HomeDog Breeds > Pekingese


HomeDog Breeds > Pekingese
Original Function: 

lap dog

Other Name: 

lion dog, Peking palasthund

Place of Origin: 




Date of Origin: 

ancient times

Primary Current Function: 



The Pekingese has a colorful past full of superstition and folklore. Legend has it that the little dog was born to a lion and a marmoset. The Chinese believed that the breed was an earthly manifestation of mythical Foo Dog that drove away evil spirits.

Pekingese Breed Health

Occasionally seen: 


Life span: 

13 - 15 years

Major concerns: 


Minor concerns: 

elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, KCS, patellar luxation, disticiasis, trichiasis, skin fold dermatitis

Avg Size of Female: 

Height: 6-9 inches, Weight: <14 pounds

Avg Size of Male: 

Height: 6-9 inches, Weight: <14 pounds

Suggested tests: 

knee, eye


The breed is sensitive to anesthesia and does not tolerate heat well. It is also prone to corneal abrasions. Puppies must often be delivered by Caesarian.

Pekingese Breed History

The Foo dogs that were around during that time resembled miniature lions, which was a religious symbol of Buddhism. The breeding of these “lion dogs” was a principal concern, and the resulting dogs were treated as royalty and continually pampered. They even had their own servants. The Emperor’s dogs were sacrificed and buried with him to join him in the afterlife. The Pekingese were so treasured by the royalty that punishment for stealing one was death. In 1860, the breed finally made its way out of the palace, although even today it retains its need to be pampered. During a raid of the Imperial Summer Palace in Peking during the Second Opium War, British and French troops discovered five Pekingese. The other dogs had been killed to prevent them from falling into enemy hands, however the five dogs were overlooked and survived. The British brought one of the lion dogs to Queen Victoria, who named it “Looty,” because of how he was acquired. Public demand for the dogs was almost immediate, however due to the scarcity of the breed, only the upper class could afford them. It was first shown in Britain in 1893 and was recognized by the AKC in 1909. Today the Pekingese is loved and pampered as both a show dog and companion pet.

Pekingese Breed Appearance

This lion-like breed is compact and a little longer than it is tall. It has a body with heavier forequarters than hindquarters. The Pekingese has a flat face with long, heart-shaped ears. The breed has a rolling gait that is distinguished and never rushed. It has an extravagant double coat with a thick mane that provides its lion-like appearance. Its dense undercoat is soft while its outer coat is coarse and straight and stands off its body for a fuller look. The Pekingese has long feathering on its tail and ears. It can be any color with or without markings, however its nose, lips and outline of its eyes are black.

Pekingese Breed Temperament

This feisty little dog is independent and courageous – sometimes getting in over its head. It is opinionated and stubborn. The Pekingese will readily get into power struggles with its owner. It has even been known to stop eating as a way to show authority over its owner. It can also be difficult to housebreak. The Pekingese is devoted towards its family although it may not outwardly display affection. It is a lively breed that is playful with children, but does better with older kids. It does not like to be disturbed while sleeping, and it should not be overfed. The Pekingese is wary of strangers and tends to bark, making it a great watchdog. It needs to be socialized with other pets as a puppy.

Pekingese Breed Maintenance

The coat of the Pekingese must be brushed daily to prevent matting. Check its hindquarters, which may become soiled. Dry shampoo regularly, and clean the wrinkle above its nose to prevent infection. Check its feet after outdoor activities for sticks and burrs, which may cling to the fur. The Pekingese is a great apartment pet. It does not require much exercise, however it does need some physical activity to prevent weight gain and laziness. Some Pekingese refuse to walk on a leash and may do better with a harness rather than a collar. This breed cannot handle excess heat and can die of heat prostration. It should not be expected to sleep outside. Because of its short muzzle, the Pekingese is prone to snoring.

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