By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 17th March 2023



Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 17th March 2023

Known by a host of names like the Peke, Pelchie Dog or Lion Dog, the Pekingese is an ancient toy breed, developed in the Western region of China. Compact and well-balanced in outlook, this breed has a lion-like appearance, being an epitome of dignity, boldness, and courage.

Pekingese Pictures

Quick Information

Other namesPeking Lion Dog, Chinese Spaniel, Peking Palasthund, Pelchie, Lion Dog
Common nicknamesPeke
CoatLong flowing; Outer coat: long, straight, coarse; Undercoat: Thick and soft
ColorBlack, black and tan, gray, fawn, cream, red, red sable, white, fawn brindle, biscuit
Breed typePurebred
GroupToy, Companion
Average lifespan/ life expectancy12 to 15 years
Size (How big do they get)Small, toy
Height of a full grown Pekingese6 to 9 inches
Weight of a full grown Pekingese7 to 14 pounds
Litter size2 to 4 puppies on an average
Behavioral characteristicsIntelligent, bold, independent, courageous, alert
Good with childrenNot with toddlers or little ones
Barking tendencyExcessive
Climate compatibility Cannot withstand very high temperatures
Shedding (Do they shed)Excessively
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationFCI, CKC, AKC, NZKC, UKC, KC (UK)

How does the Pekingese look like

Head: Large, with the top of it being broad, flat and massive

Eyes: Large, dark, round-shaped, set widely apart

Ears: Long, hanging and heart-shaped

Neck: Short and thick

Muzzle: Flat, broad and sturdy

Tail: High set, slightly arched, carried over its back

Video of Pekingese Puppies

History and Origin

There are a lot of interesting myths and stories regarding the origination of this breed, the most common one being that it was a creation of Lord Buddha who reduced a lion to the size of a dog.

According to a DNA analysis made during recent times, it is one of the ancient breeds of dogs which were under the ownership of the members belonging to the Chinese Imperial Palace. Initially, they were large and Chinese nobles played a significant role in breeding them down to produce dogs which were small in size. They were such valued companions in the Chinese courts that stealing them was considered to be a punishable offense.

They were popular in their place of origin till 1860 when the Opium wars had commenced. The English and French troops had taken full control of Beijing’s Old Summer Palace, causing immense destruction and devastation. The royal family was so possessive about their Pekes that they killed the pets at this moment of crisis rather than having them conquered by enemies. During one such attack, when the Xianfeng Emperor had left the palace with all his subjects, one of his aunts who remained had committed suicide to save her dignity.

However, five of her Pekingese survived and were brought to England. A pair had been taken by Lord John Hay, who gifted it to his sister, another pair when into the possession of Sir George Fitzroy, while the fifth Pekingese was acquired by Lieutenant Dunne, who presented it to Queen Victoria of Great Britain who called it “Looty”.

Besides England, their popularity even spread to other European countries like Ireland, where Dr. Houston, who received this dog as a gift for introducing clinics giving smallpox vaccination in China, took initiatives in developing this breed. Surpassing the West, they reached the United States of America in the 1890s, with the AKC acknowledging it in 1906. Presently it holds the 49th rank of the 155 AKC recognized breeds.

Temperament and Personality

Its royal ancestry may perhaps play a role in shaping up the Pekingese as a dignified dog with an air of superiority and self-importance.

However, he would excel as a kind, affectionate and loyal family dog, giving you respect, if you learn to value its feelings. Their equation with strangers depends on how they feel when they see an unknown face at their door.

Most of the times they are wary and reserved on encountering an unfamiliar face, and would bark as loud as an alarm to intimate their owners. This trait raises them to the stature of an effective watch and guard dog.

Their barking trouble seems to be persistent as they tend to howl at the sight of anything they see, moving cars, people or other animals passing by their homes.

Pekingese living with adults may not always be friendly enough with kids. Though older ones who can handle dogs in a matured way might be suitable, their interaction with little ones needs supervision.

Though they are most comfortable with another Pekingese, they can share a good rapport with other dogs as well as cats when socialized to do so.



They are not a highly active breed and would do well when exercised moderately. Besides a brisk walk, a little exercise outdoors or quality playtime indoors would be sufficient for them. Because of their full coat and short nose, they are intolerant to heat and should not be left out when the temperatures are soaring. Overheating could cause a host of health hazards including stroke.


