The Pug is described as multum in parvo, which means “a lot in a little.” And that’s the Pug: a lot of dog in a little space. He’d be a lot of dog even in a big space, because the Pug’s personality is multum in anything!
He’s a short stocky dog with a lot of attitude. And wrinkles. Some people confuse the Pug with the French Bulldog, but the Pug is smaller with a black face and his ears are not erect. He may also be confused with the Boston Terrier, but the Pug never has white trim.
Pugs were developed in ancient China as lapdogs. The facial wrinkles were an essential breed feature. The vertical forehead wrinkles were thought to resemble the Chinese mark for “prince.”
Dutch traders brought Pugs back from China, and Holland became the Pug’s adopted homeland. In 1572, the Pug became the official dog of the House of Orange after a Pug named Pompey saved the life of the Prince of Orange by alerting him that enemy soldiers were approaching.
The breed’s popularity spread to other European countries. In 1688, a Pug accompanied William III and Mary II from the Netherlands to England, where they accepted the throne.
Napoleon’s then-future wife, Josephine, used her Pug to carry messages back and forth when she was imprisoned.
The Spanish artist Goya painted Pugs.
In the late 19th century, Queen Victoria kept and bred many Pugs, and many of her relatives adopted the breed as a favorite. The Pug was the most popular royal dog in England during her reign.
The Pug was known as Mopshond in Holland, as Mops in Germany, and as Dutch or Chinese Pug in England.
The AKC recognized the Pug in 1885.
The Pug comes in silver, apricot/fawn, or black coat colors. The mask and ears are dark. The tail is naturally short and curved.
Because of his brachycephalic face (the term for short-muzzled dogs), the Pug can overheat easily and may snore or gag due to an overly long soft palate.
Pugs have a definite tendency to be overweight!
A Pug named Woodchuck won Best in Show at the Westminster dog show.
Pugs were featured in the films Men in Black, The Adventures of Milo and Otis, and Hotel for Dogs.
Owners include the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Valentino, Tommy Hilfiger, Billy Joel, Rob Zombie, Paula Abdul, Mickey Rourke, Denise Richards, Debra Messing, Tori Spelling, Jessica Alba, Hugh Laurie, Chris Kirkpatrick, Dennis Quaid, Goran Visnjic, Gerard Butler, Tom Welling, Ted Danson and Dave Ramsey.
The Pug is the 30th most popular AKC breed, down from 14th most popular a decade ago.
Do you own a Pug? Have you spent time with one? Let’s hear what you think about this fascinating breed in the comments! And if you have a favorite breed you’d like us to write about, let us know that, too!
Read more about some special Pugs:
Learn more about dogs with Dogster:
About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.