Skip to Content

Retro Pug: Complete Dog Breed Guide To The Old Fashioned Retromop

Retro Pug

Have you heard of Retro Pug and wondered what it is? Also called the Wondermop, the Retro Pug is an attempt to keep all the charm of our beloved Pugs, but without all the associated health issues.

While Retro Pugs ideally have far fewer health problems that come with a traditional Pug, they are still prone to some problems, particularly related to their eyes. Make sure you keep a box of canine eye cleansers on hand to avoid infections.

To get a better understanding of Pugs vs. Retro pugs, we’ve consulted The Pug-Dog – Its History and Origin, the original guide to Pugs before they became the modern dog we know today. 

These dogs are not quite the same as other designer breeds like the Standard Bernedoodle or mini Labradoodle. This is because these dogs are a response to the outcry and concerns over the many health problems that Pugs face. In fact, modern Pugs suffer so many issues because of their extremely short noses, bulging eyes and related problems, that many are questioning the ethics of whether they should be bred at all.

The AKC and other official Kennel clubs do not recognize the Retro Pug, since it is still a mixed breed. However, The International Retro Pug Club is a non-profit dedicated to improving the health of Pugs.

So, what is the answer? Well for some Pug lovers, the answer is to breed the modern Pug back to its original, healthier proportions that they used to have. The image below shows a painting of a Pug in 1860, which shows a dog with longer snout and a more natural head:

old fashion Pug

Compare this old fashion Pug in the painting above to a picture of a modern day pug and you may see why modern Pugs get so much criticism.

modern day pug

History Of The Pug And Retro Pug

The Pug has a long and interesting history that goes back to ancient China, where they were considered royal companions for Chinese emperors. Fast forward to the 16th century, and Pugs made their way to Europe, capturing the hearts of nobility, including Queen Victoria of England.

Over time, Pugs went through some changes, especially in their faces. Breeding focused on creating a flatter face, which resulted in the modern Pug with its cute, squished nose and unique look. But this emphasis on appearance came with some health problems like breathing difficulties, eye issues, and trouble with overheating.

To address these health concerns and bring back the Pug’s older look, the Retro Pug emerged as a deliberate attempt to create a dog that resembles the Pugs of yesteryears.

Retro Pug vs. Pug: What Does The Retro Pug Look Like?

Retro Pug vs. Pug: What Does The Retro Pug Look Like?

Retro Pugs come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the specific mix. The aim is to get a dog that keeps the Pug’s charm but with a longer snout and fewer health risks associated with those squished faces.

When it comes to looks, Retro Pugs are a fun mix of their Pug and other breed parents. They might have the Pug’s adorable round head, expressive eyes, and curly tail. Their coat can be fawn, black, tan, silver fawn brindle, or a mix of colors. Some Retro Pugs have wrinkly faces like Pugs, while others have smoother skin.

They tend to have eyes that protrude a bit like the Pug, and you may see signs of Beagle in them, like larger, floppy ears.

In terms of size, Retro Pugs are generally small to medium-sized. They can weigh anywhere between 15 to 30 pounds (6.8 to 13.6 kg) and stand around 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 cm) tall at the shoulder.

Once again, you can compare the picture below which shows a normal Pug besides a Retro Pug for reference.

normal Pug besides a Retro Pug for reference

Temperament Of A Retro Pug Dog

The trainability, intelligence, and personality of a Retro Pug can vary depending on the individual dog and the mix of breeds involved. Here are some general traits associated with Retro Pugs:

Retro Pugs are typically intelligent and eager to please, which can make them trainable. However, they can also be a bit stubborn at times, inheriting traits from both the Pug and the other parent breed. Positive reinforcement methods, such as rewards and treats, tend to work well in training Retro Pugs. Consistency, patience, and using short training sessions can help them stay engaged and focused.

Retromops are generally considered to be moderately intelligent. They can pick up commands and learn new behaviors with proper training and guidance. However, they may not be as quick to learn as some other highly intelligent breeds. It’s important to adapt training methods to suit their individual needs and abilities.

Retro Pugs often inherit a mix of personality traits from their parent breeds. They tend to be friendly, affectionate, and social dogs, just like Pugs. They enjoy being around their human family members and are known to be good with children. Retro Pugs can also exhibit some of the characteristics of the other parent breed, which may add variety to their personality traits. They can be playful, energetic, and curious, displaying a sense of adventure and exploration.

They may be more prone to chasing small animals than normal Pugs, and display more alertness, with a greater tendency to bark, dig, and roam than regular Pugs.

