Pekingese Dog Breed: Pictures, Colors, Bark, Characteristics, and Diet

The Pekingese is an ancient purebred Chinese breed with a long and regal history. The average Pekingese is 6 to 9 inches (15.2 to 22.9 cm) tall and weighs up to 14 lbs (up to 6.34 kg).

They’re born in litters of 2 to 4 puppies and grow to reach their full adult size by around 9 to 12 months. 

Portrait of a Pekingese dog
Gorgeous portrait of a purebred Pekingese dog

Also known as the Peke, the Pekingese is a toy breed with a flat face, large, round eyes, floppy ears, and a small but muscular body.

Their double coats are long, straight, coarse, and feathery all over, and they come in several colors, most commonly gold, red, and sable. 

The Peke is a calm dog that is affectionate with its families but aloof around strangers. They have an average lifespan of 13 to 15 years with good care, including a high-quality, protein-rich diet and at least half an hour of exercise daily.

The breed also has a bite force between 100 to 200PSI, a very high-pitched, moderately frequent bark, and a running speed of 15 to 20 miles per hour

Keep reading for everything you need to know about the Pekingese breed.

What is a Pekingese?

A Pekingese dog with a serious face
Meet Loa, a Pekingese dog with a serious face – Image source

The Pekingese is a companion and lap dog. This means they were initially bred to be human companions and are small enough to hold or fit in somebody’s lap. In this breed’s case, Chinese royalty, specifically. 

They are thought to have been bred from the Happa dog, an even older Chinese breed, and may be closely related to the Pug. They are also one of the closest dog breeds genetically to wolves. 

There is a tale in Chinese folklore that says the Pekingese was created by Buddha after a lion fell in love with a much smaller animal, some tales say a butterfly, others say a marmoset, and because they were too different to procreate, the Buddha created a baby for them; the Pekingese. 

Another interesting fact about the breed is that they were one of three dogs to survive the sinking of the infamous Titanic. 

Why are They Called Pekingese Dogs?

Cute white Pekingnese dog
Candid shot of a white Pekingnese dog while walking – Image source

The Pekingese is named after China’s capital city of Beijing, formally known as Peking, where the Forbidden City, previously the Chinese Imperial Palace, is located.

The Chinese Imperial Palace was a palace complex that housed the Chinese monarchy until 1912. 

Where Did the Pekingese Come From?

As mentioned above, the Pekingese come from China, where they are still hailed as sacred dogs. They were initially kept as companions by Chinese royalty and could only be owned by members of the Chinese Imperial Palace.

They made their way to the United Kingdom after British and French troops razed the Old Summar Palace during the Second Opium War in 1860, after which the seized dogs were presented to members of the British royal family. 

Chinese noblewoman Empress Dowager Cixi also gifted Pekingese dogs to several important Americans in the early 20th century, including socialites, bankers, and politicians. As a result, the breed quickly grew in popularity in the west. 

When Did the Pekingese Originate?

A Pekingnese dog while on travel at Czech Republic
A Pekingnese dog selfie at the Czech Republic overlooking view – Image source

The exact origin year of the Pekingese is unknown. However, similar-looking dogs can be traced back as far as 200 BC, according to the Pekingese Club of America, and we know that they began to become popular around 800 AD. 

How Many Pekingese are There in the World?

It’s not known how many Pekingese there are worldwide. However, their popularity has been eclipsed in recent years by other similar breeds, such as the Shih Tzu, for their friendlier temperament.

As a result, they are now fairly rare, even in their home country.

What are the Characteristics of Pekingese?

Close-up portrait of a Pekingese dog
Close-up portrait of an adult Pekingese dog

Pekingese are known for their calm temperament and independence. They are also loyal and affectionate dogs.

However, they can be stubborn and willful and may not be the best choice for first-time dog owners. Here are some of the most common traits of Pekes. 

