The Pekingese History

By 1858, part of The Second Opium War had ended in the Treaties of Tientsin, which opened up 10 more ports of trade from China. After the Treaties were signed, Emperor Xianfeng was urged by ministers not to allow encroachment by British forces in the West. Although they met fierce resistance, The British and French Troops demanded to continue to the embassies in Beijing. Emperor Xianfeng and his court fled to Chengde, along with several Pekingese dogs.

On October 6,1860 the Anglo-French forces entered Beijing. The French Troops raided and then destroyed the Summer Palace and Old Summer Palace. The Emperor’s Aunt remained at the Summer Palace with her five Pekingeses, until she committed suicide when the Troops entered.

This Little Lion Dog resembles the Chinese Guardian Lions and is an Ancient Toy Breed from Peking (now Beijing), China dating back to 2000 B.C. . The Pekingese was bred with moderately bowed legs, big, bulging eyes, and a short face so that they appear mean or scary to strangers.

The Original Pekingese (top left)  had a Medium Length Double-Coat., longer legs and a more prominent muzzle. The current Pekingese Show Dog (left), marked by their Profuse Coat, is a result of fancied characteristics derived strictly from groups or committees of independent Breed Clubs.

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Original Pekingese

Current Show Quality

Chinese Guardian Lions

Emperor Xianfeng

Ci-Xi The Imperial Dowager Empress

Between 1821 and 1851, The Pekingese was highly popular. The Pekingese was only owned by Chinese Imperial Royalty. Mainly an indoor guardian, the Pekingese often stayed in the bedrooms, while the Mastiffs were stationed outside. The Mastiffs would alert the Pekingeses on the inside. The theft of a Pekingese was punishable by death.

In the 1850’s, during the Qing Dynasty, Britain and France demanded open trading with China without Transit Duties and to legalize the Opium Trade. The Qing Dynasty rejected these demands and between 1856 -1860, The Qing Dynasty of China engaged in The Second Opium War against The British Empire and The Second French Empire.  

The Old Summer Palace

Lord John Hay took a pair of the Pekingeses and gave them to his sister, The Duchess of Wellington. Lieutenant-General Sir George Fitzroy took another pair and gave them to his cousins, The Duke and Duchess of Richmond and Gordon. Lieutenant John Dunne went to a French Army Camp to purchase goods, but instead purchased a “pretty little dog” and gave the fifth Pekingese to Queen victoria of the Untied Kingdom., claiming that he found it in the Palace of Yaum-Ming.  

Emperor Xianfeng’s concubine Empress Cixi, later known as Ci-Xi The Imperial Dowager Empress returned to Peking in 1902, and distributed her prize Pekingese dogs to her European and American guests, until she died On November 15, 1908.

The Pekingese became popular in England, Ireland and France, in the late 1800’s, and was First Shown in Britain in 1893. The Pekingese came to America and The American Kennel Club recognized them as a breed in 1906. The Pekingese Club of America began in 1909.

The Old Summer Palace Ruins

The Legend of the Pekingese

A lion and a marmoset fell in love, but the lion was too large. The lion went to the Buddha and 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.

Long ago a Lion fell in love with a Marmoset. Since there was a huge difference in size, the Lion went to the Buddha and explained his sadness. The Buddha granted the Lion’s ability to shrink down to an appropriate size for the Marmoset, and they were able to Marry. From this union, the Pekingese was born.  

The Sleeve Pekingese

The Sleeve Pekingese is a smaller version of the average size Pekingese. The Chinese Imperial Royalty used to carry their Pekingeses within the sleeves of their robes, which is the reason they are called “Sleeves”.

Sleeve Pekingeses weigh a mere 6 pounds or less, while the average size Pekingese is between 10-16 pounds. It is usually not be known if an individual Pekingese is a ‘real and qualified’ sleeve, until it is at lest 6-8 months of age or unless it comes from many generations of sleeves or many litters of sleeves produced by a single pair.  

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