The Royal Pug

People love Pugs! There is something about that rogue face that tugs at the strings of your heart. This dignified toy breed is loved by royalty and commoners alike. These loving and intelligent little clowns are extremely popular, ranking 12th out of 154 dog breeds registered by the American Kennel Club in 2005. The Pug is the largest of the Toy Dog Group and weighs between 14 and 18 pounds. .

The Pug has a fascinating and somewhat controversial history. No one disputes that the English painter William Hogarth owned Pugs and portrayed them many times in his paintings. For example, Hogarth’s 1730 painting shows a black pug in “House of Cards.” In the same way, everyone agrees that the Pug became the official dog of the House of Orange after saving the life of the Prince of Orange, by raising the alarm at the approach of the Spanish in 1572. Later, when Guillermo de Orange went to England in 1688 to be crowned. King William III, took several Pugs. So we know how Pugs got from Holland to England, but controversy arises about how the breed got to Holland in the 16th century. A group of historians believe that the Pug developed as a result of crossing several small Bulldogs. Another group believes it to be a miniature form of the rare French Mastiff called the Dogue de Bordeaux. However, most historians think that the Pug originated in China and was brought to 16th century Holland by merchants from the Dutch East India Company. This is the story that we will assume to be true. The Pug is of Chinese origin and its development appears to predate the Christian era. Early records indicate that there were three types of short-nosed dogs bred by the Chinese. They were the Lion Dog (probably the Shih Tzu), the Pekingese and the Foo or Pug Dog. These dogs became very popular with Chinese royalty and the Pug breed was highly regarded by the emperors of China and lived a pampered existence. In fact, ordinary citizens were not allowed to own them. However, European merchants managed to obtain some Pugs and introduce them to Europe, notably Portugal, Spain, Holland, and England, which were the merchants’ home countries. There, these adorable little animals became the darling favorites of many royal families. We mentioned earlier that William III and Mary introduced pugs to Britain from Holland when they became king and queen in 1688 and the little dogs became favorites of the royal court. This small dog breed was also extremely popular in European courts and was a favorite of Napoleon’s wife, Queen Josephine of France. Later, Queen Victoria of England succumbed to the charm of the Pugs and introduced various Pugs into her home. This love of British royalty for Pugs continued until the 20th century with the Duke of Windsor becoming the owner of a Pug. However, by the time of Queen Victoria and her descendants, Pugs were no longer restricted to royalty. Members of the aristocracy also fell in love with Pugs.

Because the Pug was becoming very popular, English breeders were importing Pugs from other countries such as Russia, Austria, and the Netherlands. In 1860, British soldiers invaded the imperial palace in Beijing and brought several Pugs back to England. The black Pug was probably imported at this time. After this period, breeders established standards for the breed. In 1881, the Pug Dog Club of England was established and in 1883 the British Kennel Club formally recognized this breed club. By 1885, the American Kennel Club had accepted the Pug’s registration, but it was not until 1931 that a national American breed club was created. At the beginning of the 20th century, large quantities of Pugs were exported to the United States from the United Kingdom. These Pugs were expensive as they were still high class dogs.

Now we no longer have to be members of royalty or the upper classes to own a Pug. Pugs are low-maintenance dog breeds that require little grooming and get plenty of exercise while playing indoors. They are ideal for apartment living. Pugs tend to gain weight and should go for a walk when the weather is not too hot.

Many real and known people have been owned by a Pug. This began with the Chinese emperors many centuries ago and continued until the Dowager Empress of China who died in 1908. Many European royal families, including Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine, fell under the spell of the Pug. More contemporary (and fairly diverse) Pug owners included Sir Winston Churchill, Valentino, Andy Warhol, and Sammy Davis Jr. You can get free photos and additional information about the Pug at Pug Pictures.

Maybe it’s time you considered entertaining yourself with the rare Pug!

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