Skip to Content

12 Most Interesting Pug Facts You Didn’t Know

Pugs are the charming yet playful dogs that the internet has grown to love and adore.Thanks to their funny expressions, unusual vocalizations and great sense of humor, Pugs are often described as the clowns of the canine kingdom.

But behind these odd-looking dogs, there’s much more to the Pug than you know. They have a colorful history filled with royalty, legends, folklore and secret societies. Today, we’re counting down the twelve little known facts about the Pug. 

RECOMMENDED: 31 Precious Pug Mixes

Most Interesting Pug Facts

Throughout the years, Pugs have been integral in many societies throughout the centuries. I mean, how can you not love these dogs? While there are many more facts, here are our favorite Pug facts that you really should know.

1. Pugs are known as the Dutch Mastiffs.

To some people, these little companion dogs are known as the Dutch Mastiff, though sometimes called the Miniature Mastiff or the Dwarf Mastiff in some parts of Europe. However, this nickname is a misnomer. Pugs are neither Dutch nor mastiff-type dogs

And if you don’t know what a mastiff is, they’re the biggest and often baddest dogs in the canine kingdom. For example, you have the Tibetan Mastiff – a mighty Chinese dog breed known for its strong-will, protectiveness and bravery.

There’s also the Great Dane – a German mastiff that’s widely regarded as the tallest dog breed in the world. But the Pug? They don’t seem to fit the bill.

So what actually led to this ridiculous nickname for such a sweet, gentle and petite dog?

When Pugs first arrived, they were called mastiffs mostly because of the wrinkles on their face, which resembled the wrinkles found on nearly all mastiff-type dogs. Even the body contours and coloring of the coats were similar to that of a mastiff.

So in other words, this nickname had everything to do with resembling physical traits and nothing to do with genetics. Needless to say…this nickname didn’t catch on for obvious reasons.

2. Pugs were popular in Ancient China because of their facial wrinkles.

Wrinkles are one of the signature physical traits of the Pug. Not only do they have wrinkles all over their bodies, but also on the face. 

In fact, it would be weird for these dogs to not have wrinkles. Even the American Kennel Club states that the Pug’s wrinkles should be large and deep to be considered the breed standard. 

However, did you know there’s a significance to the wrinkles?

In Ancient China, Pugs were regarded as royal companion dogs meant only for the emperors and aristocrats back in the day. 

But giving the Pug such an honor wasn’t by coincidence or chance. Rather, the facial wrinkles are to be thanked for this.

The vertical wrinkle that sits on the Pug’s forehead has a name, called the “Prince Mark” due to its close resemblance to the Chinese character for the word “prince.”

For this reason, breeders would try to breed Pugs that had a more pronounced, and thus beautiful, prince mark. If the mark was formed by three wrinkles with a vertical bar, it was considered to be the perfect prince mark. 

3. Pugs are frequently featured in Chinese legends.

Because Pugs are one of the oldest dog breeds to originate out of ancient China, is it really a surprise that they’re a part of many ancient Chinese legends?

For example in Tibet, Pugs are actually called “lags kyi,” which directly translates to “hand dog” in English. This nickname comes from the ancient Tibetan legend regarding the origins of these dogs. 

And according to this legend, when a human places his or her hand on a newborn eagle shortly after being hatched, the eagle will transform into a Pug! Hence, being called “hand dog.”

Another Chinese legend is that the Pug is the descendant of the Foo Dogs – due to the close physical resemblance. Foo Dogs are mythical creatures in ancient China.

They were believed to be imperial guardians who, according to folklore, are able to transform into dragons when the opportunity calls for it.

In fact, it’s still very common to see statues of Foo Dogs at the doorway of temples, homes and buildings. They are still believed to protect against burglars, bad fortune and evil spirits.

4. The most famous dog in India is a Pug.

With so many beautiful dog breeds originating from India, such as the Chippiparai and the Rajapalayam, it’s hard to think that a Pug has become the most famous dog in the country.

Well, it’s true. Back in 2008 when Indian telecom giant, Vodafone, set out on a new advertising campaign, they chose a Pug to feature in their marketing.

The story of the campaign depicts a Pug named Cheeka, who was persistent in following a child to his or her every-day locations. 

In fact, their campaign tagline was: “Wherever you go, our network follows.” And surely enough, that’s exactly what Cheeka did. 

The Pug was seen as loyal, steady and dependable, which lined up perfectly with the messaging and how the telecom network wanted to portray their services.

Needless to say, the campaign was a hit. And shortly after, Cheeka became a celebrity dog that appeared on billboards, newspapers and television all around the country.

5. Pugs are the mascot of the House of Orange.

Throughout the centuries, Pugs have been no stranger to royalty. After all, they’re known to sit on the laps of rulers, aristocrats and emperors. 

But what’s really interesting is that the Pug has become the official dog breed and mascot of The Netherland’s House of Orange. 

Like the Royal Victorian Order in the United Kingdom, the House of Orange is a dynastic order that consists of the several generations of Netherlands’ royal family. 

But how did a funny-looking Chinese dog breed become the official breed of The House of Orange?

Well, this leads me to my next fact…

6. A Pug once saved William the Silent’s life.

The Netherland’s House of Orange was founded in 1544 by none other than the Prince of Orange, named William the Silent. 

And in 1572, as the Dutch were trying to claim their independence in the midst of the Eighty Years’ War with the Spanish, William the Silent was the prince that led the Dutch forces into battle.

