Dog Breed Guide – Pekingese

Everything You Need To Know About The Pekingese

Everything You Need to Know About The Pekingese


Pekingese are small breed dogs and are among the oldest breeds to date, approximately 2000 years old.

They originated and were named after the ancient city in China called Peking (Beijing). They were owned by the imperial family as royal pets. Commoners were required to bow in front of them, a treatment they still expect today, depicted by their personalities.

They were bred for religious purposes by monks in the quest to create a dog that resembled a miniature lion. This was achieved by breeding the smallest and hairiest dogs, resulting in what we now call the Pekingese.

Physical characteristics

They are small, short, sturdy, muscular, and pear-shaped dogs. Their coat is very fluffy, extending all the way to their feet. They are characterized by a disproportional build, with the front appearing larger than the back.

They measure approximately 5.9 to 8.7 inches (15 – 22 cm) at the shoulder and weigh 6.6 to 13.2 pounds (3 – 6 kg).

Categorized as a brachycephalic breed, they have a flat face, protruding eyes, and short nostrils.

Pekingese come in three colors: black, white, and fawn. However, there can be variations in these colors through breeding.

The bottom half of their face, from the mouth area upward to their eyebrows, is black.

Their skin folds around the face, especially between the eyes and nose, creating an upside-down “V” above the nose.

They have a broad, flat forehead and ears that droop on the sides of their head.

Pekingese have short facial hair but grow longer hair on the ears and at the back of their head.

They also have short legs, with the knees close to the body. The front legs appear bow-legged.

The tail is long and thin, curling up in one to two loops. It is also very fluffy.

Pekingese have two coats of hair. The undercoat is thick, soft, and short, while the outer coat is long, straight, and flows liberally, making them well adapted to cold weather climates.

They have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.

Temperament and Personality

Pekingese are confident, stubborn, and carry an air of dignity and self-importance, probably something they adopted from their ancestors. They can also become a bit aggressive when they don’t get what they want.

They are not child-friendly, as they are intolerant of screaming, rough play, and running. They may interpret such behavior as a challenge to their territory and respond by biting. Interaction with children should, therefore, be monitored at all times.

This also applies to other dogs, although they get along with their own kind. Be wary, especially of eye injuries, owing to their protruding nature.

Early socialization and exposure to different people and animals may help counter this aggression. Once they get used to you, they are really loving and affectionate.

They are also not friendly to strangers and tend to bark a lot, making them excellent guard dogs. They may appear aloof, indifferent, or, at times, avoid strangers altogether. This may not be your choice of a dog if you value some peace and quiet.

They are also very loyal, brave, and very protective of their owners.

They don’t respond well to discipline, as they may bite. Training can also be a challenge, as they always like to be in charge. Treats and positive reinforcement are the only way to go with these fur babies.

They are also prone to a prey drive and have a tendency to chase after small animals and wander off. While outside, it is advisable to always put them on a leash. If living in a standalone house, make sure it is well-fenced to avoid such instances.

Owing to their high intelligence, they need some mental stimulation. Failure to provide this may result in destructive behavior such as chewing, digging, or biting. One can use interactive toys or engage in obedience and agility training.

Health Issues

Due to the physical characteristics of this breed (brachycephalic), they are naturally predisposed to various health issues. These include:

  • Skin infections: This condition is brought about by the wrinkles around the face. The folds of skin should be cleaned and dried daily to prevent infection.
  • Eye injuries due to their protruding eyes.
  • Short nostrils predispose them to overheating therefore exercise should be moderate and monitored. They also may experience noisy breathing, snorting or snoring
  • Soft palate disorders such as cleft palate
  • Collapsed airway

Other health issues include:

  • Obesity: Guardians need to portion their food. Feeding them half to one cup of high-quality food once or twice a day is recommended. Avoid high-calorie treats.
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Intervertebral disk prolapse
  • Patella luxation or dislocation


Pekingese dogs are fluffy and, therefore, shed a lot. If you are keen on not having fur all over your house, this might not be your match. Some caregivers at times opt to keep the fur short to minimize shedding. It would be wise to invest in a good vacuum for loose dog hair.

Brushing the fur once daily while wet goes a long way in making sure the fur is healthy and strong. Bathing should be done at least once or twice a month.

Remember to clip their toenails and hair around the paws to prevent it from matting.

Always remember to keep the wrinkles on the face clean and dry to avoid skin infections.

Living Arrangements

Pekingese are low-energy, calm dogs, making them perfect companions, especially in both apartments and standalone houses. They also have little interest in other residents and are quite tolerant of cold weather due to their thick coat. However, they should not be left outdoors, especially during hot summer nights, as they are prone to overheating.

They do not require a lot of space to be happy and can, therefore, thrive in apartments.

They adapt well to new environments, can handle a variable routine, and are not prone to separation anxiety. They also don’t mind being left alone, which works well for those who work for long hours.

They easily overheat, so always remember to turn on the air conditioner, especially during those hot summer nights.


Pekingese dogs make excellent companions, especially for those without families, work long hours, and live in apartments. Though they shed a lot, they are very independent, intelligent, affectionate, and loyal to their owners.

The Pekingese is a fiercely loyal breed, affectionate, intelligent, tough, and will be a great companion for many years for the right owners.

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