When it comes to Pekingese history, it all starts with the lion and the marmoset. The lion loved the marmoset and begged the animal’s patron saint, Ah Chu, to allow him to wed his love by retaining his lion character and heart, but to shrink him to the size of a pigmy. This union was granted and created the offspring that was said to be the Lion Dog of Chine or the Dog of Fu Lin.
The Lion Dog dates back to the 8th Century Tang Dynasty. The breeding of these dogs, which are now what we call the Pekingese breed, reached a zenith from 1821 and 1851, which was the Tao Kuang period. The oldest offspring, though, were kept sacred and pure. The standards came from illustrated Imperial Dog Books. Breeding was the result of thought and theories and records weren’t kept. The most beautiful dogs were seen by women several times a day through images and/or sculpture. The desired coat colors were hung within the sleeping quarters – just one of the many elaborated theories from this age.
Pekingese were brought to the United States as gifts. The Dowager Empress used these dogs as gifts to give to influential Americans. The Pekingese was first registered with the AKC in 1906. The Pekingese breed’s purpose in life is to provide companionship, understanding and loyalty to its owners.