Breed Introduction: Pekingese
The Pekingese is an ancient breed of toy dog, originating in China. They are called Lion Dogs due to their resemblance to Chinese guardian lions.
Pekingese are very loving and affectionate with their family but almost wary, of strangers. That characteristic makes them excellent watchdogs; they like to bark when strangers approach. Some Pekingese tend to bark too much, so it’s a good idea early on to teach them when to stop. They are brave, sometimes to the point of being foolhardy, and will defend you to the death if needed.
The Pekingese won’t tolerate being grabbed or poked and won’t hesitate to defend himself.
According to Chinese legend, a lion once fell in love with a marmoset, a type of monkey. To wed his love, the lion begged Buddha to reduce him in size but let him retain his great lion heart and character. Buddha consented, and from the union of the two descended the dogs of Fu Lin, the lion dogs of China.
The breed remained rare, although by the 1890s, more Pekingese were being smuggled out of China. A dog named Pekin Peter was reportedly the first Pekingese to be exhibited at a British dog show, in 1894. The breed at the time was known variously as a Chinese Pug and a Pekingese Spaniel. A Pekingese club was established in 1904.
Naturally, the Peke’s popularity spread across the Atlantic to the United States. The first Pekingese registered by the American Kennel Club was Rascal, in 1906, and the Pekingese Club of America was formed in 1909.Today the breed ranks 49th among the 155 breeds and varieties registered by the AKC.
The Pekingese is heavy for his size with a stocky, muscular body. He is 6 to 9 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 7 to 14 pounds. In imperial China, Pekingese that weighed less than six pounds were called “sleeve dogs” and rode in the sleeve cuffs of the robes worn by members of the imperial court.
Like every dog, Pekingese need early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they’re young. Socialization helps ensure that your Peke puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
Pekingese make good apartment dogs, and of course they’ll be equally happy in a mansion. They love to run and romp but need a fenced area because they will explore and may wander off. Pekingese appreciate going for walks and will be excellent company jaunting through the neighborhood with you. Despite their heavy coat, Pekingese are housedogs and should not live outdoors.
The Pekingese wears a coat that is long, coarse, and straight, standing away from the body like a furry halo. Beneath the topcoat is a thick, soft undercoat. True to his description as a lion dog, the Pekingese has a noticeable mane on the neck and shoulder area, with the coat on the rest of the body being somewhat shorter. Long feathering is found on the backs of the legs and on the toes, with longer fringing on the ears and tail. The Peke’s coat can be any color or have any markings, including black and tan, fawn or red brindle, and particolored, which is white with another color.
Pekingese have an excessive amount of wrinkling on face; this can cause problems with skin fold dermatitis, skin irritations, and infections. The folds should be kept clean and dry.