Pekingese
Overview
 
The Pekingese, or "Peke" (also commonly referred to as "Lion Dog", or "Pelchie Dog" due to its resemblance to Chinese guardian lions
Chinese guardian lions
Chinese guardian lions, known as Shishi lions or Imperial guardian lion, and often incorrectly called "Foo Dogs" in the West, are a common representation of the lion in pre-modern China...

) is an ancient breed
Dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....

 of toy dog
Toy dog
Toy dog traditionally refers to a very small dog or a grouping of small and very small breeds of dog. A toy dog may be of any of various dog types. Types of dogs referred to as toy dogs may include Spaniels, Pinschers and Terriers that have been bred down in size. Not all toy dogs are lapdogs,...

, originating in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. The breed was favored by the Chinese Imperial
Chinese sovereign
Chinese sovereign is the ruler of a particular period in ancient China. Several titles and naming schemes have been used throughout history.-Emperor Title:...

 court, and its name refers to the city of Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 where the Forbidden City
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

 resides. The breed has several characteristics and health issues related to its unique appearance. Because of its desirable characteristics, the Pekingese has been part of the development of designer crossbreeds, such as the Pekeatese.


The Pekingese breed is over 2000 years old and has hardly changed in all that time.
Encyclopedia
The Pekingese, or "Peke" (also commonly referred to as "Lion Dog", or "Pelchie Dog" due to its resemblance to Chinese guardian lions
Chinese guardian lions
Chinese guardian lions, known as Shishi lions or Imperial guardian lion, and often incorrectly called "Foo Dogs" in the West, are a common representation of the lion in pre-modern China...

) is an ancient breed
Dog breed
Dog breeds are groups of closely related and visibly similar domestic dogs, which are all of the subspecies Canis lupus familiaris, having characteristic traits that are selected and maintained by humans, bred from a known foundation stock....

 of toy dog
Toy dog
Toy dog traditionally refers to a very small dog or a grouping of small and very small breeds of dog. A toy dog may be of any of various dog types. Types of dogs referred to as toy dogs may include Spaniels, Pinschers and Terriers that have been bred down in size. Not all toy dogs are lapdogs,...

, originating in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. The breed was favored by the Chinese Imperial
Chinese sovereign
Chinese sovereign is the ruler of a particular period in ancient China. Several titles and naming schemes have been used throughout history.-Emperor Title:...

 court, and its name refers to the city of Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 where the Forbidden City
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

 resides. The breed has several characteristics and health issues related to its unique appearance. Because of its desirable characteristics, the Pekingese has been part of the development of designer crossbreeds, such as the Pekeatese.

Appearance



The Pekingese breed is over 2000 years old and has hardly changed in all that time. One exception is that modern breeders and dog-show judges seem to prefer the long-haired type over the more-traditional spaniel
Spaniel
A spaniel is a type of gun dog. It is assumed spaniels originated from Spain as the word spaniel may be derived from Hispania or possibly from the French phrase "Chiens de l’Espagnol" . Spaniels were especially bred to flush game out of dense brush. By the late 17th century spaniels had become...

-type coat.
The Pekingese's flat face is one of the breed's most obvious characteristics. The body is compact and low to the ground. Pekingese also have a muscular and durable body. The legs are noticeably bowed and restrict the Pekingese's movement. The Peke's unusual rolling gait may have been deliberately bred to prevent the court dogs from wandering.

Coat

A Pekingese has a double coat. Trimming the coat is discouraged in show dogs. The Pekingese has a noticeable mane and feathering around the ears, tail and legs.

All breed standards allow all sorts of color combinations. The majority of Pekingese are gold, red or sable. Light gold, cream, black, white, sables, black and tan and occasionally 'blue' or slate grey have appeared in the breed. The latter often has poor pigment and light eyes. Albino Pekingese (white with pink eyes) should be bred cautiously due to health problems that have been associated with albinism
Albinism
Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of an enzyme involved in the production of melanin...

.

