Pugs often are described as a lot of dog in a small space. These sturdy, compact dogs are a part of the American Kennel Club's Toy group, and are known as the clowns of the canine world because they have a great sense of humor and like to show off. Originally bred to be a lap dog, the Pug thrives on human companionship.
As the Pug's popularity spread throughout Europe, it was often known by different names in different countries. In France, it was called Carlin; in Spain Dogullo; in Germany Mops; and in Italy, Caganlino.
Marie Antoinette had a Pug named Mops before she married Louis XVI at the age of 15. Another famous Frenchwoman, Josephine Bonaparte, had a Pug named Fortune. Before she married Napoleon Bonaparte, she was confined at Les Carmes prison. Since her beloved Pug was the only "visitor" she was allowed, she would conceal messages in his collar to take to her family.
In the early 1800s, Pugs were standardized as a breed with two lines becoming dominant in England. One line was called the Morrison line and, reportedly, was founded upon the royal dogs of Queen Charlotte, wife of George III. The other line was developed by Lord and Lady Willoughby d'Eresby, and was founded on dogs imported from Russia or Hungary.
Pugs were first exhibited in England in 1861. The studbook began in 1871 with 66 Pugs in the first volume.
Two Pugs named Lamb and Moss were brought to England. These two "pure" Chinese lines were bred and produced Click. He was an outstanding dog and was bred many times to dogs of both the Willoughby and Morrison lines. Click is credited with making Pugs a better breed overall and shaping the modern Pug as we know it today.
Pugs became very popular during the Victorian era and were featured in many paintings, postcards, and figurines of the period. Often, they were depicted wearing wide, decorative collars or large bows around their short, thick necks.
Pugs were introduced to the United States after the Civil War, and the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. At first, Pugs were very popular, but by the turn of the century, interest in the breed waned. A few dedicated breeders kept breeding and, after some years, the breed regained popularity. Founded in 1931, the Pug Dog Club of America was also recognized by the AKC that year.