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Retro Pug: The Health Twist in Pug Breeds

Ready to embark on a journey through the world of the Retro Pug?

This remarkable breed, a modern twist on the traditional Pug, was born out of a desire to enhance the health and vitality of these lovable companions.

In the following lines, we’ll explore the captivating allure of the Retro Pug, from its unique characteristics to its health advantages.

This comprehensive guide is your ticket to understanding this new breed, whether you’re a potential pet parent, a Pug aficionado, or a curious reader.

So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for an exciting exploration of the Retro Pug universe.

Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • The Retro Pug is a modern breed developed to address health issues in traditional Pugs by combining their genes with Jack Russell Terriers or Parson Russell Terriers.
  • Traditional Pugs often suffer from Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) and other health issues due to physical features.
  • Retro Pugs have a longer snout, reducing the risk of breathing difficulties and overheating, and fewer skin folds, decreasing the chance of skin infections.
  • The Retro Pug retains traditional Pugs’ friendly and affectionate temperament but may have more energy due to improved health.
  • Retro Pugs and traditional Pugs share many physical characteristics, but Retro Pugs have a longer snout and larger, more erect ears.
  • The longer snout of the Retro Pug significantly improves their respiratory health, and their larger ears may enhance their hearing.
  • Responsible breeding practices are essential to maintain the health improvements seen in Retro Pugs.
  • Potential Retro Pug owners should prioritize finding responsible breeders or adopting from rescue groups.
  • Retro Pugs, also known as “Retro Mops,” have quickly gained popularity due to their improved health while retaining the charm of traditional Pugs.
  • Choosing a Retro Pug offers Pug lovers the charm and personality of the breed with the added benefits of improved health and vitality.

What is a Retro Pug?

pug crossed with jack russell and retro pug

The Retro Pug, a.k.a. the Retro Mops, is a healthier alternative to the traditional Pug. The Retro Pug was developed by combining the genes of a traditional Pug with a Jack Russell Terrier or a Parson Russell Terrier.

The result is a breed that retains the Pug’s lovable personality and distinctive appearance but with a longer snout and fewer wrinkles, significantly reducing the risk of the health issues that plague traditional Pugs.

Retro Pug vs. Pug Differences

retro pug vs pug comparison
Feature Retro Pug Standard Purebred Pug
Snout A longer snout allows for better airflow and reduces the risk of breathing difficulties. Short snout due to brachycephaly, which can lead to breathing difficulties.
Ears Larger, more erect ears may improve hearing and reduce the risk of ear infections. Smaller, folded ears.
Skin Folds Fewer skin folds, reducing the risk of skin infections. Deep skin folds can trap moisture and dirt, leading to skin infections.
Energy Levels More active and energetic due to improved health. Less energetic, particularly in hot weather or after exercise, due to breathing difficulties.
Health Issues Lower risk of common Pug health issues such as Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), skin infections, and eye problems. Higher risk of health issues due to their physical features, including BOAS, skin infections, and eye problems.
Lifespan Potentially longer lifespan due to improved health. They may have a shorter lifespan due to health issues.
Temperament Retains the friendly and affectionate temperament of traditional Pugs. Known for their friendly and affectionate temperament.
Height Similar to standard Pugs, typically between 10-13 inches. Typically between 10-13 inches.
Weight Similar to standard Pugs, typically between 14-18 pounds. Typically between 14-18 pounds.
Color Most commonly fawn or black, similar to standard Pugs. Most commonly fawn or black.


Retro Pugs share many physical characteristics with standard purebred Pugs, but with some notable differences. Like traditional Pugs, Retro Pugs are small, muscular dogs with a compact body and a curled tail. They have the same endearing round eyes and expressive faces that Pug lovers adore.

However, the most significant difference lies in the snout.

Retro Pugs have a longer snout than traditional Pugs, a key feature significantly improving their health. Their ears are also larger and more erect, giving them a unique, alert appearance.

The Longer Snout and Larger Ears  Benefits

The longer snout of the Retro Pug is not just a cosmetic difference. It provided more space for the nasal passages and throat, improving breathing and reducing overheating risk.

