The Pekingese was known over 2000 years BC. Painters and sculptors depicted it in their works as it is today. It is named after Pekin, the former name of the capital of China, Beijing. In ancient China it was reserved exclusively for the members of the Chinese Imperial Palace, being cared for by eunuchs and the theft or the sale of a Pekingese was punished by death. It was known by three names: sun dog (due to its reddish-yellow colour), lion dog (due to its rich mane) and sleeve dog (because it was so small that it could be carried in the sleeves of the courtiers). It came to Europe in 1860 when some English officers gave a few specimens as a gift to Queen Victoria, a great dog lover. Several years later it was shown in exhibitions and spread all over Europe. It was introduced into the USA at the beginning of the 20th century. When they were brought to Europe, they were smaller than today. Few dogs were so spoiled as the Pekingese.
It is a small-sized, long rather than tall, stocky, well-built dog, with a broad, strong front contrasting with the back side, which contributes to its lion aspect. The head is big, wide between the eyes and flat between the ears. The muzzle is wide, short, wrinkled, has a deep stop, with a flat, wide, black nose, set between the eyes. The eyes are nig, round, prominent, shining and dark. The ears are heart-shaped, set high, drooping and covered with rich fringes. The front legs are close to each other, curved with flat paws that are sometimes turned towards outside. It has a short neck. The tail is covered with very long hair and is slightly bent over the back. It has a double-layered fur, with a thick, fluffy inner layer and an outer layer made of long, straight, rough rather then soft hair, forming round the neck a rich mane that extends beyond the shoulders forming a collar (that's why it's called a lion dog); it has rich fringes on the ears, legs, thighs, toes and tail. It can have any colour, but the most frequent is black and beige, sometimes mixed with white. There is no pure white or dark red Pekignese. It can have a spectacle-like black mask.
It is an intelligent, lively, brave, confident, independent, dignified dog, with a large dose of stubbornness, it is playful with those it knows. It is affectionate and loyal to its master, friendly with children if they don't bother it, especially when it is asleep, it is reserved, even mean with strangers. It doesn't have problems with other dogs or other household animals.
This dog's fur must be combed and brushed frequently especially in those places where it can get tangled (belly, feet, joints of the legs). They must be accustomed from an early age to brushing not to have problems later on. The wrinkles on the face must be cleaned not to get infected, the ears must be kept clean and excess hair between the footpads must be removed.
This dog feels good in a house or in a flat with a loving master or family, that is not very active. It has a low level of activity and it doesn't like long walks. It is not recommended for families with small children. It needs socialization and training.
Although it is an intelligent dog, its independent side and its stubborness prevail. It chooses who the boss is. Still, with firm, consistent training, without being harsh, but encouraging and without punishing it to harshly when it does something wrong (in this case it becomes introverted) it can be taught some conduct rules. Otherwise, it will behave however it wants.
It is an appreciated and wanted companion dog.