👉🏿 Check Out Our Youtube Channel 👈🏿

HOME ASIA China “Retro Pug”

RETRO Pug: The Facts Behind the Face

Have you heard of retro pugs yet?

They’re the new craze taking over breeding circles as an alternative to the famous squash-nosed pug we think of as traditional.

This article looks at what makes a retro pug, and how that’s different from a “traditional” pug.

What is a Retro Pug?

Where did Retro Pug come from illustration

The pug is probably most famous for its squashed face, which is one of the reasons it’s considered cute.

However, being brachycephalic (having a squashed nose) leads to several health complications for the pug.

A Retro Pug a.k.a. the “Retro Mop” or jug dog is an adaptation of a pure breed pug, which is crossed with the Jack Russell Terrier.

This has been a more common crossbreed in recent years, but some breeders now consider it to be more faithful to how the pug breed used to look.

Retro Pug Appearance

The retro pug has a longer snout than a typical pug, and this is where the Jack Russell cross comes in.

retro pug has longer snout vs regular pug

Other than that, a retro pug is still very similar to a old-fashioned pug. It is simply a pug without a flat face. The longer face also solves the problem of bulging eyes, which is another bonus.

The combination of Jack Russell also changes the retro pug’s color slightly. The dogs are generally still fawn, but with more black around their faces and along their backs.

A retro pug’s ears are also slightly longer, but this isn’t a bad thing either.

Both Jack Russells and pugs have very similar temperaments: friendly, energetic, playful, loving.

This means that the retro pug is also all of these things, making it an excellent pet for all, but particularly around kids.

You May Want To Check This Another One of a Kind Pug:  Brindle Pug

Retro Pug Evolution

Pug bitch in 1802 photoWhat we think of as the retro pug is quite a recent development, perhaps within the last 10-15 years.

As more is understood scientifically about dog breeding, it’s been possible to produce more varied crossbreeds.

While people may have bred pugs and Jack Russells in the past, it’s only recently been given a name.

However, the interesting thing is that what we think of as the “traditional” pug, the one with the squished face and bulging eyes, is a more recent change.

The pug can trace its history back thousands of years to ancient China.

Pug dog sitting outside a chinese garden

Until the 19th century, the retro pug look was just the look.

It’s only been within the last 100 years that breeders have created the flat face.

Like many other popular breeds, it was bred too aggressively to produce forced characteristics.

If you ever see old paintings featuring pugs, and there are plenty of them, the pugs look different.

This is because they used to look like regular dogs, with long faces and floppy ears. This is, of course, why retro pugs are called what they are: they’re a retro look for the breed.

While there doesn’t seem to be much evidence for why the change happened, it was probably just a result of changes in fashion.

Pugs were immensely popular in European courts and were a particular favorite of Queen Victoria.

Family group with Queen Victoria and a pug, Balmoral 1887

As any pug owner will know, this fashionable flat face leads to a number of health complications. These include problems breathing and eating, and a wide range of eye conditions.

Old-school breeders didn’t really consider these things back when they were making fashionable breeds.

Luckily, this is something the retro pug is looking to fix. Public awareness is growing about the health complications associated with brachycephalic breeds, and so people are looking for alternatives.

A British movement, called the Campaign for the Responsible Use of Flat-Faced Animals (CRUFFA), is a big advocate for the retro pug.

They’ve campaigned for the education of owners and breeders on the reasons to choose retro pugs for a long time.

Pug at a dog competition

In fact, they pressured Crufts to allow retro pugs into the competition.

Crufts is an umbrella term for an international canine event held annually in the United Kingdom.


Traditionally, Crufts only takes purebred dogs, which the retro pug technically isn’t.

The campaigners argue that making an allowance for the breed is the only way to break the cycle.

That said, there’s still not much known about retro pugs. Some breeders and vets are also campaigning for greater awareness of the breed in the hopes that more people will make the switch.

Hopefully, by introducing Jack Russell into the breed, retro pugs will be healthy and lovable.

Retro Pug vs. Pug Comparison

retro pug vs pug comparison

The addition of Jack Russell into the pug bloodline has led to a few differences, although retro pugs are still pretty faithful to the pugs we all know and love.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between retro pugs and regular pugs.

