Pekingese – The Lion Dog of China

The Dog of Legends

I love the legends attached to this 2,000 year-old breed, the Pekingese.  One of my favorites is that a lion fell in love with a beautiful marmoset (monkey family). Day and night he dreamed of being with her forever, but he was a lion and the marmoset was very small in comparison.  In despair, he  went to see the patron saint of all animals, Ah Chu.  He explained his problem and begged Ah Chu for help.  Ah Chu respected the lion for both his spirit and his courage.  He granted the lion’s wish and reduced his size to that of a pigmy lion. It pleased Ah Chu that the lion was willing to lose his size and strength just to be with the love of his life and allowed him to keep his spirit and his courage.

Another legend is much the same as the one above with one difference.  In this legend, the lion went to Buddha for help and because it was Buddha that helped the lovesick lion, all descendants became sacred.

Both legends led to the Pekingese being called The Lion Dog of China.

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Pekingese – artist Peter Solomon

Because these dogs were sacred, they lived in the Imperial Palace of Peking.  Commoners were not permitted to own a Pekingese.  The dogs were never allowed outside the gates of the palace grounds. If someone stole this royal dog, the penalty was death.


History has it that there was an altercation between the western powers and the Chinese in 1890, and when British soldiers stormed the palace, it was empty except for five little dogs.  The soldiers took the dogs back to England and presented one of them to Queen Victoria.  Queen Victoria named the unusual Chinese dog Looty.  British breeders developed the breed and it was recognized in 1906.

History continues with this breed, famous in many ways. I find the history of dogs fascinating.  For those of you who share my interest, I will add some more.

It was Dr. Heuston who brought the Pekingese to Ireland. In appreciation for Dr. Heuston’s work in setting up clinics in China for smallpox vaccinations, the minister Li Hung Chang gave the doctor a pair of Pekingese dogs.

Pekingese ran on American soil when the Dowager Empress Tsu Hsi gave them to influential Americans as favored gifts.

Are there any famous Pekingese?

Absolutely.  Sun Yat survived the sinking of the Titanic. Munchu was Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter‘s adored pet. Penelope was cherished by Joseph Hallman, the Philadelphia composer and let’s not forget Fifi, Pluto’s girlfriend. In addition, the Pekingese has taken Best in Show, competing with the finest of breeds.

This little dog is full of spirit and courage.  It has not forgotten that it was once the royal dog of China and demands to be treated with respect at all times.  Failure to do so would produce a pup that grows up to be a snappy, stubborn dog.  The dog can be loyal and you will find it is intelligent.  It just has a mind of its own and being pushed into anything is rejected.  With constant demands, the pup stops listening and you will find cooperation at a standstill. A live-and-let-live attitude is the way to go with a Pekingese.

We suggested them for Cancer in AstroPups, available on Amazon Books in paperback or Kindle.

Small children do not do well with this dog.  They tend to treat it as a stuffed toy, and if they do, they will get bitten.


A Pekingese is not in need of pampering, but grooming is a must.  It has a beautiful profuse coat which has a tendency to tangle and matt.  Tangles and a matted coat are painful for this little dog. If you have a Pekingese, and do not have the right tool to groom the dog, this one should take care of it.

The little dog loves to romp and play in the garden. You might have to wash its face so particles do not get into the dog’s eyes. If your Peke’s eyes are watery from dust and particles irritating them, you could wash them by using an eyewash.  If you don’t have an eyewash, it’s a good idea to have one on hand.

A quick rinse of your dog’s eyes could prevent an infection. If you didn’t realize there were particles in your Peke’s eyes, and an infection occurs, with eye mucous, I suggest you take your dog to the vet.

True to its heritage, this canine absolutely adores felines!  Chasing and playing with each other is a favored game of the Pekingese and his bff, the cat.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the royal dog of China. If you have any questions, or want to contribute to my post in any way, you can contact me in Comment or by email.  My email is located in About Us top right of page. Click on About Us and scroll down.  The banner of dogs remains for the post, About Us and Reviews.

Acknowledgements of authors who contributed to AstroPups, which I use to write my blog, can also be found in About Us, top right of page

See you soon 🙂