They are seasonal shedders and need to be brushed for an hour on a weekly basis to prevent mats and tangles from forming. Before brushing it you can mist its coat well using a coat conditioner to prevent the hair from breaking and then comb it with a natural bristle or pin brush. Other hygiene measures that are required to be taken include trimmings its nails, cleaning its eyes and ears and brushing its teeth on a regular basis to minimize chances of any infection. Wipe the folds on their skin well to lessen chances of hot spots or skin sores.  Keep them with great care when it is highly hot or cold since they are unable to regulate their body temperatures in extreme weather conditions.

Health Problems

Since the Pekingese have a flat face they are at an increased risk of breathing difficulties. Other common health issues they are prone to include heart ailments like congestive heart failure and heart murmur, mitral valve disease, eye problems including progressive retinal atrophy and keratoconjunctivitis sicca or dry eyes, as well as a host of skin ailments.


They are stubborn and independent often having a mind of their own, hence training a Pekingese could be a task if the master is not firm and tactful in dealing with it.

Socialization: Pekingese puppies should be exposed to different kinds of people with varying physical features and voice textures since the beginning. This would help them in understanding human beings better, also preventing them from barking at anyone and everyone they see.

Obedience: The commands “No”, Stay” and “Stop” should be taught to your dog quite early to help him get over his bad habits like barking unnecessarily or being snappy. Whenever he barks, instead of yelling at your dog or asking your Peke to be quiet, ignore him altogether. The more you give it attention, the more will it be encouraged to bark. When it has topped give it a treat or praise it, this will help it to associate the fact that being quiet would fetch it rewards. Try to identify the cause that triggers it to bark and the next time it starts vocalizing at the sight of any car or another animal, try diverting its attention at once.

Crate: Since separation anxiety is one of the old age symptoms of the Pekingese, it is advisable to accustom it to live in a crate at least for short spans in a day if not for a long duration. Also, when you plan to go out, leave treats for your pet to help it associate your departure with something positive.


Choose a high-quality dry dog food which has a sufficient amount of animal protein and is devoid of artificial flavors or colorings. If you are adding homemade food alongside its daily kibble, make sure 50-80% of it comprise of lamb, fish, poultry and organ meats. You can incorporate cooked veggies like carrots, asparagus, peas, squash, and broccoli but make sure they do not exceed 25% of your Peke’s diet. Active Pekingese weighing between 8 and 10 pounds need 300-400 calories daily. Exceeding this could result in obesity and other health problems.

Interesting Facts

  • The Pekingese was one of the five canines to have survived the Titanic shipwreck.

3 responses to “Pekingese”

  1. Addy says:

    I have a Pekingese and he can be very tempered and angry at times, he is being trained though so hopefully this information turns out to be helpful.

  2. Andrew Woolf says:

    I’ve owned my Peke, Charlotte for 4 years and would like to add a couple of points. Pekes for some reason seem to be stereotyped inaccuratly in a few ways that cast the breed in a negative light, so let’s clear that up.

    – The stubborness. Pekes are definitly strong willed, but the degree to which they are is, like many breeds more the result of how well their owners establish themselves as being an alpha figure to the dog, than the dog being resistant to the idea of being controlled.

    – Interacting with kids. Pekes are fine wirh kids, provided they aren’t pushed or shoved around. They also are defensive (again like many breeds) of their personal space being intruded upon anywhere within close proximity of their head area. If that happens, the dog will growl first as a warning and only snap if the intrusions persist.

    – Barking at unfamiliar things. This doesn’t actually happen with Pekes unless as also previously mentioned the dog has been improperly raised by its owner in this instance to be fearful of unfamiliar environments.

    – Excercise. The biggest misconception about Pekingeses (and I’ve seen it repeated all over the web) is that they don’t need excercise. All breeds need some excercise obviously, and of course Pekes are no exception. They may be small, but are stocky hardy dogs in possetion of a great deal of strength and consequently with a great deal of energy to burn off. Not walking these dogs is a big mistake, and leads to several of the oft cited health problems supposedly associated with the breed, joint and ligament problems for example. It is true though that despite their physical stamina that because of their shorter legs, larger bodies, and recessive snouts that these dogs need to be walked at their own pace, given rests especially if they begin panting and on hot days offered water frequently en route.

    The breed is highly intelligent, quick to learn and very devoted to one owner, making it in fact very easy to train provided the owner is consistent in showing the dog that he/she is the pack alpha.

    Hope this clears up some of the popular misconceptions surrounding The Pekingese, and thanks.

  3. Ameer says:

    I like your info but I would recommend adding more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletter

Join our subscribers list to get the latest news, and updates delivered directly in your inbox.