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Comeback Of The Retro Pug

Comeback Of The Retro Pug

Missing your old flared jeans? The old school fashion trends coming back to life in 2022 got you feeling nostalgic? Do not go clothes shopping. Instead, get a retro Pug! That way you add to your retro vibe without wardrobe additions.

Read this article and embrace the idea of becoming a fashionista with a new canine friend. This one, though, has some nifty extras compared to regular Pugs.

You must have dozens of questions. I will be as comprehensive as I can about this fine exemplar of the designer culture. There is a Pug holding me at gunpoint. Help.

What’s So Retro About Retro Pugs?

retro pug with a bow

Photo from: @retropug_frankie

The standard Pug loves wearing a baggy and creased coat. That might not be for you because you love sleek and elegant outfits. Well, now you know what a retro Pug rocks.

How did it get its paws on such a smoothly crafted garment? It often loves to conspire with the Jack Russell Terrier to create an exquisitely smooth coat with some tightened features. All great designer dogs have, at least, a couple of great sartorial innovations in them.

I suppose the name retro comes from how it looked back in the mid 1900s, before breeding practices became unhealthy for the standard Pug.

It comes as no surprise that Chinese emperors and European royalty kept the Pug around as statement companions. If only they lived to see the retro Pug…

Though, seeing how a Freemasons order, called The Order of The Pug, used a Pug as an “emblem” of their organization and named their members Mops (German for Pug) associating with Pugs is potentially dangerous and you could be named a retro Mop.

How Many Dog Breeds Does It Take To Make A Retro Pug?

pug and jack russel terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is only one of the breeds that the International Retro Pug Club allows to mix with the standard Pug. The other breeds include the miniature Pinscher and Danish-Swedish farm dog.

Obviously, the options are numerous and all of these donor breeds (“donating” their genetics for this crossbreed) bring something to counteract one or more standard Pug health problems. These pug mix breeds are still not recognized by the American Kennel Club.

I will start off with the original pug. The one that started the whole baggy clothes and smug face dog trend. We will briefly go over physical characteristics and demeanor.

THE OG Pug Breed

Ahhh… The vanilla purebred Pug. What a sight to behold. It is a hilarious looking dog breed that, more often than not, acts unlike what it looks like. Dog lovers like us can appreciate all of that.

I will consider this paragraph an ode to the standard Pug that puts a smile on your face no matter what it does. Good dogs they are.

Physical Features

Most famous for the short snout, curly tail and googly eyes, the standard Pug melts you heart with its silly behavior. The origins of the breed go as far as 500 B.C. when the Chinese bred them to stay by the emperor’s side or keep company with Tibetan monks.

The skin folds mean they are wise (learned their philosophical ways from the monks) and the high regard for the companionship can be attributed to the portability factor, being small dogs and all.

Despite the size and exaggerated physical features (think eyes and snout), they are quite muscular and able bodied. They are not the most energetic dog but not slouches either. If you have a royal court at your disposal it will be more than enough for exercise.

Coat color in purebred Pugs are not abundant and the AKC recognizes two breed standard colors: black and fawn. Markings are no-no for Pugs. They do not need more embellishment anyway. If you think they do, check out all the possible colors, patterns and shades of Pug!

A short and smooth coat quality, in their case, does not mean low shedding potential so enjoy reading about the best brushes for Pugs. You will need to groom it a couple of days per week.


They are moderately active and require regular mental exercise. They can fit on a larger chess board so use it wisely.

Whether you live in the city or in the countryside, they will adapt easily to any lifestyle. The most important thing is they are always with their owner. Separation anxiety can take a toll on Pugs.

Wiggling their butts around strangers is no problem (fancy meeting you!). You could call them child-proof because they are not overly sensitive and can spend hours playing with your kids.

Since they are smart, the level of trainability is also high. You can teach them anything and they will perform for your pleasure to the best of their physical ability. If you are a first time dog owner, you might be a prime candidate to suffer from its stubbornness. Yup.

Living with other dogs or pets is also quite smooth, though, sharing your attention with another animal will be a tough pill to swallow.

Keeping company and loving you means they will be somewhat alert and watchful around you. Pugs are not fully fledged watchdogs but will do the basics right.

Jack Russell Terrier Pizzazz

A European “genetics donor” hailing from England is the perfect addition to the Pug’s already great character. How does a Jack Russell Terrier look and act? Keep scrolling to find out.


Less round and more square bodied, the Jack was bred for fox hunting and the occasional rodent chase. They have short and pointy tails with a set of hanging ears.

