Pekingese Puppies
History, Characteristics, Personality and More

Don't be fooled by the delicate, dainty look of Pekingese puppies; this breed, also known as "Lion Dogs", "Chinese Spaniels", "Pekes" or "Pelchie Dogs", is one of the most confident and independent of the toy group.

The dignified attitude of this breed is a reflection of its past, when Pekingese were worshipped in ancient China and only the royalty could own them.

Today, boasting a unique appearance and calm demeanor, Pekes make loyal companions.

Whether you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed for you or just want to learn more about this breed, you will find the answers to your questions right here!

Breed History

The Pekingese breed originated in China around 800 A.D. According to an old legend, it was created from a cross between a lion and a marmoset. This is one of the few breeds whose name derives from a capital city - Peking, which is now Beijing.


DNA analysis done on this pampered lapdog confirms this breed as one of the most ancient and one of the most closely related to the wolf.

Back in time, these dogs could only be owned by royalty. When an emperor died, his dogs were sacrificed so they could accompany him in his afterlife. Stealing a Pekingese dog was considered a crime punishable by death.

Pekes were much favored by the Chinese Imperial court and were worshipped as Foo Dogs that held mythic protective powers that drove away evil spirits.

The breed was introduced into the Western world as a result of looting of the Imperial Palace by the British troops in 1860. Imperial guards were ordered to kill all dogs to prevent them from falling into foreign hands but some dogs had survived and were brought into Great Britain.

The first Pekingese puppies and dogs were brought into the United States at the end of the 19th century. The breed was recognized by AKC in 1906.

Among famous owners of this breed are Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt and Elsie de Wolfe, a famous American interior decorator.

Pekingese Dog

Physical Characteristics of Pekingese Puppies and Dogs

The Pekingese dog breed is equipped with a compact, stocky and well-balanced body. Upon being lifted, it feels surprisingly heavy for its size. Despite the fact that this breed is over 1,200 years old, its appearance has hardly changed over time.

Overall, the body presents as compact, stocky and muscular. The neck is short and thick. The broad and full forechest lacks a protruding breastbone. The topline extends in a straight line and the loin is short. The tail presents no kinks and is carried high and slightly arched over the back.

The front legs are short, thick and heavy-boned. The foreleg bones are slightly bowed between the pastern and elbow. The elbows are kept close to the body. The front feet turn out slightly. The hind legs are visibly lighter than the forequarters. The angulation of the stifle and hock is moderate. The combination of such distinct forelegs and forequarters contributes to the characteristic rolling gait of this breed.

The skull is broad and wide. The ears are heart-shaped and frame the face by lying flat against the head. The eyes are set widely apart and present as dark, large and expressive. The nose is short and black. The muzzle is flat and the lower jaw is undershot.

The Pekingese has a double coat with a long, straight outer coat and a soft undercoat. A visible mane covers the neck and shoulder area, while the rest of the body is covered in somewhat shorter hair. Feathering is present on the toes and back sides of the thighs and forelegs. The breed standard calls for any coat color or markings. Regardless of color, the skin on the muzzle, nose, lips and eye rims must be black.

This breed is categorized by the American Kennel Club under the toy group.

    Height Weight
  Male 6 to 9 inches 7 to 14 pounds *
  Female 6 to 9 inches 7 to 14 pounds *

* Specimens under 6 pounds are called sleeve Pekingese while dogs between 6 and 8 pounds    are considered Mini Pekingese.


With a history of being owned by the aristocrats, this breed has still retained a dignified attitude. A Pekingese will sleep on sofa pillows and observe its kingdom with a sense of regal dignity. Its calm and quiet demeanor makes it suitable for lap warming sessions. Avoid too much spoiling though; indulgence of every whim can turn your Peke into an obstinate, opinionated and willful companion.

Sitting Pekingese Puppy

This breed can be loving and loyal. These are the qualities that make it bond closely to its caretaker. However, Pekingese and young children do not make a good mix. Many specimens are possessive of food and toys and have no problem "correcting" a child when they have had enough.

While Pekingese literally adore their family, they can be wary of strangers. This natural aloofness makes them good watch-dog candidates. To reduce or even prevent excessively suspicious behaviors, all Pekingese puppies should be introduced to socialization training during their critical stages of development.

Pekingese prefer the company of other Pekingese. If you are planning to keep other pets in your home along with Pekingese puppies, keep in mind that early exposure and socialization with other species of animals will heighten the chances of successful coexistence.

You will not see many Pekingese puppies and dogs in the obedience ring, and for a good reason. These dogs have a stubborn streak and may be reluctant to learn. But they do respond well to positive training with treats. Don't overdo it though, or you will end up being owned by an obese Peke.

Housebreaking Pekingese puppies may be an arduous task. Expect this breed to take 4 to 6 months before the concept of potty training starts seeping in their minds. A crate may make the process of house-training Pekingese puppies much easier for everybody.

Best Owner and Living Conditions

This breed does particularly well with the elderly, retirees and adults who work at home and have ample of time on their hand to devote to this breed's needs. Left alone for too long, Pekingese turn into barking machines, which can become a serious problem if you live in a tight-knit neighborhood.

With not much need for vigorous exercise, this breed can do well both in an apartment or a big house.

Activity and Exercise

While quiet for the most part when kept indoors, expect your Peke to get the "zoomies" every now and then, entertaining you with some comic bursts of playfulness.

Similar to other breeds, this breed may resort to various destructive behaviors unless it gets enough exercise. While fun play sessions will take care of a lot of their exercise needs, they are not enough. The Pekingese still require daily walks to fulfill their exercise requirements.

Cute Pekingese


Attractive coats often come with a price; indeed, this breed requires frequent combing and brushing sessions to prevent mats from forming and keeping the coat in top shape. However, there are some short cuts to make the grooming process much easier. For instance, keeping the coat trimmed short will dramatically ease the burden of frequent grooming.

The eyes, face and wrinkled areas will require daily cleaning. Dry shampoo regularly and bathe when needed.

Health Concerns

From a health standpoint, the facial features of this dog make them prone to snorting, sneezing and snoring. They can catch colds or develop allergies easily and generally do not tolerate heat very well in the summer. Investing in a harness instead of a collar may make it easier for them to breathe while preventing collapsed trachea.

Another health concern common to this breed is weight gain. When overfed, Pekes will quickly become overweight.

Reputable Pekingese breeders work hard on screening their breeding specimens for genetic health disorders. Disorders common in this breed include dislocated kneecaps, progressive retinal atrophy, disticiasis, trichiasis and mitral valve disease.

Visit dog health problems to learn more about dog diseases and health care.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Pekingese puppies is between 13 and 15 years.

Final Thoughts...

Still debating about bringing home a Pekingese puppy? This breed's irresistible smooshed-in muzzle, independent mind and sense of self-worth, attracts many dog lovers world-wide. While this dog is no longer worshipped as in the past, it surely does love to be lavished with daily attention. If you fail to give enough, Pekingese puppies and dogs will do what it takes to remind you.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Pekingese rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? If you answered "YES", then check this Pekingese Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.


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