The Pekingese is a burly toy dog weighing 7 to 14 pounds and standing 15 to 23 centimetres. It originated in China more than 1,000 years ago. Pekingese dogs are adorable, outgoing and lovable lap dogs best suited for apartment dwellers or people looking for small dogs. They are intelligent, stubborn and independent, which make them challenging to train. They have an average lifespan of 11 to 13 years.
Are you thinking of getting a Pekingese? Here is a brief background of this stocky pooch from the Toy Group.
The Pekingese is an ancient dog breed originating in China over 1,000 years ago. Behind its creation is folklore about the lion and the marmoset. According to the story, the lion begged the patron saint of the animals, Ah Chu, to shrink its size to that of a pigmy while retaining its lion heart and character. The reason – to marry his lady-love the marmoset. The product of this union was the dog Fu Lin or the Lion Dog of China, referred today as the Pekingese.
Legend aside, it is true that this lion dog is an ancient dog that dates back to the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century. Pekingese dogs were bred by palace eunuchs and treated as royal members of the imperial family. In 1860, British looters plundered the royal palace and stole five Pekingese dogs to England. One of these dogs were given as a gift to Queen Victoria, thus increasing its popularity in the British society.
Decades later, owning a Pekingese dog has been tantamount to privilege and wealth. In 1893, the first Pekingese was exhibited at the Chester dog show in England, which roused the interest of English dog fanciers. Soon after, its popularity trickled over to Ireland and France in the late 1800s and early 1900s with toy dog owners smitten with the Pekingese breed.
The Pekingese was recognised and accepted by The Kennel Club in 1990. Today, the Pekingese remains one of the most favoured toy dogs both as a companion and family pet thanks to its loveable and charming nature.
Appearance and Grooming
The Pekingese has a moderately long, pear-shaped figure with massive forelegs and light hind legs. True to its origins, it moves with a dignified gait much like a rolling trot. The Pekingese weighs from 7 to 14 pounds and stands about 15 to 23 centimetres at the withers, although some can be smaller. The distinct characteristic of this toy dog breed is its flat face and large eyes. Its body is stocky, despite its small size, and low to the ground.
Pekingese dogs wear their top coat thick and undercoat coarse, long and straight, almost pulled away from the body and forming tresses around the shoulders. Accepted colours consist of a wide array of combinations such as gold, red, sable, cream, black, white, black and tan, and blue, or slate grey. The muzzle, nose, eye rims and lips must always be black regardless of its coat colour.
Dog grooming includes daily brushing of its thick coat and an occasional visit to the groomers every 8 to 12 weeks, as such the Pekingese is a high maintenance dog breed. New owners must pay close attention to its eyes and the creases on its face, which may develop hot spots. Also, since it has a copious amount of fur, it is crucial to that Pekingese is always kept in a cool environment since they are prone to heat stroke. Included in the grooming process are cleaning its ears, brushing its teeth and trimming the nails. All these efforts are to make sure the Pekingese remain clean and healthy.
Temperament and Intelligence
The Pekingese is a dignified dog breed befitting its ancient imperial status, but it can be sometimes exasperating and stubborn. Despite being a toy dog breed, the Pekingese is never dainty or delicate. It is smart and independent – an excellent watchdog that is wary of strangers. With its family, however, it is very affectionate and fun-loving. Pekingese dogs are highly adaptable to any home due to its size and its genteel nature.
Pekingese dogs are challenging to train because they are smart, independent and stubborn. However, they can be done especially with someone who has firm and steady hands. They also need to be trained in recognising their place in the pack and who to look to for guidance and direction. Thus, early socialisation and training need to start early, so they grow up to be well-rounded adult dogs.
When they are brought up with children since young, they usually love to be around them. However, if an adult Pekingese is newly acquainted with children, it may become a little aloof and will only tolerate the children's presence. Whatever is the case, any interaction of Pekingese and children must be strictly supervised so neither will get hurt. The Pekingese recognises its fellow royals in the household, which is the cat, so they get along well with these feline friends. When it comes to other dogs, the Pekingese can coexist with them.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult Pekingese is 1/2 to 1 cup of excellent quality dry dog food per day. Each dog has a unique nutritional requirement based on its age, size, build, activity level, health, and metabolism. You can never go wrong seeking vet advice to determine your dog's diet.
Here are a typical daily calorie needs of an adult Pekingese weighing 11 pounds:
- Senior and less active: up to 374 calories daily
- Typical adults: up to 421 calories daily
- Physically active/working dogs: up to 468 calories daily
Since the Pekingese, being a toy dog, is prone to obesity its diet should be rich in protein (like chicken, turkey and eggs) and low in carbohydrates. Only stick with complex carbohydrates such as oats, barley, sweet potatoes and rice to maintain a healthy weight.
Health and Exercise
Pekingese dogs are prone to health disorders despite being a generally healthy dog breed. It has a lifespan of 11 to 13 years that may be shortened if the health disorders are not prevented or properly addressed. Here are health issues that a Pekingese may suffer from Patellar Luxation, Brachycephalic Syndrome, Cataracts, Cleft Palate, Cryptorchidism, Distichiasis, Ectopic Cilia, Entropion, Fold Dermatitis, Hydrocephalus, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, Mitral Valve Disease, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Exposure Keratopathy Syndrome, and Invertebral Disk Disease.
The Pekingese is not a high-energy dog, but will still require at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. It may be content as a couch potato, but the Pekingese can put on weight quickly if without exercise, and this could potentially affect its overall health. Take this dog out for a walk daily, but make sure they get to walk at its own pace since Pekingese doesn't like to be hurried. It should be allowed to roam around the back garden but make sure it's securely fenced.
Cost of Ownership
If you are keen on caring for a Pekingese, be ready to pay £250-£1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. To ensure it stays healthy at whatever age, you will need to feed your dog high quality dog food and treats, which can set you back £20-£30 a month. You would also need to spend on dog accessories such as leads, collars, food bowls, crates, beds, and toys. The combined initial cost for these things is estimated at £200.
Moreover, you need to consider paying for pet insurance to offset veterinary bills in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. Depending on where you live and your dog’s health and age, a time-limited cover can cost £23 a month while a lifetime one can cost up to £51 a month. Generally, insurance companies do not cover routine veterinary consultations, initial vaccinations, boosters, and neutering or spaying, so you may also have to spend an additional £800 annually for these services.
On average, the minimum cost to care for a Pekingese is £50-£80 per month depending on your pet insurance premium. This estimate does not include the rates for other services such as walking and grooming.
Pekingese Breed Highlights
- The Pekingese is an ancient dog breed originating in China over 1,000 years ago
- The distinct characteristic of this toy dog breed is the combination of its flat face and large eyes.
- It is high-maintenance with coat needing daily brushing.
- It is smart and independent – a great watchdog that wary of strangers
- It is very affectionate, fun-loving and highly adaptable.
Are you sure the Pekingese is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.
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