This section is from the book "British Dogs: Their Varieties, History, Characteristics, Breeding, Management, And Exhibition", by Hugh Dalziel. Also available from Amazon: British Dogs.
I am relieved from the necessity of following in the footsteps of every writer on pugs since the issue of "Stonehenge's" work in 1859. One and all of them have informed their readers that twenty, twenty-five, or thirty years ago - according to the date of their writing - the pug dog was exceedingly scarce, and indeed all but lost. There is no need to lament any such scarcity now. As soon as the tide of fashion turned and again set in for pugs the creation of the supply commenced, and now, like so many others, the pug market is over-stocked, and everywhere in town and country these animals swarm.
"Idstone," writing in 1872, hazards the opinion, or rather expresses a doubt, whether we could produce half a dozen specimens equal to what existed a century ago. I should say "Idstone" undervalued the pugs of the day when he penned the remarks quoted, and ever since there have been dozens of first class pug dogs shown, and there are and always have been a very much greater number in private hands which are never exhibited. There are, however, still too few good ones, an immense quantity of mediocre ones, and a superabundance of weeds. The fact is dog shows have given a tremendous impetus to breeding. Very few who take up dog breeding as a sort of "hobby that can be made to pay" seem to have any idea that there are certain laws of breeding which must be followed if success is to be attained, and that, together with the exercise of a grasping spirit which will turn every pup, however worthless, into coin of the realm - fills the country with rubbish. It is quite certain there are far more puppies of this and other breeds born than ought to be allowed to live.
Many are so weak in vitality that they are sure, if they live at all to grow up diseased and weedy, and a majority are so wanting in the essential qualities of the breed that no one with a real desire to improve our dogs would think of rearing them. But such dogs are reared and bred from, on account of a supposed value attaching to their pedigrees, and so faults are propagated and confirmed.
MISS A. A. L. JACQUET'S PUG DOG "TUM TUM."
Sire Mr. Lock's Punch - Dam Mr. Weekly's Vic.
Much has been written on the origin of the pug, but I have been able to discover nothing authentic - all seems to be merely conjecture. One writer says we first obtained the pug from Muscovy, and that he is an undoubted native of that country. Another that he is native to Holland; whilst others assert the pug to be a cross between our English bulldog and the small Dane.
I merely state these theories without adopting any of them, and I have not one of my own to offer. Of whatever country he is a native he is, I think, clearly an import to this, and although his breeding was for a time so neglected that he was nearly lost to us, we can still boast of having the best in the world.
The pug is widely distributed; a dog nearly akin to him is met with in China and Japan, he is well known in Russia, a favourite in Germany, plentiful in Holland and Belgium, and common enough in France.
From the date of his resuscitation in this country his history is much clearer, and, by the aid of the stud books and other means, will be kept so. In the last edition of "Dogs of the British Islands," "Stonehenge" states, and no doubt on the best authority, that in the decade 1840-50, among other breeders who attempted to bring the breed up to its former distinguished position in this country, foremost and most successful was the then Lady Willoughby d'Eresby, who succeeded by crossing a dog obtained in Vienna with a bitch of a strong fawn colour imported from Holland, and afterwards, by careful selection in breeding from their stock, in establishing the now celebrated Willoughby strain. The same excellent authority states the pale coloured Morrison strain to be lineally descended from a stock in the possession of Queen Charlotte, and through them no doubt to inherit the blood of the favourites of Dutch William; the late Mr. Morrison having, it is assumed, obtained the breed through the servants, and his careful breeding has established a strain that bears his name, and by this we see that both the Willoughby and Morrison strains are strong in Dutch blood, the Morrison being, in fact, the most purely Dutch.
No doubt there were many other sources to which the present race of pugs is due, and it is now usual to call every fawn or stone coloured pug a Willoughby, and the paler yellowish ones Morrison's; but the two strains have been frequently united, and in a class of twenty almost every shade of colour between the two that mark these strains is met with.
The popularity which the pug has again enjoyed for the last quarter of a century is an instance of the caprice of fashion. A writer on the breed says of him, "perhaps in the whole catalogue of the canine species there is not one of less utility or possessing less the power of attraction than the pug dog; applicable to no sport, appropriated to no useful purpose, and susceptible of no predominent passion and in no way remarkable for any extra eminence, he is continued from era to era for what alone he might have been originally intended, the patient follower of a ruminating philosopher, or the adulating and consolatory companion of an old maid." With these views and sentiments I have no sympathy, as my friends who are pug lovers, whether "ruminating philosophers," maids or matrons, may rest assured. I am not so utilitarian as the writer, who I presume to have been a cantankerous old bachelor, caring for nothing but his pipe, his pointer, and his gun.
The pug, when made a companion of, shows a high intelligence; as house dogs they are ever on the alert, and promptly give notice of a stranger's approach, and from their extremely active, I may say merry, habits, they are most interesting pets, and well repay by their gratitude any affection and kindness bestowed on them. One quality they possess above most breeds, which is a strong recommendation of them as lap dogs, and that is their cleanliness and freedom from any offensive smell of breath or skin.