Everything You Need to Know About Pekingese Breed Characteristics

agony aunt

Greetings Fellow Pekies,

Are you thinking of getting a little four-footed companion? Have you looked at a Pekingese and thought “That could be the right breed for me”? Well, before you decide to get yourself one of these beautiful little creatures, best you learn a bit more about the breed…

Pekingese dogs were, for many centuries, originally bred to be cherished companions to the Imperial Family of China. The breed is still seen as cherished family companions who greet everyone they meet with dignity and grace, and pedigree breeds also do well as show dogs.

Pekingese belong to the Dog Breed Group “Companion Dogs” and generally stand between 15 and 22 centimetres tall at the shoulder. Their weight ranges around 3 to 6 kilograms and the general life-span is 12 to 15 years.


Mother and Pups

Pekingese Breed Characteristics


Adaptability ***


Apartment Living *****

Not all small dogs are suited to apartment living, as many breeds are very yappy and too high-energy to be cooped up indoors in a high-rise apartment building. Pekingese however are quiet, low-energy, and fairly calm indoors. They do not bother other residents and are well-suited to apartment living, although they will be equally as happy living in a mansion.

Novice Owners ****

While some breeds take to new owners and training fairly easily, others tend to be a handful and may be difficult for a first-time dog owner to manage. Pekingese are very adaptable to new owners and homes and will reward your love and care with the same.

Sensitivity **

Low-sensitivity dogs are resilient dogs that can let a stern reprimand roll off their backs and can handle a noisy, chaotic household, and an inconsistent or variable routine fairly easily. On the other end of the spectrum is the highly-sensitive dog who cannot handle loud noises, a loud owner, lots of young children playing etc.  The Pekingese is a fairly low-sensitive dog.

Being Alone ***

While some dogs bond very closely with the family and are more prone to panic when left alone, often whining or howling, being destructive or chewing everything in sight, the Pekingese does not mind being alone too much and is suited to someone who is out at work during the day.

Cold Weather****

The Pekingese tolerates cold weather rather well, unlike some breeds who have a very low cold tolerance and need to live indoors in cold climates and a jersey when outside in the winter. Despite their heavy coat though, Pekingese are housedogs and should not live outdoors.

Hot Weather *

Breeds with short noses, like the Pekingese, do not tolerate hot weather very well as they cannot pant as well as those with long noses, and as most of us know by now, a dog cools itself by panting. This means that your Peke should be indoors during hot weather and not exercised in the heat; it is also preferable that they are in an air-conditioned environment.


General Friendliness ***


Family Affection*****

The Pekingese is a very friendly dog that will show affection to the whole family and bond fairly easily with them but tend to be aloof, almost wary, of strangers.

Child Friendliness **

Pekingese dogs do not rate very high on the child-friendly scale as they do not tolerate running, screaming children who may want to hand out some heavy-handed pets and hugs, so if you have very young children in the house (babies to toddlers) a Peke is not your best choice of pet. Always supervise any interaction between a Pekingese and a child of any age.

Dog Friendliness **

While puppies that have lived with their litter-mates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and have spent lots of time playing with others while still a puppy are more likely to have good canine social skills, the Pekingese is not really a very dog-friendly breed. Pekes prefer the company of other Pekingese, and it can take them a long time to get used to other animals in the household, but with proper socialisation your new Peke can become best friends with other dogs and cats and include them in their royal group.

Stranger Friendliness **

Most breeds who were exposed to many different people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Pekingese fall under the more shy type of dog that may act indifferent or avoid a stranger as opposed to wagging their tails and nuzzling up. Pekingese are brave, sometimes to the point of being foolhardy, and will defend you to the death if needed.


Health & Grooming ***


Shedding ****

Dog owners/lovers know that to own a dog means putting up with a certain amount of shedding and dog hair all over; in the house, on the furniture, on their clothes… Some dogs shed all year and others only shed seasonally. If you are a neat-freak, then maybe a Peke is not the best choice for you.

