For centuries, Pekingese sat on the laps of kings and queens and had free reign of imperial palaces—and they still haven’t gotten over it. Combining keen intelligence, dignity and pride, Pekingese have a pleasant self-assurance that can be lovable, admirable and maddening all at once.
- 8 - 10 pounds
- 6 - 9 inches
Ideal Human Companions
- Apartment dwellers
- Couch potatoes
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- Small and hairy
- Cute and lovable
- Proud and regal
- Protective and jealous
What They Are Like to Live With
Pekingese are affectionate and sensitive creatures. In spite of their self-important air, they need plenty of attention. Without it, they can get, well… peeved. They also have the tendency to become jealous and will compete for attention. Or, they’ll just growl.
Like other small dogs, Pekingese have “big dog” personalities—brave to a fault. To show dominance they will pick on much bigger dogs or refuse food, games and other offerings. Figure out what they really want (without losing your own dignity or spoiling them) and they’ll snap out of it.
Pekes love a little exercise, but they are not the type to hassle you for a walk every evening. In fact, you may come home from work and find them sitting on the couch, right where they were when you left them. They are ideal for the apartment dweller.
Things You Should Know
Pekingese love to bark. And bark and bark. If you’re looking for a luxurious little companion that will also alert you to intruders, look no further. Proper training and socialization can temper this a little… but not that much.
Try not to overfeed them, and make sure they get regular exercise (though they may protest). Pekingese can quickly put on weight, causing health problems.
Pekingese need to be brushed several times a week to keep their coat under control. They should also have regular, scheduled grooming to keep their long hair in shape. Also, clean their eyes, ears and face regularly. They can live as long as 15 years. Common health problems include corneal ulcerations and other eye problems, heatstroke and pinched nostrils.
Dating back to the Tang Dynasty of 8th-century China, Pekingese were beloved pets in the emperor’s court and called Fu Lin, or “the Lion Dogs of China,” because of their regal attitudes and flowing manes. For centuries Chinese royals and nobles carefully bred these dogs. In 1860, British troops raided the imperial summer palace and discovered these dogs. Several “Pekes” were brought back to Europe, where they were given to queens and duchesses, boosting their exposure and popularity. The AKC registered the Pekingese breed in 1906.
The Look of a Pekingese
Pekingese are compact dogs with long, flowing hair—truly “lion-like” in the way they look and how they carry themselves. Their wide flat heads have dark, slightly prominent (but not bulging) eyes, flat faces, dark wrinkled muzzles and hanging, heart-shaped ears. Their somewhat long bodies have fringes of hair hanging on either side and their arched tails are carried over their backs. They can come in almost any color. Overall, Pekingese are small but heavy boned, resulting in a dignified, rolling gait.
Talk About Pekingeses
Pekes have the most wonderful personalities
I love this breed because the dogs have smushie faces, flat heads and the most wonderful personality of any other dog. They are sometimes a one-person dog and will comfort that person when they are not well or down. My Peke licks tears off my face when I cry. She sits on my lap and just stays near when I'm not feeling well.
I am disabled. My Peke knows this somehow. All the Pekes I have had have the ability to know when their moms and dads are not well. They stay near and keep them company, even following me from room to room.
They are the cutest dogs and the cuddliest. There are so many different colors in Pekes. The breed standard is wonderful, but there are also party colored and solid and some with just a little different face shape.
They are so much fun to be with. They love to play with toys and become attached to their faves. They are true toy dogs. No more than 15 pounds full size. They live well indoors and do not need to run miles for exercise. They love to share what you have, so you must be careful, because they'll eat anything you eat, even if it's not good for them. As much as it's fun to share you have to be careful with people food. Some can be dangerous for dogs.
Pekes will be my faves forever. I have rescued Pekes and adopted two from breeders (the ones that did not make the grade with AKC). They love you no matter what you look like or what you can do. They don't bark excessively and are good for small homes and apartments. While not easy to train then to do "tricks" they love like humans. They are as close to humans as you can get without losing the wonderful doggie sweetness. No politics, just unconditional love. Can't help lovin' my Peke. I have been so blessed by this amazing breed!
~Joyce J., owner of a Pekingese
Beauty and brains!
The Pekingese is my favorite breed for many reasons. They are loving, affectionate, loyal, intelligent, quirky and well, gorgeous! Mine took to training easily, love toys and being outside in cool weather. They don't require too much exercise as their legs are so short. They are shedders and you will need to brush them regularly if you plan on keeping them wearing a long show coat. You can opt for a shorter "puppy" cut that is easier to manage. All around, they are wonderful dogs, and are heavier than they look!
~DA, owner of a Pekingese
Adorable little lapdogs
My favorite thing about my little Peke is that he will sleep on the couch practically all day, and when he has energy, he is absolutely adorable! He loves to play. Exercise is minimal, as we recently found out -- however, they can easily get quite plump.
These little beauties are very smart. Rescue dogs are nice, but because Pekingese can suffer from some serious health issues, make sure you know EVERYTHING about your dog. They are also easily prone to heatstroke, so make sure summertime outside play is limited and they are in an air-conditioned home. They shed, shed, and shed, and even though I have allergies I haven't had too many problems. Grooming is a must!
Overall, these pups are great dogs. They are similar to cats, given their love of sitting on laps. I recommend them to anyone who is looking for a great lapdog.
~LJ, owner of a Pekingese
I'd never want another breed
Ever since I was a little girl we have had Pekingese dogs. This helped me so much whenever I brought my first Peke home that my dad didn't raise.
There is so much to love about this breed, but my favorite has got to be their little personalities. I'm sure any one who has had a peke would argue there is nothing little about their personalities.
I've lived with Pekes so long it's pretty easy for me to get my pup into a routine that works for both of us. Baths once a week, heavy vacuuming every three days, brushing every night, and nail clippings followed with a trip to the groomer once a month. They are a little high maintenance, but my dog is my family so I don't mind.
If you are genuinely interested in a Pekingese, you will end up with hair on your clothing. Don't fight it. It's easy to want to coddle them, but that is the worst thing you can do. Once they know they can manipulate you, they will do it -- after all, they are brilliant dogs.
Most importantly, just spend time with the little guys before you commit and get one. They are not a fit for everyone, but those who understand them will have a hard time taking any other breed seriously.
~Misty H., owner of a Pekingese