Macquarie Dictionary


Is ‘puggle’ the cutest baby animal name?

Nowadays, a puggle refers to the young of an echidna until it leaves the pouch. However, a puggle was originally a trademark name for a fictitious Australian bush animal that has appeared in numerous children’s books and as soft toys.

The word itself was invented by Tony Barber (former drummer for Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs – not the quiz show host) in 1979 but was not applied to echidnas until the early 1990s when an echidna specialist saw some Puggle soft toys in a shop and noticed the uncanny resemblance.

After she started using the term, it began to spread to the general population. There was even a time it also applied to baby platypuses. The technical term for these young are nestling for young in the nest, and pouch young for young in the pouch.

Much more recently, a breed of dog has become commonly known as a puggle as well, to muddy the water even further.

a small dog, a cross between a pug and a beagle, having a thickset body, a smooth fawn coat, black and tan colouring, a curled tail and drooping ears.

Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.

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