Pekingese – A Toy Dog Breed With a Regal Stance

pekingese breeders

Pekingese are a really interesting breed with a history to match. Their unique squished face and long fur have made them a firm favorite with those that love designer breeds.

These features have also made them a very successful show dog too.

They originated in China and are considered one of the most popular toy breeds – but we will come back to that later on.

We are going to take a deep look into the Pekingese history as well as how well they fit into family life, if at all. These cute little dogs have some really unique traits and often need a specialized diet to keep them in tip top condition.

Pekingese are wonderful dogs for many many reasons but are they the perfect pup for you and your family?


About the Breed


These small, adorable companion dogs are one of the many dogs that were bred for the higher classes in China. There’s no doubting their loyalty and trust us, there won’t be any betraying your household here!

Pekingese are delightful and are also very sophisticated because of their role in Chinese legend. They’re small dogs which to some, is perfect when choosing a new furry companion.

Pekingese are truly confident and will certainly bond with a special human of theirs as well as protect them due to their watchdog nature. They’re certainly worth looking into!

Their life expectancy is 13 to 15 years so they will be there with you for a good amount of time.

History of the Pekingese

pekingese dog

Pekingese, or sleeve dogs, were originally from China and were owned mostly by aristocratic families and Chinese royalty – fancy, we know!  Now sit tight, this is about to get interesting.

In 1860, in the middle of the Second Opium War, the Xianfeng Emperor fled to Chengde leaving the Old Summer Palace abandoned. Not only did he leave his Imperial palace, but also five Pekingese that were discovered by Captain John Hart Dunne, a British soldier.

The captain brought the pups back home to England with him, marking their entrance into the Western world, and then gifted one to Queen Victoria herself. The pup was named Looty and lived in the palace with the queen, what a life that is!

The breed made its way to America after the Empress Dowager Cixi gifted the dogs to a couple of Americans, John Pierpoint Morgan, and Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth.

Their popularity only grew from there with many important and influential people owning the breed but unfortunately, this isn’t the case recently. Their popularity has decreased in the past years as other breeds such as the Shih Tzu have taken over.

Traits and Characteristics of Pekingese

pekingese puppies

Most people will know the Pekingese because of their outgoing, loving, and friendly personality – there’s not much you can say no to there!

They are also very affectionate and will most definitely warm to your family and the people you spend most of your time with making them the new best friend to everyone in your life!

They’re okay with younger children but you’ll want to make sure that they’re not constantly with them, as Pekingese could get overwhelmed fairly easily, just like several breeds.

Pekingese Appearance

The Pekingese’s appearance is super distinct, and they are easily recognizable if you look at them for long enough. However, there are a few distinct features in their appearance that will help you pick them out in a crowd.



In terms of size, the Pekingese is pretty tiny which is one of the reasons we think they’re so adorable. Nothing quite beats the thought of a tiny short legged friend on a daily walk, running through the park.

In terms of height, they reach about 6 to 9 inches which is super tiny but absolutely adorable, without a doubt!


The Pekingese weighs in at itzy bitzy 6 pound which is around the weight of a newborn baby.


The Pekingese coat is absolutely gorgeous and can most definitely be kept this way with a regular grooming schedule, but what about the coat itself?

The thick double coat is longest at the pup’s neck as well as the shoulders and that’s why they’re often referred to as lion dogs! There are lots of different colors you can choose from.



If you want a dog with a variety of color options, then the Pekingese dog is the one for you!

In fact, according to the American Kennel Club, the Pekingese come in around fourteen different colors. Wondering what some of these colors are?

Well, their coat color can vary from biscuit to gray, to red, to tan, as well as white! If anything, there are too many options to choose from!

Pekingese Temperament and Personality


A Pekingese’s personality is certainly something to see as they are friendly and outgoing but also super loving and loyal to their family.

They are also insanely intelligent which can definitely be seen when they’re exhibited and compete in all those dog shows! This also means that the Pekingese require decision-making.

Now if you’re looking for a pup who will want to spend time with you curled up on the sofa watching movies then you’ll be glad to know that Pekes are super affectionate. However, they are also the perfect breed if you’re looking for a more independent dog.

Pekingese grew up in big palaces in China where they were expected to be independent but we’re also sure they received all the love they deserved meaning they are now the perfect mix between the both. 

Many owners have also said their pups are insanely stubborn and will demand affection if they don’t think they’re getting as much as they deserve, so be warned!

Fun Facts About Pekingese

pekingese lifespan
  1. Now, this first fun fact might surprise you, but these tiny beasts can make pretty good guard dogs. Hear us out, when the royal family raised Pekingese as pets in China, they often kept them close to work as small watchdogs. This is thanks to their loyalty, but they are also known to be very vocal and bark when confronting strangers.
  2. Once again, due to their Chinese heritage, these pups love the cold weather. So, there’s no need to worry about your Pekingese suffering in the cold winter’s if you do decide to take them out for a walk in the snow.We know just how much pet parents love to take photos of their little ones enjoying themselves!
  3. They can be quite deceiving when it comes to their weight, as you tend to think they are tiny dogs that simply have a lot of fur.Well, they’re certainly no great Dane when it comes to their size, but the breed average of 14 pounds can be quite surprising when you first look at them.
  4. These breeds are also brilliant at dog shows, thanks to many of their characteristics and high intelligence. Pekingese won the best dog at Westminster four times, which is just incredible!
  5. It’s also no surprise that the amazing coat takes some serious maintenance to keep it looking its best. This means lots of brushing throughout the week, as well as a nice bath every once in a while just to keep their coat looking nice and fresh!

You’ll want to try and get some of that loose fur out while you can because otherwise, you might find yourself drowning in your Pekes coat. (Tip: Use a metal comb)

Pekingese Health and Grooming

pekingese breed

Pekingese have an amazing double coat and if you decide to keep it long you have to be prepared for the upkeep that comes with it. Because of this upkeep, some owners decide to have their Pekingese coats cut short.

Regular brushing at least one hour a week with a good slicker brush is always a good idea with these puppies. It’s also really important to keep them clean, so make sure you bathe your Pekingese occasionally unless of course they decide to get into anything that they shouldn’t.

To prevent matting and tangles, you’ll want to get rid of any clumps of fur that may be slightly longer and have tangled up together during playtime outdoors. Make sure you keep on top of their coat as matting can make your puppy very uncomfortable.

Make sure you choose a Pekingese with wide nostrils and a good sized nose because they are vulnerable to lots of breathing problems. This has come about through overbreeding. So go for reputable breeders who carefully select their breeding dogs to reduce the chances of respiratory problems.

Their eye rims aren’t covered and because they only have a short muzzle there is no natural barrier to protect their eyes, so it’s important to ensure that when they’re playing, they are safe and there is nothing obvious that can get into their eyes. Also, wash their face and eyes daily

Pekes aren’t a fan of hot weather, so if you plan on traveling, it’s a good idea to let your little puppy sleep on an ice pack or cooling mat to keep them nice and comfy.

It’s definitely worth going the adoption route. If you are concerned, there is also the option of finding a responsible breeder who knows plenty about this breed and can tell you about any health issues they may have.

As there are no recommended health tests for this dog breed it is often best to guarantee that you are getting a healthy pup that you can enjoy for many years to come.

Unfortunately, there are a few health conditions that Pekingese are prone to so it’s worth taking these into consideration. Some of these problems include an elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, corneal abrasions, patellar luxation, and Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (dry eye).

Food and Diet

black pekingese

These short faced breeds will do good on a high quality food diet. These foods can be from the shops or even homemade – your dog will love them no matter what! Of course, if you do plan on making your own meals as an owner then it’s never a bad idea to check with your vet first- just in case!

Lots of dogs can get overweight quite easily, so it’s best to keep a check on how much your small dog eats during the day – you don’t want that muscular body to go to waste as obesity can lead to many health problems like breathing problems.

Treats are always a good idea but make sure you don’t give too many as it could throw their diet off! You can also research which human foods are safe for dogs if you plan on giving your dog a homemade diet.

You’ll want to ensure that these sacred dogs have a decent protein source from chicken, beef, fish, or turkey (treat them at Christmas!). You’ll also want to include things like vegetable fats to make sure they have enough energy and a super shiny coat!

You’ll also want lots of fruit and veggies so they have enough fibre in their body!

Pekingese Training and Exercise

pekingese dog breed

Just like humans (even though we don’t do it as often as we should!), making sure your Pekingese is exercising is really important – common sense right? But how much exercise do those little legs really need? Let’s take a good look!

When it comes to exercising your Pekingese, you have to go with the flow! They only need a moderate amount of exercise but don’t be fooled by those tiny legs and the squished noses; they really do enjoy taking part in different doggy sports but at their own pace of course.

There’s no doubt that these dogs are a loving breed and are super outgoing. Pekingese are also super intelligent and will need lots of interactions with other dogs and people to get properly socialized and able to connect with friends and family.


Now, based on their history of living in grand mansions (I wish!) with an imperial family, they can be quite independent and stubborn dogs so early training is super important.

They love to watch over their prized possession which is their owner. But make sure the kids aren’t all over them as Pekingese aren’t exactly the best with small children and will need supervision around little ones.

Get them trained from an early age and nip any bad habits in the bud – it’s for the best, we promise!

Relationship With Family

Pekingese certainly make amazing family dogs which once again is down to their history. They were bred to not only be guard dogs to Chinese royalty but also to keep them company on those quieter days.

pekingese dogs pictures

They’re loyal and loving and will stick by their favorite human through anything which is why they make an all-around perfect family dog!

However, if you do have any young children then this might not be the breed for you as Pekingese don’t really enjoy rough play – they are royalty after all.

As we’ve said before, Pekingese are also very protective of their owners which is why they need lots of socialization to help them get used to new people. They’ll be best friends with everyone once they’ve gotten to know them a bit better.

We also wouldn’t recommend leaving your puppy alone as they can experience very bad separation anxiety. This will then lead to unwanted behavior so we recommend getting them crate trained if you do know there’ll be times when you have to leave them behind.


The Pekingese are truly adorable as well as super playful, a little aloof, and exceptionally stubborn, and yet they also make amazing watchdogs – don’t let the size fool you!

They develop strong bonds with their family and are known for being really affectionate little dogs. They are not great around young children and will need some supervision but that’s not a bad thing.

Training is definitely a must in your Peking puppyhood. Also, trim that hair and factor in the time to brush that fluffy coat regularly. This will remove loose hairs, prevent any matting, and keep your little fluff ball comfortable. And it’s important, especially in older dogs!

We hope our article has shown you that the Pekingese can make a great addition to any family life.

Just remember some key points that they will require lots of mental stimulation to keep them happy, and will expect to be your close companion all the time. So, if you are not up for a friend invading your bathroom breaks, this is not the dog for you.

Related Guide:
Emma Davies
Emma has loved all animals but especially dogs all her life. She was smitten from the first puppy to enter her life at just 5 years old. Over the years she has had her heart stolen by one particular breed and that's the German Shepherd! She has used her love of dogs and animals, in general, to create a successful writing career for herself over the last 6 years. Emma has written in a variety of niches but especially loves those that are centered around dogs and animals. When she's not writing you can find her enjoying the great outdoors with her family and beautiful German Shepherd Faith.

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