Thursday, February 16, 2012

PEKINGESE DOGS

Photo by Seth Wenig/AP
If you watched the second night of the Westminster Dog Show, you already know that the winner of the Best in Show award was a Pekingese named Malachy, or CH Palacegarden Malachy, if you want to use his formal name.  This was not the dog that Mom and I and Mel and Barry wanted to win.  Our first three choices were:
1.  The Dalmatian
2.  The Doberman Pinscher
3.  The Kerry Blue Terrier

Well, except for Barry, who wanted the German Shepherd to win.  Nicky was busy taking a nap upstairs, so he didn't have an opinion.  But mostly, Mom kept saying, "Any dog except the Pekingese."  But then the Pekingese won, and we were all disappointed.




AP photo
It's not that we have anything personal against the Pekingese breed.  We just don't like the way the dogs are groomed when they are going to be shown, because they look like some kind of mop with a black bug face sticking out of it.  Or at least that's how they look to me.  Also we don't like how these dogs have been bred to have a certain look, which causes them to have a lot of health problems.

But since Malachy the Pekingese won Westminster, I decided I would tell you a little bit about him and about his breed.  Last year, Malachy, who is 4 years old, was also in the BIS group, but the Scottish Deerhound won instead.  When Malachy won this year, it was the first time since 1990 that a Pekingese has won Westminster.  For Malachy himself, it was his 115th BIS win.  The judge, Cindy Vogels, said that Malachy was "a super dog who had a stupendous night."


Pekingese dogs come from the Chinese city of Beijing, which used to be called Peking.  This was where the Emperors lived, inside the Forbidden City.  Only members of the royalty were allowed to own these imperial dogs, and if you stole one, you could be put to death.  Pekingese dogs were thought to be semi-divine  because they looked like Chinese guardian lions, who kept the evil spirits away.  When people who weren't noble visited the Emperor, they had to bow to his dog.  And when an emperor died, his dog was killed and buried with him so that it could protect him in the afterlife.











During the Second Opium War in 1860, five Pekingese dogs were captured by British soldiers and given to Queen Victoria.  These five were the beginning of the Pekingese breed in the West.  The first time Pekingese were shown in the UK was in 1893, and the breed was recognized by the AKC in 1909.










All that DNA testing that scientists have done lately with dogs has shown that the Pekingese breed is over 2000 years old.   This means it was one of the first dog breeds to develop from wolves, which is also true of basenjis.  Of course, if you look at a Pekingese, you would not think that it looks much like a wolf, but we have to believe what the DNA tells us.










Pekingese have a compact, muscular body, and bowed legs, which means they walk funny and not very fast.  The ancient Chinese may have bred the dogs to have legs like this so that they would stay around and be nice little lap dogs, and not run off all the time.  Pekingese have double coats, and they can be lots of different colors, although the most common are gold, red, or sable.  They weigh between 7 and 14 pounds, and they are 6 to 9 inches tall.  There are smaller pekes that only weigh about 6 or 7 pounds, and these are called "sleeve pekingese" because the emperors and empresses used to carry them around inside their big sleeves.










Writer Edith Wharton with two pekes



Because they have such flat faces, Pekingese may have breathing problems, and they can catch colds easily.  Also they might have trouble with their eyes, such as getting eye ulcers or dry eyes or progressive retinal atrophy.  Since they have long backs, they can sometimes injure the disks in their spines.  But if they stay healthy, pekes can live for about 10 or 15 years.

The temperament of this breed is sensitive, independent, and very loving.  They were bred to be companion dogs, and that is what they are good at, but they also make good watchdogs.  If they are fed too much, it's easy for them to get too fat, and sometimes pekes can be difficult to housebreak.

So that's the story of the breed that won at Westminster this year.  Malachy is supposed to be an excellent example of all that is best in his breed, but who can tell anything about him, under all that hair?  Which is why I personally still wish the Dalmatian had won!

15 comments:

  1. Seems like the same old, fluffy dogs (poodles, bichons, pekes) always have the best chance. You can't hide the confirmation of a Dalmatian or basenji! Great post.

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  2. Dear Aunt Jen,
    Don't even get me started on poodles because I just HATE all those stupid puff balls that the show poodles have! LOL But you are right, the people watching the dog show can't see much about how an animal is shaped if it has a bunch of hair. I guess the judge knows because she or he reaches in there and feels the dog, but it's still not fair that ordinary people can't tell what's under all that fur! Just my opinion!
    Your friend, Piper

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  3. I never really was a big fan of pekingese. They look too much like they ran into a wall if you ask me. :P
    Congratulations to Malarky anyways, though!
    Piper, have you ever done or thought about doing a post on doggy training? That would be really helpful and cool. I want to hear how your mom trains you guys!!

