Pugs didn’t always have the flat faces we see around us today. They had neat little snouts, which allowed them to breathe much more easily. And a group of dedicated breeders are trying their best to bring that feature back. The retro Pug is usually a cross between a Pug and a Jack Russell Terrier, designed to be a healthier, happier family pet. They are small dogs at around 15lbs, and are generally friendly, confident and loyal dogs.
- How the breed developed
- What do they look like?
- Intelligence, personality and training
- Are they healthier than purebred Pugs?
Low energy dogs might make convenient pets, but they aren’t necessarily chilled out because that’s their nature. Some breeds, ones that never want to go for a run or fetch a ball, have this trait because they are physically unable to keep up with their canine cousins.
One of the traits that sedentary pups have in common is often a flat face. Longer noses don’t just help with getting air into your lungs, they also enable your dog to regulate their heat. Pups don’t sweat.
History and Original Purpose
The original Pug was a small dog with a substantial muzzle. But they have been selectively bred over the last century to achieve the flat-faced look they have now. Show guidelines for the breed suggest a flatter face being desirable, and this has really got out of control.
The Jack Russell was designed for fitness and exercise, as expert ratters. They became family pets in more recent years due to their loving and loyal personalities, but have always been first and foremost a working farm dog.
Retro Pug Appearance
As a mixed breed, the appearance of the retro Pug can be quite unpredictable. Hybrid dogs can inherit any mixture of qualities from their parent breeds, which is part of the huge debate over mixed breeds vs pure breeds. You can read more about that debate here. But for now, let’s take a look at what variety of physical characteristics your retro Pug could inherit.
The retro Pug will be a small mixed breed, as both of its parent breeds are similar sizes. Jack Russell Terriers will grow to between 10 and 15 inches tall. They will weigh between 13 and 17 pounds as a healthy adult. Pugs, on the other hand, are slightly smaller. They will grow between 9 and 12 inches tall, weighing 14 to 18 pounds as an adult. A mix of these two breeds will fall somewhere in the middle of these statistics. But, it is going to be a small breed.
Some retro Pugs will have flatter faces than others. This means, they can still suffer from the same health problems that brachycephaly causes.
Not only does the mixed breed try to combat the short snout, it also tries to tackle the shallow eye sockets of brachycephalic dogs. But, you can’t guarantee your hybrid’s face shape until your puppy is born. So, your dog could have a flatter ‘Pug’ face, or a longer, healthier, Jack Russell face.
Coat and Colors
The best way to predict the color of your mixed breed is to take a look at its parents. Black and fawn are the main colors of the Pug breed. Whereas, the Jack Russell Terrier is mostly white, with black, brown, or tan markings. The amount of markings will vary from one Jack Russell to another. Pugs have a short, glossy coat. But Jack Russells have dense, double coats that are either smooth, broken, or rough. Take a look at the parents to predict what type of coat your Jack Russell Pug mix will inherit.
Retro Pug Temperament
This breed has a loving temperament. They are friendly with both children and adults, and generally fit in well in most homes. Their small size certainly helps! As well as being social, Pugs are also affectionate and loyal dogs that form strong bonds with their families. They are an intelligent breed that often responds well to training.
They can also be quite brave and loud. Jack Russell Terriers are fearless, confident, and loyal dogs. They are active, but also often quite vocal! This breed has a lot of energy to burn each day. Not getting enough exercise can result in unwanted behaviors, such as destructive tendencies.
Training and Exercising your Retro Pug
Both parent breeds are intelligent dogs, so they are likely to enjoy training, and learn quickly. They will respond best to positive reinforcement training. But, it’s important to make sure you aren’t overfeeding them. The Jack Russell parent breed needs a lot of exercise. This is partly to reduce destructive tendencies that result from boredom. But, they also need it to keep healthy. Pugs also enjoy exercise, and need it to stay healthy. But, unfortunately, their facial structure makes it difficult.
Brachycephalic breeds tend to overheat more easily than other breeds. Plus, their flat faces makes it harder for them to breathe normally, as their oxygen flow is restricted. This difficulty breathing also makes swimming quite a dangerous form of exercise. So, take care of your mix when exercising it. Some retro Pugs will have flatter faces than others.
Many people believe that mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebred dogs, thanks to increased genetic diversity. However, mixed breeds can still be prone to the health conditions of their parent breeds. Responsible breeders will health test dogs they are planning to breed from to minimise the risk of passing these issues on. Let’s look at the retro Pug’s parent breeds, to see which health issues it may be prone to.
The main health problem that Pugs suffer from is due to their facial structure. This breed is brachycephalic. Because of this they suffer from:
- Brachycephalic airway syndrome
- Breathing problems
- Skin problems
- Shallow eye sockets and protruding eyes
- Ulcers and infections
- Brachycephalic Ocular Syndrome
- Dental problems
Pugs also suffer from health problems associated with their screw tails. But, there are additional health issues not related to their body shape. Such as hip and elbow dysplasia, alopecia, aortic stenosis, and more. Unfortunately, selective breeding over the past century means Pugs are not a healthy breed.
Jack Russell Terriers
Jack Russells also suffer from some health problems. However, they aren’t prone to issues caused by their body shape. They are actually known for being a relatively healthy breed, with an average lifespan falling between 13 and 16 years! Some health problems that you should watch out for includes:
- Dental issues
- Mast cell tumors
- Lens Luxation
- Patellar Luxation
- Liver problems
- Kidney stones
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Retro Pug Health
Unfortunately, mixed breeds can be prone to any of the issues their parent breeds are. Breeders have tried to create a healthier version of the Pug breed by crossing it with the Jack Russell Terrier. But this is still a controversial move for many people.
You can’t guarantee the traits that a mixed breed will have. So, a retro Pug could have the same flat face as a regular Pug, and suffer from all of the same health problems. Some people argue that it is also unfair to mix a healthy breed like the Jack Russell with such an unhealthy breed. If you get this hybrid, you will need to cater to its specific health needs. Go to regular check ups with your vet.
Do Retro Pugs Make Good Family Pets?
The retro Pug will need a family who can spend a lot of time with him, and caring for him. Especially if he inherits the flat face of his Pug parent. But, he will have a lovely personality, and grow into a confident, happy dog, provided he gets socialization from a young age. The exercise needs and grooming requirements of this hybrid will vary depending on the traits that he inherits.