Friday, February 17, 2012

Pekingese


Malachy the Pekingese
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show took place earlier this week, and they crowned a tiny ball of fur named Malachy as the Best in Show. The toy breed, known as a Pekingese, is one of the oldest breeds of dog out there! (And no, they don't always have fur that crazy!)

The Pekingese originated in China some 2,000 years ago, and their name derives from the former name of Beijing, Peking. Their flat face gives them a strong resemblance to the Guardian Lions, and they are considered to be one of the "Foo Dogs," along with breeds such as the Chow Chow and Shar Pei.

Early 20th Century Pekingese
Pekingese were kept exclusively by members of the Chinese nobility for hundreds and hundreds of years. Stealing one was actually a crime punishable by death! The first of the dogs to leave China didn't do so until 1860, when British troops occupied the Forbidden City during the Opium Wars. Five Pekingese were found within the palace, and were sent back to England to live with members of the British aristocracy. One of the five even went to Queen Victoria. Additional Pekingese left China as gifts from the Dowager Empress Cixi during the end of the 19th century. Famous recipients of these dogs include J.P. Morgan and Alice Roosevelt, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt.

The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1906, and was placed within the Toy Group. Pekingese are described as being brave, intelligent, and independent dogs, but they can be difficult to housebreak. Not every Pekingese has that long, perfectly placed coat. That hairstyle is the one favored for confirmation; many house pets have shorter, spaniel-like coats. Regardless of length, the Pekingese has a double coat and will need to be brushed frequently.

And to wrap today's article up, check out this Slideshow of the Westminster Winner. It reminds me that under all that fur and impeccable grooming, a champion show dog is just like any other puppy happy to get a treat.

Status : Domesticated
Location : China
Size : Height up to 9in (22cm), Weight must be under 14lbs (6.3kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Canidae -- Genus : Canis -- Species : C. lupus -- Subspecies : C. l. familiaris

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