In hopes that I can give my readers some insight into dog breeds’ personalities, I am featuring different breeds each week. I will give a little history about the breed, i.e., what they were bred to do, talk about their personalities, and provide advice on the lifestyle needs of the breed. Remember, as I always say, every dog is an individual. Some dogs will exactly fit the breed characteristics while others may be nothing like it.

If you are a regular viewer of the Westminster Dog Show and other dog shows, you know that the Pekingese is a crowd favorite. With its thick long coat and distinctive shuffling gait, they are instantly recognizable. The Pekingese is an ancient breed, going back over 2000 years in China. Only members of the Imperial family were allowed to have the Pekingese, or Lion Dog as they called them. They were lap dogs and treated quite royally. Commoners had to bow to the Pekingese! Yes, they were spoiled and pampered.

During the Great China War in 1860, British forces confiscated five Pekingese from the royal palace and brought them to England and gave one to Queen Victoria. All other Pekingese in China were then slaughtered because the Chinese royals didn’t want anyone else to get a hold of them. Consequently, all modern Pekingese are descended from these five dogs.

Their personality has not changed over the millenniums; they have remained true to their heritage with a regal, “serve me” attitude! They can be a one-person dog, quite loyal and they make great watch dogs. They are barkers. They can be leery of strangers and aloof. Because of their protective nature, without properly early training and socialization, Pekingese can be aggressive. They are independent and stubborn, making early training even more important. Due to their stubborn nature, Pekingese can be difficult to house train too. Crate training at an early age is recommended.

Despite their superior attitudes and stubbornness, Pekingese are funny little dogs. They can be playful and silly. They require daily exercise but not to excess because of their short noses. They love the cold and cannot tolerate the heat.

My neighbor has had three Pekingese, all adorable. As she describes them, “They are prima donnas. They will do what they want when they want.” I can see that this is true by the way that one of them may just stop in the middle of the street and refuse to walk while another sniffs the same spot and won’t move.

So if you are thinking of a Pekingese, be prepared to be their servant! All kidding aside, although these are little dogs, they will need owners who are good leaders to avoid the stubbornness and possible aggression.