Pugs were popular at European courts, and reportedly become the official dog of the House of Orange in 1572 after a Pug named Pompey saved the life of the Prince of Orange by alerting him to the approach of assassins. A Pug travelled with William III and Mary II when they left the Netherlands to accept the throne of England in 1688. During this period, the Pug may have been bred with the old type King Charles spaniel, giving the modern King Charles Spaniel its Pug characteristics.
The breed eventually became popular in other European countries as well. Pugs were painted by Goya in Spain, and in Italy they rode up front on private carriages, dressed in jackets and pantaloons that matched those of the coachman. They were used by the military to track animals and people, and were also employed as guard dogs.
The English painter William Hogarth was the devoted owner of a series of Pugs. His 1745 self-portrait, which is now in London's Tate Gallery, includes his Pug, Trump. The Pug was also well known in Italy. In 1789, a Mrs. Piozzi wrote in her journal, "The little Pug dog or Dutch mastiff has quitted London for Padua, I perceive. Every carriage I meet here has a Pug in it." The popularity of the Pug continued to spread in France during the eighteenth century. Before her marriage to Napoleon Bonaparte, Josephine had her Pug Fortune carry concealed messages to her family while she was confined at Les Carmes prison, it having alone been given visiting rights.
In nineteenth century England, the breed flourished under the patronage of Queen Victoria. Her many Pugs, which she bred herself, included Olga, Pedro, Minka, Fatima and Venus. Her involvement with dogs in general helped to establish the Kennel Club, which was formed in 1873. Queen Victoria favoured apricot and fawn colors. Queen Victoria's passion for Pugs were passed on to many other members of the Royal family, including her grandson King George V and his son King Edward VIII. Many responded to the breed's image of anti-functionalism and diminutive size during this period.