Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Peke-a-Pap
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Two of the world’s smallest and cutest dogs have joined forces to create a brand-new hybrid dog known as the Peke-a-Pap. The stocky, snub-nosed Pekingese with its delightfully arrogant attitude and the elegant Papillon who is a real lapdog at heart, may not have much in common other than their petite size, but that hasn’t stopped the breed enthusiasts from seeing what would happen when they were crossed.

Peke-a-Paps have long, plush coats that come in many colours, including white, brown, black and red. Tricolour dogs are particularly popular. They tend to dedicate themselves to their close family and will put them above all others, often showing little interest in those outside their ‘inner circle’.

About & History

The Peke-a-Pap may also be referred to as the Papanese and is likely to have been developed in the United States. Though the designer dog movement began 50 years ago with the creation of the Labradoodle, it was mainly in the last 30 years that we have seen the development of a large number of our hybrids, including the Peke-a-Pap.

The Pekingese

Pekingese dogs have enjoyed a far lengthier past than the Peke-a-Pap and experts have traced them back over 2,000 years. A Chinese dog, they feature in many ancient legends, one of which suggests that they were produced from a monkey and a lion. When one sees a Pekingese today, it’s not difficult to see how this conclusion was reached! The Pekingese was regarded so highly that it was many years before it was possible for anyone other than royalty to own them.

Perhaps this law added to their sometimes-entitled attitude as some individuals can be standoffish and most have a high opinion of themselves! The Pekingese was never bred to work and was instead seen as a status symbol and kept purely as a companion animal. It is believed that the British Army were the first to export these dogs into the UK in 1860 and, from there, they spread around the world. They have been a part of the Toy Group of the UK Kennel Club since 1910.

The Papillon

Papillon is the French word for butterfly and refers to the beautifully shaped, feathered ears of the Papillon. They are a Toy Spaniel and originated sometime around the 16th century. Though most agree that they are of French origin, there are experts who argue that they may in fact be Italian.

It is easy to find evidence of the Papillon in both France and Spain in the 17th century as they were a popular feature in local artwork thanks to the many paintings commissioned by their high society owners. Though descended from working Spaniels, it is widely assumed that these dainty dogs were kept more as lap dogs than anything else.


Peke-a-Pap dogs are inevitably small and are relatively robust, though not as sturdily-built as the Pekingese. Most have beautiful, densely furred ears, which are held proudly to the side of their heads, though not as dramatically high as we see in their Papillon parent. Their slightly squished face and smaller than average muzzle gives them a grumpy expression which many find endearing.

They have dark brown, soulful eyes and will often give you a look that is reminiscent of a human raising their eyebrow! Their limbs are rather short and thick; certainly, less elegant than is seen in the Papillon. Their tail will be well-feathered and is carried gracefully above their back.

Weighing in at over 3kg but usually less than 5kg, Peke-a-Paps are ‘handbag’ dogs that can be easily carried from place to place. They measure from as little as 15cm up to 25cm at the withers, making them a toy crossbreed.

The fur of the Peke-a-Pap is one of its most sought-after features, as they have a plush, straight coat that can grow to great lengths. Black, white and brown are the most common colours, though red and fawn are also seen. While solid coat colours are a possibility, they would not be the norm.

Character & Temperament

As the Papillon and the Pekingese have dissimilar personalities, we see a good deal of variation when it comes to the character of the Peke-a-Pap. One of their standout qualities is the loyalty and dedication that they show to their immediate family. They regard them highly and are happiest when in their company. Though most are quite tolerant of others, they will remain aloof in their presence. Thorough socialisation during puppyhood can go a long way towards increasing their acceptance of strangers.

While generally tolerant of the children within their family they must always be supervised closely in their company, not only due to their small frame but also because they have a certain amount of patience and can become irritable and snappy if the child does not respect their boundaries.

Alert and lively, the Peke-a-Pap will be quick to announce any new house guests with a high-pitched yappy bark. In fact, their vocalisation can become excessive, so should be something that those living in apartments take into account.


Best results are achieved with early training that continues throughout their life. Many Peke-a-Pap dogs will be stubborn and take quite a bit of convincing to participate willingly in every training session.

Clever little dogs, the Peke-a-Pap is not lacking in ability and if they find the training session interesting they will be more likely to take part. Owners should try to vary the activities and location and should always encourage correct behavior with plenty of praise and treats.


Inevitably, whether it be in a pedigree or a crossbreed, there will be certain health conditions that are seen more commonly in some dogs than others. The Peke-a-Pap tends to live into its early teens and most will enjoy good health.

Patellar Luxation

Knee caps that do not sit firmly in position can pop out from time to time causing a degree of lameness and discomfort. Over time, continued dislocations can lead to local joint inflammation and arthritis. Older dogs with this condition often have reduced muscle mass in their hind limbs. Management depends on how severely a dog is affected and may be medical or surgical.

Mitral Valve Disease

Mitral Valve Disease is a cardiac condition that is quite common in our canine pets. Signs are usually first noticed when dogs are middle-aged or older and typically include a dry cough that is worse in the mornings, a reduced willingness to exercise and a reduced appetite.

Vets will usually be able to hear a heart murmur which is graded from one to six (with six being the loudest and most severe, indicating a disease that is more progressed).

Brachycephalic Upper Airway Syndrome (BUAS)

How likely a Peke-a-Pap is to develop BUAS mostly depends on which genes they inherit from their short-faced Pekingese parent. Those with longer muzzles are less likely to experience any breathing issues. To reduce the likelihood of BUAS becoming an issue in the Peke-a-Pap, breeders should try hard to only breed from Pekingese dogs that are not affected.

Collapsing Trachea

The trachea, or windpipe, is the tube through which animals breathe. It is composed of cartilage rings that support muscle and soft tissue, keeping the tube wide open. When the cartilage weakens and the trachea collapses, dogs develop a honking cough and struggle to keep up with their peers.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Peke-a-Paps tend to get most of their exercise from running about inside their home and patrolling their garden. As well as this, they should be brought out on a few short walks as not only does this keep them fit, it gives them the opportunity to have new experiences and meet other dogs and people.

Those with shorter faces require extra care when exercising, particularly in the warmer months when they can be prone to over-heating. They should be walked early or late in the day and owners should keep them in the shade and give them water when resting.


As the fur of the Peke-a-Pap can grow long and is quite thick, it needs grooming a few times a week and would benefit from professional grooming a few times a year. It’s important that owners get their pups used to simple tasks, such as claw clipping, tooth brushing and ear cleaning when they’re young and accepting.

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