The Pekingese (Pekingese Dog, Pekingese Lion Dog) or Pekig Lion Dog (Peking Palasthund, Lion Dog, Sun Dog, Foo Dog, Fu Lin Dog, Chinese Lion Dog, Peke, Pelchie Dog) is an ancient companion dog that originated in the Western China. It is unknown how this breed came into being (its true ancestors are still unknown), but supposedly it is more than 2.000 years old. According to the Chinese (Buddhist) legend, this dog is an offspring of a union between a monkey/marmoset (representing grace) and a lion (representing nobleness). Of course, this is far away from the actual truth, but it’s still an interesting story. Namely, the lion fell in love with a lovely monkey girl, but he couldn’t marry her since he was much bigger than her. So, the lion asked Buddha to make him smaller. And so it was, Buddha fulfilled his wish, they were married and had a bunch of Pekingese babies. How sweet :) Anyhow, the recent DNA study confirmed that the Lion Dog is one of the oldest and purest dog breeds in the world. That’s why this toy doggy is included in the group of 14 ancient breeds, together with the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Shar-Pei, Shih Tzu, Saluki, etc. These dogs are also the closest relatives of the wolf, which is not something you might have guessed after the actual look of the Peking Lion Dog.
For centuries, the Pekingese, named after the capital of China, Beijing (Peking), was a companion and lap dog of the royalty of the Forbidden City. Rulers, nobles and all other important people kept these dogs with the highest esteem. All the ordinary guests on the court had to bow down to them and they even had their servants. Dogs of the Emperor were usually sacrificed and buried together with their masters to stay at their side in the afterlife. The punishment for stealing a Lion Dog was death. Pekes were closely guarded, they couldn’t even be given or sold to anybody outside the Forbidden Palace, let alone to some foreigner. That’s why for so long these lovely dogs had been unknown in the West. However, that changed in 1860, during the Opium Wars, when British troops invaded and occupied the Imperial Palace in Beijing. There they found five Lion Dogs around the body of an elderly lady, who had committed suicide. They brought these dogs back to Britain. Two of them were given to the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon, another two (Schloff and Hytien) to the Duchess of Wellington, and the fifth (Looty) was given to Queen Victoria. That’s how these dogs finally reached the West. Even though the FCI doesn’t classify the Pekingese as a primitive dog, the breed is nonetheless recognized on a definitive basis (1966) in the Japanese Chin and Pekingese section in the Companion and Toy Dogs group.
Pekingese Temperament And Personality
The Pekingese is a lovely looking, noble and dainty dog that is characterized by the stubbornness of a mule, the pride of a lion, and the fineness of a diva. It’s not hard to see that this is primarily a companion dog, especially for the ladies. However, there is so much more about this toy breed that makes it so special and attractive. Even though it does seem small, weak and funny at first sight, don’t let that fool you. The Peking Lion Dog is as grumpy, stubborn and brave as you can get. A true lion in a tiny body :) On top of that, he is quite lively, proud, self-confident, aloof, intelligent, sensitive, devoted, loyal, and above all, cute. So, in general the Pekingese can be a wonderful family companion, but only if treated properly – like a true king with the highest respect. There is literally no other way because this is not some spoiled, cat-like lap dog, but a self-possessed, courageous and stubborn ruler, who will demand only the best with no excuses. Treat him like that and your Lion Dog will be really loving and affectionate to all members of the household. However, that will also greatly depend on the amount of time you are able to dedicate to your Peke. This truly is an attention seeker, who will blossom in the company of his family. However, it had to be said that the Pekingese is usually a one person dog, who will only be fully loyal to a family member who spends the most time with him.
When it comes to children, we have to say straight away that the Pekingese is not a recommended breed for families with small kids and toddlers. There are a few reasons for that. First of all, this is a proud, hardheaded and bossy dog that is very possessive of his own things, including toys and food. In other words, he will deal “violently” with anyone messing around with his stuff, even if that happens unintentionally. On top of that, the Lion Dog is by nature very intolerant and grumpy to the point he won’t allow anybody to grab, poke or tease him just like that, especially when asleep. In such situations, he won’t hesitate to attack and bite the abuser, which can definitely be shocking for a child. Toddlers and small children are often unaware of their actions, so there is always a possibility they will cross the line and do something that will drive your dog mad. That’s why it is very important that you raise a Pekingese with your children, or that you socialize him as soon as possible with people of different ages. Besides, you will also have to teach your children how to properly treat a dog – to not pull his tail or ears, to not mess with his food, to not steal his toys, etc. Once they get used to each other, I’m sure kids will have a lot of fun with your Peke since this is usually a very cheerful and playful dog. However, always keep an eye on them while playing because you never know what can go wrong in such situations.
