The mysterious Orient has gifted the Western World with a multitude of dog breeds.
The most endearing of these favors from the Far East is the Pug, a small monkey-faced companion with the heart and soul of a canine many times its size.
The Chinese, were known to call Pugs by several names, among them:
Foo or Fu Dog ; Pai-Dog ; Happa-Dog ; Lo-Chiang-Sze ; Lo-Chiang and Lo-Sze.
When the Pug was sent from Korea to Japan, it was referred to as Sichuan Pai.
And in Tibet the Pug was known as the Hand Dog.
The Chinese were greatly influenced by superstitious ideas and religious values in the breeding of their dogs.
The Chinese Emperors of the Han Dynasty, (206 B.C. to 220A.D.), were the first to become interested in sacred Lions.
In China, the mythical Lion came alive with Buddhism, a foreign religion that reached China directly through the Sinkian trade route, from India through Tibet.
The Manjusri Buddha , the God of Learning, was said to travel around the world as a simple monk accompanied by a small dog. This dog, named Happa (pet), can be transformed instantly into a Lion, so the Buddha can riding upon his back.
These Lions , often referred to in the Chinese language as Stone Lions, Buddha Lions, Buddha Dogs, or Foo Dogs, (the word Foo being Chinese for Buddha), are a representation of the Lion in pre-modern China, which is believed to have mystic protective powers that has traditionally stood in front of Chinese Imperial palaces, temples, Emperors' tombs, government offices, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy.
There is no doubt that the lion did not exist in China.
Chinese sculptors modeled Lion statues after native dogs as nobody in ancient China had ever seen a real lion before, (compare the Chow Chow, Pekingese, Shi-Tzu, Shar-Pei, Pug, etc., and closely related dog breeds originating in ancient China, also called Foo Dogs).
Couple of Fu-Dogs
Foo Dogs are often created in pairs.
The right Foo Dog is male and the left Foo Dog is female.
They have curled hair, large eyes, an opening mouth and outstretched paws.
Under the left paw of the male is a decorative, ornamental ball or pearl.
Under the right paw of the female is a playful lion cub usually lying on their back.
For hundreds of years the Chinese Imperial Family bred their dogs to resemble these sacred Lions.
In ancient Chinese documents, it is recorded that short-mouthed dogs existed in China during the time of Confucius (551 B.C.- 478 B.C.).
The Book of Rites, a Confucian classic, stated that "dogs are of three kinds: hunting dogs, watch dogs, and those used for culinary purposes".
It is recorded that during this period in the Province of Shansi, those dogs were considered hunting dogs rather than pets: "Some of these were probably small dogs, for it is mentioned that after the day´s sport, one kind of dog followed its master´s chariot, while those having short mouths were carried in the carts".
A reclining woman and her
About 1 A.D. the word "Pai " came into use in China, which appears to mean a short-legged and short-headed dog whose place was under the table. (The Chinese table of the period was low, and those round it sat on mats.)
In The Kangxi Dictionary , the most complete dictionary of Chinese characters ever put together at the time, commissioned in 1710 by Emperor Kang Hsi (or Kangxi ) of the Manchu Qing Dynasty, quotes two old encyclopedia as considering the word "Pai " to refer to :
(1)"A dog with short legs ", quotation from the "Shuo-Wen Dictionary" Han Dynasty. About 150 A.D.
(2)"A dog with a short head ", quotation from the "Kwang Yun," Sung Dynasty. About 1000 A.D. This authority states that the above character was also pronounced " p'ai " (pronounced pie in English).
(3)"An under-table dog ", also quoted in the "Kwang Yun " .
In ancient China all treasures, including pearls, jade, or rare animals, were considered to be Imperial property.
History points to Ancient Chinese law that stated only the Emperors could own or gift a Pai and if anyone broke this law, he was liable to be punished to death.
Breeding of these small dogs were permitted only within the Imperial palaces.
The small dogs, now considered sporting dogs, were bred by the eunuchs and court officials for the Emperor and other high officials.
Pekingese dog, from an Imperial Dog Book(1686-1766)
Illustrations of these dogs are found only in the stylized drawings and scrolls of ancient Chinese art.
It appears that by the 1300s three types of small dog were favored:
The Fu Lin, also known as Beijing Lion Dog or Beijing Royal Court Lion Dog, remarkably similar to the breed we know today as the Pekingese.
The Shoku-Ken, thought to be the ancestor of the Japanese Chin.
The Lo-Sze (pronounced low-tsu), progenitor of the modern Pug, sharing many characteristics of the Pekingese.
The Lo-Sze was distinguished by its short muzzle, short hair, elastic skin, and the "Prince Mark " on its forehead.
The Chinese had interbred these dogs, resulting in both short and long haired as well as variously colored pups in the same litter.
This dogs were also called Happa-Dogs, as a generic name for a small "lap-dog", which may be of Lo-Sze (Pug), Lion-Dog (Shih-Tzu), or Pekingese variety.
