Chinese Spaniel, Lion Dog, Peking Palasthund
Once a favorite of Chinese royalty, the Pekingese has always been kept solely as a companion breed. In its earlier days size was much more varied and extremely small dogs were called Sleeve Dog or Sleeve Pekinese because they often accompanied their masters in their large sleeves.
- 7-14 lbs
- small breed, low to the ground
- heart shaped, hanging ears
- tail is arched and carried over back
- long, coarse is straight with mane
- can be any color
History of the Pekingese
The origin of the Pekingese is unknown, however, it may be that their ancestors were the Happa Dog. One of their closest relatives is almost certainly the Pug, and some authors also tie them to the Tibetan Spaniel and the Japanese Chin.
According to legend the breed first became known to the British after they stormed Peking in 1860. The court had fled, taking most of the dogs with them. However, five dogs were found by three British officers in a deserted pavilion. They were noisily protecting the corpse of the Emperor’s aunt, who had committed suicide rather than be taken prisoner. Captain John Hart Dunne later presented one dog to Queen Victoria. In reality, the captain’s diary tells how he purchased the dog from a French army camp.
These early dogs closer resembled the Japanese Chin instead of today’s Pekingese. Eventually other dogs were obtained, and the breed began establishing itself in Europe. In China, the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi began rebuilding the Pekingese in their homeland. Unfortunately, when she died in 1908 her kennels were destroyed, the Pekingese lost complete favor in China. It lives on only because of outside influence around the world.