History of the Pug – What do Their Wrinkles Mean?

Do all those wrinkles on a Pug's face have anything to do with the fact that this breed of dog is by far one of the oldest in recorded history? Nope, that's not the case. However, you do get the bragging rights that come with knowing that you own a dog whose bloodlines can be traced back to ancient China and the year 400 B.C.!

The Pug's popularity spread like wildfire among the Buddhist Monks of Tibet where it quickly became of "dog of choice" with the Holy ones. As word of the Pug's popularity was passed from Monks to outsiders, the breed was adopted by Chinese and foreign nobility and royalty as well.

And that proved to be a good idea, at least as far as Holland's Prince of Orange (later to become King) is concerned. He credits his "Mopshond" (the Dutch name for "Pug" taken from the Dutch phrase "to grumble") for saving his life by "spreading the alarm" when the Spaniards attacked the Prince's home at Hermingny in 1572. Not know much for their barking, perhaps his Pug alerted the household by snoring extra loudly or passing even more gas than usua.

The name "Pug" didn't come about until sometime in the 1700's when, it is believed, the "Pug Dog" received his name due to the similarity between the facial expression of our furry friends and the facial expressions of the marmoset or "Pug Monkeys", another popular pet at that time.

Known as "Mops" in Germany and "Carlin" in France, our beloved Pug had carved out a historical niche for himself long before the breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885.

So, What's Up With All Those Wrinkles?

Pug legend has it that the ancient Chinese were always looking into wrinkles, canine or otherwise, for patterns that resembled Chinese characters. The most revered wrinkle patterns where the three that formed the Chinese word for "Prince." Look at your Pug's forehead and you can probably figure out the rest. If three wrinkles were good, more were even better. So, the Chinese bred the dog to produce wrinkles and ? it worked.

People who don't know any better often think that the Pug is related to the Shar-Pei, but the truth is that their closest relative is the Pekingnese who shares a similar bloodline.
Plenty of famous people share their homes with a Pug or two including 'NSync's Chris Kirkpatrick, Piano Man Billy Joel, and the late great Empress Josephine Bonaparte who hid messages to her imprisoned husband under the collar of her Pug "Fortune".

Shar-Pei (source)

But the breed is not without some pretty famous Pugs as well, and there is probably none more famous than "Frank" from the movie Men in Black and Men in Black II.

With almost 3,000 years to reach perfection, the Pug that's snoring happily next to your chair comes from a long line of well-bred and well-loved dogs that deserve their place in your heart and home.

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