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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Pekingese


Origin: China

AKC Group: Toy

Height: 6 inches (Male)

Weight: No more than 14 pounds (6.5 kg) (Male)

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Male height: 
6 inches
Male weight: 
No more than 14 pounds (6.5 kg)
Double coat with long, coarse-textured, straight outercoat and thick, soft undercoat; noticeable mane on the neck and shoulder area and longer fringing on the ears and tail.
All colors and markings, including: gold, red, sable and parti-color.

Miniature dogs have been known in China since the T'ang Dynasty of the 8th century. In ancient times, the "terrifying" lion-like appearance of these dogs, and the "Foo Dog" idols that represented them, were supposed to frighten away evil spirits. Their popularity hit a high in China between 1821 and 1851, during the Tao Kuang period, and there were thousands of them around the various imperial palaces. Four thousand eunuchs were housed and employed in Peking solely for the purpose of breeding, raising and caring for Pekingese dogs. No one outside of the nobility was allowed to own one, and the dogs knew nothing but pampering and gentle care.

Peking was invaded and taken by the British in 1860, and fearing that their dogs would fall into enemy hands, the imperial family gave instructions for all of them to be destroyed. Four were found guarding the Emperor's aunt, who had taken her own life, and they were brought back to England. As other Pekes were found in China and brought back to England, their bloodlines were continued. They soon became popular there and in the United States as well.

Exhibiting confidence, charm and a bit of stubborn independence, Pekingese are fearless but never aggressive. Their sole purpose in life is to give comfort and companionship to their owners. Pekingese are charmers but should be socialized from puppyhood so that they gain the confidence that is so natural to them.
At home: 
Pekingese can make great companions in the city, country or suburbs, as long as they get enough time and attention from their owners. They want nothing more than to share their lives with their beloved family. However, they are not obsessively attached and can happily spend time on their own or with another Pekingese. Their extremely shortened muzzle creates a very flat face, which causes them to suffer on hot, humid days. Their shortened faces also cause them to snore and wheeze.
With his shortened muzzle, any kind of strenuous exercise is not healthy for the Pekingese. Plus, his short neck, relatively massive shoulders and chest, and short, crooked front legs cause him to move with a bit of a roll. Don't use this as an excuse not to take your Peke for daily walks, though - he needs them, just as all dogs do. Take him for a short stroll that's not strenuous. The Peke loves to explore and meet other people on the street. He will get his exercise this way and by playing and following you around the house (or palace).
When it comes to feeding a Pekingese, it's helpful to remember that he has forever been an extremely pampered pet. This attitude often carries over to the dog bowl, and it can be challenging to satisfy a Peke with a nutritious diet. Feed small amounts of a high-quality, age-appropriate food.
Although he's a small dog, training is still important for your Peke. Setting boundaries and providing leadership are essential, especially for this independent-minded dog. Although he would prefer to do his own bidding rather than yours, early, positive training will make him an enjoyable companion.
Pekingese are good with children but shouldn't be played or fussed with to excess. They get along very well with other dogs, especially other Pekingese, and other pets.
The average life span of the Pekingese is 10 to 12 years. Breed health concerns may include breathing problems; eye problems, including trichiasis; heart problems; herniated discs; and patellar luxation.
Fun fact: 

The Peke has been known by a variety of names, including "Lion Dog" (like his close relatives the Lhasa Apso and Shin Tzu), "Sun Dog" (for the prized golden color) and "Sleeve Dog" (for those small enough to be carried around in a large Chinese sleeve).

Grooming blurb: 
The Peke's long double coat requires daily attention. It should be brushed and combed, with extra care taken to keep the hindquarters clean. The fur is thick there and can easily become matted or caked with debris. Brush out his feet, too. Use a dry shampoo regularly to keep the Peke looking and smelling good. Wipe his face with a soft cloth to keep it free from debris.
This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.