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The Jug Dog

The “Jug” is also sometimes referred to as the Jack Pug or Jack Russell Pug, and is a hybrid dog produced by the crossing of a Jack Russell and a Pug. This interesting combination makes for a small dog with a big personality, and the Jug is one of the UK’s most popular small hybrid dogs today.

For those that love the Pug dog but are concerned about the breed’s predisposition to inherited health problems, the outcrossing of the Pug with the Jack Russell can provide a good compromise between desirable Pug dog traits and Jack Russell health and vigour. The Jug contains all of the best aspects of both breeds combined, and is lively, cheerful and active, as well as being highly affectionate with people.

What makes a Jug?

Jug dogs are not considered to be pedigree dogs, and so the exact makeup of dogs of the type can vary considerably. In its most obvious incarnation, the Jug consists of 50% Pug breeding and 50% Jack Russell breeding, and this can be achieved either by the first generation crossing of a Pug and a Jack Russell, or subsequent breeding of existing Jug dogs. Jugs can also be back-crossed to either of the parent breeds, and so a Jug may contain much more Pug breeding than Jack Russell, or vice versa.

Jug history and popularity

While a firm history of the Jug dog has not been established, it is thought that the first deliberate crossings of a Pug with a Jack Russell took place in the USA during the 1960’s. The Jug has risen in popularity exponentially since then both in America and the UK, and can provide the perfect alternative for dog lovers who are looking for a small dog that is a little different from the norm. Today, the Jug is bred in reasonably large numbers within the UK, and an informal Jug enthusiasts club and forum has arisen online to promote the Jug and connect owners and potential owners of Jug dogs.


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What does a Jug look like?

Of all of the different hybrid dog types, the Jug is probably the one that shows the most distinctive variations in appearance across dogs of the same breeding. The Pug and the Jack Russell are very different from each other in appearance, sharing virtually no common traits in terms of their colouring, build, appearance and conformation. Just about the only thing that both dogs do have in common is that they are rather small!

Some Jug dogs look very similar to either the Pug or the Jack Russell respectively and do not show many obvious traits of the other breed type, while some are composed of a distinctive blend of both breeds. The signature curled Pug tail or squashed face are the most obvious indications of the Pug parentage in Jugs that possess them, while the Jack Russell build and rather more elongated face are often prominent as an alternative.

The Jug tends to be considerably lighter in build than the average Pug, and generally possesses the appearance of a rather hefty Jack Russell in terms of conformation.

Jugs can be seen in many colour variations and coat types, due to the wide spectrum of colours that the Pug and Jack Russell can produce between them, and the fact that the Jack Russell alone can present with any one of three different coat textures.

The personality of the Jug

The Jug is an incredibly intelligent and alert dog that will be interested in everything that is going on around them and keen to get involved! They are renowned for their outgoing natures and lively personalities, and require plenty of exercise and lots of activities that will help to keep their brains engaged.

They are affectionate and friendly with people, but will not stand for poor treatment or inconsistent handling, becoming unruly and destructive if incorrectly cared for or if their needs are not met. The intelligence of both of the component breeds make the Jug eminently trainable and capable of retaining a large number of training commands, but also means that they will find it easier to inadvertently pick up undesirable learned behaviours, and require clear and unambiguous training.

The Jug, being a small dog, can be housed happily within smaller homes, but will require plenty of time to be dedicated to their entertainment and exercise. Lots of outdoor play and activity should be provided, and plenty of walks as well!

Jug dog health

The Jug dog is one of the most interesting hybrid dog types in terms of the genetic variation between the two parent breeds. The Jack Russell is renowned for being long lived, healthy and robust, while the Pug dog hails from a much smaller gene pool and is exponentially more likely to suffer from a range of inherited health and conformation problems and defects.

One of the most obvious reasons for breeding the Jug dog is to introduce hybrid vigour into the Pug dog gene pool, producing dogs with many Pug-like traits but hopefully reducing the incidence rate of serious or common health problems.

The average Jug’s health will depend greatly on the health and genetic makeup of their parent dogs, and will hopefully fall more towards the Jack Russell side of the spectrum! However, one of the reasons for cross breeding from a pedigree Pug rather than breeding to another purebred Pug dog is to produce viable, healthy puppies due to the introduction of a new set of genes. While puppies of this lineage should in general be healthier than their parent, they will still have elevated risk factors for a range of conditions that may be found in the lineage of the parent breed.

While Jug dogs are not pedigree and will not come with breed paperwork outlining their ancestry, if the parent dogs themselves were pedigree, you should be able to view the breed lineage of the parent dogs. This can help you to establish if the parents of a Jug you are considering buying is likely to inherit elevated risk factors for any of the health conditions common to the parent breeds.

More information on the health of the Pug dog and the specific problems that they may potentially face can be found in our earlier article, here.


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