What Pugs Used To Look Like? (Must know Facts)

  • By: Fabrizio
  • Date: April 3, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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Pugs used to be a lot different than they are today. In fact, the Pug as we know it is a relatively new breed, having undergone significant transformations in just the last few hundred years.

So, what pugs used to look like?

Pugs used to look like medium size, stocky dogs with wrinkled faces and pointed ears. They were bred in China and were known as “little lions.” Pug owners would often dress their pets in elaborate costumes and jewelry to show off their social status.

Today, pugs are still popular pets. The wrinkles on their faces have also been exaggerated, so they now look more like miniature bulls than lions.

In this article, we will discuss why their appearance has changed and what implications this has had on the breed.

Let’s get started!

Where did pugs originally come from?

The Pug’s origins can be traced back to China, where the ancient breed was bred as a companion dog for Chinese royals two hundred years ago. Pugs looked very different from the plump, short-faced dogs we know today.

They had long faces and bodies, and their tails curled up over their backs instead of down like most other dogs.

Interestingly, the long-snouted Pugs we see in paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries are closer in appearance to another popular breed today. In fact, it is believed that the Pug and the French Bulldog share a common ancestor.

While the Pug’s appearance has changed significantly over the years, its personality traits have mainly remained the same. Pugs are still known for being loyal, loving, and playful companions. However, the changes to their appearance have had some implications for the breed as a whole.

One of the most noticeable changes is the Pug’s shortened snout. This change was likely made to make them more aesthetically pleasing to humans. However, it has also led to severe health issues for the breed, such as difficulty breathing and an increased risk of heatstroke.

Why were they bred?

Pugs were originally bred to be companions for Chinese emperors. They were bred to have wrinkled faces and short muzzles so that they would look like lions, which were considered to be symbols of good luck.

What’s more, during the Tang Dynasty, Emperor Xuanzong had a pet pig dog named Chaiyu. When he died, his son, Emperor Mingdi, inherited him. He renamed the dog Puguang, meaning “the little one,” because he resembled a small pig.

The pugs that we know today are the result of years of breeding. In the 1800s, Queen Victoria of England fell in love with the breed and helped to make them popular.


Are pugs selectively bred?

Yes, pugs are selectively bred. They were originally bred as a type of bulldog, and they were bred for their short muzzles specifically because that’s what the upper class in China wanted at the time.

The shorter muzzle meant that the pugs couldn’t pant as well, so they always looked really hot and bothered – which was also appealing to the wealthy people in China.

What did they initially look like?

At the beginning of the breeding stage, the Pug was created to be a miniature version of the Mastiff. They were bred to be smaller than other dogs, and their coat was typically black. Over time, the coat color changed to fawn (a light brown) and then eventually to apricot fawn or silver fawn.

For years, the inhumane process of breeding Pugs has resulted in these dogs developing a number of health concerns due to their purposefully flat faces.


How did they become popular?

The Pug breed grew in popularity among the wealthy as it evolved. People who liked the idea of owning a lion-dog were attracted to the Pug.

Today, the Pug dog breed is one of the most common types of dogs. There are several reasons for this. To mention a few examples:

  1. They are very loyal and loving
  2. They are also intelligent and trainable
  3. They are relatively inexpensive to own
  4. They do not shed much hair
  5. They are good family pets
  6. They are great watchdogs

All in all, the Pug is a wonderful companion animal. It is easy to care for, does not require much exercise, and is generally quiet. The only downside is that they can get overheated easily and need to live in a cool climate. But other than that, they make great pets!

What is the most common type of Pug?

There are various pug types, but the most common type is the Fawn color Pug. This type of Pug typically has a light brown coat with a black mask and distinctive black markings on its ears, face, and legs.

Some fawn pugs also have a “splash” of white on their chest. Other types of pugs include the Black Pug and the Silver Pug, which are less common but still fairly popular. Pugs come in a variety of colors and patterns, so there’s sure to be one that suits your taste!

What is the rarest Pug?

The rarest Pug is the black Pug. Although they are less popular than the fawn color pugs, black pugs have a uniqueness that makes them stand out from the pack.

Unfortunately, their rarity makes black pugs often come with a hefty price tag. But if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind pup, a black pug is the way to go!

How many breeds are in a pug?

Chinese breeders crossed numerous flat-faced dogs during the breading process to choose which Pug would continue the line. These include:

  • The Lion dog
  • The Pekingese
  • Lo-Sze

These dogs all had similar characteristics, including short muzzles, long bodies, and large heads. However, the pugs were selected because they had flatter noses, which made them look more like lions.

Why do Pugs look like monkeys?

Pugs are bred to have a specific look, and that look is often described as monkey-like. But there isn’t one apparent reason why Pugs look the way they do. It could be because of how they’re bred or their facial muscles are structured.

Whatever the case may be, Pugs are certainly unique-looking dogs, and there’s no doubt that they’re one of the most popular breeds around. They’re also known for being friendly, loving, and good with kids, so it’s no wonder why people love them so much!

Pugs before and after breeding

Selective breeding has made many differences to the breed. These changes include a shorter nose, smaller heads, less wrinkled skin, and straight tails.

Modern-day Pugs are more likely to suffer from severe health issues like hip dysplasia and epileptic seizures, and eye diseases leading to a shorter life expectancy than other breeds due to genetic disorders.

The modern Pug is a lot different from its ancestors.

The Chinese used it as a guard dog because of its loyalty. Over time, the breed spread throughout Asia and Europe.

During the 1800s, people began crossing the Pug with other breeds, such as the English bulldog. By the 1900s, the Pug had become popular among American families.

Today, there are many different types of pugs. Some are long-haired, some short-haired, and some have curly tails. But, all pugs have a black mask around their eyes and a white spot under each eye.

Pugs: Ancient and mysterious

The Pug is one of the oldest breeds of dogs. It is thought that the Pug originated in China around 400 B.C. Over the centuries, the Pug has been bred into many different types of dogs, including Frenchies, English bulldogs, and Boston terriers. Today, there are over 400 recognized varieties of pugs.

The Pug is still very well-loved. In fact, it is one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world. They are known for their distinctive features, like large heads, short noses, and big ears. Their personalities range from playful to severe, depending on the individual dog.



In this article, we’ve learned about the history of the Pug. We’ve seen how the Pug evolved from its original form to what it looks like today. We’ve also learned why the Pug was developed, and we’ve discovered some interesting facts about the breed.

Pugs remain one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. And there’s no doubt that their unique appearance is a big part of what makes them so special.

So next time you see a Pug, take a moment to appreciate all the history and evolution into making them the beautiful dogs they are today!

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