Breed of the Month–Pekingese

1June 2015


Color:  All colors and markings, may have black mask but no albino or liver
Height:  6-9 inches
Weight:  Up to 12 pounds
Life Span:  10-12 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Breathing problems, patellar lunation, trichiasis, degenerative heart valve disease, and ulcerative keratitis.

Coat:  Double coat.  Soft undercoat with coarse, straight, long outercoat.  Mane may have some feathering.
Country of Origin:  China

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

In ancient times when people were much more superstitious, the lion-like look of these dogs and the idols that represented them, the “Foo Dog,” were supposed to frighten away evil spirits.  The Pekingese was known by many names including:  Sun Dog, Lion Dog, and Sleeve Dog.  Anyone who was not of noble birth was not allowed to own a Pekingese, and stealing one was punishable by death.  These dogs knew only pampered lives filled with gentle care.

In 1860 Peking was invaded and taken by the British.  The Imperial family gave instructions for all Pekingese to be destroyed so they would not fall into enemy hands.  However, four Pekingese were found guarding the Emperor’s aunt who had taken her own life.  These dogs were returned to England and there bloodlines were continued with other Pekingese found in China.

The characteristics of the Pekingese are quite distinctive.  The breed has a shortened muzzle and a flat face.  The Pekingese eyes can be prone to injury, and he also has a flat and wide head and short neck.  Pekingese are compact and fearless but never aggressive. The sole purpose of the life of the Pekingese is to comfort his companion.  This breed is quite charming but can become jealous of other pets or children.

The Pekingese does need a regular daily walks, but because of his short muzzle (which makes him wheeze and snore) excessive exercise is not recommended.  The breed does enjoy meeting new people and being out and about.

The coat of the Pekingese requires daily maintenance.  Daily brushing and combing is required, with extra attention to be paid to keeping his hind quarters clean and free from caked debris.  The feet must also be brushed.  A cloth around the face must be used to keep it clean and free from debris and possible infections.

Bred to be a lap dog, many refer to the breed as “stubborn” when it comes to training, however basic manners are still important.  This breed should be well socialized from puppyhood.