A taxidermied Happa-Dog in the
Rothschild Zoological Museum
The exhibition label for the Happa-Dog in the Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum in Tring, London, reads
"Known in China since 700 BC. Probably the basic breed from which the Pekingese was developed and perhaps also ancestral to the Pug."
Happa-Dog from 1915
The 1912 book titled "The Pekingese" by Miss Lillian Symthe ("Lady Betty") contains two photos of Ta-Jen as a youngster and refers to him as "the smooth dog".
The book claimed that this "unique little Happa dog " was the only one known in England and represented the true type of Chinese Sleeve Dog.
The book also stated that the dog was "Bought by de Hon. Mrs. Lancelot Carnegie whilst at H.B.M.´s Legation at Pekin," a distinction wich no doubt helped in acquiring the Happa dog.
"Ta-Jen and Li-Tzu , the Gold Medal winner with Mrs. Carnegie´s Chinese maid, Shen Ah Nu".
"Ta-Jen, the male Happa-Dog imported from Peking in 1906"
As we can see from looking at a 19th Century photo of the two Japanese-Chin and a Pekingese owned by Queen Alexandra (Queen Consort to King Edward VII of England), it is obvious that the distinction between these two breeds was not as clearly defined as it is today.
To add to the ambiguity, Pugs in China in past centuries produced in all colors, even particolor.
So it could be that although Chinese artwork depicts dogs which to the modern Chin, Pug and Peke breeder appear to be their breed´s direct ancestors, it may be that these representations are merely generic dogs that could just as easily be called "a particolor Pug", "a smooth coated Shih Tzu", or "a particolor Happa".
Around 900 A.D., the word "Lo-Chiang-Sze " was used in the Peking area to describe a small dog that has short legs, a short head, and short hair.
Lo-Chiang-Sze was shortened to " Lo-Chiang " and later to "Lo-Sze ".
The Lo-Chiang dog was likely the Pai dog before 900 A.D.
The word Lo-Chiang is important because it is the first mention of coat length, which allowed people to differentiate the Pug from the Pekingese.
Chinese Pug, from an Imperial Dog Book. By Tsou Yi Kwei , (1686-1766) Vice-Minister of Board of Rites.
The color of the Lo-Sze varied with most being parti-colored, while some were almost completely white.
The Chinese placed considerable importance on superstitions regarding the color and markings bred in dogs.
To the Chinese, every color and every marking served to crystallize some superstitious thought.
Symmetrical markings, known as "The Prince Mark ", three horizontal wrinkles crossed by a vertical bar on the forehead of a short-mouthed dog, which makes the Chinese character for "Prince ", were of great value.
Sometimes, the Chinese docked the dogs' tails for a symmetrical form. However, the curly tail (Sze Kuo Chuerh ) and the double curl tail were also known to have existed.
Breeding to closely defined points and adhering to the pedigree standards was never done in China.
The only recognizable standards to which dogs were bred are those contained in the Dog Books of each Imperial Master , as illustrated by the court painter.
Each Emperor had illustrations of his favorite dogs made on scrolls or in books, which set the fashion in breeding.
The highest compliment a Chinese breeder in Peking can give was to judge that a specimen was good enough to "go into the book," that is to say, into an Imperial Dog-Book.
Such of these books as have been obtained portray dogs closely resembling the "Pekingese", the "Shih-tzu" and the "Pug".
A page of Chinese history reveals that Chinese Emperors belonging to various dynasties, beginning with the Shang Dynasty, 3000 years ago, were said to have bred a variety of small companion dogs.
These pets were prized possessions of Chinese Emperors and lived in a most luxurious atmosphere and at times were even guarded by soldiers.
Short Coated Pekingese
They were privileged to have attendants look after them and rode in specially designed and built carriages to the hunting place while the other dogs would walk behind the carriages. The purpose of the carriage was to save the Pais´ energy and conceal them from the popular before arriving at the hunting place.
The Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to 220 A.D.) was marked by trade in silk, spices, Lo-Sze (Pugs) and Pekingeses to Western countries.
The Emperor Ling Ti (168-190 A.D.) of the Han Dynasty kept in his Western Garden at Luoyang (Honanfu) a dog of which he was extremely fond, and to this animal he gave the official hat of the Chin Hsien grade, the most important literary rank of the period as well as an official belt.
Nearly, all the dogs which were reared by the Emperor Ling were given the rank of K'ai Fu (approximately that of a Viceroy) ; others that of Yi Tung (a rank probably equivalent to the present post of Imperial Guardian). The females were given the ranks of the wives of the corresponding officials.
He also ordered that these small dogs are to be guarded by soldiers and fed only the best meat and rice.
In the Tang Dynasty, (618 to 907 A.D.) Pugs, called Sichuan Pai (pronounced bai) dogs, were frequently sent as presents, first to Korea and then on to Japan, becoming very dear to the ladies of Japan.
