A cross between the centuries-old and famous lap dog, the Pug, and the tireless English hunting dog turned beloved pet, the Jack Russell Terrier, the Jug is a one-of-a-kind crossbreed. After all, the JRT and the Pug differ substantially in looks and nature. While some Jugs are vocal, alert, and yappy, like the Jack Russell, others are chilled-out cuddly sloths, more like the Pug. It’s difficult to know what to expect.
So, are Jug dogs a healthy breed? What do they inherit from their Jack Russell Terrier side, and what do they get from their Pug half? How do you best care for this unique breed? Let’s take a look:
Are Jugs a healthy dog breed?
The Jug is a happy, brave, playful breed and generally a healthy breed. This breed is robust, thanks to their Pug side, with the stamina of the Jack Russell Terrier. Thanks to their small dog strength, they get along well with both children and adults, with little risk of injury.
One of the main reasons breeders created the Jug was to create a breed with good health!
Do Jugs have breathing problems?
People began to cross the Jack Russell with the Pug to create a dog with better health than a Pug would have. After all, everyone knows the Pug has an unusual facial shape with large protruding eyes and a short, flat muzzle.
Instead, the Jug combines the Jack Russell’s athleticism, agility, and healthier facial shape with the best of the Pug’s traits. This results in a healthier dog than either a purebred Jack Russell Terrier or Pug would be.
That being said, a Jug can still sometimes suffer from many of the health problems a Pug or Jack Russell suffers from, albeit to a significantly reduced extent. You can expect your Jug to snore and snuffle, for sure. Your Jug may also struggle to walk in hot weather, especially if they inherit the JRT’s thicker coat. Your Jug’s breathing problems should be mild compared to a full-bred Pug’s, though.
How much exercise does a Jug dog need?
Being a small dog with the potential for minor breathing problems, you have to be careful about how you exercise your Jug.
Your Jug needs 45 minutes to an hour of exercise every day. Breaking this activity up into two or three sessions will give your Jug more benefit. For example, you could give your Jug a short walk, then toss a ball around the yard and a game of tug later on. Or, you could give your Jug a walk just before bed to exhaust them.
With their short flat snout, the Jug has limited stamina at times. Walking during hot weather is usually out of the question, for example. However, it’s usually easy to work your Jug’s exercise needs into your day.
Your Jug also needs mental exercise to tire them out. The Jug is an intelligent breed, after all. This intellectual stimulation could be in the form of food puzzles and treat-dispensing toys or just hiding your Jug’s food around the house. Mental exercise toys are a great way to keep your Jug occupied when you have to leave them at home by themselves!
To what minor health problems is the Jug prone?
Jugs are healthier than a pure Jack Russell or Pug as a crossbreed. Indeed, crossbreeds are healthier than any purebred dog. Plus, a reputable breeder will test the parent Jugs for inheritable health conditions before breeding them. Nevertheless, there are still some common Jug health problems that you should be aware of.
One condition that affects the Jug is their brachycephalic syndrome. This is where the facial anatomical feature your Jug inherits from the Pug side causes difficulty in breathing.
Brachycephaly is what makes your Jug snore and what makes it difficult for them to cool down by panting. If your Jug’s face is especially flat, be sure to keep them indoors during hot weather, and don’t overdo exercise.
Other conditions that may affect your Jug include skin problems like demodectic mange and atopy dermatitis. These inherited conditions occur in Jugs with thicker coats and more Pug-like fuzz. These conditions can lead to uncomfortable itchiness and bald patches from scratching. Thankfully, we can easily treat these allergic skin conditions with special shampoos, medication, or both.
What severe conditions affect the Jug?
Some Jugs suffer from sick sinus syndrome, where their heart’s upper right chamber stops generating a normal, appropriate heartbeat. This causes your Jug to become dizzy and disoriented, randomly begin panting or even faint. Having a pacemaker fitted is the only way to treat this life-limiting condition.
A small number of Jugs are prone to seizures. This is probably related to the skull abnormalities of the Pug and may be due to conditions like Pug dog encephalitis. If your Jug ever has a seizure, you should get in contact with your vet right away.
Jugs with particularly bulging eyes may develop keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This is just a fancy word for dry eye syndrome. Affected Jugs produce too few tears, or their tears evaporate too quickly or leak out of their eyes, leaving them dry and uncomfortable. Severe cases of keratoconjunctivitis may cause blindness, but the condition is easily treated. Your vet should examine your Jug’s eyes regularly at all checkups and prescribe eye drops if necessary.
What inherited conditions can a Jug get?
The Jug is also prone to dislocation disorders like patellar luxation and hip dysplasia. Luxating patella is where your Jug’s kneecap slips out of its normal location, while hip dysplasia is when the hip becomes dislocated.
Jugs are thought to inherit a predisposition towards these conditions. Your Jug may be born with the groove in their thigh bone not curved deeply enough, or maybe their soft tissues are too loose or tight to support their kneecaps properly, for example. However, patellar luxation and hip dysplasia are generally first triggered by a Jug moving their body incorrectly, causing injuries like tearing and overstretching.
So, avoid your Jug jumping from heights or running on hard surfaces too much. Equally, keep your Jug at an ideal weight, too, providing the correct exercise for them to build the strength to support themselves. It’s a bit of a balancing act.
Your Jug is unlikely to develop any of these conditions. After all, most breeders will only breed Jacks and Pugs who don’t have the genes to pass on these health conditions. Plus, being a crossbreed makes inheriting health problems even more unlikely. But being aware of the potential problems that can affect your Jug means you’ll be better able to keep your Jug happy and healthy for years to come.