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The Pug: A Breed Of Antiquity

Feb 28, 2008
Pugs are little dogs with a big history. It is generally believed they originated in China sometime from 700 BCE to 400 BCE. Due to trade and wars, Pugs spread from the Imperial courts of China to the Royal courts of Europe. William, Prince of Orange was saved from an assassin by the timely warning of his Pug. Other famous Pug owners include Napoleon's wife Josephine and painter William Hogarth. The Pug used to be a lot taller and slimmer than they are today.

For such a small dog, the Pug has a very large history. They have gone through many changes over the centuries, but one fact has always been the same - they love being with people. Many famous people owned Pugs throughout history, which helped to spread their popularity among the fashionable of the world. Looking at their history shows us a glimpse of what living with a Pug is like.

The origins of the Pug are shrouded in mystery and controversy. Some say there is written proof that they existed in 400 BCE, but some insist that there was proof they existed as far back as 700 BCE. It is generally believed that Pugs were originally from Asia, most likely China. This is logical, since all other breeds of snubbed-faced dogs originated in China, in particular, the Pekingese. There is some thought that the snub-nosed dogs mentioned in Chinese writings around 700 BCE were actually Pekingese and not Pugs.

Small snub-nosed dogs in China were considered Imperial property. Chinese Emperor Ling To (168 - 190 CE) is reported to have any Pug-nappers be put to death. However, his Pugs had Imperial guards around them, so they were most likely safe. Back then it is thought Pugs came in both long and short coats, again suggesting a Pekingese influence. Pugs were also seen in many colors, not just the three colors recognized today (fawn, black and silver).

Pugs were seen and highly coveted by the first European explorers and traders with China. Gradually, they became the dog of the Royal courts of Europe. One of the most notable Pug owners was Dutch King William the Silent of the House of Oranges. His pet Pug was a masterful watchdog and warned his royal master in time to escape an assassin. The Pug then became the official dog of the House of Orange.

The Pug as we know it didn't come into being until the formation of a breed standard in the 1800's. Although Pugs had been longhaired, they now had to come in short haired coats in order to be shown. Pugs used to come in many different colors, but for some reason only three official colors are allowed in both the show rings of Europe and America.

Pugs quickly conquered the hearts and homes of the New World, where they were one of the first breeds to be approved by the American Kennel Club in 1885. A renewed interest in Pugs occurred after the release of the hit movie "Men In Black", featuring Frank the Pug, who played an alien on Earth. Pugs have always loved people and always will, as long as the breed survives. Hopefully, there will be an emphasis on breeding healthy dogs rather than show-winning dogs in the future. It's the least we owe the Pug.
About the Author
Jenny Donaldson has met Pugs and their owners on both sides of the Atlantic. A Pug is an old breed that makes a great family pet.. Ensuring that the breed is the right one for your family can be accomplished by studying basic Pug information.
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