  • Calm – The Pekingese is a calm, quiet dog that isn’t overly energetic.
  • Loving – They are very affectionate with their family members. 
  • Loyal – As you would expect with a companion breed, the Peke is devotedly faithful to their owners.
  • Aloof – Although they are loving and loyal to their owners, the Pekingese dogs are aloof and reserved around strangers, which can lead to unfriendly behaviors without extensive socialization. 
  • Guarded – These dogs have strong boundaries they don’t like being crossed and can react defensively if their space is invaded by somebody they don’t trust. 
  • Stubborn – The breed is also famous for its extremely stubborn nature. They need a firm, experienced trainer to ensure good behavior. 
Pekingese Characteristics Rating 
Relation with family 5
Good with children 3
Friendly with strangers 2
Friendly with other dogs 3
Easy to Train 3
Energy Level 2
Barking Level 3
Mental Stimulation Needs 3

What Does a Pekingese Look Like?

A happy Pekingese dog near the garden
A happy Pekingese dog posing near the flower garden

The Pekingese is a toy breed with a small but muscular, durable body and a long, feathery coat. They have flat faces with large, round eyes, thick manes, and floppy ears.

They also come in several colors, the most common being gold, red, and sable. 

How big is the Pekingese?

The Pekingese is 6 to 9 inches (15.2 to 22.9 cm) tall. They can live in any home because of their small size and low-energy nature, including apartments.

If you’re planning on crate training your Pekingese, you should use a 30” crate. 

Physical Features
Male Female
Height  6 to 9 inches
(15.2 to 22.9 cm)
6 to 9 inches
(15.2 to 22.9 cm)
Weight up to 14 lbs
(3.2 to 6.34 kg) 
up to 14 lbs
(3.2 to 6.34 kg) 

How long does a Pekingese dog grow?

The average Pekingese puppy will take around 9 months to grow to their full adult size. They should reach adolescence at 4 to 5 months, sexual maturity at 8 to 9 months, and emotional maturity at around one year old. 

What is the average weight of Pekingese dogs?

The average weight of a healthy adult Pekingese dog is up to 14 lbs (up to 6.34 kg).

It’s important to feed your Pekingese a good diet to keep their weight down as they are prone to breathing problems because of their flat faces, which can be made worse by being overweight. 

What is the Average Life Expectancy of Pekingese?

The average lifespan of a Pekingese dog is 13 to 15 years. They are prone to experiencing breathing issues and problems with their eyesight because of their short noses and excess facial skin.

These include Brachycephalic Syndrome, Cataracts, and other eye conditions.

What Coat Type do Pekingese Have?

A Pekingese dog enjoying the nature
A Pekingese dog sitting near the basket during an adventure

The Pekingese has a long, beautiful, double coat. Owners should brush their coats once a week with a slicker brush to remove loose hair, debris, and tangles which can lead to matting.

It’s also recommended that you lightly spray the coat with water before brushing to prevent breakages. 

What is the Pekingese dog’s coat like?

The Pekingese’s fur is straight and coarse to touch. Their coats don’t require bathing all too often, as they are fairly self-cleaning.

They only need to be bathed every few months, or whenever they get dirty. It’s important not to over-bathe them as this can strip the fur of its natural self-cleaning oils.

How long is the Pekingese’s coat?

The Pekingese’s coat is long, with fur that stands away from the body and measures 2 to 4 inches in length, depending on the area of the coat.

They tend to have long hairs on the ears, mane, and tail, and they don’t need haircuts. However, many owners choose to have their Peke’s coats trimmed, and there are several shorter styles to choose from. 

How dense is the Pekingese’s coat?

The Pekingese’s coat is very thick. It consists of a soft, dense undercoat and a coarser, longer guard coat. As you can imagine, their coats are very insulating and keep them warm in cold weather conditions. 

Do Pekingese dogs shed much?

The Pekingese sheds a moderate amount of hair all year round, with heavier shedding occurring during the transition from spring to summer and fall to winter when they blow their old seasonal coats.