Drooling *

Some breeds are prone to drooling and leaving trails of slobber all over the house, including on you if you pet them. Pekingese drool very little if at all, so if you are not into constantly cleaning up slobber then they are a great breed for you.


If you are looking for a brush-and-go type of dog, then a Pekingese is definitely not the dog for you, as they do require quite a bit of grooming to keep their coat shining and neat. The profuse coat of the Pekingese needs daily to weekly care; weekly is fine for a companion dog but the long, flowing coat of the show dog needs daily maintenance.

General Health **

It is difficult to say categorically that all dogs of a certain breed are prone to health problems, but some breeds are definitely prone to certain genetic health problems. This is why it is preferable to buy a pedigree companion so that you can check with the breeder regarding the physical health of pup’s parents before buying.

Weight Gain ***

Obesity is as dangerous to dogs as it is to humans and can cause health problems. A Pekingese is fairly prone to gaining weight, so it is best to ensure that your best friend gets enough exercise and that you do not give them too many treats. Measure out the daily food in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

If you are unsure whether your Peke is overweight or not, give him the hands-on test. Place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine with your fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can’t, he needs fewer  treats and more exercise.

Size *

If it is important to you that the dog you intend getting is not too big and/or does not take up/need too much space,  then a Pekingese is a good choice as although they are sturdy dogs that can be rather heavy, they are fairly small and do not need a lot of space.


Trainability ****


Easy To Train ***

While the Pekingese does sometimes have a bit of an aloof attitude, suited to their Royal Origins, they are not that difficult to train, falling somewhere in the middle of the range of difficulty.  You just need to find out the best approach to training your Peke… Pekingese do not respond well to harsh training or discipline; it can cause them to become defensive and even to bite.

Intelligence ****

Pekingese are very intelligent dogs and need to exercise their brains as well as their bodies.  If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they might decide to make their own, and this could be in the form of chewing or digging, which may not suit you. Pekes will flourish from Obedience Training, Agility Training, and interactive dog toys.

Mouthiness ***

When we talk about “mouthiness” we are referring to the potential to nip, chew, and play-bite. Mouthy dogs will hold or “herd” their human family, and need to be taught that gnawing on chew toys is fine but gnawing on people is not. Pekes can be a bit mouthy, so get yours a chew-toy to gnaw on.

Prey Drive *****

Breeds with a high prey-drive have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals; they will also chase cars, cats, squirrels and anything else that whizzes past close by. Pekes may not be suited to homes where there are small animals such as cats or hamsters, or where there is easy access to a road.

Barking/Howling ****

If you do not find constant or more-often-than-not barking or howling music to your ears, or live somewhere where there are noise restrictions, then best you do not get a Peke, as they are constantly alert and will alert you to anything “suspicious” too. Pekingese are excellent watchdogs and can tend to bark too much unless taught when to stop.

Wanderlust ***

The Pekingese will not usually wander over long distances, but as they are prey-driven, they will wander after that cat, dog, squirrel or car that has crossed their path, so make sure that they cannot get out of the property. Keep the on a leash when going walkies.


Exercise Needs **


Energy Level **

Low-energy dogs are best for the couch potato who is happiest when sprawled in an easy-chair reading or watching a movie. If this is your lifestyle then the low-energy Peke is the right choice for you.


The difference between intensity (vigour) and Energy is that even some low-energy dogs will strain at the leash, eat and drink with big gulps or try to plough through obstacles instead of going around them.  A low-intensity dog such as a Peke, on the other hand, exhibits a more subdued approach to life.

Exercise Needs **

Breeds that were bred for physically demanding jobs such as herding or hunting need loads of exercise, while others need a minimal amount. The Pekingese is a low-exercise-needs breed that will be happy with a bit of play and a short slow evening stroll around the block.


Pekingese are generally more sedate dogs, but do have a bit of potential for playfulness and enjoy a little game of fetch or tag every now and then.


Now that you have all the facts at your disposable, it should be much easier for you to make an educated decision as to whether you are ready to welcome a dog into your home and whether a Pekingese is the right breed of dog for you and your living circumstances.


Until Next time!


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