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All You Need to Know About the Pekingese Dog Breed

A breed of toy dog originated in ancient China – the Pekingese was and continues to be a cherished companion of human beings. The historical mooring of this adorable yet strong dog breed is extensive and fascinating. Originating in ancient China, the Pekingese dog breed was favoured by the Chinese royalty and imperial court as a lap dog and a companion dog. A sanctimonious aura was also attached to the Pekingese. The breed name is reminiscent of Peking, currently known as Beijing, where the Forbidden City is situated. The Pekingese was introduced to the West by English forces that plundered the Imperial Palace at Peking in 1860. The Pekingese are famous for their lion-like appearance, courage and independence and are alternately called the 'lion dog' both in the East and West. 

On account of its desirable traits, the Pekingese has been a sought-after member of the designer crossbreed trend gaining momentum worldwide. Therefore, they are crossed with the poodle dog to bear a new breed called the Peek-a-boo. Sometimes, the Pekingese dog is also crossed with a Maltese to produce a Peke-a-tese.

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The Physical Appearance of the Pekingese Dog

Intelligent, affectionate, friendly and dignified are the appropriate descriptive terms for the Pekingese dog breed. The flat face and large eyes are the most recognizable features of this cuddly dog. With a maximum weight of 14 pounds and a height of 6-9 inches, the Pekingese is perfect for a warm snuggle. In addition to the usual size, small Pekingese are also common, and they are known as 'sleeve Pekingese' or simply 'sleeves'. This unique name is derived from the Ancient Chinese practice when emperors carried the smallest of the Pekingese breed in their sleeves. The body of the Pekingese dog is compact and low to the ground. They have a full mane and heavily haired thighs, forelegs, tail and toes. Their head is broad and flat with hanging ears and a short wrinkled muzzle. Beneath the envy-inducing mane, the Pekingese dog is stocky and muscular. The most common colour associated with them is golden, but the fact is that they come in all shades, with blue and grey being the rarest of all. The Pekingese has such pitch-black eyes that the white portion is barely visible when they look straight. Blue-eyed Pekingese are also found, albeit in rarity. 

The coat of the Pekingese dog breed requires a discussion of its own. All common species have a wide range of colour combinations, with most of them possessing a red, gold or sable coat. Irrespective of the coat colour, the nose, exposed skin of the muzzle, lips and eye rims of the Pekingese are black. Ideally, it would be best if you groomed a Pekingese two to three times a week, and it is essential to bathe them occasionally. The thick coat of the Pekingese requires regular care and grooming. 

Temperament and Traits of the Pekingese Dog Breed

The Pekingese, also known as Peke, is an adaptable dog that can live and adjust with just about anybody. They are suitable for novice pet owners, apartment dwellers, and so forth. They tend to have a self-important attitude owing to their royal history. The Pekingese is an intelligent breed with profound streaks of independence and stubbornness. They have uptight mannerism and consider themselves to be in charge of any situation. Training a Pekingese is a challenging feat as they require gradual persuasion. It is necessary to convince them that they are the boss in the given context. The Peke does not react to harsh training or discipline and instead becomes defensive with strictness. 

The Pekingese is affectionate with their family but remains aloof with and wary of strangers. As such, they become commendable watchdogs because they unapologetically bark when strangers approach them. At times, the Pekingese may bark too incessantly; hence, training them early on when to stop is a good idea. Bravery and courage are distinguishable features of the Pekingese. They are acclaimed to defend their loved ones to death.

The Pekingese does not get along with other dogs and only prefers the company of other Pekingese. Therefore, it can take a long time to get along with other animals in the household. But, socialization is possible. Exposure to various people, views, sounds and experiences from the early days ensures that the Peke is well-rounded and healthy. 

A Pekingese is not appropriate for families with children and toddlers. Children are always intrigued by small dogs and may mistreat a Pekingese, which can irritate them. As such, the dog may bite the baby. 

Health issues of the Pekingese Breed

The Pekingese lifespan ranges between 12 and 14 years. As a result, the breed is susceptible to issues that all short-faced dog breeds face. Respiratory diseases like Brachycephalic syndrome are common. Their short airways imply that they make a wheezing sound when awake and may snore loudly while sleeping. But, this trait is something that many Pekingese owners find cute and adorable. However, this could potentially be a severe enough issue to significantly restrict the ability of the dog to breathe through their nose. Therefore, it is vital to look at the bloodline of Pekingese for serious breathing issues. Unfortunately, the Brachycephalic syndrome also puts the Pekingese at increased risk for specific eye problems.


Intriguing, feisty and wondrous, the Pekingese is a natural marvel whose life cycle, patterns and behaviours open a Pandora's Box of evolutionary intelligence. These beautiful yet bold dog species have fascinated the scientific community with their traits and have tickled the laymen through their intellect. Despite unprecedented strides in documentation and research, there is a lot to know and garner about the Pekingese breed. The royal history of the species is intriguing and reveals a lot about the relationship between man and dogs. They are preferred by pet owners worldwide because of the fierceness, cute appearance and snooty charm. If you are looking for a cuddly and cute dog that is smart and brave, the Pekingese may be the right choice for you. Moreover, the small size of the Pekingese breed makes it easy for city dwellers living in small apartments to have them like them. In addition to regular grooming, the Pekingese is a hassle-free breed. It will surely love you with its entirety and vouch for taking adequate care of your house’s safety. 

The haughty attitude of the Pekingese dog breed makes a sight to behold. However, they act very funny and cute with their owners and other trusted ones despite their outlook. Lastly, the Pekes are a famous breed for dog shows. Their intelligence makes them an easy and feasible choice for dog trainers.

FAQs on Pekingese

1. What are the Common Diseases Suffered By the Pekingese Breed?

Ans: Pekingese are generally healthy, but they're susceptible to specific health problems like all other dog breeds. The leading cause of demise among the Pekingese and other toy breeds is trauma. The leading causes of organ systems failure include neurological and cardiovascular problems. If diagnosed early, successful treatment is possible with medicines. Without severe health issues, a Pekingese can live for many years. Another acute problem among the breed is a heart murmur. It is a potential sign of disease and requires evaluation by a veterinary cardiologist immediately. Often, the heart murmur problem is not visible among Pekes until they are six or more years old, so it is complicated to screen the issue in a puppy. On account of the ideal beauty regarding face shape, skull malformation, that is, Brachycephaly is common among Pekes. Other problems like eye issues and breathing difficulties arise due to its tiny skull and flattened face.

Moreover, skin allergies, eye ulcers may also develop spontaneously. It is imperative not to keep the Pekingese outside as their flattened faces and noses cause them to quickly develop respiratory problems, making it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature. The long backs and relatively short legs further make the Peke vulnerable to back injuries. Care should be taken when holding and picking them. The short legs of the breed make it difficult for them to deal with stairs. Older dogs may not be able to climb stairs.

2. What is the Legend Associated With the Pekingese?

Ans. There are two originating tales for the Pekingese. The first and the most common is the tale of 'The Lion and the Marmoset'. In this story, a lion and marmoset - a kind of monkey - fell in love. But, as the lion was too large, he went to Lord Buddha and expressed his woes. The lion requested Buddha to reduce his size but let him keep his excellent lion heart and traits. Lord Buddha agreed to shrink the lion to the size of the marmoset – a type of monkey. The result was the Pekingese. The second and the less familiar story of origin is The Butterfly Lions tale. A lion fell head over heels in love with a beautiful butterfly. But it was a known fact that the difference in size was too much to overcome. So together, they went to see the Buddha, who allowed their size to meet in the middle. From this, the Pekingese came.

The legends are simply legends, and this is not how the Pekingese came into existence. But, the presence of ancient Chinese mythology proves that the Pekingese dog breed is old, and there is DNA evidence to back this claim. It is a widely held belief that the Peke existed in China for more than 2000 years. Eponymous to the capital city of Peking (now Beijing), the Pekingese were comrades of nobles, princes, and members of the imperial family. Commoners bowed down to them and still expect royal and lavish treatment.

3. What are Sleeve Pekingese?

Ans. According to a 1948 publication, the Sleeve Pekingese is an accurate miniature representation of the standard-sized Pekingese. Thus, they were also known as the miniature Pekingese. The name Sleeve Pekingese came from carrying these small dogs in the roomy sleeves of the garments adorned by members of the Chinese Imperial Household. It is indicated that this tradition of sleeve dogs appeared to be early Italian rather than Chinese. Still, its appropriation by the Chinese royal family enabled the breeding of extremely small and tiny dogs. This objective led to practices of stunting the growth of puppies, like giving them rice wine. At times, breeders held newborns tightly for hours at a time or put the puppies into tight-fitting wire mesh waistcoats. Dowager Empress Cixi apparently forbade these practices.

4. How Can I Care For My Pekingese?

Ans. Keeping a Peke's coat healthy and hale requires daily brushing. A trip to the grooming expert every 8 to 12 weeks is also mandatory. Another critical piece of information for new owners is remembering that they may be kept in a puppy cut that needs less maintenance than a show cut. You must keep looking for foreign materials in their eyes and remove them whenever observed. It would be best if you kept observing the creases of their face for plausible sores or hotspots. It is vital to keep the Pekingese in top-notch condition by keeping their fur coat clean. Owing to the abundance of a Pekingese dog's fur, it is imperative to keep a Pekingese cool. They are prone to heat strokes when exposed to high temperatures for a long time. A Pekingese needs minimal exercise; On account of their flat faces and snout noses, they tend to be prone to breathing issues. Thus, they are incapable of activity for more than 30 minutes per day. Therefore, it is essential to meticulously monitor their breathing while they do their daily fitness regime. After the exercise, the Peke should be kept in a cool place. They should have access to an ample supply of water at all times to prevent dehydration.