This process should take 2 to 4 weeks and can be made less messy with more regular brushing. 

Can Pekingese Live in Hot Weather?

A young golden Pekingese dog
A young golden Pekingese dog picking apple

With a long, double coat, the Pekingese are very heat sensitive and can easily overheat and dehydrate in hot weather.

You should keep your Peke’s outdoor time limited in the hot weather and keep their walks short and relaxed. Make sure they have constant access to water and consider providing them with a little paddling pool to relax in outdoors. 

Do Pekingese Like Water? 

The Pekingese may like to splash about in a shallow pool or paddle in the sea, but they are not natural swimmers. In fact, swimming can be dangerous for this breed because their short legs and noses make it very difficult.

So, if you want to teach your Peke how to swim, make sure you get them a safety vest and supervise them at all times.

What Colors Are The Pekingese?

A black and white Pekingese dog
A black and white Pekingese dog sitting while sticking its tongues out

Pekingese dogs can come in a beautiful variety of colors, with the most common ones being gold, red, and sable.

They can also be black, white, biscuit, cream, black and tan, fawn, grey, and occasionally, blue. They also sometimes come in various brindle and sable shades. 

What Markings Do Pekingese Have? 

Some Pekingese are solid-colored, such as the white or blue Peke, but others can have a number of markings, most commonly black masks, white markings, and parti-color markings, depending on their coat color. 

Are Pekingese Good Family Dogs?

A white Pekingese dog wearing a shirt
Fashionable white Pekingese dog wearing a shirt – Image source

The Pekingese is a companion dog by nature; they do well with single owners and families alike, providing they get the right care.

They make great, cuddly playmates for gentle children and other pets and thrive on companionship, so they can’t be left alone for too long.

Pekingese Temperament Rating 
Adaptability 4
Friendliness 3
Mouthiness 3
Playfulness 3
Family-oriented 5
Stranger tolerance 2

Are Pekingese good with other dogs?

The Pekingese can get along well with other dogs with full socialization, especially other family pets. However, they can become grumpy and react aggressively if they are roughhoused by a much larger dog. 

Are Pekingese friendly with people?

It is in the nature of the Pekingese to be friendly and warm towards their human family members and friends of the family that they know well. However, it can take time for them to warm up to new people. 

Can Pekingese dogs get along well with strangers?

The Pekingese is known for being aloof around strangers. Without socialization and a full understanding of the behavior of others, this can lead to wariness and unwarranted unfriendly behavior. 

How do Pekingese get along with young children?

The Pekingese dog can get along well with children, but they aren’t fans of rough play and are easily hurt, so they’re not best suited to life with toddlers.

Supervision is always advised with smaller children, and all children should be taught how to interact with pets respectfully. 

Can Pekingese Adapt Easily?

A Pekingese dog licking its nose
A Pekingese dog licking its nose inside the comforter – Image source

The Pekingese is a very adaptable breed of dog. Their small size and relatively low activity level make them ideal for most living spaces, including apartments.

However, they don’t like being left alone and can react stubbornly to unwelcome change. 

Are Pekingese Dogs Aggressive?

The Pekingese are naturally stubborn which can lead to aggressive behavior if they feel that they are being treated unfairly.

It’s important that you create a trusting bond with your Peke and socialize them fully to avoid unfriendly behavior towards others. 

Are Pekingese Dangerous?

Although they can be aggressive towards others, the Pekes are not classed as dangerous dogs because they are too small to do significant damage.

That said, they can pose a danger to other small pets if they are not well trained and socialized. 

Do Pekingese Dogs Bite?

A white Pekingese dog wearing a checkered shirt
A sassy white Pekingese dog wearing a pink checkered suit – Image source

The Pekingese has a bite force of 100 to 200 PSI. Like all breeds, they will bite as puppies when they are teething, but this is normal non-aggressive behavior.

As adults, they are more likely to bite than other breeds if they feel cornered or if they feel like their space has encroached. 

Are Pekingese Dogs Protective?

