The Rise of the Pug

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past three years or so, you’ll know that celebrities are a thing of the past and that dogs now rule the digital world.

Well, not quite, but it’s no secret that people’s social media feeds are largely dominated by entertaining videos of man’s best friend doing what they do best – making us laugh.

These miniature influencers are now top dogs in the eyes of many marketers, with promotional and collaborative content now making up about two thirds of the content for many of the most successful dogs on Instagram.

Amongst the most popular breeds on the internet, the mighty pug sits proudly in the top five. With globally renowned heroes such as Doug the Pug flying the flag for these flat-faced fidos, it’s not hard to see why they’ve reached the pinnacle of social media fame.

Evoking an equal mix of sympathy and adoration, pugs have shot to social stardom owing to their friendly nature and giant puppy dog eyes. Doug is arguably the second most followed dog on Instagram, after Jiffpom the Pomeranian.

The somewhat glum expression that many pugs have seems to provide endless entertainment when coupled with the fact that most of their content seems to feature them living lives that many a king would long for.

The popularity of the pug is no longer restricted to just the internet either, it’s now a frequent theme seen on clothing, homewares, stationery and even toiletry products.

Despite its relatively recent rise to fame, the pug is actually one of the oldest breeds of dog, according to the London Zoological Society, and has been treated with reverence and adulation for centuries.

Much like the corgi is a firm favourite of the British Royal Family, the pug was once the favourite of the Emperors of Imperial China, and is said to have been treated like royalty itself.

The celebrity like status given to many pugs could be considered as somewhat strange given their inherent abundance of health problems and lack of conventional beauty.

They are also far more expensive than many dogs of a similar size – a pug puppy can cost between £500 – £1500, depending on the pedigree.

Beyond their cute appearance tendency to make us laugh, it is hard to explain why the pug has become so famous online.

One explanation that fits the general trend of canine influencers is size. Of the most popular types of dog on Instagram, the top seven are small or toy breeds. In fact, in Lovejoys’ research, they discovered that toy and small dog breeds boast 78% of dog followers on instagram.

Whilst it has been so far been able to compete with the might of other smaller breeds such as the Pomeranian and somewhat similar French bulldog, it is clear that the pug (see also our article on the lifespan of pugs) is a major player on social media and could yet rise in the rankings.

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  • Ronnie is the JugDog site editor and a dog expert who has lived and worked with dogs his entire life. Living in St. Helens, UK with his wife son and Jug Dog Jeff Ronnie spends most of time researching the answers to the burning questions of the dog community as well as reviewing the latest and greatest dog products.

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