The Pekingese is quite aloof, suspicious and wary of strangers. Anybody outside the family will often be just another unwelcome guest in the eyes of a Peke. Now, if we couple it with his always alert mind and sharp senses, it is perfectly clear that this is an excellent watchdog. Indeed, there is no way anything can sneak onto your property without being spotted by this little, living alarm. And what a noisy alarm this dog actually is. He will literally bark like crazy at anything that moves or makes weird noises around your property, even if that’s just a fallen branch or something similar. So, yeah, it is perfectly clear that the Lion Dog is quite prone to obsessive barking, especially if left alone for a longer period of time. This annoying behavior should be corrected as soon as possible, otherwise you and your neighbors will probably have a serious dispute. Strangers won’t only be announced by loud, high-pitched bark, but will probably have to deal with your little sentinel if they ignore the warning. Indeed, the Pekingese is truly a crazy brave, fearless and fiery dog for his size, who won’t hesitate to stand the ground and defend your family and property from any intruder, doesn’t matter how big or scary it is. In some cases, he will literally give his life in defence of everything that is dear to him – a true hero. This is the main reason you will have to socialize your dog with different people at an early age.
The Pekingese is certainly not a threat to other pets (canine or non-canine) considering his size, but that doesn’t mean everything will be fine and harmonious. Here, we can draw some parallels with his behavior in the case of small children. The Peking Palasthund will definitely have to “say something” if, for example, a cat messes with his food. This cute doggy is sooo possessive of his own things that he will literally fight anybody or anything that comes near them, doesn’t matter if it’s 10 times bigger than him. Told ya, little bastard :) Also, he won’t allow any other pet to poke or abuse him, but will gladly poke and abuse other pets himself. What’s even crazier, the Peke will often try to boss other pets, especially other dogs. It is simply in his blood – he has to be the king in his kingdom. So, don’t be surprised if you see your Pekingese leading a gang of a lot bigger dogs. Of course, his will for dominance and grumpy nature can sometimes cause him to become aggressive towards other dogs. That’s why it is mandatory that you raise your Peke with other dogs and pets. This, however, can sometimes have no to little effect with unknown pets, which is why it is also necessary that you socialize your dog with other pets and dogs as soon as possible. It is interesting to know that a Pekingese will usually prefer the company of another Pekingese over any other dog, which is kind of contradictory considering its dominant attitude.
Chinese Lion Dog Training
Training the Pekingese can certainly prove a challenge. This is one of the most stubborn, independent and self-possessed small dogs you can find. On top of that, he is an independent thinker, who will rather do things on his own than obey someone’s orders. And even though he is very bright and intelligent in general, capable to learn even the most complex commands with ease, it will be extremely hard to control his need to dominate all living beings around him, including you as an owner. That’s why the Peke is not recommended for novice owners, although I’m sure many of you will buy this dog regardless because is so cute after all :) So, what does one have to know in order to train a Pekingese successfully? First of all, you have to understand that you should never rush the things with a Peke. You will always have to be calm, relaxed and extremely patient, but consistent and firm. Also, you will literally have to find a way to explain your dog that everything you want to teach him will be for his own good. Harsh and rude corrections should be out of the question. Keep training sessions short, but interesting. Positive reinforcement techniques will give the best results, especially with the food rewards. General rule is, the earlier you start with the training, the better. The older Pekingese, one who already self-proclaimed himself as the leader of the pack, is almost impossible to train, doesn’t matter what you do.
Other Characteristics And Traits
Main Pekingese Dog characteristics are intelligence, loyalty, dignity, self-esteem, daintiness, alertness, curiosity, grumpiness, boldness, calmness, stubbornness, independence, playfulness, low stamina, and slowness. Yep, you read that right, this dog is as slow as a turtle :) In fact, Pekes have short and bowed legs that greatly restrict their movement. According to some historical evidence, they were intentionally developed with such legs to prevent them escape from the court. Having such a cumbersome gait, it is understandable that these dogs will do fine with a small amount of daily exercise. That’s why they are primarily recommended for older people and those that often stay in their homes. Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t have to take your dog for a walk. No! Like every other dog, the Pekingese has its natural, inborn need to walk and run around. The brisk walk once a day through the neighborhood will be just enough. Long walks, hikes, or joggs should be avoided since Pekes are prone to heat stroke because of their short noses. When in walks, you should never allow your dog to lead the way or else he might become pretty disobedient and hard to control. Apart from daily walks, a play in a securely fenced area is always a welcome thing, especially with other friendly dogs. The regular daily exercise is needed not only to prevent boredom, but to prevent obesity, which is one of the main health problems in the breed.
