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Small Dog History 101: Why Does the Pug Even Exist?

woman holding small dog
A smidge of natural adaptation, a couple handfuls of selective breeding, and thousands of years later, you’ve gone from a wolf to a Chihuahua…what!? 
How did some of the most popular small breed dogs come to be? The stories behind the development of small dog breeds are as wide-ranging as their personalities. 

French Bulldog

french bulldog

The Frenchie dog’s main task has always been one of companionship. The breed’s origin began when English Bulldogs, at-the-time untoward sporting dogs, were mixed with Terriers to reduce the size of the offspring. These smaller dogs, then known as Toy Bulldogs, were common companions of lace makers in the mid-1800s. The Industrial Revolution sent lace makers from England to France and the workers naturally brought along their lapdogs. Over time, the small Bulldog became much more popular, fashionable even, to the point that it was recognized as its own breed – the Bouledogue Francais, as it was originally known.

Yorkshire Terrier


You could think of Yorkies as the James Bond of dogs – or the Nomi of dogs if you’re keeping up with rumors of the upcoming female 007 character – intelligent, charming, attractive, and a covert exterminator. Behind the primped and polished posh image lies the genetics of a dog bred to squeeze into small spaces and root out rodents. Of course, nowadays most Yorkshire Terriers are perfectly happy simply being loyal companions. Though some do still hold jobs, like modeling for the best food for small dog breeds. :) 



As much as history has been able to tell us, the Chihuahua descended from a now extinct, slightly larger breed called the Techichi. The Techichi began being bred to be smaller during the 12th century in what is now Mexico. As their size shrunk, the Chihuahua’s popularity grew and this companion dog took on a second duty – that of a living heating pad. The widely held belief was that these warm little snugglers would help people recover from illness and injury. So cuddling with you until you feel better? The Chihuahua still has that job today!



A breed whose origin is right there in its name, at least it is if you speak German. The name Dachshund translates to “badger dog.” A loyal hunting dog, Dachshunds were first bred to track, chase and flush out badgers and other burrowing animals. This hard-working hunters’ colleague has an air of nobility in its ancestry that belies its belittling nickname, “wiener dog.”



And last, but by all means not least, the Pug. It’s a breed with no known reason for being developed other than companionship, which is reason enough for existing! Thousands of years ago in China, Pugs were the dogs of royalty, acquired as gifts. As they eventually spread across the globe, those outside of China were smitten by Pugs’ affectionate devotion. Legend has it that the life of Holland’s Prince of Orange was saved when the barking of his Pug named Pompey alerted him to approaching assassins. So let it be known that once, one Pug went above and beyond. And then went right back to napping, probably.

No matter their origins, today all small dogs fulfill the role of trusted companion, absorbing and exuding love. And for that, we believe they should be appropriately pampered and delighted by every meal. That’s our reason for existing

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