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  • Temperament: Affectionate, Loyal, Regal in Manner
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 93 of 192
  • Height: 6-9 inches
  • Weight: up to 14 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Toy Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Pekingese head in three-quarter view
Pekingese standing in three-quarter view
Pekingese head facing left
Pekingese lying in three-quarter view
Pekingese coat detail
Pekingese

Find a Puppy: Pekingese

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Pekingese is a well-balanced, compact dog of Chinese origin with a heavy front and lighter hindquarters. Its temperament is one of directness, independence and individuality. Its image is lionlike, implying courage, dignity, boldness and self-esteem rather than daintiness or delicacy.

HEAD

Face – The topskull is massive, broad and flat and, when combined with the wide set eyes, cheekbones and broad lower jaw, forms the correctly shaped face. When viewed from the front, the skull is wider than deep, which contributes to the desired rectangular, envelope-shaped appearance of the head. In profile, the face is flat. When viewed from the side, the chin, nose leather and brow all lie in one plane, which slants very slightly backward from chin to forehead. Ears – They are heart-shaped, set on the front corners of the topskull, and lie flat against the head. The leather does not extend below the jaw. Correctly placed ears, with their heavy feathering and long fringing, frame the sides of the face and add to the appearance of a wide, rectangular head.

BODY

Neck, Body, Tail: Neck – It is very short and thick. Body – It is pear-shaped, compact and low to the ground. It is heavy in front with well-sprung ribs slung between the forelegs. The forechest is broad and full without a protruding breastbone. The underline rises from the deep chest to the lighter loin, thus forming a narrow waist. The topline is straight and the loin is short.

FOREQUARTERS

They are short, thick and heavy-boned. The bones of the forelegs are moderately bowed between the pastern and elbow. The broad chest, wide set forelegs and the closer rear legs all contribute to the correct rolling gait. The distance from the point of the shoulder to the tip of the withers is approximately equal to the distance from the point of the shoulder to the elbow. Shoulders are well laid back and fit smoothly onto the body. The elbows are always close to the body. Front feet are turned out slightly when standing or moving. The pasterns slope gently.

COAT

It is a long, coarse-textured, straight, stand-off outer coat, with thick, soft undercoat. The coat forms a noticeable mane on the neck and shoulder area with the coat on the remainder of the body somewhat shorter in length. A long and profuse coat is desirable providing it does not obscure the shape of the body. Long feathering is found on toes, backs of the thighs and forelegs, with longer fringing on the ears and tail.

HINDQUARTERS

They are lighter in bone than the forequarters. There is moderate angulation of stifle and hock. When viewed from behind, the rear legs are reasonably close and parallel, and the feet point straight ahead when standing or moving.

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About the Pekingese

Pekingese are compact, stocky toy dogs weighing up to 14 pounds. The coat is longest at the neck and shoulders, giving Pekes their famous “lion’s mane.” Coats come in various reds, from a golden-red to darker shades. The large, short-muzzled head is a wider-than-long “envelope shaped” rectangle, and the eyes are large, dark, and sparkly. A unique feature of Pekes is their effortless “rolling” gait.

Pekes are charming, confident companions who develop a tight bond with their favorite human. Bred to live in palaces, they can be as serenely independent as the emperors who owned them. (They’re “opinionated,” Peke people say.) Ever alert, they make good watchdogs. Pekes will tolerate kids but won’t stand for a lot of roughhousing.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Pekingese

Find a Puppy: Pekingese

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Pekingese Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Pekingese should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The thick double coat of the Pekingese requires a good bit of maintenance. Pekingese shed seasonally. Brushing him at least one hour per week will help to remove loose hairs and prevent matting, and an occasional bath will help to keep him looking his best. Mats or tangles can be gently worked out with a slicker brush or metal comb. As with all breeds, the nails should be trimmed regularly, as overly long nails can cause the dog discomfort.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Seasonal

EXERCISE

Pekingese are charming, confident companions who develop a close bond with their people. Their whole purpose in life is to amuse and comfort. Although they are fairly sedate most of the time and have only modest exercise requirements, they do enjoy participating in canine sports at their own pace.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Calm

TRAINING

A hallmark of the breed is their friendly, outgoing, loving personality. Pekes are affectionate and intelligent and develop very strong connections to their people. As dogs who for centuries lived in palaces, Pekes can be as serenely independent as the emperors who owned them. (They’re “opinionated,” Peke people often say.) Ever alert, they make good little watchdogs. Pekes might tolerate children, but are not appropriate for children to roughhouse with.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
May be Stubborn

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Reserved with Strangers

HEALTH

As with all short-faced breeds, it is important to choose a Pekingese with wide-open nostrils on a moderate-sized nose. Because Pekingese don’t have a long muzzle to act as a natural barrier of protection for the eyes, it is important to ensure that your environment is safe for your Peke and that nothing can jab or irritate his eyes. Pekingese appreciate cold temperatures, and therefore some owners travel with their Pekes on frozen ice packs, or an ice pillow, even for rides in the car, which provides a level of comfort that Pekingese thoroughly enjoy. Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Peke can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize health testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • No recommended health tests

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Pekingnese Care
Pekingese
Pekingese
Pekingese
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History

A Chinese legend says the Pekingese was created by the Buddha, who shrunk a lion down to dog size. The breed is of such antiquity that we will never know its true beginnings, but the fanciful origin myth does contain a grain of probable truth. The Peke was likely bred down to toy size from a larger dog, not by the Buddha, of course, but by his earthly servants, the Chinese emperors and their courtiers. For many centuries, Chinese nobles were preoccupied with the breeding of flat-faced lapdogs. The Peke, Pug, and Shih Tzu are surviving samples of their handiwork. It is said that stealing one of these dogs was a crime punishable by death.

