If I had a dollar for every time my dog made me smile, I'd be a millionaire.
A delightful little German porcelain model of a begging pug, the pug, in German known a "mops hund". Modelled in naturalistic style, coloured with a light brown coat, black muzzle, ears and tip of the tail. She wears a gilt-belled, puce collar, tied with a blue and yellow flower head. She is seated on a circular mound base, applied with coloured flower heads and foliage. This 19th century German pug is copied from a mid 18th century, Red Anchor, English Chelsea pug.
Although the exact origin of the breed is unclear, there is a broad consensus that the pug came from China and by the 16th century, the Dutch East India Company had imported the breed to Europe.
In 1572, the pug emerged as the House of Orange’s official dog, after a pug named "Pompey" allegedly saved the Prince of Orange’s life by warning him of oncoming assassins. Accordingly, when the Dutch William and Mary of Orange ascended the English throne in 1688, they brought their favoured breed with them.
By the end of the 17th century, the pug had gained popularity throughout Europe, evidenced by the appearance of the breed in English, Spanish and Italian works of art. At first they were considered a luxury, confined primarily to royal courts and families of the nobility but by the 18th century, the pug had reached a high point as a status symbol.
In the 19th century, this endearing animal had gained the favour of Queen Victoria who bred and promoted the breed. As can be seen from the ears of this 19th century example, the cruel practice of ear cropping was carried out. Victoria was such a dog lover that, to her great credit, she banned the practice of cropping ears. It was the Queen's involvement with pug breeding that led to the establishment of the famous Kennel Club in 1873.
Kaiser Wilhelm II - Circa 1880
Height 3.5"/9.5 cm