Dog Breed Feature Part I – History of the Pug Dog Breed’s Name

The Pug dog breed has a very interesting history. They are first noted in the Shang Dynasty in ancient China and were bred as lapdogs. They made their way to Tibet and Japan and eventually to Europe via the Dutch East India Company. The Pug dog breed has an interesting European history with William the Silent, William and Mary, and Napoleon Bonaparte. And there is also an interesting history regarding the word pug.

History of the Word Pug
According to the Barron’s “Pugs: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual“, the first record of the word pug being used in the English language was in 1566. And it wasn’t used to refer to a dog. It was used as a term of endearment for a person. Later it came to refer to a courtesan or a bargeman. Later still (1600s) it came to mean demon, monkey, or sprite. It is possible that when monkeys were first referred to as pugs, it later came to describe the Pug dog breed as pugs because of the similar flat face. Others claim that the word pug comes from the latin word pugnus which means fist and the Pug dog breed’s face when viewed from the side resembles a closed fist. There is even a theory that the word pug is derived from the mischievous character Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The wrinkle on the Pug dog breed’s forehead is called a Prince Mark because the wrinkle resembles the Chinese character for prince.

Visit us next week for the history of the Pug dog breed with William of Orange, Napoleon, and the Pug’s history in the United States.

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