The Pekingese, is an ancient breed of toy dog originating in China. It is also known as the Lion Dog, Peking Lion Dog, Pelchie Dog, or Peke. Because they resemble the Chinese guardian lions, they are called Lion Dogs. Recent DNA analysis has found that this breed is one of the oldest dog breeds and is one of the least genetically diverged from the wolf. They could only be owned by members of the Chinese Imperial Palace for centuries. It was favored by the royalty of the Chinese Imperial court as both a companion dog and a lap dog. Its name refers to the city of Peking (Beijing), where the Forbidden City is. Originating from Western China, the Pekingese were proud companions of the Chinese Buddhist Monks, and were also found to be owned by Chinese princes.

Physical Appearance

This breed weighs from 7-14 pounds and stand about 6-9 inches tall at the withers. Sometimes they can be smaller. It is slightly longer than it is tall when it is measured from its forechest to its buttocks. Its most obvious characteristics are its large eyes and flat face. The topskull is massive, flat, broad, and when combined with its wide set eyes, cheekbones and broad lower jaw, forms the correctly shaped face. The eyes are large, round lustrous, set wide apart and are very dark. His ears are heart shaped, lie flat against the head, and are set on the front corners of the topskull. The tail of the Pekingese is carried well over the back, free of curls or kinks, and is slightly arched. The outercoat of the dog is long, coarse, straight, and stand-off. The undercoat is soft and thick. While all breed standards allow all sorts of color combinations, the majority of the dogs are red, gold, or sable. His body is muscular and durable and is compact and low to the ground. His legs are bowed and restricts the movement of the dog.


The temperament of the Pekingese has a wide range. This dog is confident, loyal, stubborn, very proud, and well mannered. He needs to respect a person before he will show obedience. In general it is friendly and loving, and makes good family pet, and does well in small places such as an apartment. While this dog is small in size, it is a fearless dog and will not hesitate confronting other dogs twice its size. Once the breed establishes that it is the pack leader its attitude will change and he will show its innate feeling of royalty. Consistent leadership skills are necessary and owners must understand the temperament of this dog, and know how important respect t it is.


The median lifespan of the Pekingese is 11.4 years, and the leading cause of death for them is trauma. The breed is prone to congestive heart failure, eye issues such as eye ulcers and Progressive Retinal Atrophy, skin allergies, and breathing problems due to its flattened face and nose.