The shallow and narrow chest makes it look very sporty. The body length is slightly bigger than the height which contributes to their agility. They can grow up to be 10 – 12 inches tall and approximately weigh between 9 and 15 pounds.

Jack Russell Terrier coats can be wiry or smooth but are always short. In terms of color, the AKC recognizes only white purebred Jacks but with a variety of markings such as black, brown, tan, cream or tri-color. A non-white Jack Russell Terrier will probably be a mixed breed of Terrier.

They do not shed too much and grooming can be bi-weekly. Luckily, they rarely drool too so you will not have any unexpected couch wetness.


Bred for outdoor jobs, Jack Russell Terriers love running and are very energetic. This means that a house with a yard will be a Russell’s delight. Still, more intense exercise might be required to fully expend the Jack’s energy.

They are affectionate with both family and strangers. This is an ideal combination with the high level of playfulness. Adapting to any kind of living quarters is easy for this breed. Bonus trait, JRTs are excellent watchdogs.

The JRT will keep your children both entertained and safe. You cannot ask more of a dog bred for hunting foxes. One thing you might not appreciate as much is that it tends to bark a lot. Although this is an hereditary trait, a bored Jack will yap around quite a lot much like a Chihuahua.

Puzzle games and mental exercise are crucial for a happy and well-behaved JRT. Do not skimp on that brain stimulation.

The breed is generally healthy and surpasses the average dog lifespan. More on Jack Russell Terrier lifespan: How Long Do Jack Russells Live?

Miniature Pinscher

Appearance In A Pinsch

The mini Pinscher resembles a small-scale horse with a very horse-like gait. This means that it has compact but quite long-legged for a small dog. On average, it grows 10 – 12.5 inches tall with a slim body that weighs between 8 and 10 pounds.

Coat is short and smooth which makes it aerodynamic as heck. Sprinting around the yard, you might mistake it for a Gremlin. It is truly a speed demon.

Grooming-haters can relax. The mini Pinscher does not require a lot of brushing and stuff and shedding potential is moderate.

What colors do they come in? The AKC recognizes only half a dozen as standard but there is variety within those too. You can have solid colored minis or combinations.

The solid variants are red and stag red while combos include black and rust/tan, blue and rust/tan and other chocolate and tan blends.

Big Dog Mentality

Do not be surprised by the mini Pinscher’s not-so-mini character. It is extremely energetic, above average in the trainability department and requires lots of brain exercise. This is why they are great show dogs – agile and smart.

Beware, they bark all the time. They like talking about their experiences in the world – they have a knack for reading their chronicles out loud.

Whatever the environment, they will adapt without issues. And they have an exceptionally forward watchdog instinct. They inherited this from their big brother Pinschers. They are not extremely fond of strangers or children but are very tolerable of them.

Living with other dogs and potentially animals that are similar or larger in size will be a good experience with minis. They have some prey drive though, and smaller animals could have restless times with this breed.

The mini Pinscher does not have many health issues if from a reputable breeder. They get to live between twelve and sixteen years if properly taken care of.

Danish-Swedish Farm Dog

Countryside Physique

You can spot the trend of genetic donor breeds mixed with the standard Pug – almost all so far were terrier style dogs with noteworthy athleticism and great overall health and lifespan.

The Danish-Swedish farm dog fits the bill perfectly. It can be rather tall at 12.5 – 14.5 inches and weigh anywhere between 15 and 20 pounds.

The head shape is triangular and tiny with a compact frame. The body is a smidge longer than it is tall and this gives it a sporty look which helped it get recognized by the AKC in 2011.

In terms of coat, it is short and smooth with low grooming requirements and below average shedding potential. White is the breed standard color but never 100% white. Combinations include white and tan, white and fawn, white and brown and white and black.

They are very healthy dogs with a lengthy life expectancy of eleven to thirteen years. See? They achieve great numbers not only in competitions but also in lifespan.

Farmer And Family’s Delight

No matter your home location it will be an excellent companion. Its sport prowess means trainability is on point but energy levels are not overly high. Brain games are welcome and they react well to solving problems. That is as long as they are fun.

They are not vicious barkers but can be vocal. This is, mainly, because of their hunting and watchdog instincts. Danish-Swedish farm dogs are outstanding with children and strangers. They love inciting play with anybody.

Unlike the previously listed breeds, the farm dog is very easygoing and does not crave attention all the time. While working is fun for them, resting inside the home with its family is equally rewarding.

Retro Pug Appearance Reveal: It Is Gorgeous!

retro pug puppy

Photo from: @the_pug_bambi

Ever imagined a standard Pug with a longer snout and fewer skin folds? A more healthy Pug dog in general? Your dreams just came true, and you will finally find out how this masterpiece looks!

