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Pekingese breed Information

Pekingese: Ultimate Breed Guide 2020

Are you looking to buy or adopt a Pekingese? This cute little dog is a ‘lot of dog in a small package’! Don’t let its small size fool you: the Pekingese is as feisty as they come. Their rich history has made them popular all over the world. The Chinese royalty bred the Pekingese and they were given special places to stay in the Palaces.


We have put everything you need to know about the Pekingese in this Ultimate Breed Guide so you can decide if this is the right dog for your lifestyle, family & household.


Breed Characteristics

Mobile, beautiful, symmetric, and wise are just a few words one can use to describe the Pekingese. These dogs have a distinct appearance with straight and low forehead, black face, large and luminous eyes, and nose ‘like the Hindu monkey God’.

Personality-wise, the Pekingese is discrete, careful not to get involved in danger, friendly with humans and other animals, and having dainty habits. The word Pekingese itself means many words that aptly describe this cute and feisty little dog:  Dragon Dog, Peking Palace Dog, Sleeve Dog, etc.




Just because this dog is small, doesn’t mean that it is docile. Yes, training can make him docile, friendly, and well-mannered but inherently this is a dog that an independent-thinker and extremely sensitive as well.

The Pekingese needs extensive daily grooming. Being a hairy breed, they shed their coat twice a year. The hair must be combed every day otherwise it can get matted and tangled. Tangled hair can lead to skin problems and could even be a harbor ground for parasites. 1 out 5 stars for ease of grooming.

Training is an important part of raising a Pekingese. You must show your pet who the pack leader is from an early age. Failure to do that could lead him to be egoistical all his life! Since they are fairly intelligent, they grasp commands quickly. We give them 3 out of 5 stars for ease of training.

Some health issues seen in the breed are joint pain, spine problems, and heart and breathing issues. They are brachycephalic dogs and that means punched-in faces that may lead to respiratory issues. 2 out of 5 stars for general health.


All Around Friendliness


The word Pekingese means ‘the Lion Dog’. This moniker is mainly given due to the fact that they have a mane, are pretty aggressive despite their size, and of course their golden coloured coats. Overall, they aren’t friendly by nature but owners can make them docile and friendly with proper training and socialization.

With children, the Pekingese may come across as aloof and wary, at least in the beginning. They don’t mind gentle kids but will not take kindly to aggressive or naughty children. All in all, we give them 2 out of 5 stars for friendliness with children.

With other pets, the Pekingese can take some time getting used to. After all; historically, these dogs were given all the attention and not used to sharing space or love from their owners. Your Pekingese will hate it if you suddenly bring a new pet home. So, early socialization with other pets is a must. 3 out of 5 stars for other pet friendliness.

Remember: don’t let The Pekingese’s small size fool you. This small dog has a high prey drive and may even run away or dig under the fence to chase a small animal such as rabbit or cat. They get 5 stars for high prey drive.

Pekingese make affectionate, loyal, and loving pets. They usually bond with one family member and will follow her/him around all day. They love giving kisses and cuddles and will be content to sit in your lap all day long if you let them. 5/5 stars for affection towards family members!

Stranger danger – You might think that the Pekingese won’t make a great guard dog. In reality, the Pekingese is as effective as a guard dog as the larger breeds. S/he won’t take kindly to people who they feel are imposing in on their territory. They will bark their heads off at strangers and won’t relax until the owners say it is okay. Once they get the ‘OK’ from their parent, they will still remain aloof and wary. 2/5 stars for friendliness towards strangers.


Health and Grooming Needs

Despite being a small dog, the Pekingese is quite hardy and healthy. It has a lifespan of 13-15 years. Careful selective breeding dating back to China’s Imperial courts have made this breed inherently resistant to many canine diseases. We give the Pekingese an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Here are some health concerns and grooming needs of the breed in detail:

Being a brachycephalic breed, the nasal bones are rather short. That is why a Peke is likely to suffer respiratory issues and breathing difficulties. If a Peke starts wheezing or showing signs of breathing difficulties, one must have them examined right away. For breathing difficulties, we give the Peke 5 out of 5 stars.