A black mask
Melanistic mask
A melanistic mask is a dog coat pattern that gives the appearance of a mask on the dog's face. The hairs on the muzzle, and sometimes entire face or ears, are colored by eumelanin instead of pheomelanin pigment. Eumelanin is typically black, but may instead be brown, dark gray, or light gray-brown...

 or a self-colored face is equally acceptable in show dogs. Regardless of coat color the exposed skin of the muzzle, nose, lips and eye rims is black.

Size

Pekes weigh from 7 to 14 lb (3.2 to 6.4 kg) and stand about 6–9 in (15.2–22.9 cm) at the withers
Withers
The withers is the ridge between the shoulder blades of a four-legged animal. In many species it is the tallest point of the body, and in horses and dogs it is the standard place to measure the animal's height .-Horses:The withers in horses are formed by the dorsal spinal processes of roughly the...

, however they can sometimes be smaller. These smaller Pekes are commonly referred to as "Sleeve" Pekingese or just "Sleeves". The name is taken from ancient times, when emperors would carry the smallest of the breed in their sleeves. A Pekingese over 14 pounds is disqualified in the show ring.

The Pekingese is slightly longer than tall when measured from the forechest to the buttocks. The overall outline is an approximate ratio of 3 high to 5 long.

Health

The leading cause of death for Pekes, as for many other Toy breeds, is trauma. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2011.0695.x/asset/j.1939-1676.2011.0695.x.pdf?v=1&t=gmyz0b0p&s=166aa8dcd34d42418c4e409e268fb57b2b0941fb&eventSubType=NONE&eventType=FULLTEXT_PDF_REG Top leading causes of organ systems include neurologic and cardiovascularhttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/store/10.1111/j.1939-1676.2011.0695.x/asset/j.1939-1676.2011.0695.x.pdf?v=1&t=gmyz0b0p&s=166aa8dcd34d42418c4e409e268fb57b2b0941fb&eventSubType=NONE&eventType=FULLTEXT_PDF_REG, e.g., congestive heart failure. When diagnosed early and successfully treated with medication, a Peke with this problem can expect to live many years. A heart murmur
Heart murmur
Murmurs are extra heart sounds that are produced as a result of turbulent blood flow that is sufficient to produce audible noise. Most murmurs can only be heard with the assistance of a stethoscope ....

 is a potential sign of a problem, and must be evaluated by a veterinary cardiologist. Very often, the problem does not surface until the dog is 6 or more years old, so it is very difficult to screen the problem in a pup.

Pekes' other main problems are eye issues and breathing problems, resulting from its tiny skull and flattened face, and skin allergies (and hotspots). An especially common problem is eye ulcers, which may develop spontaneously. Some other eye problems that Pekingese can suffer from are Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (Dry Eye) and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

Pekes should never be kept outside as their flattened faces and noses can develop breathing problems, which makes it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature in overly hot or cold weather. Their long backs, relative to their legs, make them vulnerable to back injuries. Care should be taken, when picking them up, to give Pekes adequate back support: one hand under the chest, the other under the abdomen. Short legs give some Pekes difficulty with stairs; older dogs may not be able to go up or down stairs alone.

In an effort to address the breathing difficulties caused by the Peke's flat face, the Kennel Club (UK) significantly changed the breed standard in October 2008, removing the clause that the "profile [should be] flat with nose well up between eyes" and adding instead that the "muzzle must be evident". This was in response to public opinion following the BBC programme, Pedigree Dogs Exposed
Pedigree Dogs Exposed
Pedigree Dogs Exposed was a BBC One investigative documentary, produced by Jemima Harrison, which looked into health and welfare issues facing pedigree dogs in the United Kingdom....

. The breed standards of two other flat faced breeds, the Pug
Pug
The pug is a "toy" breed of dog with a wrinkly, short-muzzled face, and curled tail. The breed has a fine, glossy coat that comes in a variety of colors, and a compact square body with well-developed muscle. They have been described as multum in parvo , referring to the pug's personality and...

 and English Bulldog, were soon also changed.

