Breed Type:  Toy
Country of Origin: China
Size:  Small
Also known as:  Japanese Spaniel, Chin
Males and Females: Height: 20-23 cm Weight: 3 kg
Exercise Requirements: Low
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 10-14 Years
Best Suited as: Family Pet / Lap Dog

If you are looking for a loving pet that will amaze you and your friends with his playful antics and tricks, The Japanese Chin is a great choice for you.  They are intelligent, independent and quiet and will welcome any guest into your home.

The Japanese Chins’ adorable appearance gives us a clear idea why they were dogs owned by royalty. They are a small, solid, well-balanced breed that carries itself with a refined air.  Stylish and lively in movement, their silky hair and plumed tail only adds to their sophistication.  From the side, the Chin’s body is best classified as a square shape, with height and length being proportionate.

The Chin has a broad head, a short broad muzzle and round forehead. Almost all features on their face are wide-set – their dark, protruding eyes, small V-shaped ears and small nose.  Most Chin’s have a small under bite. Their expression is alert and intelligent.

The Japanese Chin has a long abundant, silky, straight coat that varies in size and length, but most are white with black markings. Others are white with red, lemon, sable, or brindle markings. The plumed tail is arched over their backs and curves to either side. Hair on their neck, shoulders and chest area can stand out from the body.

There are jokes that the Japanese Chin is part cat. They are highly independent, love resting in high places and even groom themselves much like cats.  Unlike a standoffish cat, however, they are exemplary companions and love people. Some are even used as therapy dogs. Most Chins tend to be very quiet except to greet a visitor at the door.

Chins are easy to train and were bred to entertain their royal owners. One move in particular dubbed the “Chin Spin” draws a large crowd.  The move is performed when the Shin turns around in rapid circles, dancing on their hind legs while pawing their front feet, clasped together, in the air.  An especially talented Shin may sing along in an almost operatic quality voice.

While no proof exists, it is widely agreed that the Japanese Chin probably originated in China.  They were brought to Japan between 730-1000.  The Japanese considered the Chin to be a truly unique breed, differing greatly from “working dogs”. The Chin’s personality was a great match for the Japanese who respected their independence and intelligence.  They became such a token of Japanese pride that at some point only Japanese Royalty (and those with noble blood) were allowed to own one.

The Japanese Chin became a popular present to nobles in other parts of the world. Due to this tradition, it is thought that the Chin was introduced to the West when the Emperor of Japan gave Matthew Calbraith Perry, an American naval officer, seven Chins in 1853 as a gift for opening trade with the East.  While only two of the seven dogs survived the return journey, they were well received and were bred in the United States.  Japanese Chins also started to appear in Europe in the 1700’s.

In the following years, many more Chins were brought to Europe and the United States.  In the late 1800s, the “Japanese Spaniel, as they were called then, were recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). After World War I, fewer dogs were imported to other parts of the world and today the Chin remains most popular in Japan. The Japanese Chin’s popularity is growing in Australia although you should expect to pay quite a bit for a new puppy.

Care and Grooming
While you do not have to indulge your Chin in the same way as their royal ancestors, your pooch will appreciate any pampering you give it. Their coat should be brushed nearly every day to maintain its silky appearance and the area under the ears and legs may need special attention.With no odor, they do not require frequent baths.

Blocked tear ducts can cause eye infections in the Japanese Chin. Moisture about the face and the skin folds around the nose can trap moisture and cause fungal problems. Therefore, it is best to wipe down your Chin’s face and clean out the folds with a cotton swab. Adding a small amount of talc powder can also help to keep this area dry.

Chins do not require a great deal of exercise but do need to go on a daily walk.  Most will enjoy the opportunity to play in an open yard but this is not a breed that should live outside.

Living with royalty, Japanese Chins were lavished with a diet of rice and Saki. Today, a more balanced diet is recommended.  Most Chins are allergic or sensitive to corn and therefore, it should be eliminated from their diet.  Fiber is an important element of their diet if you would like to avoid the need to express your dog’s anal glands. The Japanese Chin is sensitive to oral examination but a trusted owner should brush their teeth.

The Japanese Chin tends to be very healthy but they may have some minor health concerns. For example, this breed’s flattened face and narrow nostrils can cause some Chins to suffer from breathing problems. Some may also suffer from seasonal allergies and wheeze when they are uncomfortable.

This breed does not enjoy the heat and should be kept out of scorching temperatures. Like most little dogs, patellar luxation (when the kneecap comes out of place) is common. Their eyes are another area of concern. Because the Japanese Chin has larger, bulging eyes, their eyes are easily scratched.  If a scratch is mild, an owner may apply a topical canine antibacterial ointment, but for more serious scratches, like corneal abrasions, they should be treated by a veterinarian.

Suitability as a Pet
If you desire to own a pampered dog, the Japanese Chin might be for you. Watch out though – you might end up serving your dog more than it serves you.  Independent and intelligent, obedience is not their forte. Socialization with all family members and other pets should start early. The Japanese Chin is said to be a great family dog, good with well-mannered young children and with seniors.

Your Chin will enjoy sitting in your lap as much as a romp outside. Their small size is conducive to apartment living, but do not forget to take your dog on a short daily walk no matter where you live. If you are looking for a watchdog, this is not your ideal alarm system– they are friendly to all, including strangers.

Because Japanese Chins enjoy lounging on high surfaces, make sure you remove breakables from high areas.