Know about Breed: Pekingese
- Life expectancy: 12 - 15 years
- Origin: China
- Height: 15 - 23 cm (Adult, At the withers)
- Mass: 3.2 - 6.4 kg (Adult)
- Temperament: Opinionated, Stubborn, Good-natured, Affectionate, Intelligent, Aggressive
- Colors: White, Black, Fawn, Black & Tan, Cream, Fawn Brindle, Grey
- Admit it. When you think of the Pekingese, the image of Cartman from South Park pops into your head: overweight, spoiled, selfish, and ill-tempered. To the people who dismiss the Peke as a useless fribble, the last living symbol of a decadent and now-dead empire, the Pekingese has one thing to say: Respect my authority!
- This is a dog with a character who thinks he's much bigger than he is. Self-esteem is his middle name. His vigilant nature makes him a super watchdog, and his size makes him suited to any size home, from an apartment to a palace.
- If you don't mind living with a dog who will run your household with an iron paw, then the Pekingese are your breed. He is affectionate with family members but independent enough that he doesn't need constant attention. Toward strangers, his attitude ranges from aloof to affable, depending on the individual dog.
- The Pekingese, who is meant to weigh no more than 14 pounds, will stroll regally through the park and play with toys indoors, but he's essentially a low-activity dog. Exercise is good for him, though, so make sure he gets some activity daily. Resist the impulse to carry a Peke everywhere and pluck him out of trouble -- let him be a dog. He'll be happier and better-behaved for it.
- While the bold but humorous nature of the Pekingese can make him a wonderful family companion under the right circumstances, he may not be the right breed for families with young children. Pekingese are small dogs and can be injured if play is too rough, or they may snap at a child if they're frightened.
- The dignified Pekingese is endearing but sometimes exasperating. As befits a dog of his imperial stature, he can be stubborn about getting his own way. And who can blame him? If you can't have the palace and the servants waiting on you hand and foot, you should at least get what you want in the way of treats and the best spot on the sofa.
- The Peke may be a toy breed in size, but he's far from being pretty, dainty, or delicate. This is an independent dog with a regal nature, but he deigns to be affectionate and fun-loving within his family. Strangers, depending on how the Peke feels about them, will receive a welcome that ranges from aloof to affable. With cats, Pekes are polite, recognizing them as fellow royals. They are likely to get along with other dogs, as long as their supremacy is acknowledged.
- Pekingese can adapt to any home. When they are brought up with children from puppyhood, they are usually very fond of them. Pekes who are used to living with adults only may not find children to be their cup of tea unless they are exposed to them at an early age and encounter them frequently. It goes without saying that children must treat Peke respectfully.
- The Peke is unhurried when he walks, with a slight roll to his gait. He will appreciate a decorous daily stroll through his kingdom, er, neighborhood. It doesn't have to be long, but just so you know, he's got more stamina than you might think as long as he is well conditioned and not allowed to become overweight. Don't treat him like a fragile piece of china; he's capable of much more than most people give him credit for. Just ask the Pekes who compete in agility, obedience, and rally. A Pekingese can also be a wonderful therapy dog.
- All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
- In Pekes, health problems can include brachycephalic airway syndrome, which causes breathing difficulty; intervertebral disc disease; eye diseases (including dry eye, glaucoma, and progressive retinal atrophy); and patellar luxation, a condition in which the knee caps pop out of position.
- Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for these defects and deemed healthy for breeding. That's where health registries come in.
- At a minimum, ask the breeder to show evidence that both of a puppy's parents have an OFA clearance and certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that the eyes are healthy. Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed.
- If a breeder tells you she doesn't need to do those tests because she's never had problems in her lines and her dogs have been "vet checked," then you should go find a breeder who is more rigorous about genetic testing.
- The Pekingese has a long, beautiful double coat with a thick mane on the neck and shoulders and profuse fringing or feathering on the ears, tail, legs, and toes. Grooming this glamourous dog is not as difficult as it might appear, though. Regular care will keep the coat healthy and prevent the formation of mats or tangles, which are often the primary reason people think longhaired dogs are hard to care for. Your dog's breeder is the best source for advice on caring for the coat, especially if you plan to show him, but the following tips will get you started.
- The Pekingese coat may need to be brushed daily, every other day, or just a couple of times a week, depending on the individual dog. Mist the coat with water or a special coat conditioner and brush through it with a pin brush or natural bristle brush. Start at the front and work your way back, brushing small sections of hair at a time. Be sure you brush all the way down to the skin, and keep misting the coat to protect the hair from breaking.
- When your Pekingese sheds, and he definitely will, even if only a little, use a slicker brush to remove the dead hair. Brushing and removal of loose hair encourage new coat growth.
- If your Pekingese lives life as a beloved companion, there's nothing wrong with trimming his coat to make it easier to care for. Ask a groomer to trim the feathering on the feet and legs so they don't collect so much dust and dirt. You can even have your Peke given a lion trim in which the body is shaved smooth, leaving a mane around the head and a pom-pom on the tip of the tail. If grooming costs are getting you down, learn to do it yourself. With practice, many people give their dogs trims that look perfectly nice and professional.
- The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Check the ears to make sure they are clean. Leave them alone if they are; use a cleaner recommended by your veterinarian if they look dirty or have excessive amounts of wax. Toy breeds such as the Pekingese are prone to periodontal disease because they have so many teeth crammed into their little mouth. Brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
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