The Pekingese breed is over 2000 years old and has hardly changed in all that time. One exception is that modern breeders and dog show judges seem to prefer the long-haired type over the more traditional spaniel-type coat.
The Pekingese’s flat face and large eyes are some of the breeds most obvious characteristics. The body is compact and low to the ground. Pekingese also have a muscular and durable body. The legs are noticeably bowed and restrict the Pekingese’s movement. The breed’s unusual rolling gait may have been deliberately developed by breeding to prevent the court dogs from wandering in ancient times.
The majority of Pekingese are gold, red or sable. Cream, black, white, sables, black and tan and occasionally ‘blue’ or slate grey have appeared in the breed. The latter often has poor pigment and light eyes. The Pekingese sheds a lot. A black mask or a self-colored face is equally acceptable in show dogs. Regardless of coat color, the exposed skin of the muzzle, nose, lips and eye rims is black.
The Pekingese is a watchdog, warning its family in case of danger. He is brave and lots of courage, but also has its own mind and at times is hard-headed. In general it loves his family and is alert for strangers. Children can be to rough for them. When eating too much, it will grow soon too fat. Regular walking and exercise is needed to stay in good shape.
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. Their long backs, relative to their legs, make them vulnerable to back injuries. Care should be taken when picking them up to give adequate support to the back: one hand under the chest, the other under the abdomen. Short legs give some Pekingese difficulty with stairs; older dogs may not be able to go up or down stairs alone.