Retro Pug – Everything You Need To Know About These Great Dogs

retro pug

Unfortunately, a Retro Pug isn’t just a Pug from the ’70s (Pugs actually only tend to live 13-15 years). These adorable dogs are the result of crossing a Pug with a Jack Russell Terrier.

There’s a lot of discussion going on amongst breeders and vets about the years of inbreeding Pugs have gone through – resulting in a very short snout. Being a brachycephalic breed comes with a lot of problems such as restricted airways and eye issues. 

Many breeders, therefore, have taken the conscious effort to cross Pugs with other pups to create new, healthier, and happier doggos. The Retro Pug is one of them, as is the Puggle. Here’s absolutely everything you need (and will want) to know about the wonderful Retro Pug.

Kid/Other Pet Friendly
General Health
Exercise Needs
Easy To Train
Vital Stats

Breed Group



9 to 16 Inches


15 to 25 Pounds

Life Span

13 to 16 Years

But First, What Other Names Does a Retro Pug Have?

It’s very common for mixed breeds to have lots of different names – some of them much better than others! The Retro Pug comes from the German word ‘Retromöpse’ which was the name given by German breeders who first bred these amazing dogs.

As is common with crossbreeds, these pups can also be called a mixture of both parent breeds’ names – in this case, Jug. They’re also sometimes referred to as Moppie or Mopshond.

What Is a Retro Pug?

These dogs are the mixed breed of a purebred Pug and Jack Russell Terrier. German breeders worked for decades to improve the health of Pugs and crossbred them with many breeds.

Eventually, they decided that the Jack Russell Terrier was the best fit as the Retro Pug puppies look most similar to regular Pugs and had relatively close genetics. They just had a longer snout and could breathe better!

Retro Pugs tend to look more like their Pug parents than their Terrier ones. They can have the same facial rolls common in Pugs and a similar round face. They usually have a more athletic body and can stand taller.

Whilst the primary reason for breeding Retro Pugs was to make them healthier, it’s not 100% guaranteed that a pup won’t suffer from brachycephalic-related issues.

The Parent Breeds

With any mixed breed, it can be useful to look at the parent breeds. This can give you a good idea of the appearance, temperament, and lifestyle needs of your Retro Pug.


Pugs were first bred to be the companions of Chinese Emperors. Today, however, they’re one of the most popular dog breeds around the world. This is probably due to their cuddly nature, constant curiosity, and cheeky personality. 

Because these dogs are small they make ideal house pets (although taking them out for short walks is still necessary). They don’t need a lot of exercise and, due to their short snouts, can suffer if it’s too hot or they do too much exercise. 

These cute dogs love their food and they’re quite happy lying around on the couch or at your feet. This isn’t the ideal combination and they can be prone to putting on weight. Make sure you’re feeding them plenty of healthy snacks (such as watermelon, cucumber, and peach), and try to avoid overly processed snacks and food. 


Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers were first bred to hunt foxes in England (so it’s fair to say they’re more outdoorsy than Pugs)! Jack Russell Terriers are very affectionate dogs and love to spend time with humans. They’re inquisitive, active, and adoring.

But don’t be fooled by their beautiful eyes and short stature. These doggos aren’t the best choice for newbie dog owners.

These dogs require consistent training and an experienced owner who can manage their sometimes difficult temperament. It’s important Jack Russells have plenty to keep their brains engaged too (they’ll love squeaky toys thanks to the hunter in them).

They need lots of love and attention and plenty of exercise – around an hour a day. The rest of their endless energy supplies can be used up with playtime!

The Jack Russell Chihuahua mix is also an adorable mixed breed for you to consider!

Jack Russell Terrier

Retro Pug Vs Pug – Is One Better Than The Other?

Of course, ‘better’ is very subjective, especially if you’re the owner of one of these two dog breeds. But the main reason Retro Pugs were first bred was to make them healthier than purebred Pugs. So, in our book, that kind of makes them better. They are, however, still dogs that look like Pugs.

Brachycephalic breeds can suffer from everted laryngeal saccules, elongated soft palates, and stenotic nares. These usually cause Pugs to have breathing problems and symptoms can include loud snoring, fatigue, noisy breathing, and retching. 

A Retro pug (thanks to the Jack Russel in them) has a longer muzzle and therefore is less likely to suffer from such breathing difficulties. Retro Pugs are also less likely to have cherry eye or other eye conditions common in dogs with flatter faces.

Retro Pug Appearance

Retro Pugs can look a lot like the purebred pug breed. The main difference between the two is that Retro Pugs have longer snouts than purebred dogs. They can also have longer ears than Pug and will probably have eyes that bulge less. 

It’s also possible that Retro Pug looks more athletic than a purebred pug. But, of course, genetics is all about chance and your pup might be more muscular!

Something else that sets these two breeds apart is coat color. The American Kennel Club accepts Pugs with either a fawn or black coat (you can find out more about Pug colors here).

Although not accepted by the AKC (because they’re a mixed breed) Retro Pugs can be more colors. As well as black and fawn, they can also be apricot and silver. Jugs can also have more black markings.

