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The Legend

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 dogs.


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 breed was virtually extinct in its native country.

Return to About Breed or read about Standards of Pekingese dogs or visit our picture galleries puppies and shows.




"A lion dog has a heart, character and courage of a lion. The ceramic lion dog was made during Tang Dynasty (618-907)"

ceramic lion dog



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