Pekingese Grooming Tips

Coat Is An Inherited Trait

If your dog does not have the genes behind it, no grooming trick in the world will give him an abundant coat. Yet many a potentially beautiful coat has been ruined by neglect and bad grooming.

While genetics are the foundation of a beautiful coat, a good diet is an important building block. Every dog is different, with some needing more protein and fat than others. Only you can find the proper diet that works for your dog. A basic book on canine nutrition will pay for itself many times over.

Your brushing schedule will vary from dog to dog: some as often as every other day while others can do with only a few times a week. Other factors may change how often you brush, too, such as wrapping the coat or if a dog is shedding. If you are brushing regularly and still find mats you must look for the cause - mats don't just appear. Watch to see if your dog is rubbing or scratching himself. Check for ear infections or skin irritations and see your veterinarian promptly. Don't hesitate to discuss your dog's coat with your veterinarian. Ask about medications being prescribed as some may cause dogs to shed or to blow their coat. Ask your veterinarian also to suggest a worming schedule for your dog. Dogs being shown may need to be wormed as often as four times a year while others may not need to be wormed as often. No little Pekingese body can concentrate on growing beautiful coat if in addition it has to deal with these easily prevented parasites.

Things That May Cause Coat Damage

Kennels made of rough, unfinished concrete may cause wear and tear on the coat.  Playmates who pull and tug on the coat.  Excessive handling causes breakage. Brushing too hard or improperly.   Bathing too frequently.  Grooming products containing alcohol may make the coat dry and brittle.  Using rubber bands when wrapping.  Note:  A beautiful coat will not happen overnight. It may take several months to even notice a difference. Don't give up.

Beginning the Grooming Process

Equipment needed: coat dressing,- anti-static spray holding-type spray (hair spray), baby powder (regular and corn starch), greyhound comb, shears, thinning shears pin brush, small soft slicker brush natural bristle brush toenail clippers, Kwick Stop, tissue paper, eye & wrinkle cleaner, ear cleaner, cotton balls, washcloth (damp), small hand-held blow dryer, shampoo, creme rinse.

Optional Equipment

Small pair of clippers, baby wipes, toothbrush kit, hair clip, shop towels, plastic, wax paper, stripping knife, hair dryer.


Things needed: Shampoo, creme rinse, towels and cotton balls.

Bathing too often may destroy the coat. If the dog is kept in clean dry quarters, bathing a few times a year is enough.

The exception is the underside (the genital, rectal area and the feet) as needed. When bathing use a good name-brand dog shampoo and creme rinse (see note below). Start by placing a cotton ball in each car. Wet the coat thoroughly. Apply a small amount of shampoo to palm of hand rubbing palms together to distribute shampoo, work shampoo gently into coat bringing to a full lather. Pay close attention to feet and rear. This is also a good time to express anal glands. Rinse coat c0mpletely and repeat process. Follow with a good creme rinse being sure to wait the required time before rinsing. It is important to rinse all creme rinse from the coat as any residue left can make the coat dull and flat. Gently squeeze out any excess water from the coat, then cover dog with a large towel.

A frequent mistake made at this point is to towel-dry the dog - rubbing vigorously can cause tangles and or coat damage. Taking one section of the hair into the towel at a time, let the towel draw the moisture out of the coat. When finished place a clean, dry towel on the surface on which you'll dry the drying.

Note: PH balances differ greatly between dogs and people. Human shampoos used on dogs can strip out important coat oils, leaving  the coat dry and brittle. It actually takes a dog a whole month to produce the oil a human produces in 24 hours. Be sure to read labels on any shampoo making sure it is the best suited for your dog. Remember to check if it is a "tearless" product- if not, avoid the eye area.


You will need: Blow dryer, brushes

A high-velocity dryer is a tool that can make this whole process much easier. Readers owning more than one Peke will find this an invaluable time-saver when used correctly. A mistake often made with disastrous results is using the HV dryer in a rapid back and forth motion. This can cause severe tangling and knotting. With practice you can dry nearly the whole dog by moving slowly and keeping the dryer far enough away from the body so as not to tangle hair. Yes, it does take practice. If you are not blowing with a HV dryer a common blow dryer will work fine. Check temperature settings making sure the air current is not too hot for your dog's skin. As with the HV dryer, your goal will be learning to blow dry and brush at the same time. The results will more than reward your extra effort. For both types of drying styles refer to the brushing section to make sure you're brushing correctly.

Face Cleaning

This is one of the most important areas on your dog to keep clean and dry. This area should be checked daily. Wipe the under eye area and nose wrinkle daily with cotton ball. From time to time a light washing of this area with warm water is also needed. Excess moisture builds up quickly in this area and if let go can easily cause unpleasant odors as well as infections.

NOTE: Excessive tearing can be a sign of an infection

Ear Cleaning

Ears are another area which should be checked frequently, watching for dirt and excess wax. If needed, place recommended amount of ear cleaner into car and massage the base of the ear. Wipe out dirt and excess cleaner with tissues or cotton balls. Letting your dog shake his head at this time can help bring up debris from the bottom of the ear canal. Wipe if needed to remove dirt. A proper ear cleaner may be used as frequently as once a week if needed.


You will need: Nail clippers or grinder and Kwick Stop

Each nail has a vein which travels down the inside of the nail. This vein is referred to as the quick. Regular trimming of the nail helps keep the quick back and the nail can be kept much shorter. The Kwick Stop is used to stop any minor bleeding caused by cutting the nail too short. If this happens place a small amount of Kwick Stop to the end of the nail. This can cause a slight stinging sensation to some dogs. If this should happen, speak reassuringly to your pet and continue the trimming process. It is important that you remain calm so as not to frighten the dog.

Feet Trimming

You will need.- Regular shears, clippers and thinning shears.

With the regular shears or clippers start by trimming the hair between the pads of the feet. Remove only the hair in the crease below the large pad, avoiding the fringes and the area between the toes. The hair in this area mats easily and if left may form rock-hard mats that your dog must walk on - removing this hair not only makes it easier for your dog to move but actually gives him better traction on slick surfaces. Next, use the thinning shears to trim the fringes, working in the same direction as the toes. You are trying to make it look as if the hair on the bottom of the foot has worn off naturally. Rear feet should be slightly shorter than front feet.

Trimming Genitals

You will need: Regular shears, clipper, washcloth or baby wipes

Start by placing the dog on his back, either on the table or held in your lap.

Carefully trim the genital area using the clippers. Be careful not to trim too closely to avoid clipper burn. By removing this excess hair you make it easier for your dog to keep himself clean. By trimming the hair in the center of the belly area up to the rib cage you help your dog to keep himself cool. While dogs are only able to perspire through the glands oil their nose and the pads of their feet, being able to lay a bare belly on cool grass can help to cool a hot little Peke. When finished trimming this area, wash with a damp cloth or baby wipe.

This can also be done with the shears, but is a much slower process and care must be taken not to nick the skin.


Never brush a dry coat!

You will need: Coat dressing, brushes & comb

Start by placing your dog on his back and lightly misting the chest area with coat dressing. Working with a pin brush or natural bristle brush, start at the top of the chest brushing towards the head. Work only with one section of hair at a time and remember to mist often with coat dressing. If the coat appears to be ditty, sprinkle in a little baby corn starch powder (this also adds body). Continue to work down the chest and do both front legs being sure not to leave any tangles. As we discussed, tangles become mats and mats cause coat damage. Now reverse ends and do the rear skirts and top of the rear legs in the same manner. Remember each hair must be brushed to give that well look.

Note: The corn starch baby powder is used for general cleaning as it seems to collect more dirt than the regular baby powder. Test this yourself by grooming your dog on a white towel and checking the dirt that's accumulated on it when you're finished. It takes a few days for the residue from the corn starch baby powder to completely leave the coat. For this reason only regular baby powder is used before a show. If you do not care for the powder, you must revert to the wash and dry method.

Keep misting with coat dressing!

To continue, place your dog on his side and start with the side of the neck. Work your way down to the shoulder, always brushing up towards the head. only work with one section at a time and make sure your ])rush is reaching all the way down to the skin. Keep brushing in the direction of the head until you reach the rib cage. The rest of the hair gets brushed towards the tail. Complete one side all the way down to the tail. Repeat this process on the other side.

