As legend has it, the Pekingese is the offspring of a marmoset and a lion. Despite this whimsical myth, the Pekingese is known for his long flowing coat and has an air of courage, boldness and self-esteem.
History and Origin
The Pekingese, also known as the Lion-Dog, was held sacred in China during the Tang Dynasty. Chinese myth states that a lion fell in love with a marmoset. Because of this love, the lion asked the gods to reduce his size and allow him to live harmoniously with his beloved marmoset. His request was granted and the result of their union was the Pekingese.
More likely, the Pekingese is the result of interbreeding of various types of dogs from China. Over the years, the Peke has had several affectionate names. He has been called the lion-dog because of his long fluffy hair coat, and the sun dog because of the golden red color. And finally, the Pekingese has also been called the sleeve dog since the breed was often carried in the voluminous sleeves of the Imperial household.
Prior to the British invasion of the Imperial Palace in 1860, the Pekingese was only known and coveted in the royal palaces. Pekes were so loved that anyone who tried to smuggle one out of China was risking his life.
During their invasion, the British found five Pekingese in the apartment of the Chinese Emperor's aunt. These dogs were brought to England, thus introducing this special dog to the world. One of the dogs was presented to Queen Victoria. In 1893, the Pekingese was exhibited in England for the first time. Soon, the Pekingese took hold of the American fancy and in 1906 the breed was admitted to the American Kennel Club.
Appearance and Size
The head of the Pekingese is large and the face is flat with a black wrinkled muzzle and droopy heart-shaped ears. The body is heavy-boned and well-built. Pekes come in a variety of colors, including cream, white, fawn, red, black, parti-colored, and black or red with white. The Pekingese has a long coat with a profuse mane and feathering on the ears, legs, tail and toes. Black pigment is essential on the nose, lips and the rim of the eyes. From the top of the shoulder, the Pekingese stands between six to nine inches, weighing from eleven to fourteen pounds.
The Pekingese is a courageous and loyal dog but can be a little independent and stubborn. As with many dogs bred as royal companions, the Pekingese likes to have his own way. Despite this tendency, the Peke is a sensitive, affectionate and loving member of the family.
Home and Family Relations
Pekes have sharp intelligence and are loyal companions. They are excellent watch dogs and fit well into family routines. The Pekingese can become stubborn if not trained well and this has earned him a reputation of being bad-tempered.
The Pekingese needs daily combing and brushing of his long, double coat to keep it from matting. The face and eyes need regular cleaning to prevent moisture accumulation and facial fold dermatitis.
The Pekingese is not easily trained but with obedience classes he can become an enjoyable family member, destined to spend his life snoozing in his owner's lap.
The Pekingese is not very tolerant of hot, humid weather due to his short muzzle and extremely long hair coat. Daily grooming is necessary to prevent mats and tangles.
Common Diseases and Disorders
Disorders that may be seen in this breed may include: