Few of the many breeds of foreign dogs now established in England have attained such a measure of popularity in so short a time as the Pekinese. Of their early history little is known, beyond the fact that at the looting of the Summer Palace of Pekin, in 1860, bronze effigies of these dogs, known to be more than two thousand years old, were found within the sacred precincts. The dogs were, and are to this day, jealously guarded under the supervision of the Chief Eunuch of the Court, and few have ever found their way into the outer world.

So far as the writer is aware, the history of the breed in England dates from the importation in 1860 of five dogs taken from the Summer Palace, where they had, no doubt, been forgotten on the flight of the Court to the interior. Admiral Lord John Hay, who was present on active service, gives a graphic account of the finding of these little dogs in a part of the garden frequented by an aunt of the Emperor, who had committed suicide on the approach of the Allied Forces. Lord John and another naval officer, a cousin of the late Duchess of Richmond's, each secured two dogs; the fifth was taken by General Dunne, who presented it to Queen Victoria. Lord John took pains to ascertain that none had found their way into the French camp, and he heard then that the others had all been removed to Jehal with the Court. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that these five were the only Palace dogs, or Sacred Temple dogs of Pekin, which reached England, and it is from the pair which lived to a respectable old age at Goodwood that so many of the breed now in England trace their descent.

Many years ago Mr. Alfred de Rothschild tried, through his agents in China, to secure a specimen of the Palace dog for the writer, in order to carry on the Goodwood strain, but without success, even after a correspondence with Pekin which lasted more than two years; but we succeeded in obtaining confirmation of what we had always understood: namely, that the Palace dogs are rigidly guarded, and that their theft is punishable by death. At the time of the Boxer Rebellion only Spaniels, Pugs, and Poodles were found in the Imperial Palace when it was occupied by the Allied Forces, the little dogs having once more preceded the court in the flight to Si-gnanfu.

The Duchess of Richmond occasionally gave away a dog to intimate friends, such as the Dowager Lady Wharncliffe, Lady Dorothy Nevill, and others, but in those days the Pekinese was practically an unknown quantity, and it can therefore be more readily understood what interest was aroused about eleven years ago by the appearance of a small dog, similar in size, colour, and general type to those so carefully cherished at Goodwood. This proved to be none other than the since well-known sire Ah Cum, owned by Mrs. Douglas Murray, whose husband, having extensive interests in China, had managed after many years to secure a true Palace dog, smuggled in a box of hay, placed inside a crate which contained Japanese deer!

Ah Cum was mated without delay to two Goodwood bitches, the result being, in the first litters, Ch. Goodwood Lo and Goodwood Put-Sing. To these three sires, some of the bluest Pekinese blood is traceable, vide Ch. Goodwood Chum, Ch. Chu-Erh of Alderbourne, Ch. Gia-Gia, Manchu Tao-Tai, Goodwood Ming, Marland Myth, and others.

It must, however, be clearly admitted that since the popularity of the breed has become established we unluckily see scores of Pekinese in the show-ring who have lost all resemblance to the original type, and for this the Pekinese Club is in some measure to blame. The original points for the guidance of breeders and judges were drawn up by Lady Samuelson, Mrs. Douglas Murray, and Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox, who fixed the maximum size at 10 lb.—a very generous margin. Since then the club has amended the scale of points, no doubt in order to secure a larger membership, and the maximum now stands at 18 lb.

Is it therefore to be wondered at that confusion exists as to what is the true type? At shows there should be two distinct classes; the Palace dog and the Pekin Spaniel, or any other name which would enable the breeds to be kept distinct.

The following is the scale of points as issued by the Pekinese Club:—

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HEAD—Massive, broad skull, wide and flat between the ears (not dome shaped); wide between the eyes. NOSE—Black, broad, very short and flat. EYES—Large, dark, prominent, round, lustrous. STOP—Deep. EARS—Heart-shaped; not set too high; leather never long enough to come below the muzzle; not carried erect, but rather drooping, long feather. MUZZLE—Very short and broad; not underhung nor pointed; wrinkled. MANE—Profuse, extending beyond shoulder blades, forming ruff or frill round front of neck. SHAPE OF BODY—Heavy in front; broad chest falling away lighter behind; lion-like; not too long in the body. COAT AND FEATHER AND CONDITION—Long, with thick undercoat; straight and flat, not curly nor wavy; rather coarse but soft; feather on thighs, legs, tail and toes, long and profuse. COLOUR—All colours allowable, red, fawn, black, black and tan, sable, brindle, white and parti-coloured. Black masks, and spectacles round the eyes, with lines to the ears, are desirable. LEGS—Short; fore-legs heavy, bowed out at elbows; hind-legs lighter, but firm and well shaped. FEET—Flat, not round; should stand well up on toes, not on ankles. TAIL—Curled and carried well up on loins; long, profuse straight feather. SIZE—Being a toy dog the smaller the better, provided type and points are not sacrificed. Anything over 18 lb. should disqualify. When divided by weight, classes should be over 10 lb., and under 10 lb. ACTION—Free, strong and high; crossing feet or throwing them out in running should not take off marks; weakness of joints should be penalised.

