Your ideal household pet? 9 pros & cons about the Pekingese
Do you want to own a lion but you don’t have enough space at home? Do you want a pet that’s both gentle and loving but also absurdly active and playful? How about a pet that’s stunningly beautiful but also hilariously silly?
These aren’t contradictions – that’s just the Pekingese dog breed. These adorable little pups have been bred to be the companion pets of Chinese Emperors thousands of years ago and are believed to have the souls of lions. Do they make for good family pets, however?
What are the key characteristics that make Pekingese dogs special?
The Pekingese breed is one of the most ideal household pets. Loving, gentle, playful, social, and drop-dead gorgeous, this breed is fantastic for households both with and without children. As long as these little Chinese lions can get enough love, pets, playtime, and attention, they’ll be happy and they’ll make you happy.
Is it really that simple, however, or are there some other things you need to know before getting a Pekingese? Let’s go over the main pros and cons below.
The 9 things you should know before getting a Pekingese
1. This is a truly gorgeous dog breed
A picture tells a thousand words so we shouldn’t need to tell you how beautiful these little lions are. There is a reason why Pekingese dogs are one of the most easily recognizable breeds on the planet – their unique body shape, cute little faces, and captivating, floating coats are a sight to behold.
2. Pekingese dogs are loyal and lovable pets for families of any size
Bred to be companion dogs for thousands of years, the Pekingese are the ideal dogs for that job. These little furry love balls are incredibly loyal and gentle toward their human packs. As long as you treat them well, the Pekingese breed can offer an absurd amount of love.
3. These dogs are both highly intelligent and very self-minded
More than just a cute face, Pekingese dogs are actually quite intelligent. If you want a dog that you can teach some tricks and games, a dog that you can interact with or even chat with, the Pekingese are a great choice.
Chat with my dog?
Indeed - Pekingese dogs have quite a talkative nature and love to interact with their families verbally as much as physically. They are quite self-minded and opinionated too, much like the lions they are associated with. So, if you want a dog that has a bit of character and is its own person, the Pekingese breed fits this description as well.
4. The Pekingese can actually make for a very good watch dog
While this isn’t what they were bred for and their small size doesn’t make them good guard dogs, Pekingese dogs are decent watcher dogs. Their devotion to their families and their opinionated and vocal nature make them excellent for keeping an eye on your property when you sleep and letting you know when something is afoot. It is a pity that they’re not good yard dogs but they can still help out indoors by acting as a cute, four-legged alarm system.
5. This breed is highly energetic but meeting their exercise needs is not that difficult
If you want a dog that has lots of energy and yet doesn’t need to spend 5-6 hours a day in the dog park, the Pekingese is an excellent choice. These furballs are real dynamos and can play for hours a day which is fantastic for families with children. And, thanks to their small stature, they don’t need to spend too much time outside – almost all of their playtime can be done indoors with rubber balls, toys, dog puzzles, and other fun games.
There is a flip side to this “pro”, however, and it’s that Pekingese dogs need to play and interact with their humans on a daily basis. It’s very common for parents to get a Pekingese for their kid and then, after a year or two, the kid stops paying attention to the pup and the Pekingese gets neglected.
This is a big No-No. Pekingese dogs have a physical need to play and have fun with their humans, otherwise, they can get depressed, lethargic, anxious, and even disobedient. Dog rescues and shelters are full of Pekingese pups whose humans didn’t have enough time for them. Only get a Pekingese dog if you want to play with it for the next ~15 years.
1. The Pekingese is a fragile dog and needs a careful and gentle family
While Pekingese dogs are fantastic for families with children, it’s important to teach your kids to be careful with their new pup. Pekingese are not as strong and “durable” as other, larger dog breeds – an inconsiderate or careless child can easily harm a Pekingese by accident. As a matter of fact, an adult can easily do so as well since Pekingese dogs love to run around our legs when they are looking for attention.
Teaching your child how to interact with its new Pekingese pal is important for both the animal’s and the child’s sake.
2. A somewhat stubborn breed, the Pekingese requires good training, especially as far as barking is concerned
There is an unofficial rule in the dog trainer world and it’s that with great canine intelligence comes great stubbornness and the Pekingese breed is no exception. These furry dogs are self-minded to an adorable degree but they can also be a little difficult to train. That’s not because they don’t love or respect us, it’s just that they are not a dedicated work dog breed – they are meant to be a self-minded four-legged pal so they have a mind of their own.
Training a Pekingese dog is very much doable, however – you just need to start with obedience training early on.
And while we’re on the subject of training, Pekingese dogs’ talkative nature makes them a bit prone to barking too much. While adorable, this can be a problem for your neighbors if you live in an apartment building. To deal with that, going through some anti-barking training when your dog’s still a pup is also a good idea.
3. Taking good care of a Pekingese’s coat can be time-consuming
One of the biggest advantages of the Pekingese breed is that it’s stunningly beautiful. Maintaining their gorgeous manes in a good condition can take some time, however.
You’ll have to thoroughly brush your pup’s hair several times per week and give him the occasional bath too. Trimming the fur above your dog’s eyes is also a good idea to help him see better and a general overall trim can help your Pekingese feel better in warm weather.
Pekingese dogs also shed seasonally so you’d do well to invest in a good vacuum cleaner. Even then, prepare yourself mentally for a lot of dog hair floating around in your home.
4. As a brachycephalic breed, the Pekingese can be prone to some health problems
The flat nose of Pekingese dogs is adorable but it also puts them as one of the brachycephalic breeds – dogs that can develop some pretty serious breathing problems. To avoid any of these issues, it’s important to keep your dog from overheating or hyperventilating, as well as to go to your regular vet check-ups.
Other possible health concerns to be on the lookout for include:
- Dental problems (if you don’t brush your pup’s teeth and don’t give him enough chewable toys)
- Obesity (if the Pekingese doesn’t get enough exercise)
- Skin infections and parasites (if you don’t take good care of your Pekingese’s coat and skin health)
If you look after your pup, however, it should avoid most of these problems and lead a long and happy life. Another helpful tip is to make sure that you get your Pekingese pup from a reputable breeder who breeds their dogs responsibly and offers detailed health certificates for each pup and its parents. Even if you get your Pekingese from a shelter or a rescue – which is definitely advisable – you should still ask for a health certificate or an in-depth vet check-up.
Who are Pekingese dogs “right” for?
The perfect family for a Pekingese is very common – any loving and gentle person, couple, or family who wants a playful and loyal pup that loves to play but doesn’t need too much outdoor time. The only real criterion is that you don’t leave your Pekingese pal neglected – whether you work from home or away from home, you should be happily willing to give the pup plenty of playtime throughout the day. If you’re too busy for that, maybe this breed isn’t right for you.
How to prepare for getting a Pekingese?
As a fairly intelligent and stubborn pup, the Pekingese needs a bit of training, especially in its younger years. So, the most important preparation for future Pekingese owners is to learn how to train a Pekingese pup. The rest is a matter of knowing what health concerns to watch out for, freeing enough time for daily play and exercise, and getting a good hair brush and a new vacuum cleaner.