Other names: The Lion dog, Peking Lion Dog, Pelchie Dog, Chinese Spaniel, Peke


The Pekingese dog is a short-legged dog that belongs to the group of companion dogs. However, their small size and sweet face are not to be trusted, they can quickly become aggressive if their masters do not train and socialise them from an early age.

Key facts about the Pekingese

Life expectancy :





Temperament :


Size :

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Origins and history

The origins of this breed are very old and not very clear. They can be found on bronzes from two thousand years BC. They have always been considered a sacred and precious animal and thus anyone who stole or killed a Pekingese in ancient China was punished by the death penalty. In 1860, after the destruction of the Summer Palace, only a few Beijing Dogs were found alive (they would have been killed to avoid them falling into the hands of enemies) and taken to England. One of these dogs was given to queen Victoria. Since then, the breed has been a huge success throughout Great Britain, who, along with China, has been attributed paternity of the breed.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 9 - Companion and Toy Dogs


Section 8 : Japan Chin and Pekingese

Physical characteristics of the Pekingese

  • Pekingese

    Adult size

    Female : Between 6 and 9 in

    Male : Between 6 and 10 in


    Female : Between 7 and 11 lb

    Male : Between 7 and 11 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    The Pekingese is a small, robust dog with a short neck and short legs. The forelegs diverge slightly from the elbow. The head is strong, wider than it is high, with a pleated frontal furrow. The stop is deep. The muzzle is broad, wrinkled, with a flat profile. The eyes are large, round, bright and prominent. The heart-shaped ears fall back with long fringes of hair on the sides of the head. The body is short. The tail is placed high, carried rigid, slightly curved above the back, with abundant fur.

    Good to know

    Due to their brachycephalic morphology, the Pekingese can be very noisy (snoring, very loud breathing etc). Although it is not as bad as the French bulldog for example, it’s important to know this before adoption, even if it will often make you laugh more than anything else.


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      The Lion dogs are attached to their social group, but they don’t make it obvious. They may sometimes jump on their owner’s lap to be petted. However, this is uncommon.
      They also have a cold and distant character. To gain their trust and affection, it is necessary to create a solid relationship of trust as soon as they’re adopted.

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      This dog is independent and stubborn, so not the most playful. Moreover, the Pekingese does not interact much with children and is therefore not an ideal playmate for them.

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      Particularly suitable for the elderly, this dog is very calm and does not need a lot of exercise to be fully satisfied.

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      Their intelligence is reflected in their ability to find tricks to avoid responding to obedience training. Otherwise, this dog isn’t an utility dog, with no particular skills but remains nonetheless a very clever little dog.

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      Exclusively a companion, the Pekingese has no particular predation instinct, clearly not made to hunt.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      On one hand, the Pekingese is very cold and distant towards strangers. These dogs are only affectionate towards their owners (and sometimes not even that affectionate!).

      On the other hand, they are neither fearful or aggressive. If your puppy has been properly socialised from an early age, he or she will be slightly on guard and alert at all times.

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      This dog is particularly independent, perhaps even one of the most solitary of the companion dog category. The Peke is stubborn and very self-confident, they do not need the approval of their master to act and an absent owner is not an issue.

      Behaviour of the Pekingese

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        Tolerates solitude

        The Pekingese is very comfortable with the concept of loneliness as their independent temperament allows them to go about their business without worrying about their owner.
        But this still requires a progressive and positive learning process to make the dog understand that absences are not synonymous with stress and anxiety, this can be achieved by using games, treats, chewing bones etc…

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        Easy to train / obedience

        Obedience is not the primary quality of a Pekingese. They have a very strong character and it is necessary to have a firm, gentle and consistent attitude to achieve results with one.
        Their training must begin from a very young age and must never be violent at the risk of losing the puppy’s confidence, or even worse, making your dog aggressive.
        It is very important not to give into the gentle eyes of this little dog, who will use them to get away with mischief. Just because they are a small breed doesn’t mean you have to give them everything. Nevertheless, if a Pekingese interacts with a respectful, consistent and self-confident master, they will be cooperative. However, the help of an education and behavioural professional is encouraged to reduce the risk of developing bad habits.

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        This Peking Spaniel is not a big talker but can act as an alarm bell when someone knocks on the door. You should be able to teach your dog to control this reflex if it is not desired.

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        Tendency to run away

        Despite its independence, this small dog is not a runaway. This is mainly due to the fact that he does not need a lot of exercise and is especially devoid of any predation instinct.

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        Since these dogs cope well with loneliness, they do not adopt any destructive behaviour during the absence of owners. Indeed, this is not the kind of dog to let off steam on a pair of slippers to release an overload of energy or stress.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        The Pekingese won’t ignore a bowl of food but they will not throw themselves at one either. However, they love treats and it’s important not to overdo it. A little scarcity will remind your dog that a treat is a reward.

