AKC Dog Breeds: Pekingese

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Toy Group
Height:6-9 inches  Weight: 7-14 pounds  Color: All coat colors are acceptable

The Pekingese is a well-balanced, compact dog of Chinese origin with a heavy front and lighter hindquarters. Its temperament is one of directness, independence and individuality. Its image is lion like, implying courage, dignity, boldness and self-esteem rather than daintiness or delicacy. The Pekingese originated in China. For centuries they were considered sacred and could only be owned by the members of the Chinese Imperial Palace. In 1860, during the opium war, the Forbidden city was invaded by allied troops. The Emperor and his court fled, but an elderly aunt remained. She committed suicide and was found with her five Pekingese dogs around her. The allies took the dogs and they were distributed to the Duchess of Wellington, The Duke and Duchess of Gordon and Richmond, and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. All modern day Pekes descended from these five dogs. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1915

General Appearance
The Pekingese has an extravagant, long, straight-flowing coat that has profuse feathering and comes in all colors. It has a broad head that is wide between their large, dark, lucid and slightly prominent eyes. The face is flat with a dark, wrinkled muzzle, and drooping heart-shaped, long feathering ears. Their necks are short and thick. When their mouth is closed, neither teeth nor tongue should show. These tiny, heavy boned dogs have a characteristic rolling gait.


A dignified, courageous, and confident toy dog, the Pekingese is the ideal pet for inexperienced dog owner as well as the more experienced. This breed makes a wonderful companion dog, and his low exercise demands mean that he is also ideal for those that cannot get around much, such as the elderly and the disabled. The Pekingese is a loyal and affectionate dog, and because of his tendency to bark can make an effective watchdog. These dogs have a very sensitive personality, and do not take kindly to being handled roughly or being shouted at. This is not the right choice for impatient people or for those with little time for their pets. He is also not the right choice for those looking for total peace and quiet, as he has a tendency to snore and sneeze because of his short muzzle. Although the Pekingese does have his playful and energetic moments, he is mostly happy to sit and relax, lapping up any creature comforts that are bestowed upon him. These dogs can sometimes be very willful and strong minded, and many can be possessive when it comes to their belongings and their food. The Pekingese will get along with children but is best suited to older and gentler children, as he does not like to be roughly treated and could sustain injury easily due to his small size. This breed tends to be polite with strangers, although some can be very suspicious of them. They will usually get along well with other animals, although early socialization is recommended. The somewhat proud, over confident, and self-centered personality of the Pekingese can make this breed difficult to train.


Good grooming is a must for the Pekingese. Bathing should be done once or twice a month. The Peke is a double coated breed and should be brushed on a daily basis to keep mats from forming. Trimming should be done around the pads of the feet so that the feet can touch the floor without being impeded. A spray bottle of grooming spray or distilled water should be kept handy so that the coat can be lightly misted. A damp cloth should be used to wipe away excess dirt and moisture around the eyes and wrinkles. Nails should be trimmed at least every two to three weeks. Ears should be swabbed out with a damp cotton swab. Any signs of redness or swelling in the ears should be a cause for concern.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of the Pekingese is around 12-15 years, and although generally a healthy breed there are some health issues to look out for. The Peke is prone to breathing problems, eye problems, herniated disc, and dislocated kneecaps. Special care must be given to not overfeed as they gain weight easily.

Activity Level
The Pekingese is able to have the majority of their exercise needs met indoors with play sessions. They benefit from, and greatly enjoy short walks a few times per day. They make excellent apartment or condominium dwellers. Most Pekingese do not like walks. They may tolerate them, but would much prefer spending the time napping. Never walk a Peke in the heat. They are a Brachycephalic breed and will overheat. A short evening walk is much more to their liking. They enjoy a little playtime with their human families.


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