Your Retro Pug may also have a denser and rougher coat than purebred Pugs (who tend to have silkier coats).

jug dog breed

How Big Are Retro Pugs? Are They Bigger Than Pugs?

Both Pugs and Jack Russels are small dog breeds. You can therefore expect a Retro Pug to be fairly small too. Pugs will be anywhere between 10 and 13 inches tall. A Retro Pug Puppy, however, can grow to be between 10 and 15 inches tall, thanks to their Jack Russell DNA.

Retro Pug Temperament – Do They Make Good Pets?

Both Pugs and Jack Russell Terriers are friendly, loving, and curious dogs so you can expect their crossbreed to be too! Retro Pugs love to be in a family and the center of attention. They get on especially well with children who are willing to spend their afternoons playing with them and giving them lots of affection.

These pups are also very loyal and can be quite protective of those they love. With lots of socialization and early training, this isn’t usually a problem and it usually just comes from loving their owners so much!

Even though these dogs are half Terrier, they’re not that athletic and tend to take after Pugs more. They love playing and need a good walk a day. They’re also quite happy to curl up on the couch.

As with a standard purebred Pug, a Retro Pug can be more prone to weight gain, so lots of good dog food (such as fresh dog food) and play sessions are important.

It’s possible for these pooches to suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for too long. Ensuring they have lots of puzzle toys to play with or another furry friend can help.

Are Retro Pugs intelligent? Yes! They sure are. This breed loves to learn new tricks and be rewarded. Try giving them a healthier reward rather than regular processed treats.

The Health of a Retro Pug – What Do You Need to Be Aware of?

Jack Russell Terriers tend to live longer than Pugs. Luckily, you can expect your Retro Pug to take after their Terrier parent. They can actually live to be 16 years of age! Having said that, in order to have a happy and healthy pup they need lots of affection from you (like belly rubs!) nutritious food, walks, and checkups at the vet.

Even with all of this, there are a few common health conditions that Retro Pugs can suffer from. These include:

Allergies: It’s not uncommon for Pugs to suffer from allergies and, unfortunately, Retro pugs can too. If you notice your pup scratching a lot they may have eaten something (such as gluten or dairy). They might also be affected by pollen or dust mites, or it might be fleas!

Hip and Shoulder Dysplasia: This is a condition in which the bone doesn’t grow correctly and affects the joint. It can be quite painful for your pup and if not treated early it can lead to arthritis. 

Dental Issues: As well as breathing and eye problems, Pugs also suffer a lot from tooth issues because their jaws are too small to accommodate all their teeth. Whilst a Retro Pug’s jaw is wider, it’s not always wide enough. This can lead to tartar buildup and gum disease. Plenty of checks with the vet can help.

Epilepsy: Jack Russels can sometimes have seizures when they’re younger. Even though they’re not purebred dogs, Retro Pugs can still have this problem too. It can be treated with lifetime medication.

retro pug

Grooming a Retro Pub

Both Pugs and Jack Russels shed minimally – so you can expect the same for your Retro Pug. They may shed a little more during shedding season but for the rest of the year you can brush them once a week. 

Because Pugs have such sensitive skin, it’s not recommended to bathe Retro Pugs often. Once a month (or every other month) is enough. You should also use a specific sensitive shampoo to avoid irritation.

Because Retro Pugs can suffer from dental problems, it’s important you practice good dental hygiene. Brushing their teeth or letting them play with cute chew toys can really help. As with all doggos, it’s important to make sure their claws don’t get too long and clip them when they do. If you’re not sure, ask your groomer.

How Much Exercise Does a Retro Pug Need?

This really depends on whether they take more after a Jack Russell Terrier or a typical Pug. Jack Russells tend to be more active and therefore will need to be entertained through lots of play sessions and excursions. 

Pugs also really enjoy playing, but if your Retro Pug has inherited a shorter snout, you should avoid excessive exercise or letting them overheat. On average, an hour should be OK.

Price – How Much Does a Retro Pug Cost? 

If you’re wanting to find Retro Pug Puppies near you, then you can expect to pay anywhere between $800 and $1500. The exact price will depend on Retro Pug breeders in your area and the demand.

As is the case with all doggies, you need to find an ethical Retro Pub breeder that cares about the welfare of the dogs and the future of the Retro Pug breed. Avoid puppy mills at all costs and beware of any breeder offering dogs for a much cheaper price.

You can also expect to pay even more for dogs with longer snouts as these are valued higher.

It’s also always worth looking in your local shelter. Although unlikely, it’s still possible to find a Retro Pug in search of a new home. It may also be worth visiting Pug and Jack Russell Terrier-specific rescue centers.

Conclusion, Is A Retro Pug Right For You?

Retro Pugs make wonderful family pets. They’re loving, slightly stubborn, playful, and very loyal. Whilst a little bigger than a regular Pug, they’re still little dogs and get on really well with children. They don’t have very demanding exercise needs but will love to play with you whenever possible!

One of the best things about a Retro Pug is the very reason they were bred in the first place – because they’re generally healthier than Pugs. They have longer snouts meaning they suffer less from breathing and dental problems. They also have healthier eyes.

At BarkingTalk, we love dogs that are happy and healthy, and we think Retro Pugs in a loving home certainly are!