First of all, you must understand that Pekingese are not dogs! They are a combination of part human, part aristocrat, perpetual child, and part cat. There is no other breed like them.
You must also understand that if your idea of a pet dog is one who will sit adoringly at your feet (or in your lap), wait to jump at any command, be available to your every beck and call, the Pekingese is not for you. In most cases, Pekingese will slowly work their way into your home and before you know it YOU will be at THEIR beck and call. They will be extremely obedient–not to please you but only because they CHOOSE to please you. They will come and go as they please because that is what pleases them. They are not being truly disobedient but do so because they can see no reason to do otherwise. After all, they are special, aren’t they?
The Pekingese originated in China over 2000 years ago. Their only function was to carry the robes of the Chinese Imperial Court . Ownership of this dog was prohibited to any except royalty. During the Great China War of 1860, Franco-British forces marched on Peking . The invaders looted the summer place, and the Western world made its first acquaintance with the little Lion Dog of Peking . Five of these little dogs were found in the apartment of the Emperor’s aunt, who had delayed her flight too long and committed suicide when the Palace gates were stormed.
These five little creatures endeared themselves to their captors, who carried them back to England . One was presented to Queen Victoria and was named “Looty”. She lived a life of luxury for ten years in Windsor Palace until her death in 1872. All modern day Pekingese have descended from these five dogs. All the others were slaughtered so that no one would lay eyes on them, for to do so in China brought immediate and unmerciful death.
This background give you some idea of why Pekingese think they are a little bit better than anyone or anything else! It has been so bred into them that they continue this attitude today. So, if you want a whimsical personality, take delight in their independence, accept the fact that they are the bosses, then a Pekingese is the dog for you.
You are no doubt enthralled by the abundance of coat. While very eye-catching, you will pay the price to keep the glamour. If you are not prepared to groom at least once or twice a week, or have it professionally done, then this breed is not for you. The good thing is that they require very little trimming. The hair on the bottom of the feet covering the pads should be kept short. Also, both the male and female should have the hair neatly trimmed around the sheath of the male and the vulva of the female. Scissoring is not necessary on any other part of the coat unless you decide the coat is just too much to handle.
There are several cute cuts that can be done by a professional and which will still leave the dog looking like a Pekingese. I do not recommend that it should be totally shaved. Of coarse, as in all coated breeds, the length and quality of the coat will vary. If you buy from a breeder who is primarily producing show quality puppies, your puppy will have a lot of coat. I certainly recommend that you buy from this type of breeder. Puppies purchased from a pet store are of questionable parentage and will not mature to look like the Pekingese you see in the show ring. By the age of nine or ten months you should have some indication of what the coat will be like.
Generally speaking, Pekingese are amiable creatures but will not take kindly to being badgered by children. They are not mean by nature but will eventually retaliate if someone continues to abuse them. If there are small children in the family the Pekingese should have a place of their own, such as a crate, to escape to. Cats and Pekingese seem to have an affinity for each other and will probably become very good friends. It is not recommended that you have an aggressive dog in the same household as Pekingese will not back down, so matter the size or strength of the other animal.
Pekingese make good house pets, whereby they will have a domain to rule. Their favorite spot will probably be where you don’t want them, but you will put up with their wishes because you love and admire them. They need daily exercise but you shouldn’t expect them to be boundary trained so you will need a dog proof fence for them. They are easily trained to the leash and enjoy daily walks. The Pekingese is quite muscular and solidly built with most of their weight concentrated in the front quarters. For this reason, stairs should be avoided, and they should not be allowed to jump from high places such as the couch or bed. Since they are a long-backed dog, landing from a height could cause grave problems.
Pekingese are very tolerant of cold and will often prefer to be outdoors when you think they should be indoors. However, they are intolerant of heat and you must guard against them becoming over-heated during hot weather. Be sure they have plenty of fresh water and a cool place to lie. A basement is ideal, but they do not want to be away from the family. They love to lie on a stone hearth, a cool linoleum floor, or in front of a large floor fan. If you have a pool or pond in your yard, guard your Pekingese carefully!! They are not good swimmers and once their coat becomes saturated with water they will surely sink and drown.
Pekingese are really quite free of hereditary problems and if you buy from a reputable breeder should live a long healthy life of from ten to eighteen years. However, since this is a flat-faced breed you must guard against injury to the eyes. Because they have no snout to protect the eyes, they can be more easily injured than the eyes of some other breeds. “Peke proof” your yard. That means no long grass, rose bushes, and low tree branches–anything sharp they could bump into. Clean the eyes daily with a cotton ball and look for anything out of the ordinary. The first sign of injury is often watering or blinking.
If not noticed immediately the eye will turn a light blue and you may see a small indentation called an ulcer on the eyeball. Prompt veterinary attention should be sought so you can properly medicate it. I recommend that you always have a tube of chloramphenicol eye ointment on hand–injuries have a habit of happening on Sundays and holidays! Remember, the best remedy is prevention.
Welcome to the PEKINGESE ADDICTION SOCIETY! I hope you are prepared for a long and enjoyable relationship of being owned by your new pet. Your Pekingese will offer you many hours and years of enjoyment. There is NO other dog like them! If you have any questions, or need further information, please call me at any time. I’m always available to talk Pekingese.