What is a Pekingese?

Dee Saale
Dee Saale

The Pekingese, also known as the lion dog or peke, dates back to ancient China. It is considered a toy breed and generally weighs from 8 to 13 pounds (about 3.2 to 5.9 kg). This companion breed has long hair that can range in color, including gold, black, gray and white and is often a mixture of several colors. If it remains in good health, it may live to 15 years or often longer.

Pekingese dogs are known for their broad heads and flat noses.
Pekingese dogs are known for their broad heads and flat noses.

A distinctive breed of dog, the Pekingese is brachycephalic in appearance. This means that it generally has a broad or wide head and flat-looking, black nose. Many people recognize this breed of dog by its large, round eyes that are typically black or dark brown in color. Although many dogs have bulging eyes, this may be the onset of illness and should be addressed by a veterinarian. One of the Pekingese’s most distinguishing features is the deep wrinkle that divides the face down the middle.

Like bulldogs, Pekingese often struggle with breathing issues due to their short snouts and flat faces.
Like bulldogs, Pekingese often struggle with breathing issues due to their short snouts and flat faces.

The Pekingese is generally noted for its full personality. It can be considered bold and even stubborn. This breed has been known to bite, particularly if it is not treated with respect. Generally, if it receives the proper training and socialization, it will not bite, especially if it is treated gently. Although the Pekingese is a small breed of dog, it will usually try to protect its household by barking if it believes someone is intruding.

There are some known health problems that are common to the Pekingese breed. Most of these problems are a result of the construction of its face and nose. For example, many dogs experience problems breathing. As a result, a Pekingese may make snorting or grunting noises, particularly when it is engaged in even the mildest of activity. In addition, the way the dog’s face is constructed makes him susceptible to high temperatures and heat stroke. This breed may also have difficulties birthing puppies because it has a small pelvic region and the puppies often have large heads.

Because of the abundance of long fur on the Pekingese, it can be difficult to groom, particularly if the fur becomes matted or knotted. If it is groomed on a regular basis, this breed of dog can be quite regal in appearance. The easiest way to groom the dog is by separating the fur into sections and then brushing small portions of these sections at a time. The fur should be moist and conditioned when brushing the dog as well.

Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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Discussion Comments


I love my Pekingese rescue dog. She came to us in a bad way. Her fur was densely knotted and dull, her eyes looked so sad. She'd been in a shelter for several months.

After a couple of weeks with us, she'd been groomed and loved and she seemed to settle in with our family in a unique way.

She hung out separately with each of our kids and with me and my husband. It was like she wanted to have a relationship with each one of us. I've never seen anything like this before and I was raised with plenty of dogs and cats.

I sense there is something really special about this breed. They are true to their ancestry. They guard the whole house and love each family member whole-heartedly.

Pekes are little giants with hearts of gold. I'd get another one without a second thought.


Yes, I can imagine that this breed "has been known to bite" if they aren't socialized properly.

I've had three Pekingese dogs over a span of 25 years and have never experienced an angry or biting personality.

Yes, they are regal and demand their space. They are also loyal, independent, fierce, funny, and playful.

I didn't choose this breed on purpose but discovered them by chance as a child. My three kids love their Pekes and always say they'll have another one when they grow up.

What's their secret? They're confident, protective, funny and beautiful. Who can argue with that?

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