Japanese Chin Dog Breed Information Guide


The Japanese Chin is a regal dog whose history is steeped in mystery. His namesake is a bit of a misnomer, for the Japanese Chin is actually from China. Over 1000 years ago, this toy breed was a favourite of Japan’s Imperial Family and since then has steadily gained popularity throughout Asia. While the Japanese Chin is lesser known in North America, it does make a amiable pet, especially for seniors or for families with children. And, the Chin’s single coat and love of the indoors makes this breed’s grooming easy to manage. Small in stature but towering in personality, the Japanese Chin makes a splendid companion.

Japanese Chin History

The exact history of the Japanese Chin is cloaked in mystery although several rather exotic theories exist. What is known with certainty is that the Japanese Chin is actually from China and was brought to Japan sometime after 520 AD. The real mystery is exactly how the Japanese Chin came to be in Japan at all. One theory holds that Zen Buddhist teachers brought this breed with them from China to Japan in 520 AD. Another theory suggests that in 732 AD, a Korean prince brought the Chin to Japan as a gift to the Japanese Imperial Family. Still other historians argue that a pair of Japanese Chins were given by the Chinese Emperor to the Japanese Emperor in about 1000 AD. However the Japanese Chin made its way to Japan, it quickly became a favourite of the Japanese Imperial Family. The Japanese Chin was kept as a lapdog, and at times, as an ornament. In fact, some especially small Japanese Chins were kept in bird cages as decorations within the Imperial Palace.

The Japanese Chin was likely brought to Europe by Portuguese sailors during the sixteenth century. But officially, a pair of Japanese Chins were given by American Commodore M. C. Perry to Queen Victoria in 1832. Perry is later credited with also presenting a pair to US President Franklin Pierce. During the years that followed, the Japanese Chin made it’s way to virtually every nation. In North America, the Japanese Chin still enjoys modest popularity, but in Japan this breed maintains a top billing.

Japanese Chin Appearance

The Japanese Chin is a small, square dog with a bright, inquisitive expression. This breed has a silky single tri-colour coat with an especially fluffy chest. The tail is heavily feathered and arches high over its back. The feathering will cascade over one side and can grow down to the floor. With its decidedly aristocratic appearance, The Japanese Chin is no worker dog. The Chin appears to be and is a dog of regal leisure. So pass the bon-bons!

Japanese Chin Temperament

If you are undecided about whether to purchase a cat or a dog as a family pet, then the Japanese Chin is the breed for you. The Japanese Chin is a dog that behaves in a positively cat-like manner. He will navigate coffee-tables and sofa-backs without disturbing even the most precarious item. He prefers to sit in elevated positions where he will use his paws to clean his face. Your Japanese Chin will climb to reach his desired destination and this may include scaling newly installed draperies. Understandably then, the Japanese Chin likes to explore his home and seek refuge in unusual and unexpected places.

The Japanese Chin was raised to entertain and he will perform a collection of tricks. The most common and easily trained trick is the Chin Spin whereby your Japanese Chin will spin with astonishing speed in either direction. Also well known is the Chin Dance whereby the Japanese Chin will jump about on his hind legs all while charmingly swatting his front paws in the air.

With equally gentle children, the Japanese Chin is a trustworthy companion. And unlike most dogs, the Japanese Chin delights in meeting other people. He will bark to signal a guest’s arrival, but will be playful and attentive thereafter.

The Japanese Chin does need much attention and will tend to shadow the owner. This behaviour can be relentless and maddening at times particularly after you have tripped over him for the umpteenth time. So, some owners use baby gates to contain their Japanese Chins. This may work during the puppy stages, but the Chin is cunning and will learn either to jump over or plead his way to freedom.

Japanese Chin Exercise Info

The exercise needs of the Japanese Chin are as one might expect; minimal but still vital. The Chin’s small size means that short walks or vigorous play in a yard will fulfill his exercise demands. If your climate tends to have long stretches of hot, humid weather, take extra caution; your Japanese Chin fares poorly under these conditions. The short muzzle of the Japanese Chin can cause breathing difficulties and wheezing can be brought on by humidity. Finally, the Japanese Chin is not a dog that can live outdoors. The Chin has been a house pet for centuries and he must have some measure of luxury to thrive.

Japanese Chin Grooming Info

The Japanese Chin’s coat is moderately long so there is some upkeep involved with this breed. Luckily, the Chin sports a silky single coat so shedding is minimal. To keep your Japanese Chin looking his regal best, brush his coat daily with a soft, natural bristle brush. Do pay extra attention to the hind regions as the Japanese Chin’s fur can adhere unpleasant reminders of meals gone by.

Japanese Chin Training Info

The only training obstacles you may face when training your Japanese Chin is his occasional stubbornness and his occasional brushes with snobbery. But on the whole, you will train your Chin with ease. In fact, many Japanese Chin owners report that they were able to house-train their Chins in a day! This is accomplished through consistent crate training and bringing your puppy immediately outside following meals and naps.

Beyond that, there are a multitude of tricks and charming antics that your Japanese Chin can learn. Some owners, however report that their Japanese Chins refuse to perform on demand, they seem to somehow fancy themselves superior to this garish display.

Japanese Chin Health Info

Common health concerns with your Japanese Chin include; patellar luxation, KCS, entropion, cataracts and occasional heart murmurs. Also of note are achondroplasia, epilepsy and portacaval shunt.

Finally, Japanese Chins tend to be allergic to corn so do pay special attention to ingredients listed on dog food packaging. Higher quality foods tend to have less or no corn filler and consequently make a better choice.

Or, better yet, prepare your own meals for your little “Prince” or “Princess”. Home made dog food is surprisingly easy to prepare and cost effective.

Japanese Chin Right Breed Info

The Japanese Chin is a marvelous pet. He is a faithful companion with few demands outside of affectionate attention. Anyone who may have difficulties with mobility will find the Japanese Chin’s exercise demands totally manageable. The Chin can glean all the exercise he needs by running from room to room. This attribute, coupled with his quite nature and diminutive size, makes the Japanese Chin a perfect condo dog. All in all, the Japanese Chin is charming addition to any family.

More Information about the Japanese Chin Dog Breed

Japanese Chin on Wikipedia