Health Issues With A Retro Pug Dog

Retro Pugs, like their Pug counterparts, may still face certain health issues despite efforts to reduce them through crossbreeding. They should have less respiratory problems related to brachycephalic airway syndrome. Still, here are some common health concerns that Retro Pugs may encounter:

  1. Brachycephalic Ocular Syndrome and Eye Problems: Retro Pugs may still be prone to brachycephalic ocular syndrome, which includes conditions like dry eyes, corneal ulcers, and protrusion of the eyeball. They may also be susceptible to other eye problems such as cherry eye, entropion (inward rolling of the eyelids), or cataracts.
  2. Skin Problems: Retro Pugs may experience skin issues such as allergies, dermatitis, or skin infections. Any skin folds require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent infections or irritations.
  3. Luxating Patellas and Legg-Calvé-Perthe Disease: Retro Pugs can be prone to orthopedic problems such as luxating patellas (knee joint displacement) and Legg-Calvé-Perthe disease (hip joint disorder), which can lead to limping and discomfort.
  4. Obesity: Pugs, including Retro Pugs, have a tendency to gain weight easily. Obesity can lead to various health issues, including joint problems, heart disease, and respiratory difficulties.
  5. Diabetes and Hypothyroidism: Retro Pugs may be at a higher risk of developing diabetes, a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels. Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid gland, can also occur in Retro Pugs and may result in weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems.
  6. Allergies and Skin issues: Retro Pugs may be prone to allergies, which can manifest as skin irritations, itching, hair loss, or ear infections.

It’s important for Retro Pug owners to be vigilant about their dog’s health, provide proper veterinary care, and adopt preventive measures to minimize the risk of these health issues. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can also contribute to their overall well-being. Early detection and prompt veterinary attention are crucial for addressing any health concerns that may arise.

Training & Exercise Needs Of A Retro Pug Dog

A Retro Pug needs training and exercise to stay healthy. Getting to know its needs is key to keeping it happy and fit.

The following table summarizes the recommended training and exercise for a Retro Pug:

Training & Exercise Needs Of A Classic PugDescription
Activity LevelRetro Pugs are moderate-active. Walks will help keep them in shape. They need at least 30 mins of daily activity, with extra playtime.
VitalityThey must be active due to their tendency to gain weight, breathing problems, and other health issues.
Grooming RequirementsRetros are low-maintenance. Brushing once or twice a week, depending on coat type, is enough.

Remember that Retro Pugs still may have brachycephalic skulls so physical activity can be hard for them. Keeping them cool during exercise is essential. Also, use positive reinforcement techniques for training to keep your pet motivated.

Suggested workouts: walking, swimming, playing with toys for Dental care such as rope toys. Avoid strenuous activity.

Feeding And Nutrition Requirements For A Retro Pug Dog

Caring for a classic Pug breed can differ from one pooch to another. To feed your Pug right, consider its body shape, body weight, age, health, and exercise level

Since Pugs can be prone to obesity, it is essential to monitor their food intake per meal. Offer only high-quality pet food that satisfies their dietary needs. Furthermore, make sure they have access to clean drinking water always.

Our advice? Abstain from offering your classic Pug human food or too many treats, as this could lead to weight gain or stomach issues. Stick to pet-specific diets with an appropriate balance of protein, carbs, fats plus the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Grooming And Maintenance Of A Retro Pug Dog

When it comes to looking after your retro pug dog, there are some essential steps you must take. Grooming and maintenance can help prevent health problems and keep them looking their best. Here are five tips for caring for your retro pug:

  1. Brush their coat using a soft-bristled brush made for dogs.
  2. Trim their nails monthly or as needed with guillotine dog nail trimmers.
  3. Clean their ears with a pad soaked in an ear-cleaning solution doggy ear wipes every week.
  4. Bathe them with a mild dog shampoo formulated for sensitive skin once a month and make sure to dry them properly.
  5. Check their teeth for signs of decay or gum disease, brushing them with canine toothpaste. Use an oral hygiene additive in their water.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Retro Pugs Live?

Retro Pugs have an average lifespan of around 10 to 15 years, similar to that of Pugs. However, individual lifespan can vary depending on various factors such as genetics, overall health, diet, exercise, and quality of care provided.

Are Retro Pugs Healthy?

Retro Pugs aim to reduce some health issues associated with modern Pugs, but they can still be prone to certain health problems. Common concerns include brachycephalic ocular syndrome, eye problems, skin issues, orthopedic conditions, obesity, diabetes, hypothyroidism, allergies, and more. Responsible breeding and proper care are crucial for their well-being.

Are Retro Pugs Good With Other Pets?

Retro Pugs have unique personalities. They can be great with other animals if trained properly. But, their socialization skills can change this.

To make sure they get along, socialize them from a young age. Teach them good behavior around other animals. Supervision is important because Retro Pugs are a small breed and prone to injury.

Every pet has its own character, so results may vary. Introduce them slowly and observe.

How Much DoesA Retro Pug Puppy Cost?

As mixed breeds, Retro Pug puppies are typically not that expensive and may cost between $600 and $1500. Ethical breeders may ask more for their dogs due to extensive health tests and careful breeding.

Final Thoughts On The Retro Pug Dog Breed

The Retro Pug Dog Breed is something special. Dog lovers love them for their look, character, and personality. They are bred to resemble the original Pugs with longer noses and less extreme features. Although they are not yet a recognized breed, they may be the future for Pugs as a healthier option to purebreds.


Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.

Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

Got Questions? Video A Vet 24/7, Any Time, Anywhere 🌎

Vetster connects pet owners to thousands of licensed veterinarians ready to provide the best online vet services through video chat

Book an online vet now