This is truly one of the most ancient companion breeds in the world. The Pekingese is a good example of a dog designed for no other reason than to serve humanity. According to legend, it evolved from interbreeding between a lion and a monkey, and hence its leonine appearance and sharp intelligence.


Myths surrounding the Pekingese go back many centuries and they are mentioned in the annals of the Yuan dynasty (1206-1333). Pekes featured in the art of the Ming dynasty beginning 1368 and were the favourites of Chinese rulers right through into the twentieth century. The existence of these dogs and how they were bred was always a closely guarded secret in China which was jealously kept from the Western world.

After the war between China and the West in 1856. the Imperial Palace was looted and several dogs were removed by British navy and army personnel and later brought back to Britain. One was given to Queen Victoria and the remainder to the British aristocracy. A few doss were bred and exhibited, and in 1904 a club was formed and the breed increased in popularity.

The Peke's billowing coat looks fabulous but will need daily grooming to keep it tangle free and in excellent condition.


An intelligent little dog, the Pekingese is full of fun and is relatively easy to train. It has great dignity, is afraid of nothing on four legs and genuinely believes that it is a big dog. It loves attention and being part of the family's activities.

must know

Breeders advise that there are no serious defects, only occasional back problems.


This handsome little dog is so small that its huge double coat makes it stand out from all others. All coat colours are allowed except albino and liver. No height is given but dogs should weigh 5kg (11lb).

Strangers 4/5

Friendly but will bark

Temperament 5/5

Intelligent fun dog who believes itself to be big

Exercise 2/5

Walks twice daily

Grooming 4/5

Important to groom every day

Other dogs 4/5

Excellent with own breed, may try to dominate other


An affectionate, fun companion

General care

Owners must be prepared to devote time to the maintenance of the coat which is described as "the breed's crowning glory". A thorough combing and brushing daily is of utmost importance, as the presence of any detritus can be the cause of tangles and matting and removing them can cause hair loss. Inspecting the ears, eyes, teeth and rear end is also necessary. A couple of daily walks are all that's needed, but they should be augmented with play in the garden to stimulate this active dog's mind. Good nourishing food is a strict requirement for coat growth but the dog must not be allowed to get fat.

Gallery of Pekingese