The Pekingese is a toy-sized breed that's often considered the epitome of companion dogs--and fortunately, Pekes don't require a great deal of overall care. This page is dedicated to all things Pekingese: puppy care, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more. Whether you're a new or experienced owner, to learn all you need to know about caring for your Pekingese, read on!
Though lively and energetic, a Pekingese doesn't require a great deal of daily exercise. Since Pekes are a toy-sized breed, what would be considered just a little exercise for larger breeds is a lot for them! A Pekingese puppy can be exercised by going on short (10-minute) leashed walks as early as three months of age; an adult Peke will need about an hour of physical activity per day, ideally consisting of two moderate (15- to 20-minute) walks along with a prolonged play period.
Certain precautions need to be taken, though, when exercising a Pekingese. For one thing, this breed's temperament usually includes quite a bit of stubbornness, so it's best to use a leash when walking them (often combined with teaching them the "Heel!" command) from puppyhood on, in order to instill proper obedience. Puppies don't need to participate in activities that include lots of jumping and running, as this can damage their still-growing bones and joints. And Pekingese are brachycephalic, meaning they have short noses that don't cool the air they breathe as well as longer-nosed breeds, so they can easily overheat in extremely warm temperatures; make sure you don't exercise your Peke for very long in hot weather, and provide the dog with access to plenty of fresh water at all times.
That hour of daily exercise (particularly those leashed walks!) is crucial to a Pekingese's behavior. As previously mentioned, these dogs can be stubborn and willful, and a Pekingese that's not properly exercised can turn into a bossy, fussy, even downright mean little dog. So daily activity is key in keeping both the Peke and its human family members happy. A few exercise ideas:
- Walking: Two 20-minute walks per day is a good target
- Dog Park: Pekes love playing with other dogs
- Fetch: Can be done indoors or out
- Obedience trials: Helps a Peke learn proper behavior
- Hide and Seek: Good indoor activity on hot or rainy days
When indoors, it's a good idea for a Pekingese to have a toy to play with to release pent-up energy. (And a stick or other oblong-shaped toy is best; Pekingeses' small mouths have trouble gripping a ball of any size.) A Pekingese will also love having another toy-sized dog (especially another Peke) to play with, so multi-dog households are ideal. And it's recommended that you establish a consistent daily exercise schedule for your Peke (like walks in the morning and evening, for example, combined with a play period in the afternoon).
Maintenance for this breed in terms of shedding and drooling is moderate to frequent. Though drooling is basically a non-issue, Pekingese shedding is heavy--and heavy year-round. And Pekingese are not hypoallergenic, so they're not a very good match for allergy sufferers.
These dogs have long-haired, double-layered coats that shed their undercoats constantly, so owners will need to prepare for having dog hair everywhere. Daily brushing and monthly baths can decrease the amount of shed hairs somewhat, but won't completely solve the problem. Some owners clip their Pekes' coats thinking that will fix the issue--but in reality, all a haircut does is shorten the length of the shed hairs, and the shedding amount stays the same. So as anyone with a Pekingese already knows, owners of these dogs will need to vacuum and use lint rollers often.
And a Pekingese may drool a bit in anticipation of food, but very little otherwise. If your Pekingese is drooling excessively it may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case veterinary care is needed.
The Pekingese diet is important to the dog's health and well-being--and choosing Pekingese dog food can be difficult. These little dogs are known to be picky eaters, and owners have often said their Pekes will go on hunger strikes if they don't like what they're being fed. Pekingese also have delicate stomachs that don't react well to certain foods (it makes them incredibly gassy, in other words), so picking the right food for your Peke can be tough.
Many owners say their Pekes are fine eating dry kibble, but others say wet food is best; still others say their Pekes prefer only fresh or home-prepared foods. According to canine experts, it's recommended that you try each of these diets (and combinations of two or even all three food types) to determine what's best for both you and the dog. A popular choice, one that many people say their Pekes enjoy, is dry kibble mixed with a bit of wet food from a pouch. Regardless of your preference, an adult Pekingese will need approximately 0.75 cups of food (or about 400 calories) per day, divided into two meals; puppies younger than six months old will need an average of half that, or 0.4 cups (225 calories) divided into three meals. For more detailed info see the following chart:
Surprisingly, for such picky eaters Pekingese have a high tendency for obesity if they're over-fed and/or under-exercised. Veterinarians believe that being overweight contributes to a number of health problems for these dogs, including breathing and digestive issues and a shortened lifespan. And one sure-fire way to end up with a fat Pekingese is to "free-feed" the dog by leaving food in its dish all day, thereby allowing the Peke to eat anytime it wants. It's suggested that instead of leaving food in the bowl 24/7, pick it up 15-20 minutes after your Peke begins eating, and don't put it down again until the next mealtime.
If you're wondering whether your Pekingese is overweight, give the dog this simple test: run your hand along its side--and if you can't easily feel ribs, it's diet time. Reduce the Peke's daily food intake by one-fourth, and add an extra walk or play session to its daily routine.
There's never-ending debate over what's the best dog food for a Pekingese. These dogs are extremely finicky eaters, so owners say they feed their Pekes everything from dry kibble, to wet/canned, to fresh or home-cooked food--and often, they say, a Pekingese will prefer a combination of two (or even all three) food types. Regardless, it's important that a Peke's diet is high in animal proteins and animal or vegetable fats.
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