Sunday, June 24, 2012


(I've updated this post with more photos of pugs at the end)
Pug about 1885
The history of Pugs is a long one, dating back almost 3000 years to China.  In the late 16th century they were brought to Holland by sailors of the Dutch East India Trading Company.

Soon they were the darlings of royalty everywhere. 
Portrait of Princess Ekaterina Dmitrievna Golitsyna
with a Pug puppy, 1759, Pushkin Museum

Painter and engraver William Hogarth was a Pug enthusiast.  His 1745 self portrait features his Pug, Trump. Trump looks like he weighed about 25 to 30 pounds.  Tate Gallery, London.

Queen Victoria popularized Pugs as pets in the 19th century.  The Victorian upper class went gaga over the breed.
Queen Victoria with one of her many Pugs.

Long-legged varieties were all the rage until the end of the 19th century.  This photo was taken about 1890.

Short legged or long legged, they all enjoyed a lap snooze.
About 1910

Pugs take center stage in many Victorian era cabinet cards. These two photos are from The Cabinet Card Gallery.

Pugs have a propensity to be portly. This little Pug could have benefited from more exercise.

Like many of our contemporary lap dogs, the Pug has gotten smaller with more exaggerated features. Today the Pug weighs between 14 and 18 pounds and stands between 12 and 14 inches tall,
much smaller than the dog in this Victorian photo.

To find out which breeds are related to Pugs, check out this genetics website.  
You might be surprised.

More pug photos
Guess who loves this Pug the most.
Pug Pups

Queen Victoria's Pug 
Duke of York with Pug


  1. Gosh how they have changed! Interesting post! Have a lovely Sunday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Fun reading about the history of the pug and how it has changed over the years.


  3. I see most of these have a longer nose, are not so short and heavy built, and their tails aren't so tight. I would like to find one that has kept these traits! I think the health would be better if they could breath easier, their tails would not be so far up on the back and corked so tight that it effects the spine. Any idea if there are still pugs like this around today?

    1. I agree with this post...would love to see the old style pug make a come back...maybe it would have less breathing issues (I have had and loved pugs for 20 years now!) other dog like a pug!

    2. My guess is that you could find some of the retro-type Pugs in Europe, maybe even in the UK, where many dogs owners buy health insurance. Some of the larger health insurers are no longer insuring breeds with severe breathing problems. This indicates to me that breeders will soon be creating dogs with less exaggerated features. At least I hope so.


      This is a link to a german website,a group of pepople are actually doing this for a while and the health of this pugs is really better, not to mention other things.

    4. I breed jugs- jack russell cross pug which look very similar to these.we've had no breathing or eye problems.they look stunning, are active and VERY loving!!

    5. My pug looks very much like these longer legged , shorter snouted ones. In face she is the image of the one by the door that is tall and leggy :-)

    6. i have one that is like on the pictures

  4. When old fashioned traits are lost, they can't be easily recovered. Breeders can mate their Pug to a different breed to reclaim certain traits, but then you don't have a "purebred" dog anymore. Depending on how much footwork you want to do, you might find a Pug breeder in an obscure place, perhaps a remote part of England or Germany, that always maintained the old fashioned breed. This is a good article on the topic

  5. Hi I have a pug girl she is more of the old fashioned type she has a more pronounced muzzle and the black hairs in her coat that some of the very early pugs had she is a Irish import registered with the IkC and the kc she has no breathing problems although she still snores when she s asleep she is such a character love her to bits

    1. Hi Cheri -do you have a photo of your Irish pug girl. If so, send to my email and I'll add it to the post.