As such, he was a huge target with enemy forces. 

So one quiet night while William the Silent was asleep in his tent, Spanish assassins invaded the camp in an attempt to take out the Dutch military leader.

Fortunately for the prince, his trusted and loyal Pug, named Pompey, quickly woke up and started to alert his owner of intruders with loud barking and by starting a ruckus. 

With all the commotion from his Pug, the prince woke up and had the assassins apprehended. In other versions of this Dutch legend, the assassins invaded William’s home and he had escaped thanks to Pompey.

Either way, Pompey the Pug was the hero of this story. And because of this, the Pug became the mascot of The House of Orange. 

However, there’s been a lot of debate over what the actual dog breed of Pompey was. Some historians believed he was a close relative of the Pug, while others think he was another breed altogether. 

Still, the consensus is that Pompey was indeed a Pug. 

7. The Duke of Windsor’s passion was his Pugs.

Among British royalty, plenty of famous dog breeds come to mind, such as the Pembroke Welsh Corgi and the Cocker Spaniels. 

But did you know that Pugs had been popular with the British elite since the 17th century? 

When King William arrived from the Netherlands with his Pugs, Queen Victoria instantly fell in love with these wonderful dogs. However, it was the Duke and Duchess of Windsor that took the love for pugs to another level.

During his life, he owned at least 11 pugs! The most famous one being Dizzy, who was named after British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. The Duke also had another Pug named Diamond, famously known to sleep in his bed. 

Diamond ran away from home just two weeks prior to the Duke’s death. But miraculously, the Pug returned home just a few hours before the Duke actually passed away.

8. Pugs are the mascot for a secret society.

The secrets out. Pugs are the mascot for a centuries-old secret society. Shortly after the Roman Catholic Church banned Freemasonry, a growing group of Catholics still wanted to participate in the Freemason society.

So, they ended up forming their own secret society called, “The Order of the Pug.” They also had some…well, interesting rituals that fit into the theme. 

For example, newcomers were initiated by wearing a dog collar. And to get into the entrance, they had to scratch at the door.

One of the most interesting rituals for newcomers is having them blindfolded and led around on a leash, all while members barked at them like a dog.

Kind of a funny animal for an ultra-secretive group, right? But of all animals, why did they choose the Pug?

It’s well documented that The Order chose the Pug because they see these dogs as a symbol of loyalness, trustworthiness and steadiness.

And if you’ve ever owned a Pug, you know there’s no better words to describe these dogs!

9. A group of Pugs is called a “grumble.”

Animals are no stranger to interesting and unique collective nouns. For example, a group of jellyfish is called a “smack,” while a group of elk is called a “gang.” Even a group of crows can be called a “murder.”

But my favorite is the Pug’s. We already know that the collective noun for most dogs is a pack. However, this isn’t the case with the Pug.

A single dog is a Pug, while two dogs can be called Pugs. But three or more Pugs? We call this a “grumble.”

There’s no official explanation for why this is. However, one realistic explanation is that Pugs are known for their unique nasal vocalizations, such as snorting or grumbling.

Another possible explanation is that the Pug is called the “Mopshond” in Holland, which comes from the Dutch word for “to grumble.”

Is this why a group of Pugs is called a Grumble?

10. Black Pugs tend to shed less than other colors.

If you’re allergic to dog fur, Pugs may not be the best choice. After all, they’re notorious shedders that’ll likely trigger reactions in allergy-sensitive owners.

But if you are allergic yet your heart is set on a Pug, there is some hope. Pugs with a black coat tend to shed less than Pugs with other coat colors!

Although other colored Pugs, such as the apricot or fawn, have double coats, the black colored pugs have just a single coat.

Generally, dogs with a double coat shed much more than their single-coated counterparts. With double the fur, there’s definitely double the opportunity for shedding!

This is not to say Black Pugs don’t shed at all. They just have less fur to shed.

11. Pugs have a hard time swimming.

Some dogs are natural swimmers that absolutely love being in water, such as the Poodle or the Golden Retriever. But this isn’t the case for all dog breeds.

As a matter of fact, the Pug is one that typically doesn’t enjoy swimming

But this isn’t because they’re inherently scared of water. Rather, it’s because they tend to have a much more difficult time swimming than other dogs.

You see…Pugs are brachycephalic dog breeds, meaning that they develop a short head and snout due to a genetic defect in development of the bones in their skull.

When dogs are swimming, they dog paddle while constantly keeping their heads high above water to breathe. However, the Pug’s facial structure restricts airflow, thus making it much harder to breathe normally. 

But breathing can become even harder in certain unnatural positions, such as when they’re paddling to stay afloat. 

As a result, Pugs will need to tilt their heads upward more than usual while they get into their swimming motion. And while swimming with an overly-tilted head, it can become extremely difficult to stay afloat.

12. A Pug once bit Napoleon on his wedding night.

As silly as this story may sound, it’s true!

Napoleon’s wife, Josephine Bonaparte, owned a loyal Pug named “Fortune” long before she was married to Napoleon.

Even while Josephine was held captive in the Reign of Terror, her trusted Pug helped deliver messages to her worried first husband. 

However, on the night of Napoleon and Josephine’s wedding, the bride refused to kick Fortune off their marriage bed.

This resulted in Fortune infamously biting Napoleon for trying to physically force the dog off the bed, leaving a permanent scar that would remain on Napoleon’s ankle for the rest of his life.

So….what was your favorite Pug fact? Were there any interesting facts that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!

Posts you may like: