The Pekingese (also known as the Lion-Dog, Pekingese Lion-Dog, Pelchie Dog, or Peke) is an ancient breed of toy dog, originating in China. They are called Lion-Dogs due to their resemblance to Chinese guardian lions. (The Shitzu is also known as a Lion-Dog in Chinese). The breed was favored by royalty of the Chinese Imperial court as both a lap dog and companion dog, and its name refers to the city of Peking (Beijing) where the Forbidden City resides. The breed has several characteristics and health issues related to its unique appearance. Because of its desirable characteristics, the Pekingese has been part of the development of designer crossbreeds, such as the Peke-a-tese (crossed with Maltese).
The Pekingese, originating from Western China, were proud companions of the Chinese Buddhist Monks. These dogs are also found to be owned by Chinese princes.
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. They can also live up to 12–15 years.
The Pekingese's flat face and large eyes are some of the breed's 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.
All breed standards allow all sorts of color combinations. 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. Albino Pekingese (white with pink eyes) should be bred cautiously due to health problems that have been associated with albinism. 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 weigh from 7 to 14 lb (3.2 to 6.4 kg) and stand about 6–9 inches (15–23 cm) at the withers, however they can sometimes be smaller. These smaller Pekingese are commonly referred to as 'Sleeve' Pekingese or just 'Sleeves'. The name is taken from ancient times, when emperors would carry the smallest of the breed in their sleeves. A Pekingese over 14 pounds is disqualified in the show ring.
The Pekingese is slightly longer than tall when measured from the forechest to the buttocks. The overall outline is an approximate ratio of 3 high to 5 long.
Source of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pekingese
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