Pekingese Dog Breed Information – Appearance, History, Care, and More

Having its roots in China, The Pekingese is a type of toy dog from Peking, which is Beijing today. At first it was a royal pet, liked by the Chinese Imperial

court for its cute lapdog qualities. This pup soon took its place as a faithful companion to them. It has since found its way around the world and spurred designer crossbreeds.

Due to their compact size, Pekes have a few unique physical traits. And like all dogs, they also have some health issues specific to the breed. So read on to see if this tiny and sweet puppy is a good fit for you!

Pekingese Dog Breed Pictures


What Does A Pekingese Dog Look Like

There is a lot that sets a Pekingese apart from many other purebred dogs. They are long-haired and need a lot of care since they shed all the time. Their colors aren’t really all that different from other animals, with red, gold, or sable quite common. Yet it’s also pretty normal to find one that’s white, blue, tan, grey, or a mix. And their face’s exposed skin will always be black.

Speaking of faces, they have a very distinct look to them. It’s flat, but the eyes are large and tend to protrude. This is an immediate identifying trait in their small breed. But their size is also a key feature. Even though it’s low to the ground, this pup has a muscular and tough build. It does have a bit of a rolling gait, though. This deformity is thought to be intentional. Royals didn’t want them wandering away from their court, so they made them slower.

These dogs range from about 7-14 pounds and stand well under a foot tall. However, they can be even smaller at times. These are known as “Sleeves.” History shows that emperors would carry these tiny pups in their sleeves, hence the name.


The Pekingese believe that they’re in charge, so as long as you play along, you’ll have a true friend. Even though it’s small, this dog is very confident and isn’t afraid of much. It’s a bit stubborn but lively and full of love to give.

Because of their past, these pups have a natural personality that’s loyal and made to protect. In order to alert its people, it’ll bark if it doesn’t like something. Adoption is a good fit for you if you want a dog who will be by your side.

Pekingese Puppy sitting on the grass field


How To Take Care Of A Pekingese Puppy

Knowing how to groom a Pekingese is a skill that every owner should learn. After all, grooming is the most important detail of physically taking care of these pups. Though you should still visit a professional every 2-3 months, daily maintenance is a must. Full-grown dogs can have a shorter puppy cut over a show cut, but this also requires upkeep.

You have to brush your fluffy friend at least once a day. And make sure that its fur is trimmed between trips to the groomers. Pay special attention to the face, and mostly the eyes. This area needs to be clean and clear at all times. Though they’re known for shedding, they always have a lot of fur. Ensure they’re cool in the summer since these long-haired dogs are prone to heatstroke.

How To Train A Pekingese

Pekes make great pets, though you may want to steer clear of them if you have small children. They will tolerate kids, but rough play doesn’t work well with these dogs. However, their temperament is outgoing and full of love. They’re often calm, as this is something they learned over the course of centuries. But they’re also great little watchdogs. These pups will always let you know what’s going on!


How Long Do Pekingese Dogs Live

Their lifespan is quite long. They have a life expectancy of 13-15 years.

How Much Exercise Does A Pekingese Need

Keeping your Pekingese at a healthy weight only requires a little bit of exercise. In fact, these pups can’t handle any more than that, or they can run into some serious issues. Because they have such short snouts, these dogs have a few breathing problems. More than 30 minutes of gentle exercise is not safe for them.

If you notice your pup having a hard time trying to breathe, stop everything at once. Get them to a cool, dry place and let them rest. Make sure they have plenty of water before, during, and after any activity.

Pekingese Health Issues

These dogs have many health problems, which is mainly due to their breeding selection. They have a number of issues caused by their royal history. Since they were made to be cute, beauty was one of the key features that gained much attention.

Their faces are quite small, and they have an underbite. Because their skulls have a shape that isn’t ideal, they are subjected to a lot of respiratory problems. Hot and cold weather can both be harmful to Pekingese. Due to their poor respiration, they aren’t able to regulate their body temperature like other canines. Always monitor this pup for proper airflow, as blocked airways are a huge concern. If you hear any sort of wheezing or see a forced attempt to breathe, seek help immediately.

There are other concerns because of the face as well. They are far from hypoallergenic and develop some skin allergies and hot spots. Eye ulcers and dry eye are pretty common, too, in addition to glaucoma and atrophy. This happens, in part, because there isn’t a good filtration path. Pekes tend to have a lot of eye drainage.

Heart complications may also occur in these dogs, but this can be treated if caught early. These problems usually don’t develop until around mid-life. Just like many teacup pets, their leading cause of death is trauma. Not only do heart issue play a part, but organ failure and neurological issues also creep up. Again though, with early detection and the proper care, your dog can live a long life.

From a physical angle, their size makes them prone to a few bone and joint ailments. Since they’re short but long, their backs can get weak over time. And stairs are difficult for them to tackle, especially as they age. Offer gentle support if your dog needs help navigating an area.


How Much Does A Pekingese Eat

Up to one cup of dry food per day is ideal, divided into two meals. This will keep your pup at a good weight.


The history of the Pekingese is one filled with legends! It’s said that Buddha shrunk a lion down to the size of a small dog. Because the breed is so old, it’s safe to say that its past won’t really ever be known. However, there is some truth to the lion tale. Buddha’s earthly servants were the emperors, and it’s very likely that they bred the Peke from larger dogs. They wanted lapdogs with flat faces, so several purebred pups today can trace their routes to this, including Pugs.

In ancient China, stealing one of these animals was punishable by death. So they remained with their royals for hundreds of years. During the Opium Wars in the mid-1800s, Britain invaded Peking. They stormed the palace in order to loot and burn it. Not wanting their pets to fall into enemy hands, the royal family killed them. However, five were found alive and taken back to England as a gift for the queen. She loved them and took to their cute teacup looks. These five dogs were bred, and they continued their regal life, this time in the West.

During Victorian times, the queen set the tone for trends. She not only had a following in Europe, but her fan base was heavy in America. By the late 1800s, Pekingese pups found their way across the Atlantic Ocean. At the start of the 20th Century, the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized them as a breed. They have been popular dogs ever since.

Fun Facts About Pekingese

  • Wasabi, a Peke, won Best in Show in 2020 at the AKC National Championship. He also won this in 2021 at the Westminster Dog Show. He comes from a long line of champions.
  • When the Titanic sunk in 1912, there were a few dogs on board who survived the terrible disaster. One was a little Pekingese named Sun Yat Sen.