This is a significant benefit, as it addresses one of the most common and serious health issues traditional Pugs face.

The larger, more erect ears of the Retro Pug also contribute to their unique appearance and may potentially improve their hearing compared to traditional Pugs.

Retro Pug vs Pug Temperament

jug dog on black background

In terms of temperament, Retro Pugs are very similar to standard Pugs. They are known for their loving and loyal nature, and they have a strong desire to please their owners.

Retro Pugs are also known for their playful and energetic personalities, attributed to the influence of the Jack Russell Terrier and Parson Russell Terrier breeds.

However, due to their improved health, Retro Pugs may have more energy and stamina than traditional Pugs. This can lead to longer play sessions and more active lifestyles, which can be a bonus for owners who enjoy an active lifestyle.

Standard Pug Health Problems

brachycephalic word meaning illustration
  • One of Pugs’ most common health problems is Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS), characterized by obstructed airways.
  • This can lead to difficult breathing, reduced tolerance for exercise, and a propensity for overheating, as dogs primarily regulate their body temperature through panting.
  • Pugs are also prone to various eye problems due to their large, protruding eyes. These include dry eye, corneal ulcers, and progressive retinal atrophy. Their deep skin folds can trap moisture and dirt, leading to skin infections if not regularly cleaned.
  • Other common health problems in Pugs include hip dysplasia, a condition that affects the hip joint, and Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE), a fatal inflammatory brain disease unique to Pugs.

The Importance of Understanding These Issues for Potential Pug Owners

Potential Pug owners must understand these health issues before bringing a Pug into their home.

While Pugs are undeniably charming and affectionate, their health problems can significantly distress the dog and the owner.

These health issues can also lead to high veterinary costs and may require owners to dedicate considerable time and effort to manage their Pug’s health.

Understanding these challenges is crucial to ensure potential Pug owners are prepared for the commitment required to care for these dogs.

The need for a healthier alternative has never been more apparent. Pug lovers and breeders alike have been searching for a solution that maintains the Pug’s endearing qualities while improving their overall health and longevity.

In the next section, we will introduce the Retro Pug, a breed developed to address these health issues while retaining the Pug’s lovable personality and distinctive appearance.

Health Improvements Observed in Retro Pugs

retro pug has longer snout vs regular pug

The longer snout of the Retro Pug significantly reduces the risk of breathing difficulties, a common problem in traditional “normal” Pugs.

This allows Retro Pugs to exercise more freely and reduces their risk of overheating, a serious issue in brachycephalic breeds.

The reduction in skin folds also means that Retro Pugs are less prone to skin infections, a common issue in traditional Pugs.

Introducing other breeds into the gene pool has also potentially reduced the risk of other health issues, such as hip dysplasia and Pug Dog Encephalitis (PDE).

The Retro Pug is an excellent solution for those who love Pugs but are concerned about their health issues.

This breed offers the best of both worlds: the charm and personality of a Pug coupled with improved health and vitality.

Retro Pug Breed Appearance and Appeal to Pug Lovers

retro pug in the backyard

Despite these changes, Retro Pugs retain the charm and distinctive appearance that Pug lovers find irresistible.

Check out this Rare Brindle Pug 

They still have the round, expressive eyes, the muscular body, and the playful, affectionate temperament that Pugs are known for.

Retro Pugs allow Pug lovers to enjoy the qualities they love about Pugs without the associated health issues.

The Benefits of a Healthier and Happier Dog for Pug Lovers

Retro Pug Infographic illustration

The health improvements seen in Retro Pugs lead to a longer lifespan and contribute to a happier and more active dog.

A dog not constantly struggling with health issues will be more energetic, playful, and generally happier.

For Pug lovers, this means more years of companionship and fewer health-related worries. It also means having a pet to participate more fully in family activities, from playing in the park to going on family hikes.

The Retro Pug, combined with endearing Pug qualities and improved health, offers Pug lovers the best of both worlds.