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    1. Dear Squirrel,
      I like what you said about Pekingese dogs looking like they ran into a wall! That dog who won Westminster was named for that prophet guy in the Bible, Malachi, I think, but they spelled it with a "y" for some dumb reason. "Malarky" might be a better name for him, though! LOL

      Our mom is not too big into training, I am happy to say! She has tried it a few times, and some of us turned out to be more trainable than others, but that does not mean the more trainable dogs are smarter, if you want my opinion. You can read all my in-depth thoughts about obedience class if you go to my entry for November 5, 2009 (http://piperbasenji.blogspot.com/2009/11/obedience-class.html). Basically, Mom doesn't do any real training with us, but sometimes she uses some treats to make us think it is worth our while to come when she calls.

      Your friend, Piper

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  4. Hi Piper - this is Di! It's been forever since mom let me write on your blog...I have NO idea what made her let me do so today...or this evening. I will say while mom was reading today's blog, she kept muttering, "yep, yep, I agree, yep, yep..." so I think she really liked today's blog and agreed with all you said. I also know when mom watches the Westminster Dog Show...she does NOT "get into" the fluffy stuff that dogs go through. Also, my mom is always always always wanting a Vizsla to win...even if it's not Best in Show...just the group category. Personally, I'm kind of afraid if a Vizsla ever won something...I think my mom might go a little crazy!! I did hear her say she liked the Dalmation. Well...this is the most I've ever written or even thought about dogs, so I will close for now. Can't wait to see the CAT show! :)
    Love, Di

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    1. Dear Di,
      I'm glad your mom let you write a comment on my blog today. I think it would be great if a vizsla won BIS. Any breeds except the ones that always win would be good as Best in Show. At least that's my opinion.
      Love, Piper
      P.S. Do you think Persians are kind of like the Pekingese of the cat world?

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  5. I am sooo excited that you asked my opinion! I think your comment/question about Persians is a GREAT OBSERVATION...and although you didn't ask I DON'T want any Persians at "my" house. I like other cats...I guess...but I don't want any fu-fu cats here. I just don't understand the flat faces, although mom said we MUST accept all breeds. Don't tell anyone I said this, but what a hypocrite...you should hear my mom when she's watching the animal channel and someone is blow drying a dog or cats long hair...lol!!
    Love, Di
    P.S. I don't know if my mom has told you but we have a new cat at our house; it's a Ragdoll cat...is that a funny name for a cat or what? Mom says this is temporary and she's only helping a friend out for about a month...but I KNOW it's going to be permanent. I bet you can tell I am MOST UNHAPPY about this new addition...and I'm really really tired of my mom going out of her way to make "Sugar" feel welcome. GRRR!!

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    1. Dear Di,
      I can understand how you feel, with a new cat invading your territory! Ragdolls are very pretty, though, or at least our little Hazel was. Anyway, maybe you should try to get along with this new cat, especially if it is only going to be there for a month. Or supposedly for only a month. Ha!
      Love, Piper

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  6. Hello friend: I've been visiting your blog and I found "great", with good data.

    I would like to share with you and your readers more interesting information about the Pekingese (Pekines) dog breed.

    I hope you like my space "Dogs and Cats" and leave me a comment if you fancy.

    Greetings from Spain

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  7. Hey, I was searching the web for Peke photos and found my own photo that have been used on this site. The 4th peke picture down in the Peke section (six Pekes on the bench) are my Pekes!! :).
    Pekingese are an awesome breed!
    Julie

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    1. I hope you don't mind that I used your photo. It was so cute! Six Pekes is a lot of Pekes!

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  8. Pekingese are great little dogs. I wish people wouldn't be such snobs against the breed and remember that ALL these show dogs (big, small, sporting , toy etc) are pampered pooches. Really, Malachy doesn't resemble most of the original pekes or the pet pekes you see today for example..... All of the early art / photos of Pekingese look more like our pet Pekingese. I don't know why the standard for showing them has become so extreme. You can see very clearly both of my pekes' musculature really well through their hair. Both of them were/are too big to have been show dogs (and my one peke is white, white pekes were disqualified as show dogs for a long time) but both of my Pekingese were/ are beautiful and healthy dogs. Very athletic , running , jumping through hoops. My Zig was very easy to train but he is somewhat dominant (his only flaw). Oh , another point to add is that Pekingese are DWARVES. Stop the hate people. I love all dogs and cats !!!!

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    1. Your Pekes sound like great dogs, and like they are healthy and happy. The standard is too extreme in some breeds, and the dogs end up with a lot of health problems. I'm glad that didn't happen to me, and that I just ended up being adorable! LOL

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