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Pekingese

Pekingese

The Pekingese is a robust, short legged little dog with a leonine expression and a characterful personality. A feature of the breed is the long, profuse coat covering the body, legs and tail and creating a mane around the head and neck. The coat is short on the face and muzzle, but long on the ears. Eyes are large and the muzzle is short, with a wrinkle above it, but the nostrils should be wide and clear and the wrinkle should not obscure the eyes.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking half an hour a day
  • Little toy dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Non hypoallergenic breed
  • Quiet dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • Great with other pets
  • Don't mind

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Weight:  Around 5kg
Height:  Between 15-22cm
Colours:  The Peke's coat can be any colour or have any markings, including black and tan, fawn or red brindle, and part-colour, which is white with another colour.
Size:  Small
UK Kennel Club Groups: Toy

Ratings

Family-friendly: 5/5
Exercise needs: 2/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 2/5
Energy level: 2/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 4/5

Personality

Dignified and stately, the Peke has a comical side with their family, but can be reserved with strangers. Under the coat there is a robust little dog, but even if clipped short they are not inclined to strenuous activity. Preferring to be with their people at all times, this is very much a companion breed, and they will not thrive if left alone for very long. Clever and brave in their own way, Pekes are stoic little characters for the most part, but can be surprisingly strong willed and determined, despite their small stature.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: China

The Pekingese or Peke has been around a long time, since the Shu Dynasty, around 2000 years ago. At this time China had recently become a Buddhist country, however the major symbol of Buddhism, the lion (which Buddha tamed and turned into a faithful servant and powerful protector) does not exist in China. So, the Buddhist monks created their own miniature lion by selectively breeding the Pekingese!

The dogs became sacred symbols in their own right, to the point where they could only be owned by the Imperial family, removing them from the palace precinct was punishable by death! Although traditionally small glamorous breeds were gifted from one royal family to another, in the case of the Pekingese, Queen Victoria received hers when in 1860 British troops stormed the summer palace in Beijing, heralding the end of the Chinese Empire.  Five Pekes escaped slaughter by the palace officials, (not wanting their precious dogs to get into foreign hands), and they were so appealing they were rescued and brought to England. The smallest of these was given to Queen Victoria, and thus they were introduced to the British public. This was a time when all things Royal were the height of celebrity and fashion and therefore immediately desirable.

Did You Know?

  • The Pekingese really found fame with the character Tricky-Woo in James Herriot’s veterinary books and the subsequent TV series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. In the books, Tricky-Woo suffers from ‘cracker dog’ and ‘flop-bott’ (likely excessive energy and ‘zoomies’ and anal glad issues respectively). In the recent remake of the series, Tricki-Woo is played by a Pekingese called Derek who apparently would upstage the actors by adding his own ad-lib ‘grrs’ and ‘woofs’ when addressed during a scene!
  • In ancient China, the smallest and fiercest Pekingese were kept up the wide sleeves of Emperors and couriers who would release them to fend off any potential attackers

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