Also known as: Peking lion dog, Peking Palasthund, Chinese Spaniel, Pelchie Dog, Peke, Lion dog
  • Pekingese
  • Pekingese

General description

The Pekingese is an ancient dog breed that goes back 4000 years. Born as a companion dog for the Chinese Imperial court, this breed has preserved a strong inclination to love the household and owner more than anything else. A Pekingese is not too friendly with strangers, other dogs or children however it is a calm, independent and smart breed. Suitable for inexperienced owners, for those who can't spend much time with their pet and needing to leave it alone for a few hours. The small size and tame nature make the Pekingese easy to manage and suitable for apartment life. However, be mindful of your Pekingese's protective drive as it can bark quite a bit and become aggressive towards strangers which it perceives as a threat. And, although this type of dog requires little time dedicated to play and exercise (less compared to other breeds) it still needs to be cleaned and brushed with care. Moreover, a Pekingese can easily develop health issues affecting the eyes and face.

Pekingese in short

Aspect and attributes

Characteristics accepts by FCI:

  • Colors: red, fawn, sesame, pinto, grey, grizzle, black, blue, merle, yellowish, dark, light, pepper and salt, harlequin, apricot, silver, brown, lemon, orange, charcoal, mouse, cream, chocolate, tan, cinnamon, seal, sable, gold, purple, ruddy, bronze, lilac, buckskin, sand
  • Hair: thick, tough, smooth, long
  • Coats: masked, double color, tricolor, solid, double coated, close fitting

Because the Pekingese is a small-sized breed it is perfect for apartment living to which this dog is also suitable thanks to a docile and lazy nature. A Pekingese is about 20 cm tall, a breed that clearly takes up little space and doesn't display the hyperactive instinct found in other small types of dog.

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Costs and maintenance

A Pekingese puppy will cost you starting at 600 € which is quite within average. Obviously, this small-sized breed doesn't eat much but requires regular grooming to keep its coat beautiful and clean. Moreover, a Pekingese will need regular vet visits due to the disposition to issues concerning eyes, ears and breathing. Thus, the Pekingese is not amongst the most economic types of dog.

Quite expensive breed as it requires regular grooming and veterinary appointments

Characteristics Summary


Suitability to apartment life

The Pekingese was created as a companion dog for Chinese Emperors whom it used to share great and luxurious palaces with. This breed not only is suitable for apartment life but it prefers it to outdoor environments. The Pekingese breed is not so demanding and doesn't require much exercise, plus an independent nature makes it ideal for those who want a pet that doesn't need much of their time each day.

Perfectly suitable to live in a unit

Tolerance for solitude

A loving yet proudly independent nature makes this breed quite tolerant to solitude although, as for any dog breed, a Pekingese may suffer if left on its own too long. If you work and want a dog that can be home without you for a few hours then the Pekingese is a good choice. Be mindful not to misunderstand this breed's natural independence by treating it as a cat. Despite its sometime snobbish appearance, a Pekingese still needs to receive and display affection.

Quite tolerant to being in solitude, without pushing it to the extreme

Suitable as first pet

This breed is usually docile with the owner - although it may be display this trait a bit less around strangers, as we'll discuss further - and very intelligent. On top of this, a Pekingese's behavior is fairly tame which makes it perfect as a first pet for inexperienced owners. The small size also help controlling this breed on lead and during playtime.

The Pekingese is suitable as first dog


One of the main features of the Pekingese is the independent nature. Despite forming a deep bond with the family, a Pekingese won't become obsessively attached to it as other breeds and will maintain a certain autonomy in its behavior which enables it to better tolerate a not so regular lifestyle or an owner that is not very "present".

Rather tolerant breed although still docile and affectionate

Tolerance for cold temperatures

The long and thick fur of a Pekingese will protect it from the chilliest times of the year. Moreover, as the Pekingese loves living indoors and should be kept in the house, it doesn't really get exposed to cold weather other than during daily walks so its fur is more than enough as a protection.

Good tolerance to cold also because it lives indoors

Tolerance for high temperatures

As all breeds affected by brachycephalic syndrome (with a short muzzle and wide head), Pekingese suffer in heat. The shape of the muzzle and nostrils in Pekingese cause distress in dispersing the body temperature. In summer, this breed should be sheltered in a cool place and monitored for heat strokes. A Pekingese should only be taken out when the temperature is bearable and never be left without a full bowl of water.

The Pekingese has a very low tolerance for heat due to the shape of its face

Friendliness and sociability

Affection towards family

Although appearing a bit snooty, the Pekingese is actually a very affectionate dog that deeply loves its family. Tame, patient and loving with the owner, the Pekingese is ideal for those looking for a sweet and not so demanding pet, qualities which make this breed very popular amongst senior people. Not only are Pekingese affectionate with their family but also protective and, therefore quite efficient as guard dogs.

A breed that is very affectionate loving of its family

Friendly towards children

The Pekingese enjoys peace and despite the deep bond to its family, it still likes for its personal space to be respected. This is why Pekingese are usually not so friendly with kids and tend to ignore them. A Pekingese will instead prefer the company of calm people and is definitely a lazier rather than playful breed. Basically, a Pekingese is not the ideal playmate for a lively family.

Not too friendly towards children

Relationship with strangers

Protective and suspicious towards strangers, Pekingese will usually greet unfamiliar people with a strong bark. It is best to expose your Pekingese to different kind of people starting at a young age so to soften this trait of its temperament. Even when well socialized, your Pekingese will always have a more reserved nature in comparison to other breeds and will prefer peaceful solitude with the owner rather than a loud company.

