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A breed of royalty, the Pekingese is a fiercely loyal dog that not only loves its owner but can be humorous and even a bit arrogant at times. Cute as a button with his widely recognized "flat" nose, the Pekingese is a good choice for individuals and families with children alike.
DNA analysis done in recent years confirms that the Pekingese is not only a breed which is less genetically connected to the wolf, it is also one of the oldest breeds of dog. Originally bred in China, the Pekingese could only be owned by members of the Chinese Imperial Palace for centuries. Perhaps the "royal" temperament that many owners see in their pets today stems from the fact that in ancient times, they were treated royally.
In 1860 during the Second Opium War, British and French troops occupied the Old Summer Palace in Beijing. While the Emperor Xianfeng fled to Chengde with all of his court, an elderly aunt stayed behind. Upon the entering of the British and French troops, she committed suicide and was discovered with her five Pekingese dogs, which were mourning her death. These five Pekingese are those dogs from which all modern day Pekingese have descended.
Schloff and Hytien, two of the five Pekingese, were taken by Lord John Hay who then gave them to the Duchess of Wellington, his sister. Another pair was taken by Sir George Fitzroy and given to his cousins, the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom was given the fifth dog by Lieutenant Dunne; she named it Looty.
The Pekingese was presented to several Americans by the Empress Dowager Cixi; one of these Americans was Theodore Roosevelt's daughter, Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth. Manchu was the name given to the dog by Longworth. The Pekingese breed became popular in Western countries around the turn of the 20th century.
Over the years, the appearance of the Pekingese has changed very little. Low to the ground, the body is typically compact and muscular, with a double coat that is exceptionally long and beautiful. Some of the colors found in this breed include red, gold, sable, tan, blonde, and black.
The most recognized physical features of the Pekingese are its "smooshed-in" face and bulging eyes, a combination that makes for a strangely cute and lovable face. As an adult, most weigh up to 14 pounds and are approximately 9 inches tall at the shoulders.
While your puppy may look like a fluffy little ball that wouldn't hurt a flea, rest assured that he or she is one tough cookie that is much more brave than meets the eye. Good natured and affectionate with his "family," the Pekingese will bark aggressively when strangers approach. The temperament of your pet will depend largely on his or her training, socialization, and heredity. Some are curious and playful, while others are more aggressive and prone to "beating up" his or her littermates. It is important when choosing your pet that you evaluate the entire litter so that you can see the personalities of the parents, and how the litter interacts.
We mentioned that the Pekingese will often bark aggressively when strangers invade his or her territory. That being said, most are quite polite to strangers and get along well with other pets in the household. Without a doubt, there will be more than one time that you will find your dog plopped on a favorite pillow or sitting on the couch as if he or she owned the place. A poised and proud breed, the Pekingese is a good choice for those looking for a pet that doesn't demand constant attention.
Pekingese’ Proper Environment
The Pekingese can live in almost any environment, mostly because it requires very little exercise. Whether you live in an apartment, small home or on a ranch in a rural setting, your pet will be happy with just enough exercise to benefit his or her health.
It's important that your pet can sleep indoors, particularly if you live in a hot or humid area, as this breed is intolerant of heat.
Overall a healthy breed, Pekingese puppies may grow to have a few health issues including skin and food allergies, eye problems, and back problems. Your Pekingese puppy may also suffer heatstroke if you live in an extremely hot area. This is largely due to the fact that the Pekingese has extremely short nasal passages because of his flat face, and cannot cool himself down in hot or even moderate temperatures as quickly as other breeds. The thick coat also makes hot temperatures uncomfortable for the Pekingese.
Slipped discs and arthritis are other conditions that may affect your dog, although this isn't common. Because the Pekingese has gotten larger in size and the breed's bodies have become longer, more strain is placed on the back, which can lead to these conditions. Severe disc problems can potentially leave your pet paralyzed, so be stringent and try to restrain your pet from excessive jumping and going up/down stairs excessively.
Pekingese require extensive grooming, because of their double coat and long hair. It's best to begin grooming your pet as a puppy, so that he or she is conditioned to the routine and will put up less resistance as an adult.
Brush your Pekingese dog's coat to remove loose hair and tangles regularly. Brushing daily will keep the coat free of tangles and help prevent matting. The Pekingese does not need frequent bathing, and in fact should be bathed only once every 4 to 6 weeks to prevent drying out the skin. Bathe using a mild dog shampoo of good quality. It is recommended to blow dry on a low heat setting after bathing, using a brush to prevent tangling. Towel drying will tangle the hair, and is not advised.
Trimming with clippers will help keep your pet's coat neat in appearance, and will help with tangling as well. For good hygiene, trim the hair around the genital area.
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