Origin of the Pekingese
- Lion Dog
- Pelchie Dog
- Foo (or Fu) dog
- Peking Palasthund
The breed originated in China in antiquity, in the city of Peking most likely from Asian wolves. Recent DNA analysis confirms that the Pekingese breed is one of the oldest breeds of dog, one of the least genetically diverged from the wolf. For centuries, they could be owned only by members of the Chinese Imperial Palace.
In 1860 the British and French were at war with China. Troops invaded on the Summer Palace and the Emperor, and court, fled. It is supposed that the Emperor’s aunt had been left behind and that she committed suicide, but beside her were five dogs left alive, dogs of beauty, the lion dogs. The smallest, a fawn and white later called Looty, who travelled in General Dunne’s forage cvap, was presented to Queen Victoria. At approxamatley three years old when he came to England in 1861, he died in 1872.
These rare dogs were hard to aquire and were usually purchased illegally in China. The Chinese often stole them and sold them at a high price to Europeans, stole them a second time and either resold them or kept them and claimed a reward.
It has been written that the colors of these dogs were a rich chestnut, brown with black markings, and fawn and white. One such Pekingese, weighing a mere 2.5 -3 lbs belonged to an English girl and was referred to as a Chinese Pug.
The early Pekes sent to England were bred together, however pedigree was not a major concern and the dogs were not that popular. In 1893, a sea captain, Captain Loftus Allen bought his wife a dog which was later called Pekin Peter. In 1894, Pekin Peter became the first Pekingese to be shown in England at the Chester Show. Soon after he was followed by Pekin Prince and Pekin Princess, both were black weighing between 6-8 pounds – which was slightly heavier than the the Pekes who had been imported.