Pekingese: The Ultimate Guide to This Regal Companion

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The Pekingese, a breed renowned for its regal appearance and distinguished history, has captivated dog lovers worldwide. Originating from ancient China, these small yet brave dogs were cherished by Chinese royalty as sacred companions. With their lion-like mane and distinctive features, Pekingese are easily recognizable and highly esteemed in the canine community.

In addition to their striking looks, Pekingese possess a unique temperament that combines independence with affection. While they may exhibit an air of aloofness towards strangers, they form deep bonds with their families. Their low-energy levels make them well-suited for both apartment living and households where quiet companionship is preferred. Understanding the care requirements and personality traits of this noble breed can aid prospective owners in providing optimal care for their furry friend.

Did you know?

Pekingese dogs were once considered sacred in ancient China and could only be owned by royalty. If a commoner was found with one, they risked severe punishment or even death.

The History and Origin of Pekingese

The Pekingese breed, often referred to as “Pekes,” originates from ancient China. They were bred for centuries within the imperial palace of Beijing and are deeply intertwined with Chinese royalty. Their noble heritage can be traced back over 2,000 years when these small dogs were considered sacred companions exclusively owned by members of the Imperial Court.

Legend has it that Pekingese descended from mythical lion-dogs and held significant spiritual importance. The belief was so strong that anyone found in possession of one outside the royal family risked severe punishment or death. These long-haired lapdogs symbolized dignity, courage, and grace—attributes admired by emperors who prized them above all other pets.

Their introduction to Western society occurred during the Second Opium War in 1860 when British soldiers seized five Pekingese puppies from the Summer Palace after invading Beijing (then known as ‘Peking’). Queen Victoria received one named Looty as a gift upon their return to England—a gesture marking Peke’s entrance into European haute culture where they quickly gained popularity among aristocrats for their exotic appearance and charming demeanor.

Ancient Beginnings in China

The Pekingese breed traces its roots back to ancient China. These regal dogs were highly esteemed by Chinese royalty and nobility. Their journey began over 2,000 years ago during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). The breed was cherished in palaces as lapdogs and companions.

Emperors often kept Pekingese close, believing they could ward off evil spirits with their lion-like appearance. Legends tell of these small yet fierce dogs being carried inside the sleeves of royal robes. Aristocrats treasured them for their loyalty and charming demeanor.

Pekingese were considered so sacred that theft or harm to one resulted in severe punishment, sometimes even death. Breeding programs within palace walls maintained strict bloodlines to preserve their distinct look—flattened faces, large eyes, and flowing coats.

In 1860 during the Second Opium War, British forces invaded Beijing’s Summer Palace. They discovered five surviving Pekingese amid devastation; these became gifts for Queen Victoria upon returning home.

Royal Ancestry and Symbolism

The Pekingese breed has a rich royal ancestry dating back to ancient China. These dogs were bred exclusively for Chinese royalty, particularly the emperors of the Tang Dynasty around 618-907 AD. They were considered sacred and kept within imperial courts.

Pekingese symbolized luck and protection due to their lion-like appearance. Their resemblance to lions was highly valued because lions are significant symbols in Buddhism, representing strength, courage, and prosperity.

Ownership outside the palace was forbidden unless given as gifts by the emperor himself. This exclusivity added an air of mystique around them. The nobility carried these little canines in their sleeves or robes as status symbols.

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During the Second Opium War in 1860, British forces discovered several Pekingese when they invaded Beijing’s Summer Palace (Yuan Ming Yuan). Five surviving dogs were brought to Britain and presented to Queen Victoria. This marked Westerners’ first introduction to this esteemed breed.

In England, these noble creatures quickly captured hearts with their regal demeanor and unique looks. By early 20th century Europe & America saw rising popularity among aristocrats keeping Pekingeses as companions — further cementing its elite stature across continents even today.

Physical Characteristics of the Pekingese

The Pekingese, a breed adored for its lion-like appearance and regal bearing, boasts distinctive physical characteristics. This toy dog typically weighs between 7 to 14 pounds, with a height of about 6 to 9 inches at the shoulder. Its compact body is well-muscled yet elegant in proportion.

Their most striking feature is their luxurious double coat which comes in various colors including white, fawn, black, and particolored patterns. The outer layer of fur is long and coarse while the undercoat remains soft and dense; giving them both volume and an air of royalty.

Pekingese have large dark eyes that exude intelligence accompanied by alert expressions framed within their flattened faces. A slightly undershot jaw gives them a unique pouty look while their short legs add to their overall sturdy stature making this breed irresistibly charming even by today’s standards.

Unique Appearance and Size

The Pekingese boasts a unique appearance that stands out among dog breeds. Known for their lion-like mane, these dogs are instantly recognizable. Their coat is long and flowing, often requiring regular grooming to maintain its elegance.

Pekingese have a compact, sturdy body structure despite appearing delicate due to their luxurious fur. Adults typically weigh between 8-14 pounds (3.6-6.4 kg) and stand about 6-9 inches tall at the shoulder.

