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What is the history of the pug?

Our question this week was:

What is the history of the pug?


Hi – thanks for your email. We have a little information about the pug in our dog breed profile that I’ll share with you here.

The pug has been referred to as “Multo in Parvo,” which means “a lot of dog in a small space.” In their little bodies, pugs pack a lot of love and boundless enthusiasm. This small, affectionate oriental breed began as guard dogs in ancient Chinese temples.

As with many breeds, the true history of the pug is uncertain. What is known is that dogs resembling the pug we know today were part of Buddhist monasteries in Tibet before 400 BC. They then appeared in Japan and Europe, becoming the favorite for the royal courts. By the mid-1500s, the pug was a popular dog in Holland.Throughout history, the pug has played many important roles. In 1572, the pug became the official dog of the House of Orange in Holland after saving the life of William, Prince of Orange, by giving alarm at the approach of the Spaniards at Hermingny. In 1790, the pug became an important pet of Josephine, wife of Napoleon. While imprisoned at Les Carne, Napoleon received secret messages from Josephine hidden within their pug’s collar. Eventually, after British soldiers attacked the Imperial Palace of Peking in 1860, the pug was brought to England. The breed’s popularity continued to rise and was soon imported to the United States.

The pug was admitted to the American Kennel Club in 1885.

An article that might be helpful to you is Pugs – Choosing a Pug.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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