The Problem of Undershot Jaws in the Pekingese

The Problem of Undershot Jaws in the Pekingese

Health & Safety

Being one the most ancient breeds around, the Pekingese boasts a fascinating ancestry that dates back to the eighth century when they were the preferred breed of the Imperial Court during the Tang Dynasty. It was not until the mid 18th century that the Pekingese found their way over to England after the British took control of Peking. Later more of these adorable regal dogs were bought over to the UK after which the breed was to become one of the most popular on the planet.

Little Clowns of the Canine World

The Pekingese is known for their clown-like personalities and there's nothing they enjoy more than playing around with the people they love. With this said, their lion-like looks are matched by the fact they are often thought to have the heart of a lion too which sees them protecting and guarding their owners and their territories. The Pekingese may be small, but they are courageous and convinced they are larger than they really are.

Problems with Undershot and Misaligned Jaws

One of the problems often seen in the breed is dogs being born with or developing undershot and misaligned jaws which can make it hard for them to drink and eat. The signs to watch out for that something may be wrong in a puppy or young dog are as follows:

  • They have trouble picking food out of their bowl
  • They find it hard to bite into their food
  • They have trouble chewing their food preferring to swallow things whole
  • They drool more than they should when they drink water

If you look at your dog's mouth, their lower and upper jaw should meet perfectly, but if you find the lower jaw is undershot, then it means they cannot shut their mouths properly like other dogs. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done about the problem, unless the condition is so bad that it is causing your dog a lot of pain and discomfort that is. A vet would examine your pet's jaw line and then make some recommendations on what can be done or if anything to rectify the problem.

Making Sure Your Dog can Eat Properly

There are things you can do to help your dog if they have got an undershot jaw which does not involve any sort of treatment or veterinary intervention. This is to firstly make sure they can eat and drink. If you find they are having trouble chewing larger chunks of food, the best solution is to offer dog food that's made up of smaller chunks and luckily today, many of the top brand pet food manufacturers offer “small bite” dog food which is ideal for dogs with undershot jaws. If you prefer to feed your Pekingese a fresh food diet, you have to make sure all the ingredients are cut up into small bite size pieces or you may have to liquidise their food for if that makes it easier for them to eat.

Keeping Your Pet's Teeth in Good Condition

It's really important to keep a check on the state of your pet's teeth if they have an undershot jaw. All dog's need to have their teeth regularly cleaned, but when their jaws are misaligned, it is especially important to do so because the chances are they cannot chew on things or their food as well as they should. The result is that a lot more tartar can build up on their teeth causing all sorts of dental issues that can lead to them developing some sort of periodontal disease.

Puppies can be taught to have their teeth cleaned with a dog specific toothpaste, but if you have adopted or rescued an older Pekingese with an undershot or misaligned jaw and they are not used to having their teeth cleaned, you may have to take them to the vet to have them checked out and cleaned. You may find that as your dog gets older, they start to loose their teeth earlier than they should. A vet would typically remove any tooth that's causing a problem and would recommend whether or not this needs to be done.

The All-important Annual Health Checks

Because Pekingese are known to suffer from misaligned and undershot jaws, vets are well aware of the problem and always recommend that owners take their pets along to see them on a regular basis to make sure things have not got any worse over time. Catching a problem early makes life more comfortable for your dog and things tend to be much easier for a vet to treat at the outset of a problem rather than further down the line.

Contacting Reputable Breeders is Essential

If you are thinking about getting a Pekingese puppy, it cannot be stressed strongly enough the importance of contacting a few reputable breeders who take great care in choosing the dogs they use in their breeding programmes. Unscrupulous breeders would think nothing of using two dogs with undershot or misaligned jaws to breed from which increases the chances of their puppies inheriting this trait.


The Pekingese is a lovely little dog than falls into the Toy breed category and for centuries they have proved themselves to be loyal, loving and courageous companions. First to the Imperial Court of China, but more recently they have found their way into the hearts and homes of people throughout the world. Good breeding is essential because it's the only way to reduce the chances of genetic and other health issues being passed on to puppies. It's thought that undershot and misaligned jaws which are too commonly seen in the breed could be the result of poor breeding which is why it's important to contact well established reputable breeders if you are thinking about getting a Pekingese puppy.



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