Care

Keeping the Pekingese coat healthy and presentable requires daily brushing if it is an outside dog. If you do this, they will need to see a groomer only once every 3 months. If a Peke becomes dirty, it is important to take it to a groomer as soon as possible, as it is difficult to remove dirt from its coat once it has dried, but this can be avoided by brushing regularly, especially the belly,between the front and hind legs and also behind the ears. One important thing for new owners to remember is that dogs intended as a house pet may be kept in a puppy cut which is much more low maintenance than a show cut. It is also important to remove dirt from the eye pores daily, and from the creases on the face to prevent sores (hot spots).

Due to their abundance of fur, it is important to keep the Pekingese cool. Pekes are indoor dogs and they are prone to having heatstroke when exposed to high temperature.

History

The breed originated in China in antiquity, in the city of Peking. Recent DNA analysis confirms that the Pekingese breed is one of the oldest breeds of dog
Ancient dog breeds
Fourteen ancient breeds of dog have been identified through advances in DNA analysis. These breeds of domesticated dog show the fewest genetic differences from wolves...

, one of the least genetically diverged from the wolf. For centuries, they could be owned only by members of the Chinese Imperial Palace
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

.

During the Second Opium War
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...

, in 1860, the Forbidden City
Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum...

  was occupied by a contingent of British and French troops. The Emperor Xianfeng
Xianfeng Emperor
The Xianfeng Emperor , born Aisin-Gioro I Ju, was the ninth Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, and the seventh Qing emperor to rule over China, from 1850 to 1861.-Family and his early years:...

 had fled with all of his court to Chengde. However, an elderly aunt of the emperor remained. When the British and French troops entered, she committed suicide. She was found with her five Pekingese mourning her passing. They were removed by the Allies before the Old Summer Palace
Old Summer Palace
The Old Summer Palace, known in China as Yuan Ming Yuan , and originally called the Imperial Gardens, was a complex of palaces and gardens in Beijing...

 was burnt to the ground.

Lord John Hay took a pair, later called "Schloff", and "Hytien" and gave them to his sister, the Duchess of Wellington, wife of Henry Wellesley, 3rd Duke of Wellington
Henry Wellesley, 3rd Duke of Wellington
Henry Wellesley, 3rd Duke of Wellington was the son of Lord Charles Wellesley and grandson of the 1st Duke of Wellington....

. Sir George Fitzroy took another pair, and gave them to his cousins, the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon. Lieutenant Dunne presented the fifth Pekingese to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria of the United Kingdom
Victoria was the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. From 1 May 1876, she used the additional title of Empress of India....

, who named it Looty.

The Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi1 , of the Manchu Yehenara clan, was a powerful and charismatic figure who became the de facto ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China for 47 years from 1861 to her death in 1908....

 presented Pekingese to several Americans, including John Pierpont Morgan and Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

, who named it Manchu.
The first Pekingese in Ireland was introduced by Dr. Heuston. He established smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 vaccination clinics in China. The effect was dramatic. In gratitude, the Chinese minister, Li Hongzhang
Li Hongzhang
Li Hongzhang or Li Hung-chang , Marquis Suyi of the First Class , GCVO, was a leading statesman of the late Qing Empire...

 presented him with a pair of Pekingese. They were named Chang and Lady Li. Dr. Heuston founded the Greystones
Greystones
Greystones is a coastal town and small seaside resort in County Wicklow, Ireland. It is located on Ireland’s east coast, south of Bray and south of Dublin , with a population in the region of 15,000....

 kennel.

Around the turn of the century, Pekingese dogs became popular in Western countries. They were owned by such arbiters of fashion as Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, and Elsie de Wolfe, popular American interior decorator.

Sleeve Pekingese

According to the 1948 publication Dogs In Britain, A Description of All Native Breeds and Most Foreign Breeds in Britain by Clifford LB Hubbard, the Sleeve Pekingese is a true miniature of the standard-sized dog, and was also known as the Miniature Pekingese. The name Sleeve Pekingese came from the custom of carrying these small dogs in the capacious sleeves of the robes worn by members of the Chinese Imperial Household. Hubbard indicated that this tradition appeared to be early Italian rather than Chinese, but its adoption by the Chinese Imperial Household led to dogs being bred as small as possible and to practices aimed at stunting their growth: giving puppies rice wine, holding new-borns tightly for hours at a time or putting the puppies into tight-fitting wire mesh waistcoats. These practices were apparently forbidden by the late Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi.

