A lion fell in love with a marmoset, a tiny
monkey in mythical China many years ago. Because of
his great love for the tiny monkey the lion asked patron
saint of animals 'Ah Chu' for permission to marry her.
The understanding saint agreed, but only
on one condition; that the mighty lion be reduced to
a size of a dwarf. The lion married the marmoset and
descendants became Lion Dogs of China. Small in size
but having the heart, character and courage of a lion.
This according to legend was the beginning of the Pekingese
The Pekingese is undoubtedly an ancient
breed. They were first mentioned in time of Confucius
and the emperors throughout the centuries maintained
large kennels. Many paid great respect to Pekingese
and only royalties were allowed to own them.
Breeding technics might not have been as
scientific compared to present day standards, nevertheless
they were bred to a type for generations and great
pride was taken in a great number of colours produced.
Pekingese reached their peak in the late 19th century
during the rulings of the princess 'Tzu Hsi' in Manchu
dynasty. They were bred in large numbers at the Imperial
Palace in Peking.
Towards the end of Manchu Dynasty and during
the crisis in 1860, British and French troops marched
on the Summer Palace outside Peking. The Royal Court
fled and took all possessions with them including the
sacred "Lion Dogs". In a hurry they have
left five of them behind and these fell into the hands
of the British Officers.
One was presented to Queen Victoria and was named "Looty". Her portrait was painted by one of the leading artists of the day and is now in the Royal collection at Windsor. Other dogs found their way to England and found home with the Duke and duchess of Richmond and the Duchess of Wellington.
With the fall of the Manchu Dynasty in 1911,
the great majority of Pekingese dogs were destroyed
by the court officials and only a few years later the
was virtually extinct in its native country.
Return to About
Breed or read about Standards of
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