The Pekingese
(Pekes)(Lion Dog)

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(Pekes) (Lion Dog)
Weight: 12 — 14 lbs
Height: 6” — 9”
AKC Rank: 2008 #53
Lifespan: 13 - 15 yrs
Group: Toy
Origin: China

Dog Breed Info -- The Pekingese

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Breed Overview

Origin: Ancient times. Original function: Lap dog. Today, Companion. This dog snores loudly and wheezes. Also known as Pekes or Lion Dog.

Extensive breeding programs were left up to palace enunuches with no expense spared. At the height of their time, the Tang Dynasty, from a.d 700 - a.d. 1000 many of these lion dogs were treated as royalty. Smaller Pekingese were called “sleeve dogs” because they could be carried in the sleeves of Chinese Masters. In 1860, the Chinese summer palace was looted by the British. Some of the loot included five royal lion dogs which were taken back to England. One of these dogs was presented to Queen Victoria and it, along with the other four, caused such interest among the British, that there was a great demand for more of these dogs. In time they became readily available and suffered from over popularity. It wasn’t long before the dogs came to America. The AKC registered the little Pekes in 1906.


No.... This is a difficult breed to train. They can learn the basics, especially if taught when very young. The Peke can benefit greatly from clicker training. This is a method that works well with difficult dogs, is simple to do and dogs like the technique. They can also benefit from strong socialization in puppyhood. Takes patience!

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Pekingese? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Pekingese puppy is difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

This adorable Pekingese looks very HAPPY!
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The Pekes are courageous little creatures that don’t choose to start fights, but don’t back down either. They are outgoing and loving but not terribly demonstrative. There is a tendency to stick their noses up at strangers and ignore them. The Peke can be quite stubborn.

Pekes are playful with family members, but may not be athletic or playful enough to satisfy children. It will not tolerate rough handling by children and is easily harmed by careless children.

If you happen to have a Peke with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Sometimes. The Pekingese will choose his dog friends. They are a bit fussy as to which dogs they will get along with.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Surprisingly, a Pekingese is capable of sharing the house with a cat and dog. I’ve seen this for myself, otherwise I wouldn’t believe it. Note — the dog I knew did NOT grow up with the other pets in the house. She was brought in as an adult stray.

Friendly Toward Strangers

No, generally not. The Peke’s devotion is toward family only.


Not very playful. The Pekingese is stubborn and independent, living in his own world to a degree and would rather take a nap than get excited over a toy..


Yes, to a degree. Pekingese are loyal to family and do show some affection. They carry a reputation because they are stubborn, but they are loyal, affectionate companions to family members with no room for outsiders.

Good with children

No. Not tolerant enough. Too independent, strong willed.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes. The Peke is a good breed for seniors. Easy to care for. Take care of the face wrinkles and anus, a little walk or indoor play and that’s it. This is a reliable little companion for a senior. If longevity is an issue, find a Pekingese Rescue group and get a 2 or 3 year old dog that is house trained and knows a few commands. This gives the senior a head start.

Living environment

Apartment, flat, anyplace is good. The Pekingese can not tolerate warm weather and can die from excess heat. The dog needs to be kept in air conditioning when the weather is hot.

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Energy level


Exercise needs, daily

Low. A quiet walk each day or some play in the house is about all the Peke's need.


Yes. The Pekingese is a good little watchdog, alerting you to everything going on. They can make a lot of noise.

Guard dog

No. Too small to be effective.




Over-nose wrinkles need cleaning daily and must be kept DRY to avoid infection. The coat around the anus must be checked every day for soiling and cleaned as needed. These two items are must-do on the grooming list for the Pekingese owner.

Needs combing and brushing almost every day. The long coat tangles easily. It’s easier if you get a regular cut and leave the show-ring cut behind.

A smart move, if you don’t plan to show the dog in a ring, is to get her a regular doggie haircut. Save a LOT of hassle and time! She does NOT have to look like the photo above!



Suggested Reading For The Pekingese

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog illness, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for every dog owner.


Pekingese Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Pekingese puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Pekingese Breeders with puppies for sale.

Pekingese Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of a Peke and are looking for a Pekingese Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Pekingese Rescue - (Nationwide)
Adopt A Pet Be sure to read the dog breed info sections above and below before adopting a dog and always check closely for dog health issues. This may not be the easiest breed to locate. Go online and look for Pekingese Rescue groups and also kennels. Try local newspaper ads for rescue groups, breeders and kennels. Sometimes breeders have dogs left over that have grown into mature animals and are for sale.

Dog Health Issues - The Pekingese
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems as listed for the Pekingese by various vets and books.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog health and medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Skin fold dermatitis—Area affect normally the folds on the face where moisture and dirt are trapped in the skin folds causing inflammation. The vet will give you a cleansing shampoo to fight the infection and an antibiotic cream of some kind. In severe cases where the problem won’t subside, surgery might be the last resort to remove a few folds. Commonly found in bulldogs, mastiff’s, Pekingese and Pugs.

