Pekingese Dogs: An Adorable Breed

Originating in China in the city of Peking, the Pekingese dog has recently been confirmed as one of the oldest dog breeds in existence. For many centuries, they were only owned by members of the Chinese Imperial court. Since its beginning, the Pekingese breed has barely changed. The name of the breed refers to the city of Beijing, where the Forbidden City (where only members of the imperial family and servants were permitted entry) is located.

In 1860, during the Opium War, the Forbidden City was occupied by French and British troops who found an elderly aunt of the fleeing Emperor Xianfeng, left behind with her five Pekingese. She committed suicide when the troops took over the Forbidden City. A pair of the dogs was presented by Lord John Hay to his sister, the Duchess of Wellington, another pair went to the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and the fifth dog was presented to Queen Victoria. With the turn of the century, Pekingese became popular in western countries.


Pekingese are a toy breed, which sports a very compact body; heavy in the front legs, while much lighter in its hindquarters. Specifically bred to be as small as possible (mostly to accommodate the tradition of carrying the dog around under royal robes and garments, rather than have it walk beside them), this breed is a good choice for apartment life, or homes with limited living space.
Liked by celebrities and royalty because of its lion-like appearance, yet dainty and delicate fur coat, the Pekingese is extremely popular. Another reason for its popularity is the fact that this breed is relatively inactive, not requiring a yard for exercise, but enjoying a brief walk and preferring being held to walking on its own.
Despite its small size, the Pekingese is surprisingly heavy because of its muscular body. It weighs approximately 14 pounds, and is slightly longer than it is tall. It is known and easily recognized for its broad flat skull, wide set eyes and broad jaw. The heart shaped ears lie flat against the head. The large, dark eyes are very round and set wide apart, which adds character to the breed’s face. Pekingese carry their slightly arched tails well over their back. The short, thick and heavy-boned legs contribute to the rolling, effortless gait of this breed, making it seem as though he almost floats above the ground when he walks. The fur coat is long, straight and flowing, while the undercoat is thick and soft. There is a noticeable mane on the neck area which is longer than the body’s fur, with the face covered in short fine fur that is usually very dark brown or black across the entire muzzle.


With an even temperament, good nature and craving for affection, the Pekingese is beloved as a great companion dog for the elderly, singles and those who just enjoy a pet who crave attention and interaction and who loves to be spoiled. Pekingese can also seem a bit aloof at times, almost dignified and regal; however, they are very affectionate towards people once they become familiar with them.


One of the few downfalls of this breed is that it is one of the most difficult to train. Pekingese learns commands slower than most other breeds, so will require an owner who is extremely patient and highly persistent when training them. It is absolutely imperative that training for a Pekingese begin as soon as possible.
Grooming will require a good deal of brushing to keep the long coat free of knots and matting; but should be easy, as Pekingese love to be brushed. Their love of attention and having their owner’s adoration will make this challenge an easy one.


Generally a healthy breed, Pekingese are prone to Intervertebral Disc Disease (disc degeneration), even at an early age. Adding to this problem is the fact that many Pekingese suffer most unnecessary injuries from falling down staircases, jumping on and off furniture or twisting their spines when attempting to climb onto owner’s beds or furniture. If you are going to own a Pekingese, you will need to make sure that you provide easy access to high places he may need to go, or make yourself available often to assist with climbing and descending from high places. Pekingese also suffer from some breathing problems due to their compressed faces and flat nostrils, as well as some eye problems.

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