The Pekingese is a very old breed, traditionally associated with Chinese emperors. Here are seven fun facts about the breed.
1. Visually, the little Pekingese with its soft coat and short nose doesn’t resemble a wolf. They are still one of the breeds closest to wolves genetically.
2. The breed has been traced back two thousand years, to the Han dynasty.
3. Today’s China doesn’t have lions, but the Pekingese, the Lhasa Apso, and the Tibetan Mastiff were all bred to resemble stylized Chinese lion images. The Pekingese is also called the lion dog.
4. Emperor Lingdi of Han ruled from 168 to 189. He loved his dogs so much he made his favorite Pekingese a member of the nobel cast, making it outrank most people in the country.
5. During the Tang Dynasty, years 618 to 907, no one outside the Imperial Palace was allowed to breed or own a Pekingese. This was a good period of time for the little dogs; if an ordinary person met one of the dogs they had to bow and show respect.
6. The Pekingese are sometimes called “The Sleeve Dog.” This stems from being bred down in size so their owners could carry them in their sleeves. Allegedly a Pekingese in the Emperor’s sleeve was his last line of defense should enemies get into the palace.
7. It sometimes pays off to be small. Three dogs escaped the Titanic: one Pekingese and two Pomeranians.