Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Other names for this breed are Chinese pug, Dutch bulldog, Dutch mastiff, and Mini mastiff. In Germany and Holland, pugs are called mops; in Finland, they are mopsi; in France, carline; and in Spain, doguillo.
The pug breed is very ancient, and we know this because in China, back in the time of Confucius, there are records of a short-nosed type of dog. The Chinese emperors and nobles took these dogs out with them when they went hunting, and the bigger dogs followed along behind the chariots. But the smaller dogs got to actually ride in the chariots, so in my opinion, it would be better to be a small dog.
By the time of the Shang Dynasty, which was 400 years BCE, there were dogs that we would call pugs today, but in Chinese they were called Lo-Chiang-Sze. They were mostly lap dogs, and only members of the emperor's court were allowed to own them. One emperor, Ling To (168-190 CE) liked these dogs so much that he gave the females the same rank as his wives. The pugs were fed only the best meat and rice, and they were guarded by soldiers. And if anybody stole one of the dogs, that person was put to death.
The faces of pugs are kind of like the faces of the Chinese fu dogs, which are also called lion dogs. Statues of these fu dogs were put outside temples to guard them. Several breeds have this same look, including the Pekingese, the Tibetan Spaniel, and the Lhasa apso. Which means they probably have a common ancestor, like maybe the pug.
Buddhist monks in Tibet also began keeping pugs, and after that, the breed became popular in Japan, and then in Europe. William, the Prince of Orange in Holland, had several pugs, and he took them with him wherever he went. When Holland was at war with Spain in 1572, one of Prince William's pugs saved his life by warning him that somebody was coming to try to kill him. Later on, when the prince became King William II of England, his pugs attended the coronation, and they all wore orange ribbons.
After that, pugs became very popular in England, and and they were popular in France, too. Joséphine, who later married Napoleon Bonaparte, had a pug named Fortune, and while Joséphine was in Les Carmes prison, Fortune carried secret messages to her family. The Italians also loved pugs. In 1789, a lady named Mrs. Piozzi wrote in her journal, "Every carriage I meet here has a pug in it."
British soldiers sacked the Chinese Imperial Palace in 1860, and they took a whole bunch of pugs and pekingese dogs back to England. Black pugs arrived in England and were first exhibited in 1886. Queen Victoria had a lot of pugs, and she bred many of them herself. Some of her pugs were named Olga, Pedro, Minka, Fatima, and Venus.
Meanwhile, in the United States, there was this thing called the Civil War going on, so people had other things to think about besides importing new dog breeds. But after the war was over, pugs began arriving in America, and the AKC recognized the breed in 1885. The Pug Dog Club of America was founded in 1931.