Their flat faces feature dark, expressive eyes and a short snout surrounded by pronounced wrinkles which add character to their facial expressions. The nose is usually black and sits well back on the muzzle.

One of the breed’s most defining traits is its double-layered coat consisting of an abundant outer layer with longer guard hairs over a dense undercoat providing insulation.

These dogs also have feathering on ears, legs, feet, belly areas contributing further to their distinctive look.

Coat Types, Colors, and Grooming Needs

Pekingese dogs have a distinctive double coat. The outer coat is long, straight, and coarse. The undercoat provides insulation with its soft and thick texture.

These regal companions come in various colors such as gold, red, sable, cream, black, white or tan. They can also exhibit multiple color combinations like parti-color patterns which include patches of different hues.

Grooming a Pekingese requires dedication due to their luxurious fur. Regular brushing is crucial to prevent matting and tangling; at least three times per week is recommended. Many owners opt for daily grooming sessions to keep the coat pristine.

Baths should be given once every 3-4 weeks using dog-specific shampoos that maintain the natural oils of their skin and hair. Proper drying post-bath ensures no dampness gets trapped in their dense undercoat which could lead to skin infections.

Temperament and Personality Traits of the Pekingese

The Pekingese, with its regal stature and distinctive appearance, is a breed that stands out not just for its looks but also for its unique temperament. Renowned for their self-assured nature, these dogs often exhibit an air of dignity befitting their royal heritage in ancient China. They possess a confident demeanor that can sometimes be mistaken for aloofness by those unfamiliar with the breed.

Despite their small size, Pekingese are bold and courageous. They have protective instincts that make them effective watchdogs; they will alert their owners to any unusual activity or strangers approaching the home. This trait highlights their loyalty to family members while maintaining a sense of independence which is characteristic of this breed.

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Pekingese are affectionate towards those they trust but might take time to warm up to new people due to their discerning nature. Their independent streak means they enjoy moments of solitary relaxation as much as interactive playtime with trusted companions. Training requires patience since they tend toward stubbornness if commands don’t align with what interests them at the moment — truly reflecting both charm and challenge combined in one elegant package.

Behavior Around Family Members

Pekingese dogs are known for their affectionate and loyal behavior around family members. They form strong bonds with their human companions, often displaying significant attachment and devotion.

They thrive on attention. This breed loves to be the center of family activities. Expect your Pekingese to follow you from room to room, eager to participate in household routines.

Though small in size, they have a big personality. These regal dogs can come across as independent but will seek comfort near loved ones when tired or relaxed.

Children often find Pekingese charming due to their expressive faces and playful nature. However, supervision is crucial because these delicate pups can get hurt easily by rough play.

Around adults, they may show more calmness yet remain ready for interaction—whether it’s snuggling on the couch or sitting at your feet during dinner time.

In multi-pet households, early socialization plays an essential role in how well a Pekingese interacts with other pets. Generally attentive towards familiar animals but wary of strangers until trust is built over time.

Socialization with Other Pets

Socialization with other pets is crucial for Pekingese. These dogs are known for their regal nature, which sometimes can make them appear aloof or indifferent to other animals. Early socialization helps them develop better relationships and reduces the risk of behavioral issues.

Introduce your Pekingese puppy to various environments, sounds, and different types of pets from a young age. This exposure will help him become more adaptable as he grows older. Positive reinforcement works best when teaching your dog how to interact appropriately with others.

Pekingese tends to have a dominant personality due to their history as palace guards in ancient China. They might try asserting themselves over smaller or younger animals in the household. Supervised play sessions can ensure that all interactions remain friendly and safe.

They generally get along well with calm-natured cats who respect personal space but may struggle with very energetic breeds like Huskies or Terriers without proper training and supervision.

Frequent visits to parks where they encounter diverse canine personalities can also be beneficial—just keep an eye out initially until you gauge his comfort levels around unfamiliar faces (and paws).

In multi-pet homes, maintain harmony by setting clear boundaries regarding food bowls, sleeping areas, toys etc., reducing potential conflicts significantly between housemates while letting each pet feel secure within its territory peacefully!

Overall patience combined strategically implementing structured routines genuinely fosters positive dynamic relationships amongst fellow furry friends transforming once hesitant noble pup eventually becoming graciously sociable member beloved family pack!


In wrapping up our deep dive into the world of Pekingese, it’s clear that these pint-sized royals are more than just a pretty furball. With their courageous hearts and unwavering loyalty, they bring an undeniable spark to any household lucky enough to have them. Whether you’re drawn in by their storied history or enchanted by those expressive little faces, one thing is certain: owning a Pekingese is akin to welcoming nobility into your home.

If this regal breed has piqued your interest—or if you’re curious about finding other canine companions with equally captivating traits—there’s plenty more to discover on our website. Immerse yourself in various dog breed profiles and uncover which furry family member could be perfect for you next!

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