The English Bulldog and it's appearance may explain the Pug's popularity in England
The English Bulldog and the Pug definitely look like distant cousins. Actually, the Dutch East India Company may have been responsible for bringing the earliest pugs to Europe with Holland perhaps being the point of origin. The breed was called Mopshond by the Dutch and that term is still used to this day. Pugs were a favored breed throughout Europe. They were a favorite of the Upper Class and royalty. It's not surprising that the Pug can be very "regal" in his bearing.
We know they became popular in France where they were call Carlin and in Spain where they were known as Dogullo. In Germany they were referred to as Mops and in Italy as Caganlino. Josephine Bonaparte owned a Pug named Fortune before she became the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Emperor of France. There is a story that Fortune liked to sleep on Josephine’s bed to protect her and carried this duty to the extreme on the wedding night of Josephine and Napoleon, biting the famed General on the leg!
The Pug was featured in paintings in Spain by Goya and were part of the household of William III and Mary II in 1688 when they ascended the throne in 1688 in Great Britain. One of the most famous pieces of documentation is the work of William Hogarth who featured the Black Pug in his painting House of Cards. Pugs are featured in many of his paintings. The Pug has been an international favorite for centuries!
The English Bulldog enjoys an important part in Pug History.
The British love their dogs and there is no doubt that the Pug fit right in because of the resemblance to the bulldog. The Pug's popularity in Europe, of course, eventually led to the breed traveling to the New World. That, clearly, was a good thing. After all, how could America possibly exist without the Pug?