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Pekingese Overview

Bow down to the Pekingese, a regal, stocky toy dog with a fabulous coat and an assured demeanor. Originally bred to live in palaces, Pekes have royalty in their blood. They are confident and charming, with a signature self-assured strut. Pekes have a distinctive mane that can sometimes sweep the floor, resembling cascading locks, or a lion’s mane. They come in a range of red hues, from golden to dark. This breed will easily bond with their humans, which makes them ideal lap dogs. But don’t call them lazy—these dogs are always on the alert, making them ideal guard dogs. While they are devoted companions, Pekingese don’t have a lot of patience for children who play rough.

The Pekingese origin story starts in China. Legend has it, the breed was created by Buddha, who shrunk a lion down to dog size. Truth be told, it’s challenging to precisely pinpoint the breed’s actual origin story, since it dates back to antiquity, but they were likely bred down from a larger dog. For centuries, Chinese blue-bloods were taken by flat-faced dogs, with Pugs, Shih Tzu and Pekes as a few examples. Pekingese were virtually unknown outside the east, until 1869, when British troops invaded the breed’s namesake Peking (now Beijing) during the Opium Wars. After a British captain discovered the dogs left behind by an emperor's aunt who’d taken her own life, the dogs were shipped back to England as a gift for Queen Victoria. By the late 1890s, Pekingese made their mark in the US. 

Did you know?

Pekingese have also been called Sun Dogs and Lion Dogs.

Pekingese Stats

  • Good with other animals Good with other animals

  • Therapy dog Therapy dog

Popularity ranking**
6-9 in / 7-14 lbs (S)
Average lifespan
12-14 years
Couch Potato
Activity level
Couch Potato
Little to none
Barking level
Little to none
Coat length

Caring for your breed

Daily serving

Daily kibble serving

1-2 cups

Daily exercise

Daily exercise

1 hour


Grooming frequency

Brushed Regularly

Dog Food

Feeding your Pekingese

The Pekingese should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to its age, whether that’s puppy, adult or senior.  Be careful of your Pekes calorie consumption and weight. Treats can be great incentive in training, but be aware of how many you feed them, as too many can lead to obesity. Refrain from sharing table scraps and especially avoid cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn more about what human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. It’s important to talk to your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Always make sure your Pekingese has fresh, clean water available.


*Contrary to popular belief, there are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs. There are breeds, however, that have non-shedding coats and are suited well to allergy sufferers.
**The breed popularity ranking is based on the most current ranking of the American Kennel Club (AKC)

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