Caring for Your Retro Pug 


Diet and Nutrition

Like all dogs, Retro Pugs require a balanced diet to maintain their health. High-quality dog food appropriate for their age, size, and activity level is recommended.

As Pugs are prone to obesity, portion control, and regular feeding schedules are important to maintain a healthy weight.

Treats can be a useful tool for training, but they should be given sparingly to avoid weight gain. Ensure your Retro Pug can access fresh water, especially during hot weather or after exercise, to prevent dehydration.

Exercise Requirements and Activities

Retro Pugs are more active and energetic than traditional Pugs, thanks to their improved health.

They require regular exercise to keep them fit and to prevent obesity. Daily walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation through puzzle toys are all good ways to keep your Retro Pug active and engaged.

Despite their increased energy levels, it’s important to remember that Retro Pugs are still a brachycephalic breed and can be prone to overheating. Avoid strenuous exercise during hot weather; always provide plenty of water and shade.

Training, Socialization, and General Care Tips

Retro Pugs, like all dogs, benefit from early socialization and training. Expose them to various people, places, and experiences when they’re young to ensure they grow into well-rounded dogs.

Retro Pugs are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. Positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed.

Regular grooming is necessary to keep your Retro Pug looking their best. Their coat is easy to care for, but their ears and skin folds should be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent infections.

Regular vet check-ups are also important to monitor their health and catch potential issues early.

Caring for a Retro Pug is a rewarding experience. With the right care and attention, your Retro Pug will be a healthy, happy, and loving family member.

Criticisms of the Retro Pug Breed

Health Problems Persist

  • Although healthier than traditional pugs, Retro pugs still suffer from serious health issues like eye problems, patellar luxation, and spinal issues.
  • Crossbreeding does not guarantee the elimination of all genetic health problems. There is still a risk of inheriting health issues from both parent breeds.
  • Medical treatments for retro pugs remain costly, similar to purebred pugs

Lack of Breed Standards

  • Retro pugs are not an officially recognized breed, only a designer crossbreed. This leads to inconsistencies in appearance and health.
  • Without established breed standards, there is variation in the genetic makeup of individual retro pugs. This makes it hard to predict traits.

Accusations of Unethical Breeding

  • Some criticize retro pug breeders for producing designer hybrid dogs instead of purebreds.
  • Breeding retro pugs goes against the rules of many kennel clubs prohibiting crossbreeding pugs with other breeds.
  • Some view retro pug breeding as a fad or trend rather than a serious effort to improve breed health.

Counterarguments in Favor of Retro Pugs

Healthier Than Purebred Pugs

  • While not perfect, retro pugs are generally healthier and live longer than traditional pugs.
  • The longer muzzle of retro pugs significantly reduces breathing issues common in pugs.
  • Crossbreeding increases genetic diversity and reduces the risk of inherited disorders.

Preserves Desired Pug Traits

  • Retro pugs maintain the pug’s small stature, personality, and many physical traits while improving health.
  • For those who love pug characteristics, retro pugs offer a compromise between health and favored attributes.

Addressing Unethical Breeding Practices

  • Creating retro pugs brings attention to the health issues caused by selective breeding of purebred pugs.
  • Retro pug breeders aim to provide an ethical alternative for those who want a pug-like dog.
  • Continued outcrossing to other breeds may further improve retro pug health over time.

There are reasonable criticisms regarding retro pug health and breeding practices.

However, retro pugs appear to be a step in the right direction towards ethically improving pug breeds’ health.

More outcrossing and emphasis on health testing may continue to enhance retro pug vitality.

Retro Pug’s Development and Breeders’ Goals

The Retro Pug is the result of careful breeding with the primary goal of improving the health and longevity of the Pug breed.

Breeders aimed to retain the Pug’s endearing qualities while eliminating the structural issues that lead to health problems.

The breeders’ efforts have been successful, with Retro Pugs showing fewer instances of the health issues that commonly affect traditional Pugs.

Retro Pugs are also known to be energetic and agile, with a longer lifespan compared to their traditional counterparts.

