6-9" (15-23 cm) under 14 lb (6.5 kg) Long, straight, coarse stand-off outercoat. Thick soft undercoat. Mane. Some feathering. All colours and markings. May have black mask.
As the “Lion Dog”, a fierce protector against evil spirits, the Pekingese belonged exclusively to the Chinese Imperial Court. “Foo Dog” idols representing the breed existed as early as the Tang Dynasty of the 8th century. Highly popular with the nobility, thousands of these little dogs lived in Imperial palaces; 4,000 eunuchs were housed in Peking solely for the purpose of managing their breeding. No one outside the nobility was permitted to own one, on pain of death. In 1860, the British invaded Peking. Fearing capture of their precious dogs, the Imperial family ordered them to be destroyed. When one lady committed suicide, however, her five “sleeve dogs” remained behind, fiercely defending their fallen owner. Soldiers caught the little dogs and brought them back to England where Queen Victoria received one as a gift. As the conquest continued, soldiers found other Pekingese and brought them to England, forming the foundation of the breed we know today.
Always the pampered dog of royalty, the Pekingese was born to be a comforting companion. Confident and charming, he bonds strongly with his person and can become protective and jealous. Careful socialization at a young age helps him gain the confidence so characteristic of the breed. Because of his short muzzle, he can’t handle a lot of exercise, though short walks are essential to keep him fit and healthy.