Other names/Nicknames:
  • Little Lion Dog
  • Sleeve Dog
  • Sun Dog
  • Imperial Dog of China
  • Peke
Country/Date of origin:
  • China
  • Tang Dynasty (5th Century)
  • 8 to 9 inches
  • Teacup toy version is several inches shorter
  • Up to 14 pounds
  • Teacup toy version is several pounds smaller
  • Pekingese are courageous and bold, all out of proportion to their size.
  • Dignified, independent, and aloof to the point of being snobbish.
  • Prefers the company of adults.

Pekingese were originally considered sacred, the living symbols of the lion that was Buddha’s guardian.  They were the exclusive property of the Emperor and Empress of China.  Theft of a Pekingese was punishable by death.  The Chinese Royal Family often used Pekingese for hunting rabbits because of their excellent retriever abilities.  The first Pekingese dogs to leave the Imperial Palace were dog-napped by the British when they looted the Forbidden City after the Boxer Rebellion in 1860.  One of the dogs was presented to Queen Victoria, who named him Looty.  The tiny oriental dogs were an immediate sensation in Europe.  Soon, they were also in the United States and the breed was registered by the American Kennel Club(AKC) in 1909.

Body Type:
  • A stocky, heavily-coated dog that was bred to resemble a lion.
  • Face is extremely short with very large, round eyes.
  • Head is oversized and flat between the ears.
  • Short legs are bowed in front giving the Pekingese a distinctive sideways roll when moving.
  • Feathered ears hang down and are not altered.
  • Tail forms a plumed curl over the back and is not altered.
  • Long, thick, double coat has soft undercoat with a longer top coat (guard hairs) that give the coat a plush, stand-offish effect.
  • Hair is extra long on toes and tail, with neck ruff forming a lion’s mane.
  • All colors allowable, with black masks and spectacle markings highly prized.
Health and Wellness:
  • Cleft lip and palate.
  • Brachycephalic airway obstruction syndrome.
  • Microphthalmia.
  • Epiphora.
  • Dystocia.
  • Intevertebral disc disease (IVDD).
  • Atlanto-axial subluxation.
  • Facial skin fold pyoderma.
  • Mitral insufficiency.
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
What you should know:
  • Extremely long-lived breed.  Note that Pekingese is spelled with a g.  It is commonly mis-spelled as Pekinese.
  • There are two sizes of Pekingese:  the small versions are known as sleeve dogs or teacup toys.  The larger version, however, is more commonly seen and has a sturdier constitution.
  • White, teacup, toy Pekingese are highly prized and fetch astronomical prices.  One was recently sold for $50,000.
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