Umbilical hernias are other common issues seen in many Pekingese puppies. It occurs because a bit of the intestines poke out of the abdominal wall. The skin does not tear but there may be a lump seen and felt in the belly area.

Heart problems – These are also commonly seen in the breed. Most of these issues are inherited, so careful breeding can minimize these in the later generations.

Eyes – Since the Peke has bulging eyes, owners need to take good care of their eye health.

Grooming needs – You must groom your pet every day. It is best to get your puppy used to grooming from early age. The silky coat is prone to matting and tangling, so you can wet the coat a little bit and use a comfortable brush to gently groom the fur. Stringent grooming needs makes us give this breed 2 out of 5 stars for ease of grooming.



Training is a must for this beautiful dog as it will make them have a dignified manner that makes you a proud Peke parent! Being naturally very intelligent, these dogs learn quickly. However, as an owner it is very much your responsibility to show them who the boss is! Otherwise, they won’t hesitate to wrap you tightly around their paws! We give the Peke 4 out of 5 stars for ease of trainability.

They are far more intelligent than most breeds, quicker to learn as puppies, and highly companionable dogs. Heredity and antiquity of the breed in Peking has gifted these dogs charming mannerisms and clean habits as well.  For this, we give the Peke 5 on 5 stars for being the intelligent student!

Pekingese love attention from their owners as most are willing to do almost anything to please them. They also have a unique personality and inherent stubbornness which must be controlled from an early age through proper training.

With other pets, the Pekingese isn’t too great, more so if not socialized from puppyhood. This is the kind of dog that, unaware of its small size, will try to take on a larger dog! Don’t be surprised if your pet tries to pick fights with other canines on your walks. And their high prey-drive also means that they will be looking to chase squirrels, hamsters, and other small pets. So 2 out of 5 stars for the ability to get along with other pets.

Pekes love to bark! Don’t be too surprised if you get complaints from neighbors! 5 on 5 for the tendency to bark all the time.

Tendency to run away – This is rather high owing to their high prey-drive. So please secure your fence and yard and make sure your pet is on leash on walks. 5 on 5 stars for wanderlust!


Physical Requirements of the Pekingese

Apartment dwellers will be gratified to know that their Peke is happy in a small house as long as they have companionship. This dog isn’t too fond of exercise. So don’t expect your pet to wait on you each evening with its leash in the mouth, begging to go out.Not at all! Your pet will be happy to spend all day on the couch looking haughtily at you like the Imperial being it is bred to be!

Great dog for small spaces! 5 out of 5 stars for pet owners living in bustling cities in small studios or apartments.

Does not need too much exercise- If you are a couch potato yourself, you will be a great owner for the Peke. However, you must still insist on taking your pet out once or twice a day. Otherwise your pet will pack on pounds faster than you can imagine. 5 on 5 stars for this pet for lazy or inactive owners! It is an excellent breed for retirees and senior citizens.

Note that your Peke still needs training, regular exercise, and lots of love and attention. That, along with regular grooming, vet checkups, and good food can keep your pet healthy for years to come. All in all 5 stars for anyone who wants a small dog that doesn’t demand much other than regular grooming!

Being brachycephalic, they can overheat in summers and after rigorous exercise. So make sure you keep them in climate controlled environment.

Their wrinkles around the nose and mouth need regular cleaning to prevent skin issues. The hind end also needs regular cleaning.


Vital Stats





Japanese Chin, Pug, Tibetan Spaniel

Dog breed group

Toy Breed

Avg. height male

15 – 18 cm

Avg. height female

13-16 cm

Avg. weight (male and female)

3.2 - 6.4 kilo

Life expectancy

13-15 years

Breed popularity

92 out of 193


Regal, self-important, intelligent,

aloof towards strangers.



















History of the Pekingese

The Pekingese is a truly regal creature as its history/evolution can be traced back to Chinese Imperialists. The small maned dogs were often considered ‘the symbol of the Buddha’; lion dogs, monkey dogs, or even sleeve dogs for gifting.

When Queen Victoria was gifted a Pekingese, the popularity of the breed increased in the UK. The American Kennel Club registered the Pekingese in 1906. Today, it enjoys its role as royal household companion in many parts of the world.