The retro Pug features a longer snout, is less wrinkly and has improved health due to physical characteristics borrowed from the Jack Russell Terrier. If the standard Pug flat face aesthetic is not your thing, this just might be the perfect Pug mix breed for you.

Hey, do not ponder on the size. This is still a small dog breed. The size of a retro Pug is very unpredictable. As puppies, they all look the same but can grow smaller or larger than standard pugs. Smaller is cuter, larger is bigger cute.

An average retro Pug grows up to 12 – 16 inches tall and can weigh between 17 and 26 pounds. Ears do not look too shabby either. They are longer and can have some uprightness to them. This is so that they can hear your commands better and ignore them more quickly.

Protruding eyes are now “replaced” by sockets that lay flush with the skull. If you ever crossed eyes with a standard Pug, you will appreciate this very much.

The retro is, ironically, a fairly novel dog breed and it is still finding its perfect look. As breeding becomes purer, it might develop even more crystalized donor breed features.

Health Issues: Retro Pugs Medical Record

retro pug dog

Photo from: @retropugbenson

Allergic Reactions

Due to their brachycephalic snout (a trait they share with the French Bulldog) or, in the case of the retro Pug semi-brachycephalic muzzle, airway problems such as reverse sneezing, the occasional allergen might find its way inside the retro Pug’s body.

Most common allergens include mite dust, mold, pollen or even dog food. Breathing problems that cause reverse sneezing prevent the dog from expelling these allergens from their airways and they end up going into the lungs to then spread into the bloodstream.

You can tell your retro Pug is suffering from allergies if they continuously scratch their skin or rub the nose and mouth. The treatment usually involves lifestyle or diet changes (if it is a food allergy) like removing allergen-producing plants, foods or objects from the house.


While health benefits inherited from the likes of a Jack Russell Terrier work wonders in retro Pugs, some negative aspects can go through too. Standard Pugs are not that commonly affected by epilepsy and the condition, being hereditary, was probably inherited from the terrier genetics.

The causes of epilepsy in retro Pugs can be external or, simply, unexplainable. The latter is usually a congenital health condition. Epilepsy manifests as constant seizures that lead to a complete loss of muscle control in the dog.

Treatment mostly consists of medication containing phenobarbital and potassium bromide. There are more recent medicinal alternatives whose effectiveness is still being tested. This condition affects many dog breeds such as Corgis or Rottweilers too.

Hip Dysplasia

Congenital health issues are common in dogs that are cross or selectively bred. Retro Pugs and many other smaller, muscular dogs suffer from this condition.

The condition affects dogs that are still growing and causes the ball of the hip joint to separate from the socket. Being a gradual process made worse with dog movement, the cartilage and bone deteriorate causing discomfort, pain and difficulty moving the hip.

Lower severity cases can be treated with non-steroid anti inflammatory drugs to decrease the swelling and reduce pain while more developed deterioration requires surgery.

Skin Cancer

Mast Cell Carcinoma

Dogs like the retro Pug are most commonly affected by a particular type of cancer – mast cell carcinoma. Mast cells have the role of activating the release of histamine which causes the dog to scratch due to a constant itching sensation.

The mast cell carcinoma is common in retro Pugs due to their allergy sensitivity. Cancer causes are still unknown to the medical world and, in a majority of cases, they can be caused by hereditary or congenital factors.

It manifests as lumps or bulges under the dog’s skin. They can have different colors and properties such as red, rashy or ulcer-like.

Treatment, once more, depends on the stage of the cancer. If it is far progressed then it can be harder to treat. Chemotherapy, radiation and surgery can all be involved in the process.

Mast cell carcinoma is among the easier types of cancer in dogs to treat and, inherently, the earlier stages may only need a surgery to remove the mass.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

A dog’s skin, just like ours, is layered. The layer that interacts with the outside world is the one containing squamous cells.

The tumor can appear as only one sore or, in the case of Bowen’s disease, in several places at the same time. The causes are unknown but some data points to prolonged exposure to UV rays as a cause or at least catalyst.

In retro Pugs, the location these sores most often appear are the paw pads, nail bed and, of particular importance to retro Pugs, in the nasal planum.

Since the tumor mainly occurs on the paws, treatment is usually surgery and in the worst case scenario can mean amputating part or all of the lesion-covered area.

In case you want to read more about Pug skin conditions check our Pug skin problems guide to inform yourself on other potential health issues.

Important Things To Know About Retro Pug Puppies

retro pug mixed puppy

Photo from: @retropugbenson

Choosing puppies, the cute little beings we all love looking photos of, is probably the most exciting part of getting a canine friend. In contrast, the process of breeder selection can be the most exhausting experience of it.