Don't brush too hard!!

If it is not the time for your dog to be shedding you shouldn't be getting a lot of hair in the brush. If you are, it may be a sign you arc brushing too hard.

A major help to you in grooming will be to keep a mental picture in your mind of what a Pekingese is supposed to look like: Heavy in the chest/narrow in the rear, fluffed up in the front/smooth down in the rear. Reread the Pekingese standard, English and American. [Ed. note - if possible, groom in front of a mirror. It is a tremendous aid.]

Another trick to help make your grooming time easier and more enjoyable for yourself and dog is teaching the stand-stay command. This command not only helps in grooming but in the ring as well. When put on the table for inspection and told to stand-stay, your little guy will be confident knowing just what's expected of him. Beauty and brains!!

Continuing with the brushing, have your dog stand-stay facing away from you. Using your hair clip, clip the tail out of your way. Misting lightly with coat dressing, lift the skirts with one hand and brush down continuing until you reach the tail. When both skirts are finished take the Clip Out of the tail and mist the tail lightly with dressing. Starting at the base of the tail brush all hair to one side, then reverse and brush all hair to the opposite side. When finished brush up and over the back.

By brushing the hair in the same direction each time you brush you are actually training the coat to stay that way. Ever seen the dog that shakes and not a hair lands out of place? That coat is actually trained to fall that way!

Brushing the Chest

With the dog facing you lift the chest hair with one hand and begin brushing down, a section at a time. Remember to mist often with coat dressing. Next brush both sides of the neck, brushing down to the skin and separating each strand of hair. Flip the car back and brush the hair under the car area towards the face. After brushing the hair on the inner flap of the ear let the car fall naturally into place. Now continue to the back of the dog. Starting near the base of the tail, brush each section flat working your way up towards the top of neck.

Top of Head

You will need a slicker brush, stripping knife

The top of the head is of major importance  to the overall appearance as a majority of the points in the Standard" are on the head. If the top of the head isn't as flat as you would like it to appear, start by training the hair to lie flat. Spray the top of the head heavily with coat dressing, brush flat and allow it to dry naturally. This method may take some time, so be patient. If this method isn't doing the job for you, you may need to use the following as a last resort. Using a stripping knife, comb through the hair in the direction it grows. Do this gradually, taking a little out each time you groom. (Resist the urge to do this with thinning shears or scissors as this often makes the hair grow in denser.) Here again, try to picture the standard in your mind as your guide.


You will need: Pin brush or slicker brush

I have heard that many a novice has been advised to leave dead coat in as it gives the appearance of an abundant coat. In my experience the only appearance it gives is that of ,in unkempt, dirty dog! Only by removing all the old dead coat call you give room for new, healthy hair growth.


You will need: Rubber bands, shop towels Plastic or wax paper

Every breeder has his own opinion oil this. If you have a potentially beautiful dog and want to give him that extra competitive edge you may wish to try wrapping the fringes, tail and skirts. Several different things can be used to wrap; whatever is used must be flexible and thick enough so as not to damage the coat. (I personally use heavy duty blue shop towels.) Start by completely brushing the section to be wrapped, leaving no tangles. Take one whole sheet of towel; fold approximately 1/4 of the way down, then crease. Take Portion of hair to be wrapped and very neatly fold around hair, then flatten out. Fold section Lip then wrap with rubber band. Be sure not to rubber hand too tightly as this can be an irritant to the dog, causing him to shake or scratch.

Trimming Ears

You will need: Thinning shears

This is only done if the cars are excessively long. Take very little off at a time using the crisscross pattern.

Trimming Skirts

You will need: Thinning shears

Start by honestly evaluating your dog. A dog slightly longer in the back will appear even more so with full trailing skirts behind him. While some very short-backed dogs can get away with full trailing skirts, the majority of dogs look much neater with their skins slightly trimmed. The rule of thumb is to keep the bottom of the skirt even with the table level. The trimming is done with thinning shears, again using the crisscross pattern. Use this also to trim the elbow fringe.

