Austen, Heyer, & the Prince of Orange: Pugs in Literature and History

Mimi Matthews

About thirty years ago, the fashionable lapdog was the Dutch-Pug; every old Duchess in the kingdom had three or four, and these ugly little animals were the ladies’ favourites from the accession of William the Third to the death of George the Second.” (The Sporting Magazine, 1803.)

Pietro Benvenuti Ritratto di Elena Mastiani Brunacci 1809Portrait of Elena Mastiani Brunacci by Pietro Benvenuti, 1809.
(Palazzo Pitti)

Pugs feature in many of our favorite Regency novels and, in most of them, the cheerful little dog, which currently ranks 32nd most popular breed in the United States, is not portrayed in a very flattering light. 

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