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The popularity of pugs

Why we can't resist these wheezing, bug-eyed pups

Courtesy of Sophia Mashburn

Weezy and Sammi pose at their third birthday part. The party's success inspired Mashburn to start the pug club.

March 27, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Procrastinators everywhere are shifting focus from memes and videos of disgruntled felines to let pugs fill their computer screens. The pug doesn’t need to play the piano or clumsily fall off the table. It wins love simply by having a lot of extra skin and a smushed face.

“Once people find out that you love pugs, they always send videos and Buzzfeed posts,” says Lindsey Crozier, who owns two pugs. “I think people like them because their faces are so expressive. People relate to them on a human level.”

One of Crozier’s pugs has a Twitter account that she started as a joke (@SampsonThePug) that has about 1,500 followers. The Twitter account details the ins and outs of pug life, contains photos of Sampson and showcases him making eyes, albeit bulging, at female pugs.

Siblings Sammi and Weezy love to sit in the office of their owner, Sophie Mashburn. The pugs are rarely apart. Photo courtesy of Sophie Mashburn

Sophie Mashburn started the Columbia Pug Club in February after a successful birthday party for her pugs Weezy and Sammi. Members of the club say they loved pugs long before it was cool.

Pugs can provide more than entertainment and companionship. Michelle Lovell, a former pug breeder, says that her pugs were a source of comfort when she was struggling through her divorce. “Pugs got into my heart,” she says. It made Lovell feel good to make people happy by giving them a pug.

And then there are celebrity pugs such as Frank from Men In Black and Otis from Milo and Otis who helped pave the path for pug’s popularity. Their recognition made “Pug Life” trucker hats and “Pugs, Not Drugs” T-shirts possible.

Whether fawn or black in color, slightly chunky or completely obese, pugs have made their way to Internet fame. But even if they fall out of fashion in favor of whatever is next, be it giraffes, manatees or wombats, the Columbia Pug Club will keep loving the dogs, wrinkles and all.


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