People have been breeding dogs to accentuate desirable traits for thousands of years. And not just “work-related” traits like herding, guarding, or pulling sleds, but also “cute and companionable” traits that make for better pets. Dogs have been around a looooong time.
Despite this long history, certain popular traits in pet dogs, such as flatter faces, are often viewed as a modern conceit. However, findings from the Roman empire suggest that flat-faced dogs resembling French Bulldogs were around over 2,000 years ago. Wear and tear indicates the dogs were pampered pets, and possibly an attempt to have a dog similar to the Pekingese, which was owned by Chinese imperial families at the time.
Snub-nosed dogs aren’t found in existing Roman art, which makes these findings a little surprising. However, the Romans are credited as the world’s first true dog breeders, having classes of dogs, as well as a keen understanding of physical and behavioral inheritance. Perhaps we should have expected these “proto-pug” findings!
★ Skull of a brachycephalic dog unearthed in the ancient city of Tralleis, Türkiye
★ The French Bulldog has been named America’s No.1 Most Popular DogRomans May Have Bred Frenchie (Like) Dogs Before It Was Cool