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The Order Of The Pug Was A Secret Society Whose Members Wore Dog Collars (Because Of Course They Did)

It All Began In France In The 1740s…

The Order of the Pug was an organized group of people who exhibited characteristics of the pug dog. The pug was chosen because of its qualities of loyalty, trust, and a steadfast character. The group traces back to the mid 1700s and essentially all started with a ban on Freemasonry.

See, back in the day, being a Freemason was a big thing. In fact, it first started in 1717 as a well-known yet ultra mysterious brotherhood. The details of their ceremonies were kept under wraps, and they were very selective with who they’d let in.

Naturally, religion played a role in any organized group back then, especially in Europe, which was heavily influenced by the church. What happened, however, was that while Freemasonry didn’t necessarily deny the existence of God, religion did not play a central role in their group ethos.

Because of this, the Catholic Church saw the fraternity as a breeding ground for dangerous political ideas. In 1738, Pope Clement XII banned Catholic people from joining the brotherhood of Freemasons, calling the decree the “papal bull”.

Who Was The Order Of The Pug?

order of the pug
Image: @realitynperspective on Instagram

After the decree was passed, a man named Clemens August of Wittelsback, the Elector of Cologne had an idea. He started up a group of Freemasons in Germany, but revised the format to facilitate their recently forbidden activities.

In order to become a member, aka a “mop” which is German for pug, you had to get down on all fours, scratch at the door, and wear a collar around your neck. Once the group decided to let you in, you’d be woofed at by the assembled group.

Oh, and you also had to kiss a dog’s butt. A porcelain dog, but a dog’s butt nonetheless.

But Why “Pugs?”

order of the pug
Image: @itsdougthepug on Instagram

As a pug-lover, I can’t believe anyone would ask “why pugs?” but I guess it’s a valid question. Why not a bulldog which represents strength and fortitude? Why not a Shepherd which represents agility and ferocity?

The pug was chosen as the official symbol of this offshoot group because of its loyalty, trustworthiness, and steadiness of character. All desirable qualities, the funny thing is that the group essentially represented defiance of the Pope, which is also a common characteristic of the hilarious pug dog.

They Had A Bunch Of Wacky Rituals And Symbols

order of the pug
Image: @vintageheartsandarts on Instagram

In addition to kissing the bum of a porcelain dog, there were other things the members needed to do to prove their loyalty.

They had to carry a silver pug medallion, obey the order of the Grand Pug, and agree to keep everything secret. They also, as discussed, wore dog collars. In order to be accepted into the group, potential members were asked to walk around on all fours as a way to prove their humility.

They were then blindfolded and led around a tapestry nine times, while the other members (called “Mops) barked at them and yelled different phrases.

They Were “Progressive” For Their Time 

order of the pug
Portrait of Princess Ekaterina Dmitrievna Golitsyna by Louis-Michel van Loo (1759) Image: @dogsinhistory on Instagram

Another big aspect that set the Order of the Pug apart was that they allowed women members. In a world that was known as a “fraternity”, which comes from the Latin word fraternitas, meaning “brotherhood”.

Even more progressively, they had a female leader and a male leader who took turns at the helm. In other fraternities, the prominence was a brotherhood, but in The Order of the Pug, they called each other brother and sister, and alternated woman/man at the dinner table.

Exposed! The End Of The Order Of The Pug

order of the pug
Image: @itsdougthepug on Instagram

In 1745, the secretive group that revolved around the pug was exposed by a Catholic abbot with his book: “L’Ordre des francs-maçons trahi et le secret des Mopses révélé”. This translates to: “The order of the betrayed Freemasons and the secret of the pug revealed”.

Because of this book, the Order of the Pug was immediately banned. However, rumours suggested that the group continued their pug activities in France as late as 1902.

Rebellious, those pugs.

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