Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Jug
Tom Bayly / Wikimedia.org

No, not a vessel to place your flowers in, the Jug is actually a mix between the feisty Jack Russell Terrier and the calm and confident Pug. As the parent breeds have such vastly different personalities, appearances and exercise requirements, individual Jugs can differ considerably from one another and it is not easy to predict how a Jug will turn out.

A small dog with a sturdy body and short limbs, the Jug tends to be more streamlined than the Pug, though less athletic than the Jack Russell. Their triangular ears flop sweetly to the side of their forehead and they have deep brown eyes that almost seem able to convey messages (with that message usually being 'What are you eating? Can I have some?!').

About & History

The Jug was actually one of the original designer dogs and is thought to have originated in the early 1970s – far more recently than most other pedigree hybrids. Although this cross-breed has been around for several decades, there is a still a great deal of variation of both the appearance and the personalities of each Jug, as their parent breeds (the Jack Russell Terrier and the Pug) are so different in so many ways. To get a better idea of where the Jug has come from, it’s a good idea to read about each of their parents’ histories.

The Pug

While it’s true that the Pug has become incredibly famous within the last decade or so, many are surprised to learn that they are in fact an ancient breed that were developed long over two thousand years ago, likely around the year 400 B.C. The Chinese aristocracy bred them as companions and they were seen as a status symbol.

It wasn’t until the 1500s that the Pug was brought to Europe, when it became the official dog of the House of Orange in the Netherlands. The Pug of long ago would have looked very different from the one we know today,with a less ‘squished’ face, a leaner body and longer limbs. Though all Pugs would have originally been fawn, those with black coats came into existence in the 1800s.

Just recently, the Pug has come under some criticism, with veterinarians becoming concerned about the many health issues associated with the breed. Their breathing, in particular, is a point of concern and many Pug advocates are suggesting that we breed for dogs with longer snouts. Out-breeding them with another less brachycephalic dog is a fantastic way of reducing the conformation related health problems that they can experience.

The Jack Russell Terrier

The Jack Russell Terrier is a cheeky chappy that originated in England though was soon exported to Australia where it was further developed. A hunting dog by nature, the Jack Russell was traditionally employed to flush prey, such as rabbits, out of their homes underground. Their name comes from a man named Reverend John Russell, who played a large role in their early history.

They were bred from breeds, such as the Fox Terrier and the now extinct English White Terrier, with the aim being to create a dog with tenacity and immense courage when on the hunt.


Jug Large Photo
Remiller186 / Wikimedia.org

Though the Jack Russell and Pug are both small dogs, the physical similarities pretty much end there! These two breeds are so dissimilar that it is no surprise that Jugs are not all uniform in appearance. They will typically have bodies that are less muscular and wiry than the Jack Russell but more defined than that of the Pug.

They have a wide and flat forehead that is often wrinkled and their ears originate from the top of their skull, hanging down and widely spaced apart. Their eyes are an expressive dark brown and can be quite bulbous in some breed members. Most animals will have a longer muzzle than the Pug and much less facial wrinkling. Their tail may curl sweetly over their back or may hang straight out like their Jack Russell Parent.

An adult Jug measures from just 28cm to 33cm and should weigh between 6kg and 8kg. Obesity, however, can be real issue in the breed and many dogs will weigh far more than this. Jugs have short and straight fur that can be several colours, including black, fawn, white and brown. The typical Jug will have a fawn coat and a dark black facial mask, with or without black ears.

Character & Temperament

The Jug may inherit more of its genes from its spunky, high-energy Terrier parent or from its chilled out, entertaining Pug parent. Many will develop into a good mix of the two, with the ability to have mad bursts of activity with plenty of ‘quiet time’ in between. Most dogs are people-oriented and enjoy being close to their family, never keen to miss out on any action. They tend to get along well with people of any age but should be supervised when around young kids, as they are known to get rowdy when excited.

Some Jugs have a higher prey drive than others and may find it hard to resist temptation when off lead outside. Due to this, many owners keep their Jugs on the lead at all times. Having access to a fenced-in garden can provide a safe area in which they can explore without menacing the local wildlife. Despite the potential for a high prey drive, many can learn to live in harmony with other pets as long as they are exposed to them from when they are puppies.


Photo of Jug puppy
Misteri82 / Wikimedia.org

Jugs can often test their boundaries and like to manipulate situations to benefit themselves. While they have the ability to do well in training sessions, some individuals may try to wriggle their way out of them! Owners must learn to be firm with them and to not accept any ‘clownish’ behaviour.

Though often brash and confident, the Jug does not take well to any form of punishment or criticism so trainers are advised to use positive reinforcement methods. Incredibly food driven, tasty treats can be used as valuable bribes when mastering difficult tasks and cues.


Mixing two pedigree dogs reduces the risk of genetic health issues and tends to result in a healthier dog. Despite this, there will inevitably be certain health issues that the Jug can experience throughout its lifetime.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS)

KCS is colloquially known as ‘Dry Eye’ and is a painful condition that tends to occur in both eyes and results from a lack of tear production. Dry eyes may look normal, or they may appear dull and lacklustre.

A special test known as a ‘Schirmer Tear Test’ can quickly and easily measure tear production and should be carried out at each annual health check in breeds that are predisposed. A dog with KCS will be prone to chronic eye infections and corneal ulceration and will need life-long eye drops to manage the condition.

Allergic Skin Disease

Many dogs are prone to allergic skin disease but Jugs seem to be over-represented. Dogs typically start to show signs between one and six years of age. Signs can vary but typically include paw licking, facial rubbing and generalised scratching. Animals may be so itchy that they even break their skin, leaving it red raw and infected.

It is sometimes possible to determine what a dog is allergic to and then to either avoid the allergen or to prescribe a course of immunotherapy to eliminate the allergy. For most, their allergic skin disease is something that they have to continually manage throughout their lifetime.


Food-driven and with some breed members being quite lazy, many Jugs will become obese. This is not an inevitable condition and owners can prevent this from occurring by limiting their calorie intake and increasing their exercise. Many animals put on weight after their neutering surgery, as their metabolism can slow a little and they become somewhat less active, so switching to a lower calorie food at this time can be beneficial.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Each Jug will have different exercise requirements, as they have the potential to take after their fit and active Terrier parent or their more sedentary Pug parent. As a rule of thumb, 45 minutes to an hour of hiking or running each day should be sufficient to keep these little guys content.


A low maintenance dog with a coat that requires little upkeep, owners will only need to brush the short fur of the Jug once a week. At the same time, their ears should be checked for any build-up and cleaned out if necessary.

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