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Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox has occasionally been criticised for her advocacy of whole-coloured specimens, but in support of this preference it can be proved that the original pair brought to Goodwood, as well as Mrs. Murray's Ah Cum, were all of the golden chestnut shade; and, as no brindled, parti-coloured, or black dog has ever been born at Goodwood or Broughton, we have some authority for looking upon whole-colour as an important point. This view was in the first place confirmed by the late Chinese Ambassador in London, and further by Baron Speck von Sternberg, who was for many years Minister at Pekin and had very special facilities for noting the points of the Palace dogs.

In every case a black muzzle is indispensable, also black points to the ears, with trousers, tail and feathering a somewhat lighter shade than the body. There is considerable divergence of opinion as to the penalisation of what, in other breeds, is known as a “Dudley” nose, but on this point there must be some difficulty at shows; in the Pekinese the colour of the nose varies in a remarkable way, especially in the case of the bitches. For instance, a pinkish tinge was always visible on the nose of Goodwood Meh before the birth of her puppies; but it resumed its normal colour when the puppies were a few weeks old. As a representative type, Chu-Erh of Alderbourne resembles most nearly the old Goodwood dogs. He has the same square, cobby appearance, broad chest, bowed legs, profuse feather, and large, lustrous eyes—points which are frequently looked for in vain nowadays—and his breeder and owner may well be proud of him.

The Pekinese differs from the Japanese dog in that it appears to be far stronger in constitution, and withstands the changes of the English climate with much greater ease; in fact, they are as hardy, under healthy conditions, as any English breed, and the only serious trouble seems to be the weakness which is developing in the eyes. Small abscesses frequently appear when the puppies are a few months old, and, although they may not affect the sight, they almost inevitably leave a bluish mark, while in some cases the eye itself becomes contracted. Whether this is one of the results of in-breeding it is difficult to say, and it would be of interest to know whether the same trouble is met with in China.

The Pekinese bitches are excellent mothers, provided they are not interfered with for the first few days. This was discovered at Goodwood years ago by the fact that, on two or three occasions, one Celestial lady, who had been given greater attention than she considered necessary, revenged herself by devouring her own family of puppies! One thing seems from experience to be especially advisable—as far as can be arranged, to breed in the spring rather than autumn. The puppies need all the open air and exercise that is possible, and where rickety specimens are so frequently met with it is only natural that a puppy who starts life with the summer months ahead is more likely to develop well than one born in the autumn. Great attention should be paid with reference to the frequent—almost certain—presence of worms, which trouble seems more prevalent with Pekinese than with any other breed. Wherever possible, fish should be given as part of the dietary; some Pekinese devour it with relish; others will not touch it, but there is no doubt it is a useful item in the bill of fare. Bread well soaked in very strong stock, sheep's head, and liver are always better as regular diet than meat, but in cases of debility a little raw meat given once a day is most beneficial.

It would not be fitting to close an article on Pekinese without bearing testimony to their extraordinarily attractive characteristics. They are intensely affectionate and faithful, and have something almost cat-like in their domesticity. They display far more character than the so-called “toy dog” usually does, and for this reason it is all-important that pains should be taken to preserve the true type, in a recognition of the fact that quality is more essential than quantity.

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As their breed-name implies, these tiny black and white, long-haired lap dogs are reputed to be natives of the land of the chrysanthemum. The Japanese, who have treasured them for centuries, have the belief that they are not less ancient than the dogs of Malta. There seems to be a probability, however, that the breed may claim to be Chinese just as surely as Japanese. The Hon. Mrs. McLaren Morrison, an authority on exotic dogs whose opinion must always be taken with respect, is inclined to the belief that they are related to the short-nosed Spaniels of Thibet; while other experts are equally of opinion that the variety is an offshoot from the Spaniels of Pekin. It is fairly certain that they are indigenous to the Far East, whence we have derived so many of our small snub-nosed, large-eyed, and long-haired pets. The Oriental peoples have always bred their lap dogs to small size, convenient for carrying in the sleeve. The “sleeve dog” and the “chin dog” are common and appropriate appellations in the East.

