Pekingese are a severely brachycephalic (flat-faced) breed in addition to having a long back and short legs.
Pekingese are very likely to suffer from serious health and welfare issues due to their physical conformation, including severe breathing difficulties, eye problems, spinal problems, skin problems, joint problems and dental issues.
Due to the degree of potential suffering caused by breeding for exaggerated physical features rather than health and function, we strongly recommend owners consider a healthier breed, crossbreed or mongrel.
Pekingese are a member of the ‘Toy’ breed group. Toy breeds are small companion dogs, commonly referred to as ‘lap dogs’. Most toy breeds love attention and can be very friendly and affectionate. They don’t require a large amount of exercise.
Pekingese are known to be quite independent dogs and can be quite stubborn, so training can be a bit more of a challenge. Plenty of practice and patience should overcome this – for training tips take a look at our dog behaviour page.
Pekingese need daily grooming to avoid matting. Their facial wrinkles will also need daily cleaning.
Breed-related health problems:
Although some of these health problems are manageable, it’s been identified that it’s in the best interests of the dog to try and selectively breed to decrease the characteristics which cause the health problems.
Some of the characteristics and associated health problems you’ll want to know more about in relation to Pekingese include:
- Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) – occurs when the nostrils of a dog are narrowed (stenotic nares) and the soft palate is elongated. This causes breathing problems and symptoms such as exercise intolerance, increased noise when breathing and difficulty in breathing. Pekingese are prone to this and it is often the cause of their characteristic snoring or wheezing. There are both surgical and medical managements available and you should speak to your vet if you think your Pekingese is showing any symptoms of BOAS and having any difficulty breathing.
- Eyelid problems – such as entropion and ectropion – occur in Pekingese due to excessive skin over the face and eyes. This skin causes the eyelids to droop either downwards, or in towards the eye, where the skin rubs and irritates the eye, causing problems.
- Pekingese can have a prominent eye position, larger eyeballs and sometimes their eyelids don’t close properly when they blink. This makes them more prone to eye infections and corneal ulcers. If you’re worried your Pekingese is having eye problems you should speak to your vet straight away.
- Back Problems – Pekingese can suffer from back problems such as degenerative disc disease which can cause back pain and paralysis.
- Pekingese have a very thick coat and can be prone to skin infections. You should regularly groom your Pekingese and check their skin. If you notice a problem such as over grooming or any lesions on the skin you should visit your vet.
- Heart disease.
- Luxating patellas - the kneecaps slipping temporarily out of place.
- Distichiasis – a condition in which small eyelashes grow on the inner surface or the very edge of the eye, which can then rub on the surface of the eye, causing irritation.
- Dry eye – Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) occurs when one or both eyes don’t produce a normal amount, or type, of tears. This leads to the eye becoming very dry, which in turn can cause infections and ulcers.
For more information about these, and other health problems you can speak to your vet or visit the Kennel Club.
For some conditions, there are screening programmes available through the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club. The Canine Health Schemes allow breeders to screen for a range of inherited diseases, so it’s a good idea to check the parents of any puppy you’re looking to rehome have been screened under these schemes. We’d also recommend discussing the medical history of your potential puppy’s parents and grandparents, and think very carefully before taking on a dog with any of the health conditions listed above evident in the family line.
You can find out more about the Canine Health Schemes on the BVA's website.
Pekingese need around half an hour of exercise per day, but never in heat as they don’t tolerate heat well.
Estimated lifetime cost:
The likely lifetime costs for a Pekingese are based on estimates calculated using current market prices and include:
- Initial costs of the purchase of the pet
- First vaccinations and booster vaccinations
- Pet insurance
- Flea treatments
The list above does not include veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so these average lifetime costs could be even higher.
Insure your Pekingese with PDSA:
1 in 3 pets need vet treatment each year and vet bills can come to hundreds of pounds. PDSA Pet Insurance can give you peace of mind when your pet is poorly, especially for breeds like Pekingese that are prone to certain conditions. PDSA Pet Insurance offers:
- 5 Star Pet Insurance* - from the vet experts
- 4 levels of cover to suit you
- Monthly payment at no extra cost
*Defaqto 5 Star rating applies to our Plus and Premier policies only. Defaqto’s Star Ratings provide an independent assessment of the quality of financial products.
By insuring your Pekingese with PDSA you’ll also be helping to provide vet care to some of the UK’s neediest pets.