If you narrowed down your choice of breeder, then all there is to know is another two thousand things. Jokes aside, we need to tell you that retro Pugs require a bit of special attention in terms of food selection, pet furniture and accessories.

Food Choices

Food allergies are a big deal with retro Pugs and, in that aspect, they inherited some sensitivity to certain meat proteins from their standard Pug lineage. They can include fish meat, beef or poultry allergies and it might create a question mark above your head as to what to feed them.

We went into the future to learn about your dilemma and came back to create the perfect article on best dog foods for your retro Pug. Do not be afraid to have more dilemmas. We will be waiting.

Beds, Toys, Shampoos And Other Accessories

Retro Pugs love having a designated spot in the house to rest and sleep. They have their preference too and price does not play a big role here. You are expected to know what they like. No pressure though…

Playful little buggers love to chew stuff and play fetch with you. When buying toys make sure they are not too big for them to mouth them or too small to be a choking hazard. Luckily, our Pupvine Agents managed to retrieve information on the 14 best pug toys in 2022.

If you have a yard where your retro Pug can take the occasional poop after some high-octane exercise, then you will need to wash that tiny beast. Again, we advise you to keep in mind their susceptibility to allergic reactions and choose the right shampoo.

Wondering what else on earth could we have thought of? Well, you planned to take your retro Pug beauty on walks I presume. How will you do that if you do not have the best collar for that muscular neck? Oh, if you get a retro Pug on the larger side, we recommend a hefty harness too.

That is it. I have nothing more to say on this topic.

Actually, I do have one last comment: you can find some or most of them on Amazon so no need to scour the city looking for anything.

Retro Pug FAQ(ts)

retro pug on a bench

Asking is knowing and we take questions seriously at Pupvine. These are some of the common questions about retro Pugs.

Are Retro Pugs Better Than Pugs?

Well, yes and no. While a retro Pug should, theoretically, be healthier and live longer than a standard Pug, it also takes a lot from the other breed. All of the breeds that can participate in producing a retro Pug are energetic and love their sport.

That means that, if you get a retro Pug with strong donor breed traits, you will have a lot on your hands. A standard Pug was bred with the purpose of companionship to humans and it excels in that role. Socialization with this mixed breed does not require much work.

In reality, it is a lottery. If you get more standard Pug behavioral characteristics in your retro Pug, you are lucky and a retro will be a great family dog. However, you can get a very standard Pug looking retro Pug that has traits of the other dog breed.

Not only will it impact the way you and your family interact with the dog but also its health. A highly-active retro Pug with a short snout will have a poor time fulfilling its exercise needs since the physical advantages of a longer snout were not passed on.

Such a situation will complicate your life. You will gradually learn what your retro Pug’s character is like and adapt to it but if you are looking for an effortless family dog fit you can only pray the puppy you got has the specific blend of features you want.

How Long Do Retro Pugs Live?

The answer to this question is more straightforward than the last one. Keeping in mind the whole crossbreeding of standard Pugs with other, healthier, breeds was to try and get rid of health problems, a retro Pug will live between 13 and 16 years.

High marks for life expectancy mean that you will enjoy your retro’s company for quite a while. Your kids will have a chance to create some fun and enjoyable memories with their canine buddy before going to college.

It is important to note that the lifespan can vary from one dog to another since retro Pug crossbreeding is not yet fully controlled.

How Expensive Are Retro Pugs?

Well, it is not excessively pricey and largely depends on the breeder. The retro Pug breed is not a pure breed and is still new in the dog breed world so the cost of acquiring a retro is not yet uniform.

Not being purebred dogs affects their price and retro Pug breeders can put a premium on their puppies. On average, the cost of acquisition is between $800 and $1500. Take this with a grain of salt as the best course of action is researching breeders and asking around.

In recent years, there was a rise in high-quality breeders of retro Pugs. Always ask for bloodline certification. Since the AKC does not consider retros a separate breed, you will not be able to apply for one with them but the breeder should have access to parent and lineage information.

Vintage Conclusion

We are at the end now. If you are still not about that retro Pug life, I refuse to accept it. They are amazing dogs that have a bright future in front of their breed. Hopefully the AKC recognizes them so they can be among the first Pug representatives in dog competitions.

I believe no more words of encouragement are needed and that you have made your mind up about getting one. As always, do extensive research on breeders and do not shy away from asking them anything that comes to your mind.

Farewell retro Mop friends.

Read Next: What Is A White Pug And Should You Get One Yourself?