The earliest known history for the pug is in China. Indeed, Chinese Pugs are referenced as early 400 to 600 years before the start of the Common Era. In all probability those dogs were quite different looking than the pug that we know today. References to dogs with short mouths date back to that time and these dogs were, in all likelihood, the great ancestor to today’s breed. In the dictionary of all Chinese characters that was commissioned by Emperor Kang H s i, there are two entries that could very well describe the pug: dogs with short legs and dogs with a short head. This dictionary entry dates back to about 950 A.D. There were three breeds that can be traced back to that time: the Pekingese, the Japanese Spaniel and the Pug.
A book called Dogs In China and Japan provides some additional information. This book was written by Wang Hou Chun in the early 1900’s. It’s based on his experience as a servant in the Emperor’s Imperial Palace. He worked there for 75 years breeding and working with the dogs owned by the royalty. He noted the big difference between the Pug and the Pekingnese was that the Pug always had a short coat. He described the Pug with the term Lo-Sze and noted that the wrinkles on the Pug’s forehead were more noticeable because of their short coat. Three wrinkles in a particular formation resembled the character representing the word “Prince” and this was highly prized.
During the 1500’s and 1600’s China began trading with European countries such as Holland and England, Spain and Portugal. These small dogs were became quite popular especially among the privileged classes. In fact
Chinese Pugs Became Very Popular in England