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Retro Pug: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

Jug dog mix breed_Erik Lam_Shutterstock

Retro Pug: Info, Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Pugs make great pets. They are fun, loyal, and loving, and will usually get along with all family members as well as most other pets. However, breeds like the Pug are somewhat contentious because their breeding has led to a range of potential health problems, not least from the brachycephalic facial features. The squished face can lead to breathing and respiratory problems in Pugs.

German breeders looking to counteract these health problems while retaining the same loving characteristics and traits of the breed crossed the Pug with the Jack Russell Terrier. The resulting breed is called the Retro Pug. The Retro Pug has a similar body and other features to the Pug, but it typically has the longer snout of the Jack Russell Terrier.

Read on for more information about this new breed and to see whether it would make a suitable dog breed for your home and your family.

Breed Overview


9–16 inches


15–20 pounds


13–16 years


Black, fawn, silver, apricot

Suitable for:

Owners looking for a constant companion


Loyal, loving, fun, daft, energetic

The Retro Pug has been bred in an attempt to reproduce the positive traits of the Pug but without the negative health complaints that arise as a result of the snout and facial features of the Pug. As a result, the Retro does have a slightly longer life expectancy and tends to be healthier than the Pug. It also enjoys exercise more because it won’t get out of breath as easily. Otherwise, owners can expect the same fun-loving dog that requires a lot of attention and companionship.

Retro Pug Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Retro Pug Puppies

Retro Pug puppies are similar to Pug puppies. This companion breed not only needs but craves attention and companionship from its humans, and this starts from puppyhood. If you will be going out during the day, whether to work or school, and you need your puppy to get used to being alone, you should start with short sessions when they are young and build up over time.

This is also the best time to start training and socializing the Retro Pug. The breed usually gets along well with other dogs and people, but early socialization helps minimize the risk of the dog jumping up or acting inappropriately towards people it doesn’t know. It can also teach the puppy that it shouldn’t approach all dogs or animals.

Training a young Retro Pug means teaching it what is considered acceptable behavior and what you believe is unacceptable. House training is one of the first steps, and the Retro Pug will usually take to this well but you will need to be consistent and use positive reinforcement. This means encouraging and rewarding positive behavior while ignoring negative and unwanted behavior.

The Retro Pug is still a relatively new breed and there aren’t too many breeders around. This means that it can be difficult to find a Retro Pug. It also means that it’s unlikely that you would find Retro Pug puppies in shelters and rescues.

Parent Breeds of the Retro Pug
Image Credit: Left – Antin82, Shutterstock | Right – Lysenko Andrii, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Retro Pug

Retro Pugs are typically a mixture of a Pug and a Jack Russell. This mixture means that they are intelligent dogs that get along with most people and animals. But it also means that they can be a little on the independent side.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?

Pugs have become so popular because they get along with people very well. They are quite robust for small dogs, so they get along with children as well as with adults. The Retro Pug has a similar disposition and it will usually get on well with all family members, as well as visitors and strangers. The downside to the breed is that if it gets its companionship traits from the Pug, the Retro Pug won’t do well when left alone for long periods. If your family goes out to work and school all day long, you might find that the Retro Pug exhibits signs of separation anxiety, including destructive and other unwanted behavior.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The Pug isn’t just known for getting along with people. It gets along with other dogs and because it’s about the same size as cats, will usually get along with them, too. However, the Terrier in the Retro Pug can change this. Terriers don’t always get along well with cats and smaller animals and they can challenge some other dogs. Ensure your Retro Pug is well-socialized from a young age and, if you do want to integrate it into an existing group of animals, take introductions slowly and carefully.

Things to Know When Owning a Retro Pug:

The Retro Pug will usually get along with its humans, as well as strangers. It can also get on with dogs and cats, although it may require more careful introductions than with a regular Pug. But, the Retro Pug needs companionship and might struggle with a family that is out of the house for long stretches. It also has some other requirements and traits that mean it might not be the best pet for all owners.

