The Pekingese, also called the Peking Palasthund, the Pekinese, the Peiching Kou, the Pekin Spaniel, the Pekinese Spaniel, the Dragon Dog, the Mandarin Pug, the Peking Palace Dog or simply the Peke, originated in China thousands of years ago and is one of the most exotic and distinctive breeds in the canine world. At one time, they were known as the Lion Dog, because of their massive fronts, heavy manes and slender hindquarters. They also were called Sun Dogs, because of their prized golden-red coats. And, the very smallest Pekingese were called Sleeve Dogs or Sleeve Pekingese, because they were carried tucked into the sleeves of members of the imperial household.
The Pekingese is known for its distinctive physical characteristics. It has a flat face and an extremely short muzzle that puts its nose right between its eyes, creating a “smiling” look. Their small size makes the Pekingese a good choice for apartment or city dwellers, although they can be difficult to housetrain. The Peke was first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1906, as a member of the Toy Group. The Pekingese Club of America was accepted as a member of the American Kennel Club in 1909.
The mature adult Pekingese should weigh 14 pounds or less, with a compact, muscular body and short legs. The average height is between 6 and 9 inches at the withers. Pekingese have a long, coarse, straight outer coat and a thick, soft undercoat. The coat forms a massive mane about the neck and shoulders. There is long fringe on the ears and on the tail, which is set high and curled over to one side. All coat colors and markings are acceptable without preference given to one over another. Despite its dense coat, which requires daily attention to prevent matting, the Pekingese is fairly easy to care for.