Introduction of Other Breeds:

The development of the Retro Pug involved the introduction of other breeds into the Pug gene pool.

Jack Russell Terriers and Parson Russell Terriers were chosen for their longer snouts and overall good health.

These breeds also have energetic and friendly personalities, aligning well with the Pug’s temperament.

In some cases, breeders have also introduced the Old German Pug. The Old German Pug has a longer snout than the modern Pug and is known for its robust health.

Introducing these breeds has resulted in a healthier Pug with a longer snout, fewer wrinkles, and improved overall health.

The Importance of Responsible Breeding

The development of the Retro Pug highlights the importance of responsible breeding. B

y prioritizing health over physical appearance, breeders have created a breed that retains the charm and personality of the Pug while significantly improving their health and well-being.

Responsible breeding practices, such as health testing and careful selection of breeding pairs, are crucial to maintaining the health improvements seen in Retro Pugs.

This ensures that future generations of Retro Pugs continue to enjoy the same health benefits, providing Pug lovers with a healthier, happier alternative to the traditional Pug.

Finding a Responsible Retro Pug Breeder

When considering bringing a Retro Pug into your home, finding a responsible and ethical breeder is crucial. Responsible breeders prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs over profit.

They conduct health tests, provide proper care for their dogs, and ensure that puppies are socialized and cared for before they go to their new homes.

Ethical breeders also play a crucial role in maintaining the health improvements seen in Retro Pugs. By selecting healthy dogs for breeding and avoiding inbreeding, they ensure that future generations of Retro Pugs continue to enjoy good health.

Questions to Ask Potential Breeders

When talking to potential breeders, there are several questions you can ask to ensure their credibility:

  1. Can you provide health test results for the puppy’s parents?
  2. How do you socialize your puppies?
  3. Can I meet the puppy’s parents?
  4. How do you select your breeding dogs?
  5. Can you provide references from previous buyers?
  6. What kind of support do you offer buyers after the puppy goes home?

A responsible breeder will happily answer these questions and provide the necessary documentation. They will also ask you questions to ensure their puppies go to good homes.

Adoption and Rescue Options

While finding a responsible breeder is important, adoption is also a wonderful way to bring a Retro Pug into your home. There are many dogs in shelters and rescue groups that need loving homes.

Some rescue groups specialize in Pugs and may occasionally have Retro Pugs or Pug mixes.

Adopting a dog not only gives them a second chance at a happy life but also helps to combat the problem of pet overpopulation.

Whether you buy from a responsible breeder or adopt from a rescue, the most important thing is to provide a loving and caring home for your new Retro Pug.

They will be loyal and affectionate companions with the right care for many years.

Retro Pug Trivia

  • Retro Pugs are also known as “Retro Mops.” The term “Mops” is derived from the German word for Pug.
  • Despite their recent development, Retro Pugs have quickly gained popularity among Pug lovers due to their improved health and retained Pug charm.
  • The longer snout of the Retro Pug improves their health and gives them a unique “smiling” appearance that owners find endearing.
  • Retro Pugs result from careful breeding involving traditional Pugs, Jack Russell Terriers, Parson Russell Terriers, and in some cases, Old German Pugs.
  • The larger, more erect ears of the Retro Pug give them an alert and curious expression, adding to their charm.
  • Despite their improved health, Retro Pugs have retained the affectionate and playful temperament that Pugs are known for.

Why Retro Pugs Make Good Companions

  • Retro Pugs offer the best of both worlds: the charm and personality of a Pug coupled with improved health and vitality.
  • Their friendly and affectionate nature makes them great companions for individuals and families.
  • Retro Pugs are adaptable and can thrive in apartments and houses, making them suitable for various living situations. They don’t need much space at home, and like normal pugs, they love to sleep.
  • With their longer snout and fewer wrinkles, Retro Pugs require less specialized care than traditional Pugs, making them a great choice for Pug lovers who want a healthier, easier-to-care-for pet.

Final Thoughts

retro pug lying in bed

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored the world of Retro Pugs, a healthier alternative to the traditional Pug breed.