Pekingese dogs are naturally very protective of their owners and homes.

They’ll eagerly alert you to any disturbances within the home and are surprisingly courageous for such a small breed of dog – they will react defensively when faced with a threat! 

Are Pekingese Affectionate?

Despite their standoffish attitude around strangers, the Pekingese dog is very affectionate with their loved ones. They thrive on time spent together, whether it’s quiet time or fun playtime. 

Are Pekingese Dogs Loyal?

Two long-haired Pekingese dogs
Two lovely long-haired Pekingese dogs laying on the grass – Image source

Loyalty comes naturally to the Pekingese breed. They are devotedly faithful dogs, without being too clingy.

That said, they can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long or not trained properly, so if you’re going to get a Pekingese, make sure you can be around for them.

Ideally, they shouldn’t be left for more than a few hours at a time. 

Do Pekingese Like to Cuddle?

The Pekingese loves to cuddle with their family members, but they have strict boundaries when it comes to strangers.

They may react defensively if somebody they don’t know that well tries to pick them up or get too close to them. 

Does the Pekingese Love Freedom?

Given their small size, one might think that the Pekingese would love nothing more than to explore and run away, but they are actually quite content to stay close to their owner’s side. 

While they may enjoy occasional bouts of freedom, they ultimately prefer the safety and security of being near their human companion.

Are Pekingese Dogs Easy to Train?

A young Pekingese chewing its toy
Meet Bello, a young white Pekingese dog picking its toy – Image source

Pekingese dogs are bright but extremely stubborn. In order to avoid stubborn behavior, your training sessions should be concise, clear, and consistent, and their training should start from an early age.

You also need to make sure that training sessions are fun and rewarding, with plenty of positive reinforcement. 

Areas of focus for the breed should include separation training and socialization. To socialize your dog, try inviting friendly people and trustworthy pets over to your home on a regular basis.

This allows them to learn how to interact and read behavior in a safe environment. 

Always reward them for positive interactions, especially on walks, and have a toy in hand to distract them from anything that evokes a negative reaction. 

To do separation training with your dog, leave them alone for a small period of time and gradually build up the time that you spend apart day by day.

Never make a big deal out of leaving, but always make a fuss of your dog when you return, and leave them with a special treat or toy when you go out to show them that time apart can be fun. 

Don’t forget to put your dog in a crate when you go out if they behave destructively, and don’t react to bad behaviors as this will only encourage them. 

How Smart is the Pekingese?

A Pekingese dog asking for some treats
A Pekingese dog can’t wait for the treats – Image source

Professor of canine psychology Stanley Coren’s 1994 book The Intelligence of Dogs tested all of the AKC registered breeds (of the time) on their intelligence following three tests. 

The study concluded with a ranking of the dogs by intelligence that is widely considered definitive. There were six categories; brightest, excellent, above average, average, fair, and low intelligence. 

The Pekingese ranked in the low intelligence category, meaning that they appeared to understand new commands in 80-100 repetitions or more and obeyed the commands on the first try 25% of the time or worse.

However, the breed is known for its stubborn nature, so the accuracy of these tests as a reflection of their actual intelligence is highly debatable. 

Can Pekingese dogs be used as working dogs?

The Pekingese were bred to be companion dogs and have never been used as working dogs, so they are not well-suited to any kind of work.

However, they can make great family watchdogs and are fabulous dog show competitors. In fact, a Pekingese called Wasabi won Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2021. 

Do Pekingese Dogs Bark a Lot?

Pekingese dogs inside the shopping cart
Two Pekingese dogs enjoying inside the shopping cart – Image source

The Pekingese is a moderately vocal breed of dog. They will bark, whine, and growl to let you know what they’re thinking and to alert you to anything they don’t like the look of, but they’re not nuisance barkers. 

How does a Pekingese bark?

The Pekingese has a seriously cute, high-pitched bark. The exact decibel level of their bark has never been officially recorded, but it’s not particularly loud. 

