What Are Pugs Bred For? Are They Great Companions?

Pugs have become a very popular breed in the United States and are becoming extremely popular in other countries like the United Kingdom, and Australia. But what is the purpose of a Pug? If you’ve ever wondered “what are Pugs bred for,” then this article is for you!

What are pugs bred for

The Pug evolution started around the 600s BCE and this breed was bred to be loyal companions for the wealthy. They lived in royal palaces and in the homes of the upper class.

They were viewed as a status symbol in China and were cared for and treated like royalty.

what are Pugs bred for

We have so many dog breeds because people have created specific breeds to perform specific functions. Thus, border collies herd sheep, Labrador retrievers fetch downed ducks out of ponds, and Siberian huskies pull sleds.

History Of Pugs Breed

It is believed that the origin of the Pug started in the Far East or Europe. All scientists truly know is that the Pug has ancient roots in China, and originated as far back as the 5th century AD such as those of the Shang Dynasty rulers.

They are a cross between a Pekingese and the Bulldog. Pugs are known to have the same demeanor as the Happa Dog, which also originated in China.

Ancient China loved its lapdogs (Pugs are great lapdogs). They had several prized short-faced dogs, the Lion dog, the Pekingese, and the Lo-Sze or “Foo dog”, which is the ancestor of the pug. Ancient artworks from China depict Foo dogs that are recognizable as a type of pug.

This dog breed was popular with ancient Chinese ruling families, especially Chinese Emperors. This is the reason that the dogs lived like royalty and were lavished with luxury.

The Chinese culture depicted them as Fu Dogs guarding royal entrances to the Imperial Palace.


This breed remained in China for 2000 years. Dutch traders imported Foo dogs into Europe and England during the 1800s and they rapidly achieved great popularity. Breeding programs in England developed the Foo dogs into the pugs we love today.

These dogs quickly became the hallmark of the Royal Dutch Family.

According to the legend, Pompey the Pug saved the life of the Dutch Price Orange by alerting him of his presence.


They were introduced to Europe between the 16th and 17th centuries. This small dog quickly became popular with the European upper classes and nobility.

Legend has it that when William the Silent invaded England, the took his Pug on his conquest during the middle of the night.

Lost Their Popularity

Pugs remained popular throughout the 18th century, but their popularity started declining around the 19th century. After 1860, China imported a new species of Pugs with shorter legs and the all familiar “Pug-nose”.

That new species of Pug brought back their popularity, and eventually, Queen Victoria got several Pugs that were named Venus, Olga, Minka, Pedro, and Fatima.

Her love and involvement with dogs helped form the Kennel Club around 1873. The AKC recognized pugs as a breed in 1931.

When Pugs Arrived In America

Pugs made it to America shortly after the American Civil War. At that time the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were the most famous Pug dog owners in the 20th century.

Whenever they attended any type of social event, they took their Pugs and their Pug’s personal chef along with them.

Pugs started becoming popular in the United States in the 20th century when people started keeping them as pets and show dogs.

In the mid 20th Century, this brachycephalic breed started losing its popularity again. They made a comeback in 1997 when a fawn Pug played the part of Frank the Alien in the Hollywood movie Men in Black starring Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.

Since then, Pugs have been used in several other movies that have helped increase the popularity of this breed.

Other Names Known As

These popular dogs are known by other names throughout the world. In France, Pugs are known as Carlin Italy. In Germany and Holland, they are called Mops and Mopsi in Finland, and Doguillo in Spain, England called them Dutch Pug and Lo Sze in China.

Even with all the health problems, this breed is known for, they are still adored by so many pet lovers.

What Are The Purpose Of Pugs Today?

origins of Pugs
The Purpose of Pugs has not changed at all.

When you look at a Pug, you’ll see a very docile, loveable dog that craves attention. While it’s true that the purpose of some dog breeds changes over time, that isn’t the case for the Pug dog breed. Their purpose remains the same and that is to be the best companion dogs possible, which is what makes them the perfect family pet.

In fact, this flat-faced breed is growing in popularity. They have found their way into the homes of several dog lovers in the United States and other countries worldwide. They are not only loyal pets, but their use can vary among:

Loyal Companionship

This breed will NEVER have the role of a guard dog or herding dog, however, they make great companion dogs and they are great at their jobs.

Having a Pug can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, ease loneliness, and encourage exercise and playfulness. Many dog owners are opting for these small flat-faced dogs because they thrive in any size environment, even apartments.

Therapy Dogs

While Pug may not pass the requirements for Seeing Eye Dog, or a guide dog, this breed is great for emotional support. These small smoosh faced dogs are known for developing a strong powerful connection with their owners.

They make great companions and can provide love, comfort, and emotional support for anyone who is willing to bond with them.


Believe it or not, it is not unusual to see a Pug in the Hollywood spotlight. You can search the Internet and find some popular movies that have starred these flat-faced dogs such as; Patrick, Men In Black 1 & 2, The Nut Job 1 & 2, and etc.

There are even celebrities like Jessica Alba, Gerard James Butler, Billy Joel, and several others that have fallen in love with this breed.


Remember the Dorito commercial where the Pug chased down their owner because they wanted to eat some Dorito chips? I believe it was a Superbowl commercial back from 2011, and it was called the “Pug Attack.”

Pugs are great entertainers because they have a great personality and a great sense of humor. They never fail to grab people’s attention especially, when they are young and mischievous.

Show Dogs

It is not unusual to see these toy dogs in dog shows throughout the world. In fact, Biggie the Pug was the first Pug to ever win the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Biggie won best in breed in the toy group but lost for the best in show to Flynn a Bichon Frise.

This is why people who want a Pug for dog shows, opt for Pug’s with a double curl as it is the most favorable for these types of events.


Statistics show that dog owners are 4 times more likely to exercise than people who do not own dogs. Most dog owners average around 22 minutes of exercise on a daily basis.

While you can’t expect a Pug to go on a 3-mile run, they do make great walking companions. You can train your Pug to enjoy exercising or just lying around. This breed is only lazy if they are taught to be lazy.

In fact, I used to take my Pug for 2-3 mile walks when she was younger. These dogs will be happy to walk beside you on their leash, which is great exercise for both of you.

Just make sure that you don’t exercise them in extremely hot weather.

Man or Woman’s Best Friend

Pugs are not only great companions, but they make excellent pets. They are easy to train and do not require a lot of maintenance like other breeds (Poodles). The Pug dog does best in a household where they will get lots of attention.

Once they bond to you, they will follow you around happily and want plenty of belly rubs. These lap dogs will want to lounge with you on the couch while you watch your favorite shows.

They’ll be happy napping with you all day long or playing outside. Their only purpose in life is to make you happy.

This breed is also known to get along with children, and other animals, which makes them the perfect pet!

Summary Of What Were Pugs For

In summary, pugs were bred to be companions to humans, a role they fulfill very well. These easy-care goofy dogs just want to be with you at all times and love people.

My Pug was a great companion dog that was happy laying in my lap or taking a two-mile walk. This breed is happy as long as they get to spend time with their human family.

References And Further Reading

VetIQ – John Briggs, 21 April 2015 – Unique Facts About Pugs That Prove A Pug Life Is A Charmed Life

Buzzsharer – Lisa Jones – 24 Celebrities With Pugs

AKC – Anna Burke, 25 January 2015 – What Was The Pug Bred To Do?

Worldly Dogs – Happa Dog


Black Pug Site