  • Valvular heart disease—Usually older Pekingese. A progressive disease. Heart valves thicken and degenerate. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, reluctance to exercise, fainting, excessive coughing, no appetite, constant fatigue. Can lead to heart murmurs and heart failure. See vet immediately for treatment program!

  • Mitral stenosis (Mitral valve insufficiency)—Hereditary heart problem in the Pekingese. A weak mitral valve allows blood to flow backwards and to simplify this, the net result is an enlarged heart and when the heart can no longer compensate, look for a loss of desire for exercise, trouble breathing, coughing at night and liquid in the lungs. As this progresses, the dog may collapse. There is no cure... but if you act quickly, the vet may be able to make the dog more comfortable with medication and diet.

  • Elongated Soft Palate—Brachycephalic dogs like those with short, smashed-in faces have a soft palate that separates the nasal passage from the oral cavity flaps down into the throat which creates snorting sounds. All brachycephalics suffer from this except in Bulldogs, breathing distress is rare. Excess barking ore panting can cause swelling in the throat and lead to more trouble breathing.

  • Brachycephalic syndrome—Difficulty breathing in dogs with a short face and head such as the English Bulldog, Pekingese, etc. They have a soft, fleshy palate, narrowed nostrils and larynx. Dogs with this will snort, cough, have a low tolerance for exercise, possibly faint easily, especially in hot weather, and breath noisily. This puts a strain on the heart. There can exist a lack of coordination between trying to breathe and swallow. Gastrointestinal problems can follow. Heat stroke is highly possible so keep your dog COOL.

  • Intervertebral disc disease—Biochemical changes in a young dog of certain breeds can cause at least one diseased or mineralized disc in the spine of a Pekingese. A disc that is not functioning properly will cause pain, problems walking, stumbling, severe neck pain and even paralysis. The Dachshund has an 80% chance of having this problem. Treatments can go from non-invasive doses of anti-inflammatory steroids, muscle relaxants and bed-rest to surgery. Pain meds are also given as needed. Mess with the spine and you have a serious situation and it’s tough on the dog!

  • Stenotic nares—Brachycephalic dogs such as those with smashed in faces tend to have very narrow nostrils. The narrow nasal openings can make it difficult for the dog to breathe. This can only be corrected by surgery and only if the problem is severe.

  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca—(Keratitis) A fancy way of saying “dry eye.” Inadequate tear flow causes painful eye infections of a chronic nature. Causes vary from distemper to certain medications to removing the third eyelid tear gland.. Often treated with cyclosporine drops. or an ointment called cyclosporine topical therapy.

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Lame back leg, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg, walking three-legged. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position on the back leg of the Pekingese. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. It’s most common in small and toy dogs. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Hydrocephalus—An excess of spinal fluid built up in the brain caused by an obstruction in the fluid pathway. Congenital Hydrocephalus is moist common and occurs shortly after birth. A number of things can cause it. Adult dogs can get it from tumors or infections in the brain. Some neurological signs are seizures, loss of coordination, unusual behavior, walking in circles, and blindness. Doctors have various tests to detect this disorder so don’t fool with it if you suspect something is wrong.

  • Interdigital dermatitis - An infection occurs between the "toes" of the dog and sacs fill with pus which bothers the dog. She licks and bites at the bothersome infections and after a few days, they break open and drain, giving relief to the dog. All you will see is the Pekingese limping around. Clean and cleanse the infected feet well, see a vet for medication to prevent returning infections and that should do it.

  • Distichiasis—An eye condition involving the cornea. Eyelashes, growing improperly on the inner surface of the eyelid cause corneal ulcers due to the constant rubbing and irritation. The problem is fixed by having the vet remove the lashes if the ulcers don’t heal.

  • Osteochondritis dissecans—A common type of elbow dysplasia except it can occur in any joint including the shoulder. Flaps of cartilage run against tissue causing irritation, pain, lameness and in time, joint degeneration disease and arthritis. Pieces can break loose and float around limiting movement, or getting lodged or wedged inside the joint itself. Look for lameness, pain and swelling in joints. Treatments include non-steroid anti-inflammatory meds, weight loss, confinement to rest the joints, and dietary supplements for joint health. Surgery is the last option for very severe cases.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Trichiasis— is a hereditary condition where normal eyelashes growing from normal sites turn inward and irritate the eyes by rubbing on them. Sometimes the eyelashes grow unusually long causing further problems for the Pekingese. When the problem becomes serious, cryosurgery is normally used to remove the errant lashes and follicles once and for all.

  • Cataracts - Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated can eventually cause total blindness.

  • Urolithiasis—Excessive crystals (stones or bladder or kidney stones) can form in the urinary tract or kidney, bladder or urethra, blocking the flow of urine in the Pekingese. The crystals or stones irritate the lining of the urinary tract. They cause blood in the urine and pain and in severe cases make urination impossible. Symptoms are frequent urination, urinating in odd places, blood in urine, dribbling, depression, weakness, straining, pain, vomiting and loss of appetite. Dogs can be treated by diet, medications and surgery, depending on the dog, severity and other circumstances of the individual case.


Other health problems could occur with your Pekingese. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.

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