Pekingese Breed Information and Photos

Category Pekingese
These small companions, also known "lion dogs", are one of the oldest canine breeds. This page contains Pekingese breed information and photos.


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Facts about Pekingese

In folklore, the story of how the Pekingese came to be goes something like this: A lion fell in love with a marmoset and wanted to marry her. Unfortunately, their difference in size was too great. In order to marry his true love, the lion begged Buddha (in some versions it was the Patron Saint of Animals) to reduce him to the size of a pygmy, while allowing him to retain his character, including his great lion heart. The offspring of this union was said to be the first Pekingese, the Lion Dog of China.

Pekingese Quick Facts

Area of origin: China

American Kennel Club group: Toy Group.

Original function: Lap dog, palace guards

Overall appearance: A well-balanced and compact, muscular body that is low to the ground with noticeably bowed legs; a large, broad head and a flat, short face with large round eyes. The coat forms a mane at the neck and shoulders, giving the dog a lion-like appearance.

Coat: Pekingese have a double coat consisting of a long coarse outer coat and a soft undercoat. The coat forms a mane on the neck and shoulder areas and is somewhat shorter in length on the remainder of the body. Modern Pekingese feature two styles of coats, the long-haired and the more traditional Spaniel-type coat.

Color: According to the AKC breed standard, all colors and patterns are allowable, although most Pekes are gold, red, or sable. Cream, black, white, black and tan, and occasionally slate blue colors are also seen in the breed.

Height: Approximately 6 to 9 inches at the withers (point of shoulder).

Weight: Not to exceed 14 pounds.

Average lifespan: 13 to 15 years.

A Breed of Imperial Origins

The Pekingese, named for the ancient city of Peking, is one of the oldest dog breeds. The breed originated in Western China and owes its existence to the Lamaist form of Buddhism, in which the lion was an exalted religious symbol. When China adopted Buddhism, the small dogs that served as companions to the monks were carefully bred to accentuate the characteristics of a miniature lion. The monks were so successful in doing this, that eventually these little lion dogs became a sacred religious symbol and were bred exclusively for the Imperial family. The smallest of the Pekes were sometimes carried around inside of the huge sleeves of the Imperial robes, earning them the name Sleeve Pekingese. As companions, fashion accessories, and guards of the Imperial Court in Beijing, the Pekingese were held in such high regard that causing them harm or getting caught smuggling them out of the royal precinct was punishable by death.

Pekingese were introduced to Europe as a result of war. When the British overtook the Chinese Imperial Palace in 1860, they returned to England with several of the dogs. Lap dogs were considered a symbol of wealth and status at the time, so the demand for the little dogs grew quickly. Pekingese were first introduced to America in the late 1800s and still remain one of the most popular Toy breeds in the United States today.

Independent, Yet Affectionate

Like lions, Pekingese are courageous, dignified, and devoted to their family. They can be calm, playful and affectionate, and also willful, stubborn and reserved. This breed does not respond well to being scolded or handled roughly. However, once you have earned their love and respect, these little dogs usually turn into wonderful, well-mannered companions even without the benefit of formalized training. Pekingese are typically polite with strangers and accepting of other animals and their small size makes them a good choice for people living in small homes and apartments. They are highly intelligent little dogs, but due to their independent and willful nature, they can sometimes be difficult to housebreak.

Grooming and General Care

Pekingese shed a lot. Their long undercoat will also mat unless combed for a few minutes at least a couple of times a week. To make grooming easier, many owners keep their Pekes in a lion clip for at least some (if not all) of the year. With this type of clip, most of the fur on the body and legs is shaved short, leaving only a tuft of fur on the tip of the tail and paws and a long lion's mane around the head and neck. This makes maintaining the coat much easier and also keeps the dogs more comfortable during warmer weather. Other routine grooming tasks include keeping their nails trimmed, teeth cleaned, and the folds of skin over the nose clean and dry.