Standard pugs are brachycephalic, which means they have squished faces.

This affects their breathing and can result in them having operations to alter their soft palette, which is both expensive and ridiculous.

brachycephalic word meaning illustration

The retro pug, however, has a longer nose, which is the result of introducing Jack Russell into the mix.

Snout length will vary until the breed has been stabilized, but introducing more Jack Russell than pug will result in a more consistent length.

Having a long face also means the retro pug has less bulgy eyes, although it’s still noticeably a pug.

This is another massive health benefit to the breed, as normal pugs can have some eye problems, including ulcers and corneal disorders.

Another notable difference is that retro pugs have longer ears than pugs. Their ears are more floppy, whereas the pug’s breed standard states they should have rose or button ears.

retro pug looking on his left side

Both of these are quite small ear types, so it’s quite a big change to the pug’s appearance.

One big difference between pugs and retro pugs is color. Pugs are either fawn or black, although a small amount of black is permitted along the spine and saddle. Fawn pugs are also black around the face and ears.

However, with the addition of Jack Russell, retro pugs are a bit darker than pugs. Also, they usually have more black around their faces and along their backs.


This is a bit of variance from how the pug originally looked but isn’t too much of an issue.

Retro pugs also typically have thinner bodies than pugs, but this isn’t a bad thing. Jack Russells are skinny dogs, whereas pugs often suffer from obesity, particularly in old age.

Retro pugs are skinnier than pugs, but this is because their body-leg ratio is different.

That said, retro pugs and pugs are about the same size overall. This means retro pugs still make great apartment dogs and are ideal for small families.

Most of the differences between pugs and retro pugs are an attempt to correct the health problems of brachycephalic dogs.

Differences Between A Retro Pug And  Pug (Summary)

Differences Between A Retro Pug And  Pug (Summary)
  • Retro pugs have longer snouts, while pugs have short, squashed faces.
  • Retro pugs have greater color variation, which is a result of adding Jack Russell. Pugs are either fawn or black.
  • Retro pugs have less bulgy eyes as a result of their long faces.
  • Pugs have squat, barrel-like bodies, while retro pugs are typically thinner with longer legs.
  • Pugs have rose or button ears, whereas retro pugs have longer, floppy ears.

Is Getting A Retro Pug A Good Idea?

retro pug a.k.a.retromop

Despite their potential health concerns, pugs are great dogs.

They’re fun, loving, and very playful, and make excellent pets for all.

There are few situations in which a pug wouldn’t be a fantastic choice of dog.

Worth A Look: “Pugs pros and cons”

However, the health concerns related to the breed are a good reason for not adopting one. Any operations a pug will need are costly and quite complicated.

It’s not something any dog should be subjected to, particularly if you’re aware it could happen.

A retro pug, therefore, is an excellent alternative for anyone thinking of adopting a pug.

You still get all the good things about owning a pug but aren’t at risk of all the expensive vet bills and dangerous procedures.

Retro pugs will be suitable for households of any size and would be ideal for apartment living.

They don’t need very much space when at home, and much like normal pugs, love to sleep.

However, the addition of the Jack Russell breed does mean that they’re more energetic than normal pugs.

Pug and Jack Russell photographed in front of white background

Also, you won’t be limited by the breed’s breathing problems when exercising, meaning you can take them out for longer and in warmer temperatures.

This is probably one of the most important things to consider when thinking of adopting a retro pug. They will need plenty of exercises because they’re energetic dogs.

Obviously, it won’t be as much as you’d need to give a big dog, but it’ll probably be much more than you expect.


RETRO PUG pinterest pin

A retro pug is an excellent alternative to a pug because it solves all of the major health concerns associated with the breed.

What’s more, they’re still playful and fun-loving dogs that make great family pets.

If you’re thinking of adopting a retro pug, then make sure you do plenty of research and search out reputable retro pug breeders.

It’s definitely worth making sure you’re getting a happy and friendly dog to take home.

Hopefully, it won’t be difficult for you to find retro pug puppies for sale near you.

Looking for Pug Look-Alikes? 25 Dogs That “Look Like” Pugs 

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.

1 comment… add one
  • Robyn Bordelon May 22, 2021 @ 13:37

    Thanks, Robyn Bordelon for dogbreedsfaq.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *