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February 23, 2012 at 1:00 PMComments: 4 Faves: 0


By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Purebred Star Blog Series

Looking for an affectionate, laid-back dog to snuggle on the couch with? Do you love the "lion look" with the big black eyes and nose? Then the Pekingese could be the pooch for you!


The Pekingese originated in China during the 8th century. One nickname for the Peke is the "Sleeve Dog" because, during that time, they were carried inside the owner's deep robe sleeve. They were also called "Lion Dog" for their full, heavy mane. This little dog didn't make it to the Western world until 1860, when the Imperial Palace was taken over by the British. At that time, five Pekingese were stolen from the palace and taken to England. One was given to Queen Victoria herself, and the little Sleeve Dog finally made its way to the US in the early 20th century.

Friend for Life

The regal Lion Dog was bred for one thing and one thing only - to be a wonderful, loyal, compact little companion buddy! This little dog knows it too and is happy to have you wait on them "paw and foot." ;)

Pekes range from 6 to 9" in height, and they weigh an average of 7 to 14 lbs. They are a hardy and compact small-sized breed. Their body is longer than it is high and sits low to the ground. All these qualities make them a perfect candidate for condo or apartment living!

King of the Living Room

This breed looks like a little Lion Dog, but they can also act like one sometimes too! It's all in the attitude - they are very independent and could be described as having a "regal" attitude. If you're not careful, they may develop "Small Dog Syndrome." Because of their size, the Pekingese tends to be wary of small children and other animals. Early socialization will be required to overcome this fear, and they may do better in a home without kids or other animals. Of course, training can be difficult with their strong stubborn streak. Think P, not only for Pekingese, but also for Patience! You'll need it when you start your training with them! Still, if you can stay strong, you'll be rewarded with a well-behaved, adorable, and funny little dog that can't get enough of you!

Chill, 'til the Next Episode

The activity level of the Pekingese is considered low. They're happy to just loll around all day and are quite content with just one or two 15 minute walks per day - gotta stretch those legs every now and then! Remember to take special care in certain weather conditions, as this little fur kid's flat nose will not fare well with any type of exuberant exercise or in extremely hot or cold weather. The Peke is a very low-key breed, so if you are looking for a reading or couch potato buddy, this is your dog!

The Cutest

They have large black eyes with feather-like ears, tail, and legs. But their most distinguishing feature is their lion-like mane! Their fur is double-coated and requires a daily brushing and regular grooming to keep it looking good. The Peke's coat comes in a wide range of colors such as gold, red or sable, cream, black, white, black and tan, and occasionally "blue" or "slate grey."

A testament to this breed's cuteness factor, Malachy the Pekingese became America's TOP DOG for 2012, winning the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. A Pekingese hadn't won this title since 1990!

Respiratory Concerns

Special care has to be taken due to this breed's flat-nose face, which can make breathing difficult for them. Some other health concerns related to the Peke are: anesthesia sensitivity, heat sensitivity, brachycephalic syndrome (mouth breathing, snoring), corneal ulceration (eyesore), intervertebral disk disease, stenotic nares (pinched nostrils), and umbilical hernia. As with any breed, avoiding some of the nasty dog food out there and selecting a high-quality food instead should lengthen their life and decrease their chances of developing these problems! The typical life span for the Pekingese is 13 to 15 years.

Adopt First

Consider looking for a Pekingese through rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!

At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.

On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!


Dog Bible, Edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, 2005

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  • This kind of dog sounds adorable! :) Especially since it's fur is double coated. What a cutie.

  • These little guys are SO cute! I love how tiny they are - that iPhone photo is unreal!!

  • They are so adorable Bri! I got a little "smitten" with this breed and am especially intrigued after writing the blog! They are oh, so ADORABLE!!!!

  • I miss Popeye, my little Peke. The poor little guy had already lost his left eye when we adopted him at the age of 8. Is there any particular reason why this is so common with this breed?

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