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Friday, 20 January 2017


Pekingese dogs were sacred to the emperors of China for more than 2,000 years. They are one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world.

The Pekinese is believed to have originated in China in the 8th century. An ancient Chinese legend states that they are the product of a cross between a marmoset monkey and a lion, who begged Ah Chu, the patron saint of animals, to reduce him in size so that he could marry his monkey love.

Pekingese were palace guards and companions, and the smaller specimens were carried in the flowing sleeves of their owners.

Because the Pekingese was believed to have originated from the Buddha, they were a temple dog.
The Pekingese were proud companions of the Chinese Buddhist monks

They are mentioned in the writings of Confucius and dogs of similar type appear in bronze statues and other Chinese works of art dating to before the Christian era.

The Pekingese was called also foo dog by Chinese, who carved little replicas of these dogs out of ivory, bronze, and wood as a way to ward off evil spirits.

It was also called lion dog or sun dog because of their abundant ruffs.

The Pekingese reached their peak in popularity during the reign of the last Manchu Empress, Tzu Hsi, the Chinese empress dowager and regent who effectively controlled the Chinese government in the late Qing dynasty from 1861 until her death in 1908. The Empress decreed the rules that governed the breeding of her Pekingese, and these rules, called the Pekinese Pearls, formed the basis for the first breed standard worldwide.

White-cream Pekingese with black mask

The Pekingese were not known outside China until 1860, when British soldiers stormed the Summer Palace at Beijing during the Second Opium War. Most of the Pekingese present were killed to prevent the "devils" getting them, but the soldiers managed to save five, who were guarding the dead body of the Chinese Emperor's aunt. The faithful little Pekingese were brought to England.

A Pekingese was given to Queen Victoria who named it Looty. Two each were also given to the Duchess of Richmond and the Duchess of Wellington. Interest in the breed grew, but it wasn't until 1890 that more dogs began to be brought to England.

The first Pekingese exhibit was shown in Chester Show in England, in 1894 by Mrs Loftus Allan.

The Empress Dowager Cixi gave Pekingese as gifts to several Americans, including Alice Lee Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt, who named it Manchu.

One of the occupants of the lifeboats of the RMS Titanic was a Pekingese dog called Sun Yat Sen

The Pekingese should not be kept outside, as having flattened faces and noses can cause them to develop breathing problems, making it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature in overly hot or cold weather.

Sources Europress Encyclopedia, Comptons Encycopedia

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