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Japanese Chin


The Japanese Chin is absolutely one of the most adorable members of the Toy Group. Always on the lookout for fun and games, this dog is equally sensitive and thrives on affection. They are devoted to their family and ready to make friends with anyone and any animal, strangers or not. Japanese Chin dogs are also perfect pets for children who understand how to play gentle.

A Brief History Of The Japanese Chin

The origins of the Japanese Chin date as far back as the Ancient times, however, the exact history of the breed is unknown. Researchers do know that it shared a very similar history with the Pekingese. Interestingly enough, history tells us that the Japanese Chin actually has it roots in China, not Japan, as its name might suggest.

Like the Pekingese, the breed was largely owned by Chinese aristocracy and were given as gifts to other nobility. Exactly how the dog arrived in Japan is still up for debate. Several stories are floating around. Some say that they were brought by a Korean prince after 730 A.D. Another theory is that Buddhist teachers brought them to Japan shortly after 500 A.D.

Whatever the true path that the breed took to get to Japan, the dog had an enormously positive impact on the Japanese Imperial family. The were kept as adored lapdogs and shown off to visiting nobility. During the 16th century it is said that the Japanese Chin was traded with visiting Portuguese sailors and taken back with them to Europe.

Official documentation tells us that the breed was in Europe in 1853. Over the next several decades more and more Japanese Chins were sold or traded to the Europeans and then to the Americans. In the late 1800s, the breed got official recognition by the AKC, listed as the “Japanese Spaniel”. To reduce the breed’s size over the last century it was crossed with English Toy Spaniels.

Upkeep Requirements For The Japanese Chin

Upkeep for these adorable little toy dogs is about as easy as it comes when owning one as calm and easy-going as the Japanese Chin. They are small enough so that the only exercise they need is to walk around the house and a few short walks on the leash each day. They also enjoy playing games so a few laps around the yard is enough to show them a good time while giving them plenty of exercise.

Like all toy breeds, the Japanese Chin cannot live outdoors. They are lapdogs to the core and although should have time to play outside in a fenced-in yard, are meant be pampered in the confines of your home. Grooming requirements call for a weekly brushing, twice for the longhairs.

Health Concerns

The average lifespan of the Japanese Chin is between ten and twelve years. There are no major health concerns and minor health issues that run common in the breed are cataracts, entropion, patellar luxation, heart murmurs, and KCS. Rarely seen is epilepsy, achondroplasia, and portacaval shunt. Veterinarians suggest that Japanese Chin dogs get tested for potential knee and eye problems.

More History

Most sources agree that the Japanese Chin originated in China. Some mention that traders trekking the “silk road” brought small canines for company and trading. Others say their ancestors were Tibetan Spaniels. Some think that the Pekingese and the European Continental Toy Spaniel were mated to get the Japanese Chin. These dogs were well received by the Japanese imperial court, thus the origin of their name.

In 1864, Commodore Matthew Perry brought this breed to Europe. He also brought them to the United States.

General Looks

The muzzle is short and the nostrils are broad. It is a delicate looking breed. The body is square-like. The dark eyes stick out. Its tail curls and is feathered as are the ears. The coat is long with a fur ruffle rimming the neck. It is a toy dog.

Is This Your Breed?

This breed likes to play. It is smart and attentive. The Japanese Chin is the perfect size for dwelling in an apartment. It needs brushing several times each week.


The coat is silk-like, long, profuse, and straight. There isn’t an undercoat.


The colors are red, orange, lemon, white, black, and sable. The combination are black and white including tan points or not including the points or red and white. Red is considered an inclusive color for orange, lemon, red, and sable.


The gait is bouncing with all four legs in a uniform plane and pattern.


This breed has some cat qualities such as climbing, cleaning with paw, sitting in someone’s lap, and its self-governing attitude. It is faithful, lively, and affectionate. Socializing while it is young prevents the Japanese Chin from being shy. It takes to obedience training without much difficulty, but is a bit harder to house train. This breed likes to make its owner happy. It does tricks.

It is standoffish with strangers and leery of unknown situations.


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