In Hubbard's time, the term Sleeve was applied in Britain to a miniature Pekingese no more than 6–7 pounds in weight, often appearing to be only about 3–4 pounds. Mrs Flander's Mai Mai weighed only a little over 4 pounds and many other breeders had bred true miniatures of a similar size. He noted that miniatures may appear in a litter bred from full-sized Pekingese and were exhibited in classes for dogs less than 7 pounds at the major dog shows in Britain. In 1946 (when Hubbard wrote his book), the Sleeve Pekingese had a strong following with the most popular colours being cream and white, with white being considered particularly attractive. He illustrated the description with a white Sleeve Pekingese bred by Mrs Aileen Adam.

Quotation

Her Imperial Majesty, Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi1 , of the Manchu Yehenara clan, was a powerful and charismatic figure who became the de facto ruler of the Manchu Qing Dynasty in China for 47 years from 1861 to her death in 1908....

, said:
Let the Lion Dog be small; let it wear the swelling cape of dignity around its neck; let it display the billowing standard of pomp above its back.

Let its face be black; let its forefront be shaggy; let its forehead be straight and low.

Let its eyes be large and luminous; let its ears be set like the sails of war junk; let its nose be like that of the monkey god of the Hindus.

Let its forelegs be bent; so that it shall not desire to wander far, or leave the Imperial precincts.

Let its body be shaped like that of a hunting lion spying for its prey.

Let its feet be tufted with plentiful hair that its footfall may be soundless and for its standard of pomp let it rival the whick of the Tibetans' yak, which is flourished to protect the imperial litter from flying insects.

Let it be lively that it may afford entertainment by its gambols; let it be timid that it may not involve itself in danger; let it be domestic in its habits that it may live in amity with the other beasts, fishes or birds that find protection in the Imperial Palace.

And for its color, let it be that of the lion - a golden sable, to be carried in the sleeve of a yellow robe; or the colour of a red bear, or a black and white bear, or striped like a dragon, so that there may be dogs appropriate to every costume in the Imperial wardrobe.

Let it venerate its ancestors and deposit offerings in the canine cemetery of the Forbidden City on each new moon.

Let it comport itself with dignity; let it learn to bite the foreign devils instantly.

Let it be dainty in its food so that it shall be known as an Imperial dog by its fastidiousness; sharks fins and curlew livers and the breasts of quails, on these may it be fed; and for drink give it the tea that is brewed from the spring buds of the shrub that groweth in the province of Hankow, or the milk of the antelopes that pasture in the Imperial parks.

Thus shall it preserve its integrity and self-respect; and for the day of sickness let it be anointed with the clarified fat of the legs of a sacred leopard, and give it to drink a throstle's eggshell full of the juice of the custard apple in which has been dissolved three pinches of shredded rhinoceros horn, and apply it to piebald leeches.

So shall it remain - but if it dies, remember thou too art mortal.

Peke legends

There are two origin stories for the Pekingese. The first is the most common, The Lion and the Marmoset:
A lion and a marmoset
Marmoset
Marmosets are the 22 New World monkey species of the genera Callithrix, Cebuella, Callibella, and Mico. All four genera are part of the biological family Callitrichidae. The term marmoset is also used in reference to the Goeldi's Monkey, Callimico goeldii, which is closely related.Most marmosets...

 fell in love. But the lion was too large. The lion went to the Buddha
Gautama Buddha
Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

 and told him of his woes. The Buddha allowed the lion to shrink down to the size of the marmoset. And the Pekingese was the result.


The second, less-common, originating story is The Butterfly Lions:
A lion fell in love with a butterfly
Butterfly
A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured...

. But the butterfly and lion knew the difference in size was too much to overcome. Together they went to see the Buddha, who allowed their size to meet in the middle. From this, the Pekingese came.


Another legend says that the Peke resulted from the mating of a lion and a monkey, getting its nobleness and coat from the former and its ungainly walk from the latter.

