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The origins of the Pekingese dog began with the breeding in the Chinese imperial court, perhaps as early as the Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE) period. The Chinese emperor wanted to replicate the Buddha's experience of taming a wild lion, symbolizing passion and aggression. Buddha's tame lion would "follow at his heels like a faithful dog," according to legend. In a somewhat circular story, then, the Han emperors bred a dog to make it look like a lion - a lion that acted like a faithful dog.