000 and now also plays the role of a companion.

Fun Facts About Retro Pugs

A Retro Pug Dog Sitting on Sofa
Photo by: @retropug_rex
  1. It is a designer breed with the Pug and Jack Russell Terrier as parents. 
  2. It was developed to curb the weaknesses of the purebred Pug. 
  3. Enthusiasts have tried to get it recognized as a pure breed, but that hasn’t been successful yet. However, it is popular.
  4. The Retro Pug was bred to look more like the Pug than the Jack Russell Terrier, but it has a longer snout. 
  5. Pet parents acquire them to be a companion, and it has grown in popularity. 

Retro Pug vs Pug: Jug Dog Appearance

Jug Dog Standing Near River
Photo by: Roxy TheJug

While it is true that breeders try to develop this breed with a standard appearance, it can still vary because of its designer status.

Do not expect all Retro Pugs to look the same, as genes can play a big factor. That said, we can get a general image of this breed.

The Retro Pug often looks like the Pug but with a longer snout. The eyes are also smaller, giving them a face that isn’t squeezed up. The ears are usually longer and floppy, not small.

The coat color of both breeds differs too. The Pug often comes with a fawn or black coat, but the Retro Pug can combine that with the color of the Jack Russell Terrier, which is white with markings.

You might find the Retro Pug with a darker Pug color and markings. They can also have a rougher texture than the Pug, which has a glossy coat. 

The Purebred Pug is usually bigger than the Retro Pug, but not by much. The Purebred Pug weighs between 14 and 18 pounds with a height that falls between 12 to 15 inches.

The Retro Pug, on the other hand, has a weight of 13 to 18 pounds and a height of 13 to 16 inches. You might find some Retros that are bigger than the Purebred Pug. 

The Purebred Pug looks shorter than the Retro Pug because of its body shape, which is similar to a barrel, while the former is slim with long legs.

Temperament of the Pug Jack Russell Terrier Mix

Pug Jack Russell Terrier Mix - Jug Dog Hiking
Photo by: @ajugcalledstanley

There is a better general guideline for the Retro Pug’s appearance than there is for its temperament. This is probably because the Retro Pug’s breeder had no specific personality goal.

Thus, we should know the temperament of the parent breeds to determine how the offspring will act. 

Pug Temperament

The Pug was bred as a true companion, and so it is friendly with everyone.

It is ideal for a wide range of pet parents and can adapt to both an apartment and a wide space.

Pugs are highly affectionate, and their best spot is on your laps. A sad Pug has not gotten any attention from its owner. 

Expect to laugh a lot with the comical nature of this breed, but it can adapt to your mood, and if it sees that you need rest, it will get comfy on your lap.

It is also good with kids and isn’t too fragile around them, so it suits families with children. 

The only personality challenge you’ll face with this breed is its velcro nature, making it susceptible to separation anxiety. It loves humans and will not want to be away from its owner.

Jack Russell Terrier Temperament 

Jack Russell may be small, but it is still a Terrier, and it has a strong Terrier spirit. This makes it wilful, a challenge during training.

It’s not all gloomy, however, as the willful nature of the Jack Russell Terrier also makes it playful and ready for fun. 

This breed still has qualities that make it a good fox hunter. It is intelligent, bold, athletic, fast, and determined.

Don’t be surprised to see a Jack Russell Terrier take on a dog bigger than it. 

Retro Pug Temperament

The Retro Pug might either combine traits from both sides or swing towards one instead of the other. It will be loyal, affectionate, and friendly, traits that are common to both parents. 

However, don’t expect all Retro Pugs to be easy to train like the Pug.

Some Retros might inherit the stubborn nature of the Jack Russell Terrier and will require some experience to train them.

Caring for a Retro Pug

Jug Dog Standing Outdoors Looking Up
Photos by: @billy.thejug

Caring for this designer breed involves keeping it alive and healthy by meeting its needs. Here are some guidelines to achieve this. 

Nutrition & Diet

The Retro Pug has a special diet need because it tends to get obese. Obesity has a lot of bad effects, especially on a small dog like this designer breed.

Thus, stay away from treats with high fat. Vegetables and fruits are better alternatives. 

A high-quality meal is the only kind you should give this breed. These dogs tend to be picky and may not be tolerant of a poor meal.

To avoid your pooch rejecting food or suffering from a stomach upset after, go for the best. 

Foods meant for Pugs can also be fed to a Retro Pug. One such example is the Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug Adult Dry Dog Food.

Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Pug Adult Dry Dog Food


The Retro Pug exercise need depends on which parent is more dominant. If it got more of the Jack Russell Terrier, the Retro Pug would need regular exercise to avoid destructive behaviors. 

If it has the Pug’s personality, any Jug Dog with a long snout should be exercised enough, but not as much as the first category.

Those that inherit the short snout of the Pug should not be made to do any strenuous exercise, especially under the heat. 


The Retro Pug is trainable, but not all are suitable for first-timers. Because of Jack Russell Terrier’s genes, some will be stubborn and wilful.

It is hard to know which will behave that way as a pup, so new pet parents should be careful lest they get this breed and become disappointed when they realize it is posing challenges.

Like the Jack Russell Terrier, the Retro Pug thrives in training that’s short, interesting, and structured. This guideline might also work for the Retro with more Pug genes. 

Start early to get the best out of your pooch. Obedience training and socialization are important, and it should also be taught the proper ways to comport itself indoors, where it will spend most of its time.

With the right attitude and positive reinforcements, even the most stubborn Jug Dog will co-operate.

Retro Pug vs Pug: Health and Lifespan

The Retro Pug was designed to be healthier than the Pug, and so it has a longer lifespan.