Because the Pekingese was believed to have originated from the Buddha, he was a temple dog. As such, he was not a mere toy. He was made small so that he could go after and destroy little demons that might infest the palace or temple. But his heart was big so that he could destroy even the largest and fiercest. (Barbara Hambly
Barbara Hambly
Barbara Hambly is an award-winning and prolific American novelist and screenwriter within the genres of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and historical fiction...

's novel, Bride of the Rat God, was written from this premise, although Hambly denies knowledge of the legends.)

Famous Pekes

  • Bambi, pet of Miss Marjory Warner, upon whom James Herriot
    James Herriot
    James Herriot was the pen name of James Alfred Wight, OBE, FRCVS also known as Alf Wight , an English veterinary surgeon and writer, who used his many years of experiences as a veterinarian to write a series of books of stories about animals and their owners...

     based his characters Mrs. Pumphrey and Tricki Woo
  • Chu-Chu from The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan
    The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan
    The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan The voice of Mr...

  • Fifi the Peke, the girlfriend of Pluto, Mickey Mouse's pet.
  • Buster, Pet of Chinese folk historian Onoj Ewalg
  • Peg, from "Lady and the Tramp
    Lady and the Tramp
    Lady and the Tramp is a 1955 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released to theaters on June 22, 1955, by Buena Vista Distribution. The fifteenth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, it was the first animated feature filmed in the CinemaScope widescreen...

    " is a Pekingese , not a Lhasa Apso
    Lhasa Apso
    The Lhasa Apso is a non-sporting dog breed originating in Tibet. It was bred as an interior sentinel in the Buddhist monasteries, who alerted the monks to any intruders who entered...

     .
  • Manchu, pet of Theodore Roosevelt's daughter, Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth.
  • Winnie/Wednesday, pet of Bridget Marquardt
    Bridget Marquardt
    Bridget Marquardt is an American television personality, model, and actress. She is best known for her role on the reality television series The Girls Next Door, which depicts her life as one of Playboy magazine publisher Hugh Hefner's girlfriends...

    , Hugh Hefner
    Hugh Hefner
    Hugh Marston "Hef" Hefner is an American magazine publisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises.-Early life:...

    's girlfriend, as seen on E!
    E!
    E! Entertainment Television is an American basic cable and satellite television network, owned by NBCUniversal. It features entertainment-related programming, reality television, feature films and occasionally series and specials unrelated to the entertainment industry.E! has an audience reach of...

    's The Girls Next Door
    The Girls Next Door
    The Girls Next Door, also known as The Girls of the Playboy Mansion, is an American reality television series broadcast on the E! cable television network...

    .
  • Sun-Yat Sen owned by Henry Sleeper Harper - Harper Brothers Publishing - was one of three dogs to survive the sinking of .
  • Penelope, pet of Philadelphia composer Joseph Hallman
  • The three pekes from Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat
    Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat
    Sagwa is the name of a cat in the children's book Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat by author Amy Tan. Sagwa's popularity with children prompted an educational animated series of the same name on PBS Kids, with production held by French animation studio CineGroupe and Sesame Street creator Sesame...

  • Harm, the black peke from the Barker and Llewelyn Victorian mystery series by Will Thomas
    Will Thomas
    Will Thomas, born 1958 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is a novelist who writes a Victorian mystery series featuring Cyrus Barker, a Scottish detective or "private enquiry agent," and his Welsh assistant, Thomas Llewelyn. The Barker/Llewelyn novels are set in the 1880s and often feature historical...

  • Spudgy the Dragon, of eatyourkimchi.

See also

  • Foo Dog
    Foo Dog
    Foo Dog, Fu Dog or Lion Dog may refer to:In figurines or statues:*Chinese guardian lions *Komainu, Japanese statues*Shisa, Okinawan statuesIn dog breeds, which resemble the figurines:...

    , dog breeds originating in China that resemble Chinese guardian lions
    Chinese guardian lions
    Chinese guardian lions, known as Shishi lions or Imperial guardian lion, and often incorrectly called "Foo Dogs" in the West, are a common representation of the lion in pre-modern China...

    and hence are also called Foo or Fu Dogs or Lion Dogs.
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