Dog Breed Feature Part II – History of the Pug Dog Breed

The Pug dog breed has had a very interesting history. He may have had connections with William the Silent, the king and queen of England William and Mary, as well as with Napoleon Bonaparte. He may also be responsible for the flat nose of the modern Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Possible History of the Pug with Prince William the Silent
A dog which many believe was a Pug dog breed named Pompey is credited with saving the life of the Prince of Orange known as William the Silent. Apparently, the dog barked and alerted Prince William of Orange when assassins approached his tent to kill him. This happened in France during William the Silent’s campaign against Spain during the Eighty Years’ War. There is some doubt about whether Pompey was a Pug or Kooikerhondje because some describe the dog as light colored while others say he was light colored with orange markings. It is also disputed whether the dog had a flat face.

Historical Connection with William and Mary
It is said that William the Silent’s grandson William III of Orange went to claim the English throne with Mary Stuart of England and their Pug dog breed. William and Mary, as they are commonly known, ruled as King and Queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1689 – 1702. From there, the Pug dog breed slowly began to gain popularity across Europe.

Connection with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?
According to Wiki, it is likely that the Pug dog breed was bred with an older version of the King Charles Spaniel. The flat face of the modern Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is likely due to its European heritage with the Pug.

History of the Pug with Napoleon Bonaparte
During the French Reign of Terror (1793-4) Joséphine de Beauharnais was imprisoned in the Carmes prison while her husband was executed. It is said that Joséphine’s only visitor allowed was her Pug Fortune. Therefore, Fortune was used to conceal messages to and from her family. Later Joséphine de Beauharnais married Napoleon Bonaparte and became the first Empress of the French. This is the account given by Wiki. However, the account given in the Barron’s “Pugs: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual”, Fortune was used to conceal love letters to and from Napoleon and Joséphine. This book also claims that Fortune had bitten Napoleon in the leg on his and Joséphine’s wedding night.

The Pug Dog Breed in America
According to the Barron’s “Pugs: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual”, the first Pug did not come to the United States until after the Civil War. Even though it was one of the first 15 dog breeds to be recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), it declined in popularity. The Pug has slowly risen back into American hearts and is now the 26th out of 173 most popular dog in the US (it was 13th out of 155 in 2006).

There is a lot more interesting history on the Pug dog breed in the Barron’s “Pugs: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual” and on Wiki. Check them both out then visit us again in a couple of days regarding the Pug’s characteristics.

Pugs (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)

If you didn’t have a chance to check out our most recent article regarding the history of the Pug dog breed’s name, please check it out. You can also find out more information on the Pug’s characteristics next week.

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2 Responses to “Dog Breed Feature Part II – History of the Pug Dog Breed”

  1. raisingdaisy Says:

    This is so interesting! Great post. :)

  2. ssidnei Says:

    So much love…

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