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History of Pugs


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Pugs belong to a select group of 8 breeds tracing back to Ancient China. They date as far back as the Han and Tang Dynasty, around 150 BC and were refined for centuries for the sole purpose of entertaining the inhabitants of the Imperial City. Long before the Communist Party condemned pet dogs in China as a bourgeois luxury, pugs had safely made their way to the Royal Courts of Europe - still playing the role of the court jester. They were not only comic in appearance, they had the perfect temperament - faithful, eager, clever, affectionate, good-natured, hedonistic and irrepressibly high spirited.

Pugs remained popular through the 18th century, but slipped in popularity in the early 19th century. After 1860, a new wave of pugs were imported from China with shorter legs and the now-familiar "pug nose". Popularity was regained when pugs became the favorite of Queen Victoria, who banned the cropping of pugs ears, feeling it was unnecessarily cruel. The companies that made the famous Vienna Bronzes began including pug dogs in their animal repertoire during Queen Victoria's reign. In the early part of the 20th century, pugs - along with cats and frogs - became the most popular Vienna Bronze animals created in human attitudes and activities. They have retained their popularity and value to such a degree that an American branch of Bermann Company guarantees to take the bronze figures back at any time for the purchase price.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were probably the most famous pug fanciers in the 20th century. They took their pugs with them to almost all social activities. Pugs became popular in the United States in the 20th century both as pets and show dogs. Famous U.S. pug parents included Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sylvia Sydney, Lena Horne, Sammy Davis Jr., Andy Warhol, as well as Grace Kelly. Recent silver screen appearances include one of the title roles in
Otis and Milo (1989) and the alien, Frank, along with Tommy Lee Jones, in Men In Black (1997).

It is a tribute to the democratic nature of pugs that in the latter part of the 20th century and entering this 21st century, pugs have made happy homes not only with the rich and famous, but entwined themselves in the heartstrings of the common man and woman, making us all feel like kings and queens.