The Japanese Spaniel was certainly known in England half a century ago, and probably much earlier. Our seamen often brought them home as presents for their sweethearts. These early imported specimens were generally of the larger kind, and if they were bred from—which is doubtful—it was by crossing with the already long-established King Charles or Blenheim Spaniels. Their colours were not invariably white and black. Many were white and red, or white with lemon-yellow patches. The colouring other than white was usually about the long-fringed ears and the crown of the head, with a line of white running from the point of the snub black nose between the eyes as far as the occiput. This blaze up the face was commonly said to resemble the body of a butterfly, whose closed wings were represented by the dog's expansive ears.

The white and black colouring is now the most frequent. The points desired are a broad and rounded skull, large in proportion to the dog's body; a wide, strong muzzle and a turned-up lower jaw. Great length of body is not good; the back should be short and level. The legs are by preference slender and much feathered, the feet large and well separated. An important point is the coat. It should be abundant, particularly about the neck, where it forms a ruffle, and it ought to be quite straight and very silky. The Japanese Spaniel is constitutionally delicate, requiring considerable care in feeding. A frequent—almost a daily—change of diet is to be recommended, and manufactured foods are to be avoided. Rice usually agrees well; fresh fish, sheep's head, tongue, chicken livers, milk or batter puddings are also suitable; and occasionally give oatmeal porridge, alternated with a little scraped raw meat as an especial favour. For puppies newly weaned it is well to limit the supply of milk foods and to avoid red meat. Finely minced rabbit, or fish are better.

Of the Japanese Spaniels which have recently been prominent in competition, may be mentioned Miss Serena's Champion Fuji of Kobe, a remarkably beautiful bitch, who was under 5 lb. in weight, and who in her brief life gained six full championships. Mrs. Gregson's Ch. Tora of Braywick, a fine red and white dog, somewhat over 7 lb., is also to be remembered as a typical example of the breed, together with Kara, the smallest Jap ever exhibited or bred in this country, weighing only 2-1/2 lb. when 2-1/2 years old; Lady Samuelson's Togo and O'Toyo of Braywick, and Mrs. Hull's Ch. Daddy Jap.

There has lately been a tendency to lay too much stress upon diminutive size in this variety of the dog, to the neglect of well-formed limbs and free movement; but on the whole it may be stated with confidence that the Japanese is prospering in England, thanks largely to the energetic work of the Japanese Chin Club, which was formed some three years ago to promote the best interests of the breed.

The following is the official standard issued by the Club:—

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HEAD—Should be large for size of animal, very broad and with slightly rounded skull. MUZZLE—Strong and wide; very short from eyes to nose; upper jaw should look slightly turned up between the eyes; lower jaw should be also turned up or finished so as to meet it, but should the lower jaw be slightly underhung it is not a blemish provided the teeth are not shown in consequence. NOSE—Very short in the muzzle part. The end or nose proper should be wide, with open nostrils, and must be the colour of the dog's marking, i.e., black in black-marked dogs, and red or deep flesh colour in red or lemon marked dogs. EYES—Large, dark, lustrous, rather prominent, and set wide apart. EARS—Small and V-shaped, nicely feathered, set wide apart and high on the head and carried slightly forward. NECK—Should be short and moderately thick. BODY—Very compact and squarely built, with a short back, rather wide chest, and of generally “cobby” shape. The body and legs should really go into a square, i.e., the length of the dog should be about its height. LEGS—The bones of the legs should be small, giving them a slender appearance, and they should be well feathered. FEET—Small and shaped, somewhat long; the dog stands up on its toes somewhat. If feathered, the tufts should never increase the width of the foot, but only its length a trifle. TAIL—Carried in a tight curl over the back. It should be profusely feathered so as to give the appearance of a beautiful “plume” on the animal's back. COAT—Profuse, long, straight, rather silky. It should be absolutely free from wave or curl, and not lie too flat, but have a tendency to stand out, especially at the neck, so as to give a thick mane or ruff, which with profuse feathering on thighs and tail gives a very showy appearance. COLOUR—Either black and white or red and white, i.e., parti-coloured. The term red includes all shades, sable, brindle, lemon or orange, but the brighter and clearer the red the better. The white should be clear white, and the colour, whether black or red, should be evenly distributed in patches over the body, cheeks, and ears. HEIGHT AT SHOULDER—About ten inches. WEIGHT—The size desirable is from 4 lb. to 9 lb. The smaller size is preferable if good shape.