Food & Diet Requirements

Although the Pug is prone to overeating and putting on excess weight, the Retro Pug can be given more exercise. This means that it will usually have a bigger appetite and it also means that you can provide more exercise to help shed the pounds and keep your Retro Pug in good shape.


However, it’s still a small breed that doesn’t require excessive exercise. Expect to provide an hour of walks a day. The breed can also do well in agility and other canine sports classes, which can help provide mental and physical stimulation while building a bond between the two of you.


Pugs and Jack Russells are intelligent breeds but while the Pug can lose concentration easily, the Jack Russell is independent. This combination means that the Retro Pug is a little more challenging to train than the standard Pug. You will need to be very consistent with your training techniques and you should use positive reinforcement training techniques. Sign up for puppy classes as soon as possible. These not only teach some of the basic commands that you will need, but they also teach you how to train your dog, and they allow for some good, early socialization between your puppy and other dogs and people.

Agility classes will keep your Retro Pug’s mind and body active, so these can also be very beneficial for the breed.

Grooming ✂️

The Retro Pug has minimal grooming requirements. Its coat is short and easy to look after, but you are still responsible for other grooming needs. You will need to brush the dog’s teeth at least three times a week and ideally every day. Claws also need regular clipping, typically every 2 months. Claws may only need trimming every three months or so if the dog is regularly walked on an abrasive surface like concrete.

Health and Conditions

The primary reason for breeding the Retro Pug was to create a dog that was similar to the Pug but that was largely free of the respiratory complaints that the Pug’s brachycephalic facial shape caused. As such, the breed is largely free of these and eye-related problems that are found in the Pug. Overall, the mixed Retro Pug is considered a healthy breed with a longer lifespan than the Pug.

Minor Conditions
  • Eye problems
  • Dental issues
  • Allergies
Serious Conditions
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia

Male vs Female

Generally, male Retro Pugs will grow to be a little taller and heavier than females, but not much. Males are also considered more mischievous and confident while females are thought to be easier to train. Females are also the more affectionate of the genders but they can be moody and females are the more likely to nip if they feel threatened or aren’t getting their own way.

3 Little-Known Facts About The Retro Pug

1. They Live Longer Than Pugs

The difference isn’t huge, but Retro Pugs do have a slightly longer expected lifespan than standard Pugs. While Pugs have a life expectancy between 12 and 15 years, Retro Pugs live between 13 and 16 years. The actual age that a dog lives to depends on many factors, though, and not just breed, so you can’t assume that your Retro will live to be 16 years or more.

2. They Need More Exercise Than Pugs

The Retro Pug has been bred so that it doesn’t have the same squat facial features as the Pug. These facial features mean that the original breed is prone to certain conditions. In particular, the Pug quickly gets short of breath if it is given too much physical exercise, but this isn’t the case with the Retro Pug. Because of this, Retro Pugs need more exercise than their Pug counterparts.

It is a small breed, however, so you shouldn’t have to provide more than an hour of exercise a day to ensure your Retro remains fit and healthy.

3. They are Generally Healthier Than Pugs

Retro Pugs are less likely to suffer respiratory problems and they are less likely to suffer eye conditions than Pugs. While most crossbreeds are said to benefit from hybrid vigor, which means that they are not prone to the same genetic conditions as their purebred counterparts, there are some very obvious advantages to the Retro Pug breed. As well as yielding a longer life expectancy and a greater need for physical exercise, these differences also mean a potentially healthier dog.


Pugs are very popular pets because they are friendly and fun. However, there is a lot of debate over whether the breed should be recognized by kennel clubs and whether breeders should even be allowed to breed them, because of the shape and features of the face. The Retro Pug is a mix of Pug and another breed, typically the Jack Russell, and was bred to try and overcome the respiratory and other health problems commonly associated with the Pug.

The Retro Pug shares many of the same beneficial features and characteristics as the Pug, but it has the longer snout of the other parent breed.

Featured Image Credit: Erik Lam, Shutterstock

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