The Pekingese: Little Lion Dog of China


The Pekingese is an ancient dog breed, which has been depicted in Chinese art as far back as the Tang dynasty of the 8th century. The breed takes its name from the ancient city of Peking (now Beijing). In ancient China Pekingese were considered sacred and only royalty were allowed to own them. The punishment for a non-royal being found in possession of a Pekingese was death.

The breed was introduced to Britain after the British overran the Chinese Imperial Palace in 1860, and returned home with several of the dogs.

Pekes are well-balanced, compact dogs with a lion-like appearance. They have front quarters that are heavier than their hindquarters, and a strong, solid appearance implying courage, dignity, and self-esteem. They can be any color.

If you are thinking about getting a Pekingese you’ll be getting a good natured and affectionate pet who bonds closely with immediate family, but may be stand-offish with strangers. Pekes are confident little dogs who are not afraid to stand their ground against all-comers. Their stubbornness is also legendary.

The Pekes small size makes them well suited to apartment life, and while they do enjoy walks their exercise needs are not great. You should be aware though that they have a reputation of being difficult to house break.

The breed has a long undercoat that needs a thorough brush at least once weekly.


Group: Toy
Country of origin: China
Date of origin: Ancient times
Originally bred for: Companion / Watchdog
Current function: Companion
Size: Small
Coat length: Long
Shedding: Yes
Grooming requirements: Daily
Town or Country: Either
Ideal home: Apartment / Small or large house
Minimum garden size: None
Exercise requirements: Up to 30 minutes per day
Lifespan: Over 12 years

If you enjoyed this page on the Pekingese, check out some of the other dog breed links below.

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