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History of the Pug

Pug looking up at a camera while standing in greenery outdoors

The Pug is a small dog breed that originated in China during ancient times. They were highly valued by Chinese emperors and were kept as lapdogs in imperial palaces. In the 16th century, Dutch traders brought Pugs to Europe, where they quickly became popular with European royalty. Pugs were also popular in America during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The breed’s distinctive wrinkled face and curly tail have made it a popular choice as a companion animal. This is the reason why it is now one of the most recognizable breeds in the world. Pugs are known for their playful and affectionate nature, making them great pets for families and individuals alike. Keep reading to know more about their appearance and learn the history of the pug.

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What Was the Original Purpose of a Pug?

Pugs were originally bred as lapdogs for Chinese emperors and members of the imperial court. They were highly prized for their small size, playful personalities, and affectionate nature. Their wrinkled faces and expressive eyes made them particularly appealing to the Chinese elite. Hence, they were often kept as lap dogs.

Pugs were also used as companion dogs for ladies in waiting and were sometimes given as gifts to visiting dignitaries. As the Pug’s popularity spread to other parts of the world, they were also used as show dogs and as companions for the wealthy. Today, Pugs continue to be popular pets, known for their outgoing personalities and loving nature.

They are also used as therapy dogs and in some cases as service animals. Overall, the original purpose of Pugs was to be a companion dogs, prized for their affectionate nature and small size.

What Did Pugs Evolve From?

Person petting a pug's head

Pugs are believed to have evolved from the short-faced Molosser dog breeds. These dogs were likely brought to China by traders along the Silk Road. They were then further developed by Chinese breeders. This is because the Chinese emperors and members of the imperial court were particularly fond of these dogs. Hence, they were highly prized as lapdogs and companion animals.

The Pug’s origins can be traced back to ancient China, specifically to the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). These dogs were depicted in art and pottery and were also known as “Lo-sze” or “Foo dogs” in China. Over time, the Chinese breeders refined the Pug’s features, accentuating the wrinkles on its face and shortening its snout.

Pugs were also crossbred with other small breeds like the Pekingese. This led to the further development of the Pug’s unique features such as its small size and distinctive wrinkled face. Pugs were also exported to other parts of the world, such as Europe, where they were further developed. The breeders in those countries also improved the features and characteristics of this breed. This is why today there are different variations of Pugs, like the British and American Pugs.

It is also believed that Pugs were developed by crossing local dog breeds with small Mastiff-type breeds. These canines were brought by Dutch traders and were used to attract the attention of the Chinese imperial court. The Chinese developed these dogs to suit their own taste, which led to the small, wrinkled, and playful Pug.Top of Form

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How Did Pugs Originally Look?

Portrait of a pug outdoor

Pugs originally looked quite different from the Pugs we know today. They were likely similar to other short-faced Molosser breeds, with a larger and more prominent snout. Likewise, there were fewer wrinkles on the face. These dogs were known for their small size, muscular build, and short, smooth coats. They were often black, although other colors such as fawn and apricot were also present.

The Pug’s ears were also more erect and pointy rather than the droopy ears we see today. The Pug’s eyes were also more prominent and rounder. Chinese breeders refined the Pug’s features to accentuate the wrinkles on its face and shorten its snout. This led to the Pug’s distinctive and expressive face we know today.

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Why Were Pugs Bred with Flat Faces?

Portrait of a pug on a white background

Pugs were bred with flat faces, also known as brachycephalic, as a result of selective breeding. Flat faces, or shortened muzzles, are a characteristic that was deliberately sought after by breeders. This is because the Pug’s flat face and wrinkled skin were considered desirable traits. This is because it gave the dog a unique and distinctive appearance.

However, breeding for a flat face has also led to certain health issues associated with brachycephaly. Pugs and other breeds with flat faces have a higher risk of respiratory problems. For example, shortened snout can make it difficult for them to breathe. They also have a higher risk of eye problems, dental issues, and skin fold dermatitis. It’s important to be aware of these health issues when considering getting a Pug or any other brachycephalic breed as a pet.

The Chinese emperors and members of the imperial court were particularly fond of these dogs. The Pug’s short snout and wrinkles on its face were considered particularly appealing and were accentuated through breeding.

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