The Pekingese is a small, but sturdy dog with a long straight coat, thick mane, and plenty of feathering on the tail, underside, legs, and ears. The Pekingese is surprisingly heavy for his size. The top of the skull is flat, not domed. The face is wide and flattened—breeders describe a "brick-shaped" head as being most desirable. The large, round eyes are dark and luminous, set wide apart. The nose is black with open nostrils. A wrinkle separates the upper and lower parts of the face. The heart-shaped ears hang down. Any color is allowable. The Pekingese has a unique rolling gait due to his short bowed legs, heavy front body, and lighter hindquarters.
The Pekingese was the favorite dog of the Chinese Emperor's Court until 1860. They were called "lion dogs" because of their large chests, full manes, and strong personalities. Small specimens of this fluffy little dog were called "sleeve dogs" because they fit neatly into the sleeves of Chinese courtiers' robes. Pekingese were thought to be miniature versions of Chinese Foo Dogs, able to stave off evil spirits. They were often put to death when their masters died to protect the owners in the afterlife. British soldiers discovered the breed when the soldiers overran the Summer Palace in Beijing in 1860. They brought some of these animals to the Western world. The Pekingese caught on quickly with dog fanciers in the West and is now one of the most popular breeds.
Very loving and sweet with his master, but wary of strangers. Brave even when such behavior is unwise. Loyal and dignified. Self-important and confident. Calm, pleasant company. Can be quite willful; a big dog in a small body. Demanding lapdog, but not high-strung. Naturally well-behaved. Tends to be possessive of toys and food.