Dog Breed Guide – Pekingese

Everything You Need To Know About The Pekingese

Everything You Need to Know About The Pekingese


Pekingesse are small breed dogs and are among the oldest dogs to date. They are about 2000 years old.

They originated and were named after an ancient city in china called Peking. They were owned by the imperial family as royal pets.  Commoners were to bow in front of them, a treatment they still expect till today depicted from their personality.

They were bred for religious purposes by monks in the quest to get a dog that resembled a miniature lion. They did this by breeding the smallest and hairiest dogs which bore what we know call the Pekingese.

Physical characteristics

They are small, short, sturdy, muscular and  pear shaped dogs. They are also very fluffy with their coat running all the way to their feet. They are disproportional with the front appearing bigger than the back.

They are approximately 15 to 22 cm at the shoulder and weigh 3 to 6 kilograms.

They are categorized as a brachycephalic breed characterized by their flat face, protruding eyes and short nostrils.

They come in three colors black, white and fawn. However there can be variants of these colors when bred.

The bottom half of their face around the mouth area, nose upwards to their eyebrows is black in color.

Their skin folds around the face especially between the eyes and nose which appears like an upside down V above the nose.

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

They have shot facial hair but grow long 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 and can curl up 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. This makes them well adapted to cold weather climate.

They have a life span of 12 to 15 yrs.

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 get a bit aggressive when they don’t get what they want.

They are not child friendly as they are intolerant to screaming, playing rough and running. They may take it as if you are challenging their territory and respond by biting. Interaction with children should therefore be monitored at all times.

This also applies to other dogs though they get along with their own kind.  Be wary especially of eye injuries owning 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 the strangers all together. This may not be your choice 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 is the only way to go with these fur babies.

They are also prone to 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.

Owning to their high intelligence they need some mental stimulation. Failure to this they may end up being destructive; chewing, digging or biting. One can use interactive toys or obedience and agility training.

Health Issues

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

  • Skin infections: This is brought about by the wrinkling 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. A half to one cup of high quality food once or twice a day is recommended. Avoid high calorie treats.
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Interveterbral 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 shot for minimize the shedding. It would be wise to invest in a good vacuum for the loose dog hair.

Brushing of 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 toe nails 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

Pekingnese are low energy calm dogs making them perfect companions especially if living in both in an apartment or a standalone house. They also have little interest with other residents. They also quite tolerant to cold weather owning to their thick coat. They should however 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. 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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