National Pug Day
annually on October 15th (since 2012)
Colleen Paige in 2012
Created by Colleen Paige, a celebrity pet lifestyle expert and animal advocate who created various other animal holidays, National Pug Day celebrates pugs and encourages people to adopt them from a shelter or a rescue, instead of buying them from a pet store. The holiday is an adjunct holiday to National Dog Day, which was created eight years before it.
Pugs are an ancient breed, perhaps dating to 400 BCE or earlier, that are believed to have started in China. There, they were similar to—or were—a dog called "lo-sze." The goal in breeding them was to make them companion animals, which they still are today. Buddhist monks had them as pets in Tibetan monasteries and gave them to elites, who helped them gain prestige. Pugs became part of royal families when Chinese emperors began keeping them as lap dogs. The pugs themselves were often treated to luxury, being given their own palaces and guards.
They were brought from China to Europe in the sixteenth century, where they continued to be an animal of royalty. William the Silent, the Prince of Orange, had Pompey, a dog who saved him and then became known as the official dog of the House of Orange. Most believe Pompey was a pug. William's great-grandson Prince William III had pugs, who wore orange ribbons at his coronation in 1689. Joséphine Bonaparte, Napoleon's wife, had a pug named Fortuné, and Queen Victoria was a fan of pugs; she had many, and bred them herself.
Pugs were brought to the United States in the eighteenth century, and the American Kennel Club recognized pugs in 1885. The Pug Dog Club of America was formed in 1931. In 1981, a pug won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the first to do so, and as of 2019, the last. A pug also won Best of Show at the 2004 World Dog Show in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Pugs have a flat, wrinkled face with a short nose. Their flattened face makes them brachycephalic, which can cause them to have breathing issues and to snore loudly. Marmosets, a type of monkey, were kept as pets in the early eighteenth century and were called pugs. Because marmosets have somewhat similar facial features to the dogs, the dogs were given the name pugs as well.
Small, with a compact and square body, and a short, curly tail, pugs can be various colors, but usually are fawn or black. They are slow, only able to run up to three miles per hour, and often nap, sometimes sleeping up to 14 hours a day. They tend to be strong-willed but usually aren't aggressive. Their temperament is also usually playful, and they like to follow their owners around; they tend to "talk" to their owners more than bark. On average, pugs live to be about eleven years in age. Today we celebrate them and adopt them into our lives if we are able to.
How to Observe
The best way to observe the day is to adopt a pug from a shelter or a rescue. Perhaps you could then join the Pug Dog Club of America. If you aren't able to adopt a pug, you can still celebrate them today. There are many movies that star pugs that you could watch, or you could watch one of many funny video compilations of pugs. Some cities have pug events or festivals throughout the year, so you could check to see if any are coming up in your area.