The Pekingese is a small dog, but sturdy in build and is heavier than he looks. They sport a thick, straight coat of hair that stands away from the body in halo-like fashion. The skull is flat at the top, rather than domed and the face is wide and flat. Breeders look for “brick shaped” heads as the ideal. The eyes of the Pekingese are large, round, and dark. They are set wide apart and their black rims give them the appearance of wearing little glasses. Their heart-shaped ears hang down. Their legs are bowed, and the hindquarters are lighter than the front of the body, giving them a unique, rolling gait. The tail is set high, is covered in thick hair and arches slightly over the back.
Size and Weight
Adult Pekingese typically stand between 6 and 9 inches at the shoulder, but are heavy for their small size. Any dog over 14 pounds is disqualified from the show ring, but overall proportion and balance of the dog is more important than the height of the dog. They are slightly longer than they are tall, and the correct ratio of height to length is 3:5.
Coat and Color
The Pekingese double coat coat is long, coarse and straight and stands away from the body. This little lion dog has a mane on the neck that is a bit longer than the hair on the rest of the body. There is long feathering on the backs of legs and on the toes and the ears and tail sport fringe. They may be any color or have any markings including black and tan, fawn, red brindle, or parti-color. Some sport black masks, others do not. Solid white Pekingese have always been very popular and highly valued, though white Pekes are not given any special consideration in the show ring.
The Pekingese is high-maintenance in the grooming department. The coat needs to be brushed regularly with a small bristle brush, but the coat should be sprayed with water or a conditioning spray before brushing so that the hair does not break. The hair must be brushed all the way to the skin in order to remove dead hair, otherwise tangles and mats will form. A metal comb should be used on the areas of the dog that are fringed, as they are the most prone to tangles. The hair on the feet should be trimmed in order to prevent the dog from getting foreign objects stuck in in the feet and also to prevent mats from forming there. Pekingese should be bathed once or twice per month, and a dry dog shampoo can be used in between baths to help keep the coat clean and healthy.
The ears should be checked on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean them with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Small dogs are prone to dental problems, so teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.