The Pekingese is first and foremost recommended as a house pet, which is not that hard to guess after its appearance. Whether you are living in an apartment or a house without a yard, this dog will feel fine in the comfort of your interior. However, if you thought you will straight away get a well-mannered and cat-like dog that will usually take care of himself, you are greatly mistaken. The Pekingese is as stubborn as a mule and can prove incredibly difficult to housebreak. It will take you at least four months of intensive crate training to teach this little buddy some manners of proper indoor behavior. On top of that, this is a heavy shedding breed of dog that will turn your house into a mess if not groomed properly. The Lion Dog will require a lot of regular brushing and trimming, otherwise your interior, clothes and furniture will be completely “insulated” with fallen hair. For this reason particularly, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have some kind of securely fenced space around your home. In fact, this dog wouldn’t have nothing against a small yard where he would be able to play and run around during the day (and you wouldn’t have to worry all the time about the hairfall). However, make sure that there are no openings in the fence through which he could breach out. Though the Pekingese is not an escape artist, he definitely wouldn’t mind checking what’s going on in the neighborhood. So, do your homework well and make your dog an ideal pet.
Feeding The Pekingese
The one of the most delicate things about this breed, you should especially take care of, is the way you feed it. The Pekingese is not an ordinary type of dog that will gladly accept the scraps from your table. He will most likely demand a feast worthy of a king, otherwise he can even refuse to eat. Such a boss :) So, make sure that you often prepare some nice and special food for his highness. The usual food should consist of cooked meat and giblets mixed with pasta or rice. Like every other dogs, Pekes are omnivorous, so you can as well feed them with cooked vegetables – peas, carrot, cabbage, or kohlrabi. Also, you should take care what type (and how much) of the dog food you’re giving to your Lion Dog. It is recommended that you feed him only with premium or superpremium light, dry dog food twice a day in small doses. These foods are rich with quality proteins, vitamins and minerals. What’s even better, they’re low in calories and fats. This is very important since the Pekingese is highly prone to obesity and digestive problems because of his kingly (lazy) way of life. The amount of food you’re giving to your dog will greatly depend on the amount of daily exercise. In other words, if you exercise your Peke just enough, you will be able to give him more food and vice versa. It is also important to know that the Pekingese puppies are reaching the full weight at 10 months of age, which is much faster than some larger dogs. For this reason, you should stop feeding your puppy with energy rich food once he is 10 months old.
Pelchie Dog Health
The Pekingese lifespan is around 12-14 years. Judging by its life expectancy, it might seem that this bread is one of the healthiest out there, but that is actually not the case. The Lion Dog is prone to various sorts of health issues, such as luxating patella, congenital elbow luxation, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, chiari malformations, discospondylitis, atlantoaxial subluxation, cleft palate, brachycephalic syndrome, pyloric stenosis, cryptorchidism, urolithiasis, heart murmurs, entropion, degenerative heart valve disease, cataracts, distichiasis, keratoconjunctivitis sicca, hydrocephalus, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), exposure keratopathy syndrome, corneal ulceration, perineal hernia, fold dermatitis, intertrigo, etc. As you can see, the list is quite long, but the good thing is that neither of these diseases is in the category of major concerns. Nonetheless, you will have to particularly pay attention to your dog’s eyes, limbs, skin, as well as breathing. The main causes of death for this breed are trauma and heart problems. So, knowing all of this, it is perfectly clear that you should only buy a Pekingese from a reputable breeder, one who can provide you with health clearances for both of a puppy’s parents. On top of that, the breeder should provide you with the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certification and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) clearance that a puppy is healthy and disease free.
Peking Lion Dog Appearance And Physical Characteristics
The Pekingese is a small and light dog of rectangular shape – slightly longer than tall at the withers. It has a leonine appearance, which is well-balanced and attractive. The Peke’s body is compact, stocky and well-muscled, covered with the moderately long and profuse double coat. The undercoat is soft and dense and top coat is long, coarse and straight. The hair is visibly longer on the neck where it forms a lion-like mane. On the rest of the body, the hair is reaching the ground, covering the legs. There is also profuse feathering on back of legs, ears, feet, and tail. Thanks to such long coat, this dog is better suited for colder climates. The hair should be regularly trimmed since excessive coat is not acceptable. If you don’t intend for your dog to compete in showmanship contests, it would be best that you keep a short, low-maintenance, puppy hair cut and save yourself from extra duties. Like I said earlier, the Peke is a heavy shedding dog that will require a regular session of grooming on a daily basis. Brushing once or twice a day is a must, especially during the shedding periods. You should also take your dog to the groomer once every two months. Main Pekingese Dog colors are red, gold, sable, white, cream, black, grey, tan, and fawn. All these colors and markings are acceptable (brindle and parti-color), except albino and liver. Black masks are also acceptable. Albino Pekes are highly prized in China, but they are more susceptible to various health issues.
