These pictures were taken at the Rothschild Zoological Museum, Tring, England during 2004 and 2006 (all photos Sarah Hartwell).

The Happa is a short-coated Pekinese-type dog, the ancestor of the modern Pekingese (also spelled Pekingese), Shih-Tzu and Japanese Spaniel. It may also be the ancestor of the modern Pug, another "short-mouthed" breed that is believed to have first appeared in China. Such dogs were recorded in 663 BC and possibly as long ago as 1115 BC. Pug-type dogs arrived in Europe in the 17th Century through trade and became popular in the 18th Century and again in the late 19th Century.

According to “Dogs In Britain, A Description of All native Breeds and Most Foreign Breeds in Britain” by Clifford LB Hubbard, 1948: The native Japanese Spaniel [Chin Chin] is quite distinct from the Pekingese of China yet has about the same status. It is a Toy Dog closely related to Pekingese, Pugs and Happa Dogs.

Chinese Happa with Japanese Spaniel behind it.

The Chinese Happa Dog, believed to be an ancestor of the modern Pekinese breed. It has wide forequarters and relatively narrow hindquarters. The old style of Pekinese, shown below, had longer legs than the modern form. Modern Pekinese may be closer in body type (wide nose, extremely short muzzle, short legs) to the Happa.

Foreground: Chinese Happa Dog. Background: Pekingese and Japanese Spaniel (Chin).

According to “Dogs In Britain, A Description of All native Breeds and Most Foreign Breeds in Britain" by Clifford LB Hubbard, 1948

The Sleeve Pekingese is a true miniature of the standard-sized dog, and often called the Miniature Pekingese. The name is derived from the old custom of carrying these small dogs in the capacious sleeves of the robes worn by members of the Chinese Imperial Household, and the higher nobles to whom were given the imperfect specimens bred at the Imperial Palace. The cruel and foolish habit was not originally Chinese (probably early Italian) but in course of time it was adopted by the Court and dogs were bred as small as possible in order to make the burdens less. In colour these dwarf dogs were bred to match the robes, being either of the same shade or of a harmonising contrast. The custom had moreover encouraged malpractices in growth stunting, such as giving puppies saki as a drink, or holding them tightly for hours at a time when new-born, and even forcing them to wear tight-fitting wire mesh waistcoats; fortunately the late Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi forbade the use of artificial aids, although she herself liked her dogs to be small.

The term ‘Sleeve’ is generally applied in Britain to a Pekingese which is typical in every respect except that it is a miniature, usually being about 6-7 pounds in weight although appearing to be only about 5 pounds. Mrs. Flander’s “Mai Mai” weighed only a little over 4 pounds and many other breeders of true miniatures have bred dogs as small. Miniatures may appear in a litter bred from full-sized dogs and can be exhibited in appropriate classes.

Classes for dogs less than 7 pounds have been allotted for a number of years at the major dog shows and consequently the variety has to-day [1948] a strong following. The most popular colours in Sleeve Pekingese in Britain are cream and white; a true miniature dog when pure white is a great attraction, as Mrs. Aileen Adam’s specimen illustrated shows. Apart from weight and height the Sleeve Pekingese agrees in description with the standard Pekingese.


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