The Pekingese dog, often affectionately called the "Peke" by western pet-owners, has a long and illustrious history in China. Nobody knows quite when the Chinese first began to breed the Pekingese, but they have been associated with the emperors of China since at least the 700s CE.
According to an oft-repeated legend, long ago a lion fell in love with a marmoset. The disparity in their sizes made this an impossible love, so the heart-sore lion asked Ah Chu, the protector of animals, to shrink him down to the size of a marmoset so that the two animals could marry. Only his heart remained its original size. From this union, the Pekingese dog (orFu Lin- Lion Dog) was born.