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Bred to adorn the laps of the Chinese sovereigns during the Shang dynasty (before 400 BCE), in East China, they were known as "Lo-Chiang-Sze" or "Foo" (ceramic foos, transmogrified into dragon, with their bulging eyes are similar in appearance to the pug) References to pug-like dogs have been documented as early as 551 BCE by Confucius, who described a type of "short mouthed dog". The lo-sze or early pug may have been the predecessor of today's modern Pekingese. The pug's popularity spread to Tibet, where they were mainly kept by Buddhist monks, and then went on to Japan, and finally Europe. The exact origins of the pug are unknown, as Emperor Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, destroyed all records, scrolls and art related to the pug at some point during his reign which lasted between 221 and 210 BCE.
Chinese fu dogs, also called lion dogs or fo dogs, were thought of as guardians and statues of them were placed outside temples. The faces of these statues resemble Oriental short-faced dogs, such as the Tibetan Spaniel, Lhasa apso, Pekinese and the pug
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