"Wo Tzu " became the Japanese word for the Chinese Pai-Dog.
The Pai-Dog appears to have remained in fashion and became very famous.
In the Buddhist Monasteries in Tibet , Buddhist monks are said to have bred Lhasa Apso and Pug as guard and companion dogs.
Yang Kwei Fei
One of the most famous references to small, short-faced dogs in Chinese history concerns Emperor Ming (A.D. 685-762) of the Tang Dynasty and his favorite wife, Yang Kwei Fei, whose beauty is widely acknowledged.
One day the Emperor was playing chess with a certain Prince.
Emperor Ming was losing.
His wife, who was an interested spectator, dropped her pet Pug named, "Wo " (pronounced Waugh), upon the board so that the pieces were upset and the game ruined, to the great delight of the Emperor.
During this period, so careful was the breeding of the palace dogs that eight distinct primary species of the small, short-legged dog evolved, their differences appearing to be a matter of color and length of coat. The Yellow City was the home of thousands of dogs. Four thousand eunuchs, living in forty-eight sections of the palace, competed in producing remarkable specimens.
The number of Lo-Sze , (Pugs), increased incredibly during the period of the Sung Dynasties (960 to 1279 A.D.).
But after the end of the great Sung Dynasty, Pugs, Pekingese and other breeds became all but a memory.
The Tartar Dynasties, from 916 to 1125 A.D., did not have much interest in dogs.
In the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 A.D.) cat breeding flourished, some of the Chinese Emperors carrying their enthusiasm for cats to remarkable excess. Cats appear to have continued to be the favorite pets of the Chinese court ladies until the end of the Ming period, when they were replaced by small breeds of dogs.
It was during the Ming period that modern European traders first entered into trade relations with the Chinese empire.
The Portuguese began trading in Canton in the year 1516, Spain opened trading in 1575, the Dutch in 1604 and England in 1634.
The Pug brought to Europe during this time became the root of European Pugs.
By the start of the sixteenth century, references to dogs in Chinese art and literature were becoming frequent.
Simultaneously, Japanese-Chin and Pugs, which appeared in Italian paintings, were in big demand.
The printing of The First Imperial Dog Book was completed at the end of the seventeenth century.
This book, and the others that followed, were intended to set the standards for all breeds of dogs.
The illustrations, however, done by Chinese court artists, are not realistic, so we cannot regard them as authoritative records of exact breed type.
By 1820 breeding small Pai-Dogs became the fashion.
Because the Emperors and their ladies wanted a tiny dog to pamper, play with and pet, dogs were carefully bred to such a size that they could be carried inside the wide sleeves of the robes of the ladies and the highest officials.
This is how the term "Sleeve Dog " came about.
Breeders were guided by "Sleeve Dog specifications". Still believes that its growth was impeded by artificial means, which were restricted to food and had the puppies inside wire cages until they reached maturity.
The only dog described as a Sleeve Dog in some of the Imperial Dog Books was a short-coated Pai-Dog of very small size.
The Empress Dowager Tsu-Hsi, or Cixi (1835-1911), of the Manchu Dynasty , also known as Quing Dynasty, (1644 to 1912) who was known as "Old Buddha" , objected to artificial dwarfing of such small dogs.
The Empress, personally concerned with their breeding and welfare, and being an artist, was chiefly interested in breeding for color and in developing symmetrical markings on her dogs.
Strongly deploring the development of abnormalities such as bowed legs or a protruding tongue, she bred for the white spot on the forehead and the saddle mark on the dogs' backs.
Until her death in 1911, the Empress was a brilliant breeder who was faithful in maintaining pure breed type throughout her whole kennel, and that kennel consisted of over a hundred dogs.
At this time, three types of dogs were bred as palace companions with little difference in type but with different coat length.
Tsu Hsi closely supervised the initial Pug breeding to maintain breed characteristics separate from the Pekingese and the Shih Tzu , but after her death that same year, breeding practices became sloppy and cross-breeding with Pekingese and Shih-Tzu probably occurred.
In 1860 British soldiers attacked the Imperial Palace , and during the occupation of the city many dogs were taken from their owners.
In Peking, Pugs and Pekingese were sought after by dog fanciers from the west but not many of the palace specimens were imported to England until after the death of the Empress Dowager.
Image:(bigger size, clik here)
Imperial Dog Scroll, instructress in painting to the Empress Dowager, 1890
From "Dogs of China and Japan in nature and art", by V.W.F. Collier
The breed lost contact with its Chinese Heritage in 1949 when the Communist Party came to power in China.
People were starving all over the country, and the Communist Party leaders considered it a waste of food to feed pet dogs.
All pet dogs were ordered destroyed, and dogs whose lineage went back thousands of years were killed.
Luckily, enough Pugs had been previously exported from China to Western countries that the breed continues today.
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