|Foo (or Fu) dog
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 9 Section 8 #207
||Group 1 (Toys)
||Group 5 - Toys
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
Pekingese is an ancient toy
dog, originating in
China. They were
the favoured imperial pet. Good-natured and happy, these dogs enjoy family
environments, but require regular cleaning if in outdoor environments. Their
eyes are very delicate as they sit above the socket rather than within the
These dogs are also called Dogs of Foo (or Fu) by the Chinese, and how much
they are revered can be seen in the number of Chinese artworks depicting them.
They were considered a guardian spirit as they resembled
The Pekingese breed is over 2000 years old and has hardly changed in all that
time. One exception is that modern breeders and dog-show judges seem to prefer
the long-haired type over the more-traditional
All breed standards allow all sorts of color combinations. The most common is
red sable; this is the color of the majority of
Westminster Pekes. Black and tan is popular as well, but the
people seem to prefer blondes over the black and tans. The solid white (except
face) or solid black Pekingese is quite striking. The face is usually black with
deep brown eyes. There was, supposedly, in a British Pekingese line, a blue
(gray) pekingese. Albino dogs are not within the standard.
The Pekingese gait is like no other in the dog world. Because the Chinese
originally bred them to be companions to the
his ladies and
eunuchs, they are bowlegged to discourage wandering. However, they can and
will keep up with the big dogs when allowed. The bowleggedness makes their walk,
run, or trot quite striking.
Pekes weigh from 7 to 14
(3-6 kg) and stand about 6-9 inches (15-23 cm) at the
These dogs can be stubborn and jealous. This is not a dog for someone who
wants a dog that always comes when it is called. Pekes are sometimes aggressive,
especially to other dogs. It may take a long time for Pekes to get used any
other dogs except puppies, mates, and siblings. However, Pekes can be properly
socialized with dogs and other types of pets and can become fast friends. It is
easy to believe that Pekes know that they are royalty and expect you to know it,
too. This might make them unsuitable for the first-time dog owner. The Pekingese
personality has been compared to a cat, although this isn't quite right. Where a
cat can be trained, a Pekingese needs to be convinced that the training is
beneficial to him as well as to you. But, if they love you, they will do
anything for you, even fight to the death to protect you.
The Pekingese is generally a one-person dog. They decide who they like best,
and it might surprise you. They more than tolerate the others in their person's
life, but that person might have to withhold some attention from the Peke if
there is a danger that the Peke sees a child as a rival. Most healthy and
well-trained Pekes are fine with children. Unfortunately, because they are among
the 'cute and I know it' breeds, many people don't properly train their dogs and
end up with difficult jealousy problems.
Pekes' main problems are eye issues and breathing problems, resulting from
its tiny skull and flattened face, and skin allergies (and hotspots). Pekes
should never be kept outside as their flattened faces and noses can develop
breathing problems, this makes it difficult for them to regulate their body
temperature in overly hot or cold weather.
Keeping the Peke coat healthy and presentable requires brushing once a day.
If you do this, they will need to see a groomer only once every 3 months. If a
Peke becomes dirty, it is important to take it to a groomer as soon as possible,
as it is difficult to remove dirt from its coat once it has dried.
The breed originated in China in antiquity, most likely from Asian
analysis confirms that this is one of the
oldest breeds of dog.
For centuries, they could be owned only by members of the
Chinese Imperial Palace.
Second Opium War, in
Forbidden City was invaded by Allied troops. The Emperor
had fled with all of his court. However an elderly aunt of the emperor remained.
When the ‘foreign devils’ entered, she committed suicide. She was found with her
five Pekingese mourning her passing.
They were removed by the Allies before the
Old Summer Palace was burnt. Lord John Hay took a pair, later called ‘Schloff’,
and ‘Hytien’ and gave them to his sister, the Duchess of Wellington, wife
Henry Wellesley, 3rd Duke of Wellington. Sir George Fitzroy took another
pair, and gave them to his cousins, the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon.
Lieutenant Dunne presented the fifth Pekingese to Queen
Victoria of the United Kingdom, who named it Looty.
Empress Dowager Cixi presented Pekingese to several Americans, including
John Pierpont Morgan and Alice Roosevelt, wife of
The first Pekingese in Ireland was introduced by Dr. Heuston. He established
vaccination clinics in China. The effect was dramatic. In gratitude, the Chinese
minister, Li Hung Chang presented him with a pair of Pekingese. They were named
Chang and Lady Li. Dr. Heuston founded the
There are two origination stories for the Pekingese. The first is the most
common, The Lion and the Marmoset:
lion and a
fell in love. But the lion was too large. The lion went to the
told him of his woes. The Buddha allowed the lion to shrink down to the size
of the marmoset. And the Pekingese was the result.
The second, less-common, originating story is The Butterfly Lions:
- A lion fell in love with a
But the butterfly and lion knew the difference in size was too much to
overcome. Together they went to see the Buddha, who allowed their size to
meet in the middle. From this, the Pekingese came.
Another legend says that the Peke resulted from the mating of a lion and a
monkey, getting its nobleness and coat from the former and its ungainly walk
from the latter.
Because the Pekingese was believed to have originated from the Buddha, he was
a temple dog. As such, he was not a mere toy. He was made small so that he could
go after and destroy little demons that might infest the palace or temple. But
his heart was big so that he could destroy even the largest and fiercest. (A
book was written from this premise, although the author denies knowledge of the
legends: Bride of the Rat God.)
Fifi the Peke
- Chu-Chu from
Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan
- Manchu, pet of First Lady,
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