Pekingese don't require a lot of exercise, but like all dogs, they benefit from the mental and social stimulation provided by short daily walks. They are relatively calm and inactive while indoors, with occasional outbursts of intense play. Because Pekes originated from the frostier regions of China they tolerate cold extremely well, but not heat. Care must be taken to prevent them from overheating, especially during warm weather.

Health Considerations

Although Pekingese are typically considered a vigorous, healthy breed, they are still prone to certain health problems, including brachycephalic syndrome, dry eye, and patellar luxation.

As with all short-muzzled breeds, any issues with the nose (ease of breathing) and eyes should be monitored carefully.

Source: American Kennel Club; The Pekingese Club of America

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I heard from a friend that pekingese are very snappy. My roommate Aria is going to bring a pekingese named pepper to our apartment soon. Does anybody who owns one have any advice? Are they loud? Are they energetic? Are they rough?


Sabrina from VA



August 31, 20050 found this helpful

I had a male (unneutered) Pekingnese from the time he was 6 weeks old until he was 13, at which time he had to be put to sleep, much to my extreme sorrow. He was a perfect little gentleman - slow to respond to strangers but, once he knew you, he loved you. I gave him stuffed toys and other small toys to chew on and play with - loved to ride small beach balls! I personally think that most dogs are the result of the way they're raised - if they're raised to be aggressive and stand-offish, they will be - if they're raised to be friendly and polite, they'll be that also.

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By (Guest Post)
August 31, 20050 found this helpful

I have been around several peks thru the yrs. My experience is that they are not at all loud, energy level is dependent on Pepper's age but sedate compared to say, a Jack Russell, and I agree that it will only be snappy if raised or allowed to be that way. Peks are usually very loving - unfortunately most small dogs get bad press for being snappish.


When introduced to Pepper, offer him your hand to sniff, scratch UNDER the chin, never reach out over the head of this or any strange dog - that's a sign of dominance/aggression. You'll earn a friend by giving Pepper time to get to know you, just like you need time to love him. Good luck! bbb

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By ann (Guest Post)
August 31, 20050 found this helpful

I have a seven year old pekingese, Sugar. My three children says she is my only child. She is our darling. She barks at cats, they drive her crazy walking across our yard. She loves to sit beside me and look out the window. She has a brass bed setting in front of the window and a velvet pillow she sits on like the Queen she is!! She is a very loving dog and friendly. ""

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By (Guest Post)
August 31, 20050 found this helpful

Google "Pekingnese" or try for info

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By christi (Guest Post)
August 31, 20050 found this helpful

My stepmother has a female pek. She is the sweetest thing in the world and loved me from the first time I met her. They are very playful and smart. She would wait till my stepmother got thru waxing the floor every week and take off from the living room and start sliding once she hit the kitchen floor till she hit a wall, go back and start again.


We have poodles and a shih zsu and I thought the same thing especially poodles but they are extremely loving and sweet animals. Its all in how you treat them.

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September 6, 20050 found this helpful

I have a female peke that is 15 years old. She is the boss of us all. lol
She is one of the most loving dogs I've ever been around.
I also agree it's the way they are raised as to how they act. We had a chow that loved everybody, but she was raised that way. My peke is so old now she does'nt see or hear well but she still gives love and kisses. You will most likely fall in love with Pepper and want a peke of your own. lol
I wish you joy with Pepper.

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By K. (Guest Post)
September 8, 20050 found this helpful

Well I am taking care of a pekingnese for a friend, his name is pogi and he is a absolute total darling! He is playful,but he never bites hard.


When he sleeps he snores in his sleep which is sooo cute!!! He is just a total gentlemen and not tempermental at all. He's a laid back kind of guy.

