The International Retro Pug Club is a breeders’ non-profit association that works for much improved health for the Pug breed. One key tool for health improvement of the Pug is the use of a donor breed. The donor will supply the Pug with both an improved anatomy and improved genetics, both which will greatly contribute to improved health. At the same time the Pugs we breed shall be Pugs in look and behavior.
The amount of donor breed in a Retro Pug is about 20-5% and the donor breeds allowed are Parson Russell Terrier, leggy Jack Russell Terrier, Miniature Pinscher and Danish-Swedish Farm Dog. These breeds are generally very healthy and have a low inbreeding coeifficient. They can give the Pug anatomical characteristics that it lacks, such as more slenderness, a firmer connective tissue, embedded eyes, longer nose and good nostrils and a longer back and neck as well as greatly improved genetics.
As a matter of fact, the breeding of Retro Pugs can be seen as a modern variant of the breeding of Pugs in the Netherlands in the 16th century, when the first Chinese predecessors of the Pug came to Europe. The Chinese dogs had chondrodystrophic legs and a moderately flat nose. They were combined with the Dutch rat/terrier dogs. Here is an image that visualises the breeding of that time: