Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

The Pekingese Club was founded in 1904 and it was the first of its kind to be formed for the breed in the United Kingdom.

The foundation of the Pekingese Club was a natural progression several years after the first Pekingese found their way to these shores, and having gained in popularity through the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Prior to 1898, there had been no dedicated classes for the breed and they had only been able to enter in Variety Classes at shows. It wasn’t until 1898 that specialized classes were first scheduled, that being at the Ladies Kennel Association show at the Botanic Gardens, drawing a grand entry of 7.

Crufts did not schedule any classes for the breed until 1900 and at that show there was just but one dog, Sir Edgar Boehms Pekin Yen.

However during these early years the breed had drawn together a strong, if only small, band of admirers and breeders particularly on the Committee of the Japanese Spaniel Club. They included the Countess of Warwick, Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox, Lady de Ramsay, Lady Samuelson, Mrs. Kate Soloman and Mrs. Loftus Allen and it was this group who had requested that a standard of points be drawn up for Pekingese.

As the breed began to gain strength the name of the Japanese Spaniel Club changed to the Japanese & Pekingese Club. A list of Judges was drawn up – seven in all. They were Mrs. Douglas Murray, Mrs. Albert Gray, Mrs. Strick, The Earl of March, Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox, Mr. G Brown and Mrs. Loftus Allen.

By 1904 the popularity of the breed dictated that the time had come for a club to be formed solely for Pekingese.

On 18 October 1904 the Japanese and Pekingese Club was dissolved and at a further meeting on 22 November in the same year the Pekingese Club was born with all of 29 members with Lady Algernon Gordon Lennox as, previously with the former Club, its President.

When Pekingese were part of the Japanese Spaniel Club there were only two trophies on offer for the breed, nowadays the trophies of the Pekingese Club number 87, many of them very valuable.

The Club’s trophies were increased with the donation in 1905 by Mr. Douglas Murray of a cup that was valued at 40 guineas in those days and was named the Douglas Murray Challenge Trophy This trophy is still very much in existence today. In those early days it was designated to be competed for every year at the Kennel Club shows beginning in October that year. The first winner was Lady Decies Ch Manchu Cheng Tu. In later years the ruling was changed, with permission from the Kennel Club, so that the trophy is now awarded to Best of Breed at Crufts and is held by the recipient for one year.

In 1907 two gold medals were added to the collection and were offered for the Best Dog and Best Bitch throughout the year, the first ones being won by Lady Decies Ch Manchu Cheng Tu and The Hon Mrs. Carnegies Li-Tzu.

From 1910 – 1932 there were records kept of any awards, however a medal has recently come to light dated 1916. In 1932 the records were re-established and the medals were awarded from then on by way of a points system.

By 1908 a division had appeared amongst breeders in the UK over the question of weight. The Pekingese Club had originally set a weight limit of 10lbs, which was altered at one time to 18lbs and then removed altogether from the requisites of the breed. This is one of the reasons that a second club came into existence, the Pekin Palace Dog Association, which set a limit of 10lbs.

The Pekingese Club over the years has seen many changes. During its life it has been managed throughout by various committee members, all being devotees of the breed. It is a Club that has inspired passion, loyalty and affection probably because of it illustrious position as the Parent Club of the breed in the UK. The officers and committee have included a veritable “Who’s Who” of Pekingese breeders throughout the decades.

One of these, Mrs. Yvonne Bentinck (Copplestone), was to introduce to the Club one of its greatest assets that has run for over 40 years, The Pekingese Club Year Book.

The “pilot” book was first produced in 1959 listing within its membership, 150 UK members plus 32 from overseas. Today the combined figure of UK and overseas members totals well over 600.

The Year Book has become one of the breeds institutions and whatever corner of the world you may visit a Pekingese breeder you can be sure that a copy of the “Red Book” will be in evidence.

The Club like many families or businesses has been through its own rocky patches. One particular time it underwent a “cash flow” problem and at that time it was the devotion and generosity of its members who donated various items of memorabilia and the like for auction, that ensured its survival.

The Champions Book is another area that the Pekingese Club have provided the breed worldwide with, an edition that is limited to 400, and is a comprehensive record of winning dogs in the UK. Borne from an idea of Joyce Mitchell in the early 1980’s who was the UK Secretary at that time it has been recently updated and includes all the champions made up between 1946 and 1998.

The Pekingese Club is actively involved in various areas of the breed, including being a member of the Pekingese Breed Council. The Club has hosted seminars over the years, and will now do so in conjunction with the Breed Council. The Club also helps to run the breed booth at Discover Dogs, as a member of the Pekingese Breed Council, at Crufts and Earls Court. During this time the stand is manned by committee and volunteer members promoting the breed and answering questions from the general public.

The Club, stronger than ever, has just celebrated it’s Centenary Year marked to date with the Championship Show in February with over 250 people in attendance throughout the day, followed by a Dinner Dance.

Formed at the home of Mrs. Albert Gray in Chelsea all those years ago by a handful of devotees it was their vision to promote the breed in this country.

Their legacy has given the breed, a unique club that has gone through varying stages of highs, lows, successes and turmoil’s but through it all, and as ever, it is held in high esteem and affection by lovers of the breed both at home and abroad.

Breed Standard 1898

Head: The head should be large, very broad, wide between the eyes, muzzle deep, broad and square, lower jaw not turned up like a Japanese Spaniel; eyes very large, dark and lustrous, very prominent, and set wide apart; ears covered with long hair.

Body: Body should be very heavy in front, falling away light behind, as in a Bulldog; low on the leg, and as short in body as is consistent with light hindquarters.

Legs: The legs should be heavy, with as much bone as possible, well out at elbow, and feathered.

Feet: The feet should be long and flat, and covered with long hair, which should increase their length but not their breadth.

Tail: The tail should be carried in a curl over the back as in a Japanese Spaniel, and should be profusely feathered so as to give it the appearance of a “plume” over the animal’s back.

Coat: The mane (which is a very important point) should be very profuse, giving a lion-like appearance; the coat like that of a Collie, double – a long, straight outer coat and a dense thick one under.

Colour: Black, black-and-tan, brindle, fawn, and chocolate. In the brindles and fawns a black mask is desired.

Size: A Pekingese may be any size, but the small ones are to be desired.”

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