The Pekingese has perched on couches looking haughty, for about thousand years. In China, these pampered dogs enjoyed special position in the Emperor’s court. Smaller Pekes were even kept inside the ‘sleeves’ of the nobles; hence the name ‘sleeve dogs’.

Size and physical characteristics

Small, weighing less than 14 lbs, there is also a variety called Sleeve Pekingese which weighs less than 6 lbs!. The male Pekingese has an average weight of 8 to 10 lbs or 3.6 to 4.5 kilos. The females weigh slightly lesser and their height is about an inch or two smaller than the average male height.

Pekes are characterized by very small heads and punched in faces. Their stocky, barrel-shaped bodies are carried on by small legs. The coat is long and silky with a double coat. You can see them in various colors including tan, brown, black, white, cream, and a mix and match of these colors.


Temperament and personality


Primarily bred to look cute and interesting, the Peke also has an interesting and unique personality. Though smaller and more decorative than a pillow, the Pekes actually serve more or less the same function! You will find them staring at you haughtily from the sofa!

So brave and self-assured is this dog that it forgets its size and tries to take on the bigger dogs. Don’t be surprised to find your Pekingese barking at the neighborhood bully! It will even try to dominate you and your family members if not trained from an early age.

Pekes are intelligent, regal dogs and they demand the royal treatment from the owners. They demand a gentle, low-key owner who is patient, doesn’t mind their snoring, and is willing to be dominated by their pet!

Pekingese dogs are affectionate and loyal towards their family members. With children, they are great but owners must teach their kids to respect this dog and give him the space it needs. Also, some children could be too rough for this gentle and delicate breed.

With strangers, your Peke may come across as a bit wary and aloof in the beginning. With time though, your pet will warm to strangers as long as you show them that they are okay to be in the house.

Since they love to bark, they won’t hesitate to notify you of any abnormality in their environment. And if someone does try to break into your property, this feisty little dog will alert you right away by barking it little head off.

All in all, this is a very cute companion dog. It will enjoy going out with you on short (the keyword here being ‘short’) walks. They don’t really enjoy too much exercise and tend to get weary and overheated when over-exercised. So, always keep exercise sessions short and allow your pet to rest once back. In summers, keep your pet cool by providing climate controlled environment to prevent heat exhaustion.


Common health issues in the Pekingese

Pekingese are known to suffer from corneal ulcerations, pinched nostrils, brachycephalic syndrome, spine issues, hernias, and even heart problems.

Eyes – Since the Peke has bulging eyes, owners need to take good care of their eye health. The bulging eyes are prone to issues and are quite fragile.  Corneal ulcerations are a common issue in Pekes.

The folds in the face need to be wiped down to prevent gunk that can build up and cause skin allergies, blisters, etc.

Female Pekes have difficult labor and deliveries and need supervision by a vet.

Being a brachycephalic breed, the nasal bones are rather short. That is why a Peke is likely to suffer respiratory issues and breathing difficulties. If a Peke starts wheezing or showing signs of breathing difficulties, one must have them examined right away.

Umbilical hernias are other common issues seen in many Pekingese puppies. It occurs because a bit of the intestines poke out of the abdominal wall. The skin does not tear but there may be a lump seen and felt in the belly area.

Heart problems – These are also commonly seen in the breed. Most of these issues are inherited, so careful breeding can minimize these in the later generations.

Weight gain and obesity – As with many toy breeds, this breed has a tendency to put on weight. So, they must never be fed a high-calorie diet.


How to care for your Pekingese

In order to take care of your Pekingese, it is best to read up all you can about the breed. You can also speak to your breeder or a vet to get tips for caring for your Peke. They can also tell you about the right diet for your pet and the ebst brand of dog food.

The basics

Every dog needs three things from its owner: love, care, and attention. The Peke is no different. However, this breed does have stringent grooming needs. You must brush its silky coat 2-3 times a week and also wipe down its nasal/mouth folds. The silky coat also needs bathing about once a month with a vet approved shampoo.

