The Pug Who Bit Napoleon

The Pug Who Bit Napoleon

Animal Tales of the 18th and 19th Centuries

From elaborate Victorian cat funerals to a Regency era pony who took a ride in a hot air balloon, Mimi Matthews shares some of the quirkiest and most poignant animal tales of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Meet Fortune, the Pug who bit Napoleon on his wedding night, and Looty, the Pekingese sleeve dog who was presented to Queen Victoria after the 1860 sacking of the Summer Palace in Peking. The four-legged friends of Lord Byron, Emily Brontë, and Prince Albert also make an appearance, as do the treasured pets of Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson, and Charles Dickens.

Less famous, but no less fascinating, are the animals that were the subject of historical lawsuits, scandals, and public curiosity. There’s Tuppy, the purloined pet donkey; Biddy, the regimental chicken; and Barnaby and Burgho, the bloodhounds hired to hunt Jack the Ripper. Wild animals also get a mention in tales that encompass everything from field mice and foxes to alligators and sharks lurking in the Thames.

Using research from eighteenth and nineteenth century books, letters, journals, and newspapers, Mimi Matthews brings each animal’s unique history to vivid life. The details are sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, but the stories are never anything less than fascinating reading for animal lovers of all ages.


The Pug Who Bit Napoleon is due to be published at the end of November this year (2017). But beware: those who buy it as a Christmas gift may feel quite unable to part with it!” -The Victorian Web

“This book is so wonderful and a must-read for any pet and history lovers! Honestly this book had me at first glance…each of the entries and profiles was more charming than the last…the entire work is a gift.” -Mariah, NetGalley

“One of the most delightful historical books I’ve read in awhile. As an animal lover and a history buff, this book was quite fun to read. I read it in one sitting and I feel that many will do that. The pace is perfect and it’s just really full of fascinating facts.” -Kellie, NetGalley

“…a quick, fun read. I’d recommend this enjoyable book to fans of animal stories.” -Deborah, NetGalley

The Pug who Bit Napoleon presents history in a lighthearted and interesting way.” -Mary, NetGalley

“I enjoyed this book a lot and found the author’s informal style both accessible and fun to read.” -Nonstop Reader