Pugs hit fashion runway at Christmas market in Kiev

KIEV (REUTERS) - Ukrainian dog lovers celebrated Christmas with a big pug party on Saturday (Dec 26). Dozens of Kiev residents with pugs dressed as Santas, reindeers and Christmas tree decorations gathered at a large pavilion to compete for a prize for the most creative outfit.

As the owners treated themselves with mulled wine and took pictures, the dogs sniffed around in Santa hats, tinsels and red knitted jumpers.

The Kiev club of pug-fanciers has more than 1000 members on Facebook and regularly holds events for dogs. Pug owners consider their pets very special.

"Even when you just walk in a street, people smile because this breed is very funny, they are so ugly that they are even beautiful," one of the parade organisers, Ms Anna Lukashevich, told Reuters while holding her black pug called Truffle.

"They have a funny nose, funny eyes, they walk in a funny way and they are such roly-polies. They are pure cuteness. And it is just impossible not to love this breed," Ms Lukashevich added.

Pugs are considered to be lively and well-natured pets and are famous for their wrinkly, short-muzzled faces. They are known for creating close bonds with their owners.

"This type of dog adopts all the habits of an owner. The dog wakes up when the owner wakes up so there is no need to run outside at 7 am to walk it. The dog is happy when the owner is happy and is sad when the owner is sad. And it gets tired when the owner is tired as my Zhora did just now ," pug owner Marina said.

The pug party reached its culmination when a jury chose the most creative costume of the day.

"Each pug and its owner come wearing a creative outfit. And the most creative ones will be awarded with prizes by our partners," event organiser Pavel Zelansky said.

The creativity contest was won by a dog dressed as a red polka-dot teapot.

Pugs were bred as pets for members of ruling families in China. The breed was brought from China to Europe in the 16th century. In recent years popularity of the dog breed has grown, partly due to popular culture with international celebrities often seen carrying their pets out in public. Celebrities like Kelly Osbourne and Gerard Butler both have been snapped with their pugs in public by paparazzi.