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        Guard dog

        This breed is exclusively a companion dog. However, they are known to have the courage of a lion and can sometimes become reckless when it comes to “showing who is the strongest”. 
        Indeed, these small dogs are not aware of their size and can consider themselves to be the boss. 
        Although they are not the most dissuasive of watchdogs, they are very good at alerting and do not hesitate to bark energetically at every intrusion.

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        First dog

        This dog can be very friendly, but only for people who are aware of their occasionally fearsome character. Not suited to all families but is particularly suitable for couples without children, single people, the elderly or sedentary people.

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          Pekingese in a flat

          The Pekingese is made to live in an apartment, the urban environment is ideal for this dog who does not need much space or intense physical exercise to fully develop.
          Life in the countryside may suit them, but it is not their preferred environment. They do not need a garden to be happy. They need a warm place inside to rest. It is important to avoid making a Pekingese sleep outside, because their coats, although fluffy, do not offer very good protection against the weather.

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          As a good companion dog, the Peke is a domestic canine. Made to live indoors and they do not need a lot of daily exercise to be happy. 
          This is nonetheless still a dog and therefore needs at least one big walk a day to stretch its legs and socialise. And of course a need to be let out for hygiene reasons!

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          Travelling with this little dog from Beijing would be very easy, especially if your dog has been in a carrying bag from an early age. In addition, learning to walk on a lead and come to a halt will be beneficial for travelling in any environment.


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            Pekingese and cats

            If they are brought up with cats, they can quite happily coexist, but they will never be great friends.

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            Pekingese and dogs

            Despite their cold and distant temperament, it is not uncommon to witness fights involving the Pekingese, even with larger dogs because these Lion Dogs are not aware of their small size.
            A quality, and above all a consistent socialisation must be initiated from the first months of the puppy’s life to allow it to develop and strengthen an understanding of other dogs and their “codes”.
            Rather solitary, but sometimes possessive, cohabitation between two dogs of the same breed can be complicated but not impossible.

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            Pekingese and children

            If the goal is to adopt a dog for children, this breed is not suitable at all. They tend to ignore kids and have very little interest in them.

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            Pekingese and the elderly

            Calm, serene and not costly, this dog is ideal for elderly or calm people. However, be careful to ensure that educational foundations are instilled from an early age, as this breed can quickly become problematic if they are not trained or socialised.



            The price of a Pekingese varies according to their origins, age and sex. A dog registered with the KC will cost on average £1130. 

            To meet the regular needs of the Lion Dog, it costs on average £25 per month (including food, veterinary care and grooming)


            The maintenance of a Pekingese can be quite complex! A visit to a professional groomer will be necessary (around every 4 months).
            Regular, even daily brushing is recommended for this dog, whose coat can quickly become very dirty and tangled.
            Furthermore, their eyes must be regularly monitored and cleaned as they are very fragile. Their teeth should also be examined and brushed frequently to avoid early loosening.


            It is mainly in spring that this breed loses the most hair, so they should be brushed more regularly to remove as much dead hair as possible.

            Nutrition of the Pekingese

            This dog, like others, should not be too thin or too fat. This requires a quality diet, which can consist of premium quality croquettes or homemade meals consisting of meat (raw or rare), cooked vegetables, starchy foods and cereals.

            Be cautious with meals, it is advisable to have your dog’s diet validated beforehand by a vet to best meet their canine needs, according to age, weight, health and daily activity.

            Since they do very little exercise, care must be taken not to overfeed them to avoid excessive weight gain.

            One meal a day is sufficient, preferably in the evening for better digestion. Self-service should be avoided for obvious health reasons but also from a behavioural point of view, food must be managed by the owners and not left to the control of the dog.

            Health of the Pekingese

            Life expectancy

            They usually live for 13 years.

            Strong / robust

            The Pekingese is quite a robust dog which nonetheless has some weaknesses, particularly with their eyes.

            Withstand heat

            The brachycephalic morphology (squashed nose) of this breed means they aren’t good at withstanding high temperatures. Due to the breathing difficulties that this physical malformation can cause, it is not advisable to walk this dog when it is too hot as to avoid heat stroke.

            Withstand cold

            Even though their coat appears to be dense, it does not provide them with optimal protection from adverse weather conditions. It is therefore not recommended to keep this animal outdoors.

            Tendency to put on weight

            If they gain too much weight, these dogs can suffer from serious health problems. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your dog is offered an appropriate diet and goes for a walk at least once a day to maintain a certain balance.

            Common illnesses

            • Brain tumours
            • Congenital dislocation of the elbow
            • Distichiasis and Trichiasis (eyelash problems)
            • Testicular ectomy (misplacement of one or both testicles)
            • Hernias (inguinal, umbilical)
            • Respiratory problems due to brachycephalic syndrome
            • Progressive retinal atrophy
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