A breed with low tolerance for strangers to whom it will usually bark

Friendliness towards other dogs

This type of dog tends to be wary around other dogs just as it is with strangers. As mentioned, a Pekingese's ideal condition is to be the only pet in a calm family, preferably without children. If you already own a dog, bringing a Pekingese into your home may cause more than a few issues and, at the same time bringing another dog into a Pekingese's house may annoy your pet quite a bit.

Not too friendly towards other dogs

Care and health

Coat care and shedding

Despite the small size, a Pekingese will usually leave a thick trail of hair in the house. The long and thick fur will show on rugs and all surfaces on which your pooch lays down, and it requires constant brushing to avoid it from sedimenting around the house. This breed is absolutely not suitable for people with allergies or those who can't stand the sight of hair all over their house.

The Pekingese sheds a lot and needs constant brushing

Salivation and drooling restraint level

This breed has absolutely no tendency to drool. Therefore, be very careful if you see your pet drooling profusely as it could be suffering from heat stroke to which this breed is highly subject due to the shape of its face.

A breed not inclined to dribble

Easiness to clean

This short and long-coated type of dog tends to pick up quite a bit of dirt that gets stuck to its fur. It is therefore necessary to brush your Pekingese often so to keep it clean and factor in regular grooming sessions to maintain a beautiful and tidy pet. Be mindful to clean your pooch's eyes and ears as both areas are subject to infections.

The Pekingese easily gets dirty and requires careful cleaning

Health and diseases

The Pekingese is a very ancient breed and for this reason not too subject to genetic problems that are typical in more recently designed cross-breeds. Despite it all, this type of dog can be affected by certain health issues, particularly in connection with the eyes and the shape of the face. The Pekingese needs to have its nose, eyes and ears constantly cleaned and requires regular veterinary appointments to check its breathing and potential inclination to prognathism (which is when the mandible is shorter than the jaw).

The Pekingese has a strong health although it may have issues concerning eyes and face

Tendency to gain weight

This dog breed has an inclination to gain weight which tends to worsen its disposition for respiratory distress. Furthermore, a Pekingese will often entertain an inactive lifestyle which it prefers to an active one and this can facilitate weight problems. Pekingese owners should be very careful not to spoil their pets with too much food and feed them adequately to their lifestyle.

This type of dog has a tendency to put on weight

Learning skills

Intelligence and training

Despite a great intelligence, the Pekingese is not the easiest breed to train. As a matter of fact, a Pekingese is not particularly fond of playing nor does it slavishly follow commands or get easily lured by high reward treats. Owners must be able to firmly impose themselves with authority, respecting their dog without underestimating a potentially dominant instinct.

A clever breed but not to easy to train

Loyalty and inclination to escape

The Pekingese can be tempted to get away from a chaotic situation to find its beloved peace. Moreover, there is another aspect that shouldn't be undervalued: this small dog breed with the looks of a miniature lion is actually one of the closest to wolves from a genetic point of view. This is where its independent nature comes from which can also bring a Pekingese to wander on its own. Best to never lose sight of your pooch when off-lead.

Pekingese maybe inclined to get away from their owner

Inclination to bite

As already mentioned, Pekingese are not fond of strangers nor other dogs. When something interrupts the valued domestic peace in which a Pekingese is normally docile and calm it can become nervous, bark determinately and defensively and even bite if it feels threatened. A reason why puppies should be trained carefully to avoid this behavioral inclination to become an issue.

Although generally docile the Pekingese may develop a tendency to nip

Hunt drive

As stated, this breed resembling a teddy-bear is actually more similar to a wolf than what one would think and it gets the hunting drive from this ancestor. A Pekingese may chase birds or small mammals and it must be kept away from hen-houses and rabbit hutches. Be careful even when your pet is in the woods or countryside as it may be tempted to follow a track.

Pekingese maintain a strong hunting instinct

Inclination to bark or howl

The Pekingese is a dog breed that tends to bark to protect the family from anyone that it considers a threat and, unfortunately, this includes other dogs and strangers. Your Pekingese will be a great guard for your home but not the ideal neighbor for those living near you.

This type of dog has an inclination to bark and behave as a guard

Exercise requirements

Energy level

Dogs belonging to this breed are usually lazy and not so fond of hard physical exercise. Pekingese love to take short walks with their owners and spend the rest of their day at home, being cuddled or sleeping peacefully at the feet of those love. The Pekingese is perfect for those who cannot or do not want to move much, whilst it is not the ideal companion for people that prefer long walks with an active dog.

Pekingese are usually quite lazy and calm


Tame and calm by nature - actually, we could say that their fondness for peace is closer to actual laziness - Pekingese are easy to manage and little demanding dogs. The small size of this breed makes it extremely easy to walk on lead. For all these reasons, the Pekingese is the type of dog chosen by senior or disabled people who need to have a calm and easy to control pet by their side.

A tame, ease to manage and little demanding breed

Exercise requirements

A Pekingese does not have the same need to play and exercise typical of other breeds, and it happily engages in a sedentary lifestyle. Taking a Pekingese on short walk simply to do "its business" is enough to satisfy its needs and playing is not amongst this breed's passions. Be mindful however of the Pekingese's inclination to put on weight. If your Pekingese lives a lazy kind of life, you should avoid allowing it to indulge in food.

Little need for exercise but take care of your Pekingese's diet

Tendency to play

If you want a dog that will always be ready to play with you for hours then the Pekingese is not your ideal choice. Nevertheless, the Pekingese's "snobbish" nature is often overestimated. Pekingese are calm, independent and domestic but not completely uninterested in playing. Simply don't exceed nor ask your pooch to neglect its beloved naps.

Not amongst the most playful breeds

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