Pekes were unknown to the West until 1860, when British troops invaded Peking (Beijing) during the Opium Wars. As the Brits stormed the emperor’s magnificent summer palace with the intention of looting and burning it, the royal family killed their Pekes rather than see them fall into enemy hands. A British captain discovered the emperor’s aunt dead, a suicide, but five of her Pekes were still alive, hiding behind a drapery. The dogs were returned to England as a gift for a delighted Queen Victoria, and the breed quickly caught on among her subjects.

By the late 1890s, Pekes had arrived in America. They were first registered by the AKC in 1906. Six years later, the breed made headlines when a Pekingese was one of only three dogs to survive the sinking of the Titanic.

Did You Know?

Held sacred in ancient China; Foo Dog idols exist of the Pekingese and have been handed down through generations.
In the past, the Pekingese breed was referred to as Lion Dogs, Sun Dogs, and Sleeve Dogs (carried in the voluminous sleeves of the imperial household).
The Pekingese was not exhibited in England until the very late 19th century.
Earliest known record of Pekingese existence is traceable to the Tang dynasty of the 8th century. However, the very oldest strains (held only by the imperial family) were kept pure, and the theft of one of the sacred dogs was punishable by death.
Introduction of the Pekingese into the Western world occurred as a result of looting of the imperial palace at Peking by the British in 1860.
The AKC first registered the Pekingese in 1906 and the Pekingese Club of America became a member of the AKC in 1909.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

The Pekingese is a well-balanced, compact dog of Chinese origin with a heavy front and lighter hindquarters. Its temperament is one of directness, independence and individuality. Its image is lionlike, implying courage, dignity, boldness and self-esteem rather than daintiness or delicacy.

HEAD

Face – The topskull is massive, broad and flat and, when combined with the wide set eyes, cheekbones and broad lower jaw, forms the correctly shaped face. When viewed from the front, the skull is wider than deep, which contributes to the desired rectangular, envelope-shaped appearance of the head. In profile, the face is flat. When viewed from the side, the chin, nose leather and brow all lie in one plane, which slants very slightly backward from chin to forehead. Ears – They are heart-shaped, set on the front corners of the topskull, and lie flat against the head. The leather does not extend below the jaw. Correctly placed ears, with their heavy feathering and long fringing, frame the sides of the face and add to the appearance of a wide, rectangular head.

BODY

Neck, Body, Tail: Neck – It is very short and thick. Body – It is pear-shaped, compact and low to the ground. It is heavy in front with well-sprung ribs slung between the forelegs. The forechest is broad and full without a protruding breastbone. The underline rises from the deep chest to the lighter loin, thus forming a narrow waist. The topline is straight and the loin is short.

FOREQUARTERS

They are short, thick and heavy-boned. The bones of the forelegs are moderately bowed between the pastern and elbow. The broad chest, wide set forelegs and the closer rear legs all contribute to the correct rolling gait. The distance from the point of the shoulder to the tip of the withers is approximately equal to the distance from the point of the shoulder to the elbow. Shoulders are well laid back and fit smoothly onto the body. The elbows are always close to the body. Front feet are turned out slightly when standing or moving. The pasterns slope gently.

COAT

It is a long, coarse-textured, straight, stand-off outer coat, with thick, soft undercoat. The coat forms a noticeable mane on the neck and shoulder area with the coat on the remainder of the body somewhat shorter in length. A long and profuse coat is desirable providing it does not obscure the shape of the body. Long feathering is found on toes, backs of the thighs and forelegs, with longer fringing on the ears and tail.

HINDQUARTERS

They are lighter in bone than the forequarters. There is moderate angulation of stifle and hock. When viewed from behind, the rear legs are reasonably close and parallel, and the feet point straight ahead when standing or moving.

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Pekingese

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Biscuit Check Mark For Standard Color 006
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Black & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 018
Cream Check Mark For Standard Color 076
Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 082
Fawn Sable Check Mark For Standard Color 338
Gray Check Mark For Standard Color 100
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140
Red Sable Check Mark For Standard Color 155
White Check Mark For Standard Color 199
Fawn Brindle 088
Gray Sable 339
Light Red 340
Red Brindle 148

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Black Mask Check Mark For Standard Mark 004
Parti-Color Check Mark For Standard Mark 038
White Markings Check Mark For Standard Mark 014
Black Face 058
Black Face, White Markings 059
Black Mask, White Markings 005
Black Muzzle 056
Black Muzzle, White Markings 057

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