While the Pug is expected to live between 12 and 15 years, the Retro Pug’s lifespan gets to 14 and 16 years.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the latter is impervious to sickness. There are illnesses it is predisposed to, coming from both parents. These include:

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is an inherited condition that affects the hip joint and leads to difficulty in movement and even arthritis.

This health condition occurs when the hip joint is loosely fit and degenerates. Symptoms include wobbly movements, pain, a reluctance to exercise, and general weakness. 


Epilepsy is a condition that’s characterized majorly by seizures which could be severe or just mild.

Some forms of epilepsy in a dog are mere inconveniences; others can interfere with the dog’s day-to-day living.

Epilepsy can’t be cured, but there are medications to curb the seizures. 

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is another illness you should look out for when caring for a Retro Pug. It appears as an allergy, making it a bit confusing to diagnose the issue on your own.

You should go to a vet once you notice anything unusual on your dog’s skin. Senior members of this breed are more vulnerable to cancer.


Fleas, pollen, and dust mites are the common allergens that can make your Retro Pug get a reaction. Itching and visible display of discomfort are some symptoms of allergies.

You might also see visible signs on the dog’s skin if it is a skin allergy. Best to get diagnosed by a professional. 

Dental Issues 

The Retro Pug has a small jaw, much like its Pug parent. This small jaw puts the teeth at risk of getting issues like cavities and tartar buildup. 


Grooming a Retro Pug is an easy task because both of its parents have low grooming needs.

The Retro Pug is a low shedder with a short coat, and you only need minimum effort to keep it clean. It requires coat brushing only once or twice each week and bathing even less so.

This breed often has skin folds, and these should be cleaned so that dirt won’t build up and turn into a skin infection.

The ears, eyes, paws, and nostrils should all be taken care of, as well as the teeth.

Dive Deeper:
How To Clean Dog Teeth Without Brushing (10 Easy Ways)

While grooming, keep an eye out for signs of infection on the skin, ears, and eyes.

You should also start grooming your dog from a young age so it will get accustomed to it.

Retro Pug vs Pug: Are Retro Pugs Better Than Pugs?

Close Up Faces of Retro Pug vs Pug Side by Side
Jug Dog with long snout vs Pug with smushed face and short snout. Photos by: Photos by: @billy.thejug and Amit Talwar / Pexels

The Retro Pug is not that different from the Pug, but the difference is so significant that it can influence a pet parent’s choice.

The Purebred Pug’s crunched face and small snout make it vulnerable to many illnesses, and some breeders don’t breed Pugs anymore.

Retro Pugs often have longer snouts, giving them a big edge over the Purebred Pug. Therefore, we can say that the Retro Pug is better than the Pug.

However, if you prefer purebred dogs over designer ones, then your best choice is the Pug because the hybrid hasn’t achieved purebred status.

Should I get a Retro Pug?

This breed has its enormous benefits, but that comes with its downsides too. So, should you get a Retro Pug? Not until you’ve considered both sides of the coin.


  • Better health than the Pug.
  • Comes with a unique look. 
  • Might become a pure breed in the nearest future.


  • Difficult to predict its size and temperament. 
  • Still has some health issues.
  • Costs more than the purebred Pug.

Retro Pug Price: How Much is a Jug Dog Puppy?

Close Up Retro Pug Puppy Standing
Photo by: @billy.thejug

The Jug Dog isn’t overly expensive, but you will spend a lot if you want to shop from a breeder.

The price depends on the breeder in question, the bloodline, location, and physical traits. Dogs with a longer snout will cost more. 

Generally, the price range of the Retro Pug puppy from a breeder will fall between $800 and $1,500. You should ensure you get one from a reputable breeder.

Don’t be fooled by the cheap price from backyard breeders or puppy mills. The chances of getting an ill-bred puppy from those sources are high.

You can also adopt a Retro Pug if that’s your preferred option. Shelters with purebred Pugs and Jack Russell Terriers might also have some Retro Pugs amongst them. Adoption costs between $100 to $450. 

Besides the purchase cost, there are some initial expenses you must make while preparing your home for the arrival of your pup. These include:

The estimated initial cost falls between $280 and $300.

Where to Find Retro Pugs for Sale or Adoption

Retro Pug breeders often call this breed Jug Dog in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and other regions.

You should have both names in mind so you won’t get confused.

While you make your research on finding the right Jug Dog, here are some online platforms that can get you started:

For adoption, here are some sites that can link you to good rescue shelters:


Do Retro Pugs shed?

Retro Pugs do shed throughout the year, but their shedding level is lower than other breeds. You will not have to deal with massive fur flying all over.

Are Retro Pugs aggressive?

This breed is not known to be aggressive, but because their temperament is unpredictable, it is hard to say.

When the Jack Russell Terrier’s gene is dominant, the Retro Pug might be aggressive towards other dogs and animals like cats. 

Can a Retro Pug have a short snout?

While Retro Pugs are developed to have long snouts, some of them can still have the Pug’s short nose. These are sold cheaper than long-nosed Retro Pugs. 

Are Retro Pugs Healthy

While they may not be the healthiest dogs out there, the Retro Pug was developed to be a better and healthier alternative to the Pug.

Wrap Up

The Retro Pug is fast rising in popularity, and its future is optimistic as more intentional breeding gets done.

Some purebred dogs of today started as crossbreeds, so it isn’t far-fetched to state that this breed will gain purebred status in the future.

While it has its benefits and downsides, the breed can make a good family dog for the right owner. 

Reference & Notes:
Pug: Wikipedia; Jack Russell Terrier: AKC.

Featured Image: hugo.retromops

Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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