The history of anything is often a winding, wiggling series of random occurrences and happenstance. Take for instance the rise of the Pug dog. The popularity of Pugs today is quite notable considering how rare, and geographically condensed they were at one point. Chinese Dowager Empress Cixi is responsible for much of the Pug's modern circumstance. This Empress had quite a turbulent existence herself, starting as an imperial concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor. She shortly afterwards gave birth to a son who went on to ascend the throne, then died, and was replaced by her nephew, marking the end of the Qing dynasty and the beginning of a period in which China began to embrace a number of western concepts and technology (this was in 1875 by the way). Back to the Pug though, Cixi bred the little dogs during this whole period (as well as Pekingese and Shih Tzus) in large numbers and experimental ways, ultimately trying to make them as small as possible. She died and her kennels were closed in 1908. Shortly afterwards the old palace was stormed (during the Second Opium War) and a bunch of these dogs were taken and sent back to Britain. They became a booming fad and obsession of the British, leading to a pug population explosion and much of the reason they’re so prevalent today.
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