Japanese Chin

This quiet breed was actually a favourite of the Ancient Chinese aristocracy before making its way into Japan and other parts of the world. The affectionate Japanese Chin is believed to be developed from the Pekingese, and later the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.


Despite its name, the Japanese Chin is descended first from China and then Japan. These oriental Toy dogs were presented by Chinese emperors to Japanese royalty. Some say that Chinese Buddhist teachers undertaking missionary work in Japan also took the Chin to Japan. Yet another story tells of a Korean diplomat who brought Chins to Japan in A.D. 732. Whatever theory one believes, it is clear that the Japanese perfected the breed as it is known today. When Admiral Perry opened up Japan to international trade in 1853, he was presented with a pair of Japanese Chins which he subsequently gave as a gift to Queen Victoria. In the United States, August Belmont, a financier and philanthropist, owned Chins in the early part of this century although, in fact, the breed was known as the Japanese Spaniel in the United States until 1977.


This is a zestful little dog with a noble bearing, squarely and compactly built, with a sumptuous shining coat which is usually black and white but may also be red and white. Its large square head, rounded at the front, is balanced by a short muzzle and large, dark lustrous eyes. Moving quickly, daintily and stylishly, the Japanese Chin exhibits so much joie de vivre, it is a pleasure to behold and to live with.

Height: 20-25 cm at the shoulder

Weight: 3 kg


The Japanese Chin is an exemplary breed in that it is bright, lively, animated, and loves to cavort and play. One breeder reports that her eight Chins will chase each another endlessly, running throughout the house with agility and grace.

Coat and Grooming

The long coat comes in two colour varieties. Firstly, white with black patches, 'mask' and ears, and the rarer white and red colouring. A quick twice-weekly groom is needed.


The Japanese Chin has only a few minor health problems. It does suffer from some eye problems because of their size and prominence. Washing and checking the eyes daily should prevent any problems. Its teeth should be cleaned weekly. Nails should be clipped once a week.

Patella luxation is a problem in this breed — it may be heritable or caused by trauma. To avoid the latter, the dog should not be grabbed by the legs and should be prevented from jumping off high furniture. If the patella (knee cap) is allowed to become dislodged, the animal may become lame.

Expect the Chin to live between 10-12 years.

Environment and Exercise

Keep Japanese Chin comfortable inside. They do not have a high tolerance for extreme cold or hot weather. This is a moderately active dog. Its natural playfulness means it should enjoy an active game at least once or twice a week.


The Japanese Chin is one of the most adaptable of breeds if it can live indoors — it should never be kenneled. Many consider it to be the perfect pet, particularly when it can live inside in comfortable surroundings.

Compatibility with Kids and other Pets

Strictly gentle children only as these are delicate dogs. They are also quite friendly with other dogs and pets.

Special Care and Training

Gentle and affectionate, the Japanese Chin is fastidiously clean. However, because of its somewhat independent mind owing to its Oriental background, it may be hard to train in obedience. It catches on quickly and likes to please, and yet it does not relish endless repetition and is too free-spirited for such monotony. Catlike, it often sits on furniture and becomes master of all it surveys. It is proud to be king of a household in which it is loved and appreciated.


Litters of one to three puppies, often of different colors, are delivered sometimes with difficulty. Newborns need a good deal of care until the second or third week, then mature quickly.

Gallery of Japanese Chin