The Pekingese has a fairly large, flat head with moderately wide skull, which is quite big in comparison with the rest of the body. The face is flat when you look it from the side. The muzzle is short and wide, with the firm underjaw. This is the reason teeth meet in an underbite. The broad, short nose with large nostrils is compressed flat between eyes. It is always black in color, just like level lips and eye rims. Here, it has to be said that because of the short nose, Pekes usually snore, snuffle and grunt loudly. These sounds can be quite funny for some, but annoying for others. Also, such nose is the reason you will need to keep your Pekingese in the cool and shaded room during the hot summer days to save it from the heatstroke. The quite large eyes are rounded, clear and dark lustrous. They are set wide apart. The heart-shaped, heavy-feathered ears are set level with the skull and carried close to the face. They are not falling below the muzzle level. You should regularly inspect and clear your dog’s eyes and ears once every two weeks. The neck is thick and relatively short. The chest is quite broad, with well-sprung ribs. The back is level and strong. The tight tail with long feathering is set high, slightly curved over the one side of the back. The Forelegs are short and bowed between elbows and pastures. The hind legs are strong and muscular, but are relatively lighter than forelegs. That’s why the Pekingese has such an unusual rolling gait. The feet are quite large and flat. The front feet are slightly turned out, while the hind feet point straight ahead.
Pekingese Dog Size And Weight
– Height between 7 and 9 inches (18-23 cm)
– Weight between 9 and 13 pounds (4-6 kg)
– Height between 6 and 8 inches (15-20 cm)
– Weight between 7 and 11 pounds (3-5 kg)
Note: Some Pekingese are even smaller. These are known as the Sleeve Pekingese or just Sleeves.
For a long time, the Pekingese were only bred and kept on the Chinese Imperial Courts. There, they were held with the highest regard. Lion Dogs had their own servants, who treated them like true lords. The ordinary people, who were visiting the court, had to bow down and express humility to them. In the company of Pekes were only the royalty and nobles, who kept and guarded them as their own family members. Truly a kingly life had they in ancient China. So, we can assume that the over-confidence, nobility and dignity, which adorn these dogs today, are not some natural qualities, they were actually developed spontaneously through centuries of their imperial treatment. The Pekingese is really a royal dog with all the manners of a true leader – the courage, strong will, independence, cunningness, self-esteem, self-importance, etc. For this reason, he will only respect an owner if he/she respects him. There is simply no other way to live with this dog. So, you have to know that the Pekingese will literally be the lord in your own house – YOURS IS HIS. You and other family members will all be there to serve his highness and do as he pleased, while he will just observe you from the comfort of YOUR bed – like a boss :) In other words, he will demand an owner to treat him with the highest attention and understanding. However, try not to spoil him too much because you will definitely regret it. The spoiled king is not a joke as our own history has taught us :)
Cute Little Thing
Aside with his royal nature, the Pekingese is definitely a dog to admire. He is unique, distinctive looking, cute, fancy, hilarious, and truly special – an exceptional companion and a cute lap dog. There is no doubt that you will have a lot of fun with a Sun Dog, doesn’t matter who you are or where you live. This is a type of dog who will live and die for his dear owner. He will literally be the shiny sun in your heaven. Of course, that will greatly depend on the way you treat your dog, but I guess it is not a hard thing to show some respect to your favorite pet. Trust me, the Pekingese will reward it handsomely. Although he might prove quite tough to train and adapt to the environment outside his family home. However, once you socialize your dog with the different people, various pets, sounds, situations, you will get a wonderful companion that will make you proud wherever you go. And when I say wherever, I mean everywhere because this cute little thing is easy to carry (even for a girl) and many people certainly won’t mind its presence. Exposing him to all kinds of environments will also be highly beneficial for his overall behavior. It will help him easily adapt to society, and stay well-mannered and calm. So, there you have it, a short story of this gorgeous dog. I bet that many of you already heard a lot of things about the Pekingese, but anyway, I hope this article will spark a love in you for this cutie.