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The Pekingese is a robust, short legged little dog with a leonine expression and a characterful personality. A feature of the breed is the long, profuse coat covering the body, legs and tail and creating a mane around the head and neck. The coat is short on the face and muzzle, but long on the ears. Eyes are large and the muzzle is short, with a wrinkle above it, but the nostrils should be wide and clear and the wrinkle should not obscure the eyes.

12 – 15 years
Around 5kg
Between 15-22cm
The Peke's coat can be any colour or have any markings, including black and tan, fawn or red brindle, and part-colour, which is white with another colour.
UK Kennel Club Groups
The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Basic training required
  • Potential health risks
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Needs under an hour of walking a day
  • Small dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Quiet dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • Gets along with other pets with training
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Can live without a garden
  • Can happily live in the city
  • Can be left occasionally with training
This breed has a higher risk of health issues

The Pekingese breed is classed as brachycephalic; problems associated with this condition include:
- Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome: a condition in brachycephalic breeds (those with a short nose and squashed face) where breathing is obstructed and can lead to reduced ability to exercise, or even severe respiratory distress.
- Skin inflammation/infection: brachycephalic breeds have a short nose and a normal amount of facial tissue. This means there is often excess skin around their face which leads to skin folds. The skin inside these folds can become sore and infections are prone to develop. 
- Eye ulcers: ulcers are painful erosions on the surface of the eye. They are more common in brachycephalic breeds due to their conformation, as their eyes tend to be more bulbous.

The breed can also suffer from:
- Patellar luxation
 - Entropion¹ which is a painful eye condition where the eyelids roll inwards
- Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye) which is a painful condition where the tear gland stops working properly 
- Distichiasis² which is an often painful condition where small eyelashes grow from the inside of the eyelid, rubbing on the surface of the eye.

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
None, but there are several recommended schemes which can be found here.

¹K. Kim et al, 'Combination of Stades Forced Granulation Method and Hotz-Celsus Procedure for Treatment of Upper and Lower Eyelid Entropion-Trichiasis in Three Dogs', 2021, Journal of Veterinary Clinics
²L. Shelby et al, 'Successful treatment of distichiasis in a cat usingtransconjunctival electrocautery', 2011, Veterinary Ophthalmology


Dignified and stately, the Peke has a comical side with their family, but can be reserved with strangers. Under the coat there is a robust little dog, but even if clipped short they are not inclined to strenuous activity. Preferring to be with their people at all times, this is very much a companion breed, and they will not thrive if left alone for very long. Clever and brave in their own way, Pekes are stoic little characters for the most part, but can be surprisingly strong willed and determined, despite their small stature.

Did You Know?

  • The Pekingese really found fame with the character Tricky-Woo in James Herriot’s veterinary books and the subsequent TV series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. In the books, Tricky-Woo suffers from ‘cracker dog’ and ‘flop-bott’ (likely excessive energy and ‘zoomies’ and anal glad issues respectively). In the recent remake of the series, Tricki-Woo is played by a Pekingese called Derek who apparently would upstage the actors by adding his own ad-lib ‘grrs’ and ‘woofs’ when addressed during a scene!
  • In ancient China, the smallest and fiercest Pekingese were kept up the wide sleeves of Emperors and couriers who would release them to fend off any potential attackers
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