This section is from the book "Toy Dogs And Their Ancestors", by Neville Lytton. Also available from Amazon: Toy Dogs And Their Ancestors: Including The History And Management Of Toy Spaniels, Pekingese, Japanese, And Pomeranians.
A Chinese painter, Muchi, Sung Dynasty, a. d. 963-1278, has a drawing of parti-coloured Pekingese dogs. He is believed to have lived in the twelfth century. There is a coloured drawing by a Japanese, Marsuyama Okio, 1733-1795, of Pekingese puppies, all white, and fawn with white muzzles. These have not black masks, but black shadings to the fur, and straight forelegs.
1 I see that Mr. Watson in his book complains of the same cataloguing in the American Museums, but I dare say the Museum authorities are right in considering them as much lions as dogs. The dog known in Europe as the Lion Dog had no connection with China that I can discover.
A nineteenth century print of Japanese women, by Toyokumi, shows a short-faced fawn with black spots and very high-set ears. He is shown carrying a letter, and his forelegs are straight.
The enormous size of the eyes is one of the most noticeable points, and one very rare in the show ring.
The best colour is parti-coloured red-and-white or black-and-white, the wholesale invasion of reds being a comparatively modern fashion. It will also be noticed from the picture that the dogs should not be downfaced, and that, like the Toy Spaniel and the Japanese, their muzzles should be padded like fat pincushions on each side of the nose. This is one of the most marked characteristics, which is entirely ignored in England.
Shen Chen Lin, of 1700, has painted both the yellow-and-white and the black-and-white dogs in one picture.
The Chinese dog is the ancestor of the Red-and-white Toy (so-called Blenheim) Spaniel, of the Japanese black-and-white Spaniel and of the Pekingese. Of the three, perhaps the latter is in some ways the least typical in head at the present day. The small eyes, drooping muzzles, down faces, and wrinkled foreheads of the modern Pekingese are quite wrong and untypical, and so are the crooked legs and the black masks. Let us get rid of these blemishes as quickly as we can.
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, lionlike; not too long in the body......
Coat 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 are allowable - red, fawn, black, black-and-tan, sable,brindle, white, parti-coloured; black marks and spectacles round eyes, with lines to ears, desirable..
Legs. - Short; forelegs heavy, bowed out at elbows; hind legs lighter, but firm and well shaped.......
Feet. - Flat, not round; should stand well upon 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 lbs. should disqualify. When divided by weight, classes should be over 10 lbs and under 10 lbs
Action. - Free, strong and high; crossing feet or throwing them out in running should not take off marks. Weakness of joints should be penalised
The Peking Palace Dog Association has the same standard, with the following differences:
Feathers on toes not mentioned.
All colours allowable; black mask not essential in all.
Flat, and toes turned outwards.
Maximum weight, 10 lbs. Size to be encouraged: anything between 5 lbs. and 10 lbs.
Head, nose, eyes, ears and muzzle........... 25
Shape of body........................... 15
Coat and mane........................... 20
Legs and feet............................ 20
Action .................................. 5
General appearance....................... 10
My own alterations to these standards would be:
Eyes. - Enormous, dark, prominent, round, lustrous, with very broad,black rims...............
Ears. - Set high; on a level with line of skull, carried forward;long feather.......
Muzzle. - Very short and broad, not underhung or pointed, and never wrinkled; sides well cushioned and rounded under the eyes;no wrinkles on forehead........
Shape of Body. - Well proportioned; not too heavy in front as to construction, the mane only giving a slight appearance of greater weight in front; not too long in body.
Colour. - All colours allowable; no black mask; best colour, red and white.............
Feet. - Round, and standing well up on toes which are slighthly turned out...........
Legs. - Short,and front legs not bowed..............
Tail. - Curled over the loins; long, straight, profuse feather
Size. - As in the P. P. D. A. standard, but value.........
General Appearance.- smart and bold..
Mr. Carnegie, who lived some years in Peking, tells me that there were three noticeably different kinds of coat in the dogs he saw, all being apparently considered equally good. The nose should always be black.
Mrs. Ashton Cross says of the Pekingese: "Type is fairly constant." A type as old as that of the Chinese dog should be much more than "fairly" constant. Any inconstancy in the Pekingese tends to show that this type is not an old one.
Some one recently suggested that it would be a good thing if a trophy were offered for "the most grotesque," and this was immediately taken up and a cup presented in all seriousness to the Peking Palace Dog Association for "the most bow-legged and grotesque dog or bitch " (see Our Dogs, November 18, 1910). Such prizes are offered with the best possible intentions, but I cannot imagine anything better calculated to destroy the real type for ever. If the Peking Palace Dog Association seriously wishes to reproduce living monsters like the one depicted on the cover of the recent Pekingese Monograph, I can only deplore that Association's waning sense of humour. We have to struggle hard enough now to preserve sanity of judgment, and if extremes of fantastic deformity are to be rewarded with prizes, chaos is in sight.
The tendency of modern writers is to surround the Pekingese with an atmosphere of what I can only call romantic nonsense. It would, I think, be better to divest ourselves of a sentimentality which only misleads us.
Let us hope that the researches which are, I believe, now being made in Peking will produce definite results, but I will stake my life that no Chinese dog that ever lived was like the ancient Chinese monsters seen in museums.
As to the word grotesque. Chambers's Dictionary gives it as "extravagantly formed, ludicrous"; Johnson's, " distorted of figure, unnatural, wildly formed." Do Pekingese fanciers want their dogs to be ludicrous, distorted, and wildly formed ? If so, there is no more to be said except to offer a quotation from Dryden as an apt motto for the Pekingese clubs of the future:
"An hideous picture of their dogs they drew, Nor lines nor looks nor shades nor colours true And this grotesque design exposed to public view"