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Pekingese

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Affectionate, loyal and fearless, this little dog is packed with punch and personality. It loves its people and will defend them to the death, but don’t go thinking they’ll do anything to please you. Training this dog can prove quite difficult. You’ll need to provide exercise, patience, positivity and value to your canine friend.

Where I'm From

The Chinese legend behind how the Pekingese came to be, is a cracking tale. It started when a lion fell in love with a marmoset which is a very cute, little monkey. The lion was desperate to marry his love and so begged Buddha to reduce him in size to improve their compatibility. He did stipulate though that he’d like to retain his lion heart and character. It didn’t take much to get Buddha over the line and soon the lion dogs of China were born from this unique pairing.

Unfortunately, as wonderful as this story is, it doesn’t stack up scientifically. DNA evidence confirms it is one of the oldest breeds in the world. Pekes may have existed in China for up to 2000 years!

They have a certain self-importance to them and this probably came about from their time with the Imperial family. They served as companions and were treated with such respect that commoners were made to bow to them. This perhaps explains why they’re reluctant to listen to people nowadays when they’re being trained.

The Western world learned of this breed as a result of the Opium war in 1860. British troops entered the Imperial Palace where five Pekes were guarding their fallen mistress. These five dogs became prizes of war and were distributed to royalty in Britain.

In 1906, the first Pekingese was registered by the American Kennel Club. It went by the name Rascal.

What I Look Like

The Pekingese has a very distinctive look. With a long mane of straight hair, it certainly stands out among other breeds. These perky little canines come in any colour with a variety of markings. Most of the time you’ll see them in black, fawn and red brindle.

The Peke has a double coat that keeps it nice and warm. Its topcoat is long, coarse and straight and hidden beneath is a thick undercoat. This is definitely the proper attire for a dog that needs to get through a Beijing winter, but in a hotter country like Australia, these dogs will struggle in the heat.

They’ll grow to between 15 and 23 centimetres in height, with soft brown eyes and a puffy tail spilling over their backs. Their bodies are compact, muscular and heavy for this size.

How I Act

The Pekingese is a compact dog with a fearless personality. If you backed it into a corner, it wouldn’t cower; it would stand its ground and defend itself. They’re a tough little breed!

These dogs are fiercely loyal. They’ll look after you if you look after them. They’re good-natured and affectionate with their favourite people. Interestingly, they have a pretty high opinion of themselves which no doubt developed when they were enjoying the royal lifestyle in China all those years ago. As such they can be stubborn and independent minded. If you want to train them, you’ll need to be very positive and reason with them. It’s important they understand there’s a benefit in modifying their behaviour. Best to have some treats on hand!

If you adopt a Peke and it’s more vocal than you’d like, you’ll need to train it early. They like to bark as strangers approach which signifies a quality watchdog. This breed isn’t keen on sharing its time with other dogs or animals. It will take the Pekingese a long time to accept them and you’ll need to introduce the two animals while it’s young. It’s not so precious when it comes to other Pekingese though.

Looking After Me

The Peke should not live outdoors and when it is outdoors, it should be in a fenced area. These dogs are happy to go for walks but anything more strenuous won’t suit them.

These pretty pooches will make excellent pets for families with older children. They’ll struggle to get along with toddlers though and don’t tolerate rough play. It’s wise to supervise your Peke’s interactions with children and other animals if you decide to mix the two.

To keep the breed in peak condition you’ll need to brush its coat regularly. Once a week at the very least, daily if possible. It’s also important to clean your Peke’s face and eyes every day to prevent a build-up of bacteria in the skin folds. Keep the hair on its feet short to prevent matting.

The Pekingese is prone to a number of diseases. Your vet will need to check it for signs of patellar luxation, brachycephalic syndrome, cataracts, entropion, progressive retinal atrophy and fold dermatitis.

Training can be a challenge. Pekingese consider themselves to be in charge of any situation so the onus is on you to show them who’s boss and that what you’re doing has value for them. They can become defensive as the result of harsh training, which can lead to biting.

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