We’ve delved into their origins, physical characteristics, health improvements, and the affectionate temperament that makes them such endearing companions.

Retro Pugs retain the charm and personality of traditional Pugs but with significant health improvements.

Their longer snout and fewer wrinkles give them a unique appearance and contribute to their improved respiratory health and reduced risk of skin infections.

These health improvements lead to a happier, more active dog, providing Pug lovers with more years of companionship and fewer health-related worries.

Choosing a Retro Pug means choosing a healthier, happier Pug. But it’s important to remember that responsible breeding practices are crucial to maintaining these health improvements.

If you’re considering bringing a Retro Pug into your home, we encourage you to research more, contact ethical breeders, or consider adopting from a rescue group.

Whether you’re a long-time Pug lover or new to the breed, the Retro Pug offers the best of both worlds: the endearing qualities of the Pug breed coupled with improved health and vitality.

With the right care and attention, a Retro Pug can be a loyal, loving, and healthy member of your family.


1. Pug. (2023, May 18). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pug

2.Ekenstedt, K. J., Crosse, K. R., & Risselada, M. (2020). Canine Brachycephaly: Anatomy, Pathology, Genetics and Welfare. Journal of comparative pathology, 176, 109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcpa.2020.02.008

3. O’Neill, D. G., Sahota, J., Brodbelt, D. C., Church, D. B., Packer, R. M. A., & Pegram, C. (2022, May 18). Health of Pug Dogs in the UK: Disorder predispositions and protections – canine medicine and Genetics. BioMed Central. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://cgejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40575-022-00117-6

4. New RVC research helps owners better understand the remaining life expectancy of dogs. RVC. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://www.rvc.ac.uk/vetcompass/news/new-rvc-research-helps-owners-better-understand-the-remaining-life-expectancy-of-dogs

dog paw prints


About the author: Chalene Johnston graduated with honors from University with a BA in psychology. She is a proud stay-at-home mom to her 2-year-old French Bulldog puppy, Stella! When she is not looking for adventure travel destinations, she loves to write! She writes for a wide variety of topics – with animals being one of her favorites.

9 comments… add one
  • Robyn Bordelon May 22, 2021 @ 13:37

    Thanks, Robyn Bordelon for dogbreedsfaq.com

  • Daniela Sep 19, 2022 @ 1:19

    i have a pug and i would love to have a retro pug

    • Pablo Pascua Sep 26, 2022 @ 21:43

      Hi Daniela,

      Thanks for the comment. Hope you have a retro pug soon!


  • Melanie TeagueCosta Oct 10, 2022 @ 3:38

    I have a Retro Pug. Had no idea what he was. His momma was full blooded pug. We purchased our pup thu her cause he looked a lil different than the the other pups. we would like to find a female for him so I can have 1 of his puppies. What kind of dog would u recommend? And where do we begin to look?

    • Pablo Pascua Oct 15, 2022 @ 20:25

      It depends on your lifestyle. There are many pug mixes that you can choose from, like pugsky, puggle etc. Go to a reputable breeder if you’re looking for a new pup…

  • Melanie TeagueCosta Oct 10, 2022 @ 3:47

    I live in Fallon, NV. someplace near this area would be wonderful..
    My dog (Bison) is male and 8 yes old. Everyone thinks he is just big boned and muscular for a pug. He goes hunting with us, so he loves his exercise. Stubborn, but lovable, he is Lil hyper in the truck cause he knows he’s going out-out. Pug looks but a longer snout. A Lil taller than a pug. But still a lap dog.

    • Pablo Pascua Oct 15, 2022 @ 20:16

      Hi Melanie,

      Thanks for sharing your Retro Pug’s cute story! 😊

  • Tameeka Nov 3, 2022 @ 5:45

    Hello, this is an amazing article and really informed me about the breed! I literally had no idea that retro pugs exist and I’m happy to see there’s a way to save pugs. I have a question though that I hope you’d be able to answer: do you know if anyone is trying to breed out the curl tail completely? Having a curl tail is a result of a spine abnormality which can be detrimental to the pug’s health.

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