The Allure of Pugs

by Cathy Collins

“Look, Mom! It’s pugs!” squealed the young boy as he knelt down in front of the crates that housed the dogs, looking desperate to pet them. The local rescue where I volunteer recently had two pugs (bonded brothers) up for adoption. Such has been the reaction, time and again, of people young and old when encountering the pug pair.

What is it about pugs that makes them so irresistible? Is it their smooshed nose, curled tail, furrowed brow, and bulging whimsical eyes? Unquestionably, the fervor surrounding pugs has provided them with a cult-like status throughout the ages. It is believed pugs existed in China before the time of Jesus. Considered royalty, Buddhist monks raised them as pets in monasteries.

According to the American Dog Kennel Club (AKC) pugs rank 28th among the most popular dog breeds. The popularity of the breed continues, as witnessed by the pug’s presence in film, print, and social media. Who could forget Frank the Pug in Men in Black 1 & 2 (1997, 2019), Precious in The Nut Job 1 & 2 (2014, 2017), Percy in Pocahontas (1995), or Otis in The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989)? Pug presence is also growing in print with Pig the Pug book series and Battlepug comic book series.  Most recently is the pop culture sensation Doug the Pug with a massive internet and social media following. Doug was named by Forbes as the #2 most influential pet in 2018 and, on November 10, received the 2019 People’s Choice Award for Animal Star. Doug even has his own line of merchandise that can be found in pet stores.

Ask any pug parent and they will tell you that the breed is loyal and affectionate, and, apparently, pugs are like potato chips in that it is difficult to own just one.  The Kennel Club even has a term for a group of pugs: a grumbling.  Our rescued pug brothers ended up joining a family that already owned a pug.  Apparently for pugs, three is not a crowd, but a happy grumbling.


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