Tail Trimming

This is only necessary when the tail comes up past the top of the head Or, if you wish to make the tail appear thicker and fuller, a slight trim will give it this appearance.

Teeth Brushing is very important!!

You will need: Toothbrush kit

Periodontal disease occurs in 95% of dogs and cats over 2 years of age. Because of the mouth structure of the Pekingese this often occurs earlier in our breed. Teeth left unchecked can be subject to plaque buildup; the gums may also become red, swollen and tender. Inflamed gums pull away from the teeth, creating more places for the plaque to go. Practicing preventative dental care can help prevent trips to the vet and possible need for anesthesia for cleaning in more advanced cases. Start to handle the mouth at an early age (another plus for the show ring). Brush the teeth in the same manner as your own. using an up and clown motion. The toothpaste is specially flavored for dogs and most love the taste. I have found that brushing approximately every 3 days and feeding hard biscuits works just fine. Do not use toothpaste made for people as the foaming action and detergent may cause stomach problems. Baking soda is also not advised as the high sodium level may cause problems, especially in dogs with cardiac problems.

Preparing to have puppies

I had a personal experience once that forever changed my way of thinking. While checking on one of our first very promising litters, I noticed that something was quite wrong. A small puppy had become tangled in the mother's skirts. Alarmed by tiny cries, the mother was running frantically in circles trying to help the puppy. I believe that if I had not been there, right then, that puppy would not have survived. In my concern for leaving as much hair as possible on the bitch, I had needlessly endangered the puppies. Now every bitch receives a "matron trim" before whelping. Since the bitch sheds her coat after whelping anyway, I have seen little difference in her appearance post-whelping, whether trimmed before or not.

Matron Trim

You will need: Clippers and shears

Use the #10 blade to shave the entire belly area up to the top of chest. This not only prevents entanglement, but makes nursing so much easier for puppies.


You will need: Scissors

Starting at the rectum, point the scissors towards the floor and trim in a downward motion until skirts have been removed. Placing your fingers over the hock will prevent any pokes from the scissors tips.

Grooming the Pet Peke

There is always a strong debate on whether a Pekingese should be "Pet" trimmed or not. With todays hectic schedules and limited-time lifestyles, I much prefer that Pet owners spend their time loving and playing with puppies, rather than trying to make them look like show dogs. Most purchase their puppies because of the Pekingese' superb personalities anyway.  After 15 years as a professional groomer I have seen pets in conditions no dog should ever be in! I wholeheartedly  recommend "Pet" trims to people who will benefit front them.

Feet Trimming

While beautiful fringes add much to the dog in the ring, they also serve a second purpose: as dirt collectors! Trim all the hair from between the pads of the feet, around the foot up to the nail. Brush the hair up from the toes and trim to make the foot appear neat. Excess hair oil the hocks and below the wrist on the front feet may also be trimmed.

Trimming the Feathers

With your dog standing, use your thinning shears and trim the feathering. Neaten up the feathering on skirts and behind the legs.

Lion Trim

You will need: Clipper, #5 or #7 Blade

This trim is exactly as it sounds. Working on a clean, brushed clog, trim the hair with a #7 or #5 blade working with the lay of the hair. Start directly behind the shoulders and remove all hair front the body. Don't forget to remove the hair from the tail, going halfway tip and leaving the hair oil the end of tail. There are actually two versions of this trim, the above and another where the hair is also remove front the front legs. It remains your personal preference.

I hope you picked up a trick or two here. If you want to share some of your own, send them in to The Orient Express!

Picture of author Pekingese picture

About the author:

This picture of one of her homebred girls, AM. CAN. CH. DUFF-ORAH'S DAMIEN GIRL, is proof that Debbie knows whereof she writes! A resident of St. Clair, Michigan,  Deborah Norman has it lifelong history of with animals. Previous accomplishments include showing Appaloosa horses, Australian Shepherds and several breeds of cats.  In 1977 Deborah attended the Pacific School of Dog Grooming in California.  She later returned to the Port Huron area.

The OE says thanks for the truly great tips!

The Orient Express / May 1997

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