Breed of The Week: History of the Pug

The history of the Pug dates back to ancient China

Pugs are most often described as a small dog with big personality. Pugs have a compact body, a squished short-muzzled face and a curly tail. Their coats are most often fawn or black but can come in a variety of other colors as well. Pugs also have an underbite because their lower teeth protrude farther than their upper teeth and they have two distinct ear shapes: rose or button Classified in the toy group of dogs, Pugs can be a great choice for almost any type of owner, as they are extremely adaptable, and they do well in almost any type of home ranging from an apartment to a farm.

A Long and Complicated History

The exact history of the pug is unclear but the breed does date back to ancient China and the Han Dynasty where Pugs, known then as Lo-szes, were highly regarded by emperors and often received royal attention and service, making the Pug one of the oldest breeds of dog. By the early 1600s, China was becoming immersed in trade with Europe and Dutch traders brought the breed back home where they changed its name to Mopshond.
Pugs quickly became a favorite for royal courts after the breeds introduction to Europe and some pugs even played a role in shaping some of the families’ histories. One of those Pugs, named Pompey, has been accredited with saving the life of his master, William Prince of Orange. In 1572, Pompey alerted his master that the Spaniards were approaching , which resulted in the House of Orange’s official dog being declared as the Pug. Later when William III of Orange and his wife Mary II went to England to take over the throne in 1688 they brought Pugs with them an introduced the breed to even more people.

A Rise in Popularity

By the 17th century, the popularity of the breed soared and Pugs that began to be bred throughout different parts of Europe all had a different name. For example, Pugs in Spain were known as Carlins and in Germany they were known as Mops. Also, the breed also had a variety of uses and jobs throughout the different European countries they were present in like being employed in the military as guard dogs and tracking people, or riding with coachmen on private carriages.

By the 1800s there were two lines of the breed becoming dominant in England. One of those dominant lines was called the Morrison line and was thought to be created from dogs owned by Queen Charlotte, wife of King George II. The other line, known as the Willoughby line of pugs, was thought to be created from imported dogs from Russia and Hungry by Lord and Lady Willoughby d’Eresby.

During the bred’s rise in popularity throughout Europe, Pugs were still being bred by royal families back in China. When the Imperial Palace in Peking was invaded by British soldiers in 1860, they brought Pugs and Pekingese-type dogs back with them, marking the first time a large number of dogs had been brought out of China since the 16th century. Two dogs from the Chinese line were bred and produced a puppy known as Click, who was an exceptional dogs and is credited with shaping the Pug into the modern dog we know today. Black Pugs also came out of China and were first exhibited in England in 1886.

The Pug Makes It Stateside

Pugs did not make their appearance in the United States until after the civil war and the breed was not recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1885. The Pug Dog Club of America was founded in 1931 and received recognition from the American Kennel Club that same year.

Pugs remain to be a popular choice of breed for people when deciding what dog is right for them and their family. Pugs thrive off of the attention of their owners and were purely bred to be a companion dog, unlike a lot of other breeds that were created for specific jobs like herding or hunting. They truly do want to spend all of their time with their family and make a great lap dog. They spend most of their time following their owners around, often times leading to the breed being referred to as a Shadow.

Pugs love families and have an affinity towards children. They have a mind of their own and a strong will, but are rarely aggressive which is what makes them great with kids. While calm, Pugs are also known for their sense of humor and to be silly and playful. They are low-maintenance companions, only shedding slightly, and usually only grow to be between 14 and 18 pounds. Also, although a Pup is considered to be compact in size, the breed is widely known as “multum in parvo” meaning “much in little” which refers to their dynamic personality regardless of its size.

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Based in Toronto Canada, Animal Rights Advocate and Relentless Volunteer!

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