Always a favorite pet of the American and European aristocracies, the Pekingese is an ancient toy breed originating in China dating back to 800 A.D. It is one of the few breeds drawing its name from a capital city – Peking, now Beijing. Pekingese were the favored breed of the Chinese Imperial Court and were brought first to England, then from there to America. Legend attributes their origin to a mythical cross between a lion and a marmoset. The smallest Pekingese are known as “Sleeve Dogs” because they were carried in the voluminous sleeves of the Chinese nobility. The Pekingese is a long-lived, active breed that is as ideal for apartment living as it is for a palatial home.