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Adopt a Pekingese

Pekingese Dog Breed

Picture: Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Corbis



Area of origin:


Original function:

lap dog

Average size of male:

Ht: 6-9, Wt: <14

Average size of female:

Ht: 6-9, Wt: <14

Other names:

lion dog, Peking palasthund

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Pekingese Dog Temperament

The Pekingese is decidedly not a sissy lap dog. She is a courageous character that will not start a fight but will not back down from one either. She tends to be aloof around strangers. She is extremely devoted to her family, but is independent and not overly demonstrative. Her stubbornness is legendary. Although playful around family members.

Pekingese Dog Care

The Pekingese enjoys a leisurely walk outdoors, but she is equally happy to romp inside. She can easily die of heat prostration. She must be kept in air conditioning in warm weather. She is an ideal apartment dog. The coat will mat unless combed at the very least weekly, preferably more often. The over-nose wrinkle should be cleaned daily to avoid infection. The coat around the anus must be inspected daily for soiling. Pekingese tend to snore!

Pekingese Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: elongated soft palate, stenotic nares, KCS, patellar luxation, disticiasis, trichiasis, skin fold dermatitis
Occasionally seen: urolithiasis
Suggested tests: knee, (eye)
Life span: 13-15 years
Note: The breed is sensitive to anesthesia and does not tolerate heat well. She is also prone to corneal abrasions. Puppies must often be delivered by Caesarian.

Interested in the history of the Pekingese dog breed?

The Pekingese owes her existence to the Lamaist form of Buddhism in China, in which the lion was an exalted symbol of Buddha, sometimes appearing in miniaturized form. The Foo dogs then in existence bore some resemblance to a lion and were carefully bred to accentuate this similarity. In fact, these dogs eventually came to be known as lion dogs. Extensive breeding programs fell under the auspices of palace eunuchs, with no expense spared. At the height of their favor (during the T'ang Dynasty from A.D. 700 to A.D. 1000) many of these lion dogs were literally treated as royalty, pampered by personal servants. Smaller Pekingese were called sleeve dogs because they could be carried in the large sleeves of their Chinese masters. In 1860, the British looted the Imperial Summer. Among their loot were five royal lion dogs, which were taken back to England. One was presented to Queen Victoria, and she, along with the other four, caused such interest among dog fanciers that there arose great demand for more of these dogs. Still, their numbers rose slowly, and for decades the Pekingese remained a dog only for the wealthiest of pet parents. With time, the breed became more readily available and has since suffered from over-popularity. Today her main role is as a companion and show dog.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

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Some animal welfare organizations with Pekingeses ready for adoption:

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