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The Rise of the Modern Pug

After the British sacked the Imperial Palace in Beijing in 1860, several pugs found there were brought to England. Among them were black pugs, a novelty at the time. The pugs from China helped bring about a change in the breed's looks, having shorter legs and flatter faces than the pugs that had been in Europe for the past three centuries. When Britain's Kennel Club was formed in 1873, its first studbook listed sixty-six pugs. The British Pug Dog Club was formed in 1882, and black pugs were first exhibited in an English dog show in 1886.

The first known pugs in the United States arrived after the Civil War. Records show that twenty-four of them made their dog show debut in New York in 1879. The AKC accepted the breed for registration in 1885, making the pug one of the earliest AKC-recognized breeds.

The pug was still prized as a companion in the late nineteenth century, but by the beginning of the twentieth century the fickle public preferred other dogs. In 1926, only fifteen pugs were registered with the AKC. Nonetheless, a few breeders persevered and kept the breed alive in the United States. A group of East Coast pug fanciers formed the Pug Dog Club of America in 1931, and by 1944, 155 dogs were registered. In the 1950s and 1960s, the pug's popularity grew substantially, and the breed has remained a favorite ever since.

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