The Pekingese is a small, ancient breed originating from China where it is also known as the lion dog. For years they could only be owned by Chinese nobility, commoners or people without status had to bow to them. According to the UK Kennel Club, following the British sacking of Peking in 1860, four of the Pekingese were brought back to the UK.
The breed was accepted for registration in the USA in 1909 and in the UK the following year. Pekes are now known and owned as pets around the world. A squat, short, heavy little dog he has a wide face, flat muzzle and quite bulbous eyes. His coat is long, he has triangular ears that fold over at the tip and a tail set high and curling over the back.
Colour variations include black, fawn red, cream, white and cream and white. As a character the Peke is a fun loving, playful and sensitive dog. He is as brave as a lion and will stand his ground with other dogs regardless of their size and guard his toys and other possessions. That said he is not a naturally aggressive creature.
He is suited to life in both the countryside and the town and will take his walks at his own steady pace. He stands up to 30cm at the shoulder and weighs between 3.5 – 4kg, anything under that weight is considered a mini pekingese or ‘sleeve‘ – so called because he could fit inside the long flowing sleeves of Chinese emperors. A peke’s coat needs daily grooming and the occasional dry shampoo to keep it in top condition and to avoid any of the hair matting. A relatively healthy breed they have an expected life span of between 10 and 15 years.