Pugs Through the Ages

Pugs are growing in popularity all the time and, as we all know, people are becoming increasingly crazy about the furry little fellows. Many celebrities have been bitten by the pug bug and are helping to make the breed even more popular, such as Dennis Quid, Gerard Butler or Jessica Alba, but did you know that the history of pugs reaches as far back as 700BC and they have always been loved by the rich and famous? Time for a history lesson.


Pugs are thought to be one of the oldest breeds of dog in the world, perhaps originating in China some time around 700BC. It is has been thought that only emperors were permitted to own pugs, where they would be lavished with their own living quarters, servants and fed only the best quality meat and rice. Wouldn’t we all do that for our pug if we could?

It is believed that pugs were introduced to Europe in the 16th century when the Dutch discovered China and started to trade. The breed gained more fame in 1572 when a pug was thought to have saved the life of the Prince of Orange by barking and alerting him to assassins approaching his tent. The Dutch also brought the pug to Britain when William III came to take the throne in 1688 and after this eventually became popular in other European countries like Spain and Italy, where they reportedly rode on private carriages.

history pugs

Even the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte was no match for a pug. The story states that, before they were married, his wife Josephine had a pug named Fortune which he refused to let stay in the bed with them. Fortune had other ideas and bit Napoleon on the leg, while Josephine insisted that if the pug would not stay in the bed then neither would she. It should go without saying that Fortune was never refused a spot on the bed again.

The pug breed soared in popularity in England under the reign of Queen Victoria in the 19th century, who bred pugs of her own, which led to her making ear cropping illegal in 1895. Around the same time pugs were arriving in America and were officially recognised as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1885.


As the old adage goes, the rest is history. Pugs kept climbing in popularity, but were still always a favourite with royals for their small size, like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who even had personal pug chefs.Their popularity has increased even more with a little help from Hollywood and characters like Frank from Men in Black and a host of popular celebrities showing off their pets.

It seems pugs have been getting pampered throughout history.

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