Pekingese Temperament: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Pekingese Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2018
The AKC Standard says the Pekingese "should imply courage, boldness, and self-esteem, rather than prettiness, daintiness, or delicacy."
Indeed, the Pekingese is dignified, supremely confident, and one of the most independent (and stubborn) of the toy breeds.
Calm and quiet indoors, the Peke is content to lie on the sofa cushions much of the time, observing his kingdom with his direct, inscrutable gaze. Yet he will also surprise you with sudden bursts of comic playfulness. Some individuals are more lively than others.
Most Pekingese are loyal to their owner without being clingy. They are usually polite with strangers and other animals.
This proud, self-possessed dog is a superb choice for an adults-only home, and especially for senior citizens. But I don't recommend him with children, as he won't meekly submit to mischief or rough handling from anyone. He can also be possessive of his food and toys.
The Pekingese can be exasperatingly willful, but also surprisingly sensitive. He resents being jerked around or even scolded. However, if he respects you, he will be well-mannered without much formal training required.
With his short (unfortunately deformed) face, he must go through life snorting, snuffling, sneezing, and snoring.
If you want a dog who...
- Is small but extremely sturdy, even chunky in build
- Has a squashed face, large expressive eyes, and a thick coat that comes in many colors
- Is one of the most dignified, confident, and independent of the toy breeds
- Is calm and quiet indoors and doesn't need much exercise
- Is polite with strangers and usually accepting of other animals
- If he respects you, will be well-mannered without much formal training
A Pekingese may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Snorting, snuffling, wheezing, loud snoring
- Regular brushing and combing
- Heavy shedding
- Slowness to housebreak
- Gassiness (flatulence)
- A multitude of potential health problems
A Pekingese may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Pekingese have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Pekingese to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the Pekingese
If I was considering a Pekingese, I would be most concerned about...
- Health problems. Unfortunately, breeders deliberately breed Pekingese to be deformed, with a short face and domed head. As such, they suffer more than their share of health problems – not only with their breathing, but also eye diseases, joint diseases, and itchy skin conditions. See Pekingese Health.
- Pekingese "sounds". Most Pekingese snort, snuffle, wheeze, grunt, and snore loudly. The sounds are endearing to some people; nerve-wracking to others.
- Lots of grooming. Without frequent brushing and combing, your Pekingese will become a matted mess. Occasional trimming around the dog's hind end is also necessary, for sanitary purposes.
- Heavy shedding. Pekingese shed a lot. You'll find hair and fur all over your clothing and furnishings.
- Gassiness (flatulence). All short-faced breeds gulp air when they eat, and that air has to go somewhere, after all. However, commercial diets make flatulence worse by including fibrous or hard-to-digest ingredients. Pekingese who are fed a homemade diet of real meat and vegetables have much less trouble with gassiness.
- Housebreaking. Pekingese can be slow to pick up the concept of housebreaking. Expect several months of consistent crate training. Read more about housebreaking your Pekingese.
- Stubbornness. Most Pekingese are stubborn, usually in a passive-resistance sort of way. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. Food is a great motivator with this breed, but too many cookies equals a fat Peke. Also you don't want a dog who only obeys when you're waving a biscuit at him.
Instead you should establish the right relationship where you are the leader and he is the follower. In other words, you must teach your Pekingese to respect you. Read more about Pekingese training.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.