Where do Pugs come from, and what were Pugs bred for?
Pugs are believed to be an ancient breed that originated in China. These small dogs were bred as companions of emperors dating back to 206 BC–200 AD.
The Pug dog breed was an exclusive pet of the nobles. Outsiders can only own these small dogs if they were given as a gift. Tibetan monasteries also kept Pugs as pets.
Progenitors of the Pug dog breed remain debated. Most experts concluded that Pugs are descendants of the Short-haired Pekingese.
However, some believe the crossing of small Bulldogs created the Pug breed. On the other hand, others say that these small dogs are smaller versions of the French Mastiff.
The first Pugs arrived in Europe in the 1500s through the Dutch East India Company. During this time, Pugs slowly became favourites of European royalty.
A Pug named Pompey saved the life of William the Silent, the Prince of Orange, by alerting him to his would-be assassins. Because of this, the breed became the official dog of the House of Orange, the Netherlands’ ruling house.
In 1688, a Pug accompanied William III and his wife, Mary II, in the quest to overthrow James II, Mary II’s father, and take the English throne.
Napoleon and his wife was a big fan of this toy dog breed and owned a Pug named Fortune. Other royalties who fell in love with the Pug breed include Duke and Duchess of Windsor, King Louis XIV, and Queen Victoria.
Originally called Lo Chiang-Sze in China, Pugs had various names as these small dogs travelled to different parts of the world. The Pug dog breed was called Mopshond in Holland, Doguillo in Spain, and Carlin in France.
Pugs got their final name when their facial expression was compared to a Marmoset Pug monkey in the 1700s. Before this happened, many thought that the name of the Pug breed comes from the Latin word "pugnus," which means "fist." The reason for this is the small dog’s appearance is akin to a clenched fist.
More Pugs were brought to England after the British took over the Chinese Imperial Palace in 1860. The Pug dog breed is recognised by breed clubs like the Kennel Club as well as the American Kennel Club.
The Pug has become one of the most popular breeds in the UK. This small dog is a cherished family companion, but he also makes a good therapy dog and service dog.