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By Shaun (Guest Post)
November 26, 20050 found this helpful

I had a Pekingnese from he was a pup till he was 9. he wasn't neutered. We had to put him down due to the vets wrong examination mistaking heart disease and hypertension pulminary disease for it went undiscovered. BUt up until his sudden illness he was the best...waited for you by the door. He also was there everyday and when I would say "Ok Bandit I'm home, what do you want" he would roll right over. Also he trained himself to go the bathroom in the matter where he was he went to find one if he had to go...also he would be by your side if he sensed you were sick or sad. We put him to sleep last week, because the pain was to much and we loved him very much

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By Arlene (Guest Post)
February 4, 20080 found this helpful

Pekingese are very protective, intelligent and are very good with children. However, if someone hits someone else he or she gets very upset.


They won't bite but they'll show you all there teeth. There very loving pets.

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By barbara (Guest Post)
September 3, 20080 found this helpful

Pekingese are very nice dogs. They like to have their own way if you let them. Very quiet, very devoted to who ever owns them. They like to run and play. We have a pekingese for 14 yrs. now. They are very loveable, very easy to house break, I think any way, we had no trouble. They don't live with you, you live with them. lol. But they can be stubborn at times. You will fall in love with the pekingese

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December 7, 2009

Ginger is 3 lovely years. She is a Pekingese, she's so perfect! She was adopted from the Myrtle Beach Shelter. She was 9 months old at the time. Her original family had left her and her brother at the shelter in order to move to a different state. We bonded immediately.

Gin likes to play in the sand. She's amazed at how the sand flies when she jumps in it. She loves the beach. She loves playing run and fetch and tug-a-war. She loves belly-rubs and gets them from everyone in the family. She loves barking at anything that moves outside the windows of our home. She loves chasing squirrels, rabbits, birds, etc., but never seems to catch any of them. She loves thinking she's bigger than our neighbor's lab! She loves kisses, drinking out of a glass instead of her bowl. She loves dressing up, getting her hair brushed and curling up in the electric blanket after a bath. She loves greeting me as much as I love getting greeted at the door.

Ginger has one job, to fill my "empty nest syndrome." She does her job. I do mine. We are definitively soul mates. I dearly love this little girl. She fills every empty hole my life has to face with the children growing up and leaving. She's so perfect!

By Karen from Loris, South Carolina

Ginger (Pekingese)

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PJ (Princess Jr.) is a Pekingese that is 3 years young. I had just lost my dog Princess Sr. after having her for 15 years. I was so sad when my hubby got little PJ to try and bring my other Pekingese Tafyy (13 years old) out of some sadness.

Taffy, at 13 years old, passed away about 1 month after. It broke my heart, but PJ has been wonderful and I couldn't imagine life without her. She likes to play catch and ride in the truck, on my lap, with her head out the window.

By Carrie Kirkus from Ludowici, GA

PJ (Pekingese)

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Bentley was 11 years old and a Pekingese. We went to our local pet store and got Bentley when he was 4 months old. Bentley just passed away this past November, but he was my ever faithful companion.

Bentley, a pekinese, on the patio outside with a girl.

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February 4, 2011

Sam will be 2 in April. Sam is a Pekingese. I received Sam as a gift, when he was 5 months old. Sam loves to run outside, and to to play with Mr. Squeaky.

Sam (Pekingese)

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March 9, 2010

Jingles is 5 years old and a Pekingese. I got him from my partner for Christmas 5 years ago. He likes to squeak the toys I buy for him and roll them around.

Jingles (Pekingese)

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April 21, 2009

Pugsley is a 10 year old pekingese. My sister-in-law gave him to us 4 years ago. He likes to play ball with kids. He is very good with children and funny.

Pugsley (Pekingese)

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Fluffy is a 7 year old Pekingese. A friend gave him to me. He likes to run after a ball. He's so fluffy!

Fluffy (Pekingese)

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February 6, 2005

This is a pic of my 10 month old nephew Aidan and my 6 yr old Pekingese, Charlie. This was my first time babysitting my nephew. Charlie was fascinated w/Aidan and had to be wherever he was.

Charlie (Pekingese)

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Pets Dogs Dog Breeds PekingeseJune 29, 2013
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