Click the video below to hear the Peke in action! 

Do Pekingese Have High Energy Levels?

Pekingese dogs have pretty low-maintenance levels of energy. They don’t need too much exercise, and they only need a couple of short play sessions a day.

However, just because they’re not very energetic doesn’t mean that these things aren’t essential. 

Are Pekingese Dogs Active?

Identical Pekingese dogs in the park
Two jolly Pekingese dogs wearing the same outfit – Image source

Pekingese dogs need at least half an hour of exercise a day, preferably split into two short walks.

This may not sound like much, but they are very small, and it’s important not to over-exert your Peke, as it can overwhelm their bodies and make it hard for them to breathe. 

However, just because your walks are short doesn’t mean they should be boring! Try to vary the location of your walk and play games of fetch with your Peke to keep things interesting.

How Fast Can a Pekingese Run?

The Pekingese can run up to 15 to 20 miles per hour over short distances. That’s not too bad for such a small breed. They enjoy running, too, but they should avoid hiking and swimming as they are not built for it. 

Are Pekingese Playful?

A white Pekingese puppy picking its ball toy
A white Pekingese puppy playing a ball – Image source

The Pekingese is a fun-loving breed that enjoys a couple of short play sessions a day. They like games and toys that engage their minds and exercise their instincts. We’ve listed a few ideas below!

  • Fetch
  • Tug-of-war
  • Treat dispensers
  • Sensory toys
  • Snuffle mats
  • Hide & seek 
  • Treasure hunt

Does the Pekingese Drool a Lot?

While the Pekingese does have some drooling tendencies, it is actually not considered to be a particularly drooly breed.

In fact, compared to other dogs, the Pekingese drools relatively little. So, if you’re looking for a drool-free companion, the Pekingese may be just the dog for you.

What is the Family Life of Pekingese Dogs Like?

The family life of a Pekingese is close, affectionate, and relaxed but fun. They do well with moderately active families that enjoy short walks and play sessions and spend lots of quiet time together. 

What Kind of Food Should Pekingese Eat?

Young Pekingese dog eating a slice of apple
Pekingese puppy loves to eat the slice of apple – Image source

Pekingese are small dogs with big appetites. As a general rule, they should eat ½ to 1 cup of high-quality dry food per day, divided into two meals.

However, this amount will vary depending on the age and activity level of your pet. 

According to The National Research Council of the National Academies, Pekingese puppies should consume between 296 and 404 calories per day.

Adult and senior dogs need less amount of calories. In addition, Pekingese dogs that are very active require more calories than those that are more sedentary. 

When choosing food for your Pekingese, look for a high-quality product that is specifically designed for small breeds. This will ensure that your dog gets the proper nutrition and does not eat too much or too little.

With some planning, you can ensure that your Pekingese always has the right food to keep them happy and healthy.

What are the Best Dog Foods for Pekingese?

Following the above criteria, we have come up with a list of the best commercial dry dog foods for Pekingese dogs on the market. There are our top picks for Peke puppies and adults.

For Pekingese puppies:

For adult Pekingese dogs:

What Other Dog Breeds Look Like the Pekingese?

Two Japanese Chin dogs in the woods
Two Japanese Chin dogs trailing in the woods – Image source

The Pekingese has a beautiful, unique appearance, but there are a few other toy breeds that you could easily mistake for a Peke. Let’s take a “peek” at some of their lovely look-a-likes. 

The Verdict: Should You Get a Pekingese?

If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser guaranteed to get along with everyone, or a super active playmate who never slows down, you might be better off owning a Golden Retriever or a Border Collie. 

But, if you want a calm, pocket-sized fluff ball that saves all their love for you, you should consider getting a Pekingese.

Although they may sound low maintenance, they require close companionship and someone who will keep a dedicated eye on that glorious, regal coat. If that sounds like you, maybe a Peke is your match. 

Do you have a Pekingese? Let us know what you love about them in the comments down below.

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