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.


“Matthews looks at history’s pet lovers, some of whom were powerful and creative people…Well-researched and heavily illustrated.” -Booklist

“Enhanced with colour illustrations, this is a delightful book to dip into!” –Julian Stockwin, author

The Pug Who Bit Napoleon: Animal Tales of the 18th & 19th Centuries by Mimi Matthews is a delightful little book that I enjoyed reading very much. Made up of 27 short accounts of animal stories, this quick and easy read is heartwarming, funny and touching…A perfect addition to your bookshelf if you love history and animals.” -The Lazy Historian

“Amazing book! As always with Ms Matthews you are engrossed, it’s educational and fun and for those that love their history and the history of animals then this is the book to read. To me it’s flawless!!” -The Review Sisters

The Pug Who Bit Napoleon is a fine collection of animal stories from the 18th and 19th centuries and they make very entertaining reading…After reading some heavy titles of late, it was a delight to settle down one chilly afternoon in a warm room and relax with this exceedingly well-written collection of animal tales.” -Ripperologist

“There are many other heartwarming or quirky stories in this wide-ranging book, and every reader is sure to find some surprises here. They will also find the author’s own sympathetic and sometimes humorous reflections…Those who buy it as a Christmas gift may feel quite unable to part with it!” The Victorian Web

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

“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

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