While this is a low-energy breed, you must still take it out on walks once or twice a day. This is necessary to keep your Peke physically and mentally fit. This toy dog also has a tendency to gain weight; so daily exercise is a must. You can also encourage your kids to play with your pet.


When you first bring your young pet home, establish the ground rules right from the beginning. Show your pet where to void. This way; there will be fewer accidents in the house. Pekes are known to be rather difficult to house train but with persistence and patience, you can soon potty-train your Pekingese puppy. Crate training can also help since most dogs do not soil their sleeping quarters.

Apart from house training your Peke, you may also want to train your pet not to jump on people, not to bark too much, and also other basic commands like come, ‘fetch’, sit, etc. Always use positive reinforcement while training; punishing, shouting, or hitting would only make your pet aggressive or timid.

Keep the training sessions short and also use healthy treats to keep them fun.


Socialization with other pets and kids

Pekes being small dogs are at a risk of being injured by rough kids. So teach older kids to be gentle with your pet. Never let any interaction between your Peke and kids go unsupervised, at least in the beginning. Pekingese will not take teasing or physical abuse kindly. They won’t hesitate to bite kids who roughhouse them.

With other pets, Pekes may come across as hostile and aggressive in their older years. That is why early socialization is a must. Introduce your pet to other dogs, cats, hamsters etc in its puppyhood itself. That way; there is lesser chance of your Peke bullying them once he/she is older.

Remember that the breed has a high prey drive and will love to chase and terrify smaller animals. Again, this behavior can be prevented through early socialization to smaller household pets. You may want to secure your yard in any case, should your pet feel the need to chase a squirrel out.



Invest in proper tools for grooming your Peke. You will need a wide toothed comb, some sterile wipes, vet-approved shampoo, nail clippers, hair brushes, rake-style brushes etc. You can also buy a grooming table or place your pet on your lap while grooming.

Make sure you get your puppy accustomed to grooming from an early age. This way; they will give you less trouble as an adult when sitting for grooming sessions.

Always inspect your pet’s ears for foul odor. Wipe the outer part of the ear using wipes or cotton balls. If there is any foul door, notify your vet. Make sure you wipe down the folds in the mouth and near the nose to prevent gunk build-up.

The Peke’s eyes need inspection from time to time. If you notice any anomaly in the eyes, discharge, or blinking etc, please seek advice from your vet right away.

Bathe your pet once or twice a month, or as needed. Over bathing can strip off the natural oils from the coat. You must comb your pet’s silky hair from time to time. If any parasites like ticks and fleas are present, treat it right away with spot-treatment or collars. Brush your pet’s fur regularly to deter mats, tangles, as well as flea/tick eggs and larvae.

Feeding your Peke

Your breeder and vet are the best people to tell you exactly what to feed your Pekingese. In general, Pekes do well on a low-grain, moderate protein diet.  Today, there are many good brands of dog foods available and you can always find something that suits your pet.

Here are some brands of foods that are suitable for Pekes:

Royal Canin Health Nutrition Small Adult Dry Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Grain Free Whole Food Clusters Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein Grain Free, Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food

Blue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Diet, Grain Free Natural Adult Small Breed Dry Dog Food, Lamb & Potato


Being toy breed, the Peke has a tendency to put on weight quickly. So avoid over-feeding your pet and do not encourage begging. Never feed human food/table scraps to your pet.

Pekingese Breed Organizations in Australia

Pet Directory NSW

Pekingese Club of Victoria Inc

Dogzonline Australia’s Pure Bred Dog Community

Pekingese Rescue Groups Australia

Rescue Shelter




Conclusion – Is the Pekingese right for You?

The Pekingese is ideal for an owner that doesn’t want a dog having high-energy levels. Be advised however that this breed still needs plenty of grooming, attention, and care. This intelligent and stubborn dog can be a challenge to train, so you must start training right from the day you bring your Pekingese puppy home.

The Peke also needs daily grooming and is prone to certain health issues like ulcers, heart trouble, eye problems, and breathing problems.  But, with proper diet, regular exercise, and routine vet checkups, there is no reason why this beautiful dog can’t become an integral and loving part of your household. 

Pekingese Photo Gallery

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