The Pekingese or Peke has quite a sturdy and strong build for a small toy dog breed. The breed is characterized by a lion-like appearance with a broad chest and straight back. The Peke has a very flat face with a snub nose, and wide set eyes.
The tail is set high and carried curled over the back. The Peke has a long, straight, coarse outer coat and a thick undercoat. The coat has a profuse mane with feathering on the ears, legs, tail and feet.
The Peke’s colors are usually beige and black sometimes combined with white but all colors are allowed. Peke’s are a small toy breed and stand about 7 to 8 inches tall at shoulder height and can weigh from 8 to 13 pounds.
Pekes are members of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Toy Dog Group.
History of The Pekingese
The Pekingese or “Lion Dog’ seems to date back to the 9th century in China. Ownership of the Peke was restricted to members of the Chinese Imperial Court and they were considered sacred by the Chinese Tang dynasty.
The breed was brought back to England in 1860 when British troops occupied the Peking Summer Palace during the Second Opium War. Pekes were shown in England in the 1890’s and were recognized in the U.S. in 1909. The Peke was ranked 38th out of 154 dog breeds in 2004 AKC registrations.
Temperament The Pekingese
The Pekingese seems to believe in its royal heritage and is a dignified, regal, confident and stubborn dog. The Peke is fearless, good-tempered and not aggressive. Pekes are fairly quiet and are not particularly fond of children or strangers.
Pekes should be thoroughly socialized and trained otherwise they will rule the household. Training is difficult because the Peke’s sensitive and headstrong nature make it a real challenge. However lots of praise and attention can achieve results.
Peke’s are real characters and can be very enjoyable companions. The Pekingese is suitable for first-time owners who remember not to spoil them.
Pekes will adapt quite well to apartment living and need very little exercise beyond what they get inside the apartment. Pekes do not like long walks but will accept shorter walks a few times per day. Pekes do poorly in warm humid weather and prefer their air-conditioned comfort.
The coat of a Pekingese requires intensive grooming. You must train the Peke while it is a puppy to enjoy the grooming process otherwise it will become an unhappy process every time you bring out a brush and comb.
Pay attention to the feathered areas where the tangles form. The facial creases should be cleaned and the excess hair clipped from between the paw pads. The Peke should have dry shampoo to talcum powder applied to the coat during grooming.
The Pekingese should live for 12-14 years. The breed is subject to a number of serious health concerns of which the most common is patellar luxation.
Less common disorders include: respiratory difficulties, eye diseases (cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy), entropion, eye lacerations/infections, bladder stones and heat stroke.
Buyers of Peke puppies should ask to see the parents OFR (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) certificate screening for luxating patella and the recent CERF (Canine Eye Registry) results for eye diseases.