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Japanese Chin


Life span: 12-14 Years

Height: 8 – 12 inches

Weight: 4 – 9 lbs.

Known as being a favorite among Japanese nobility, the Japanese Chin is a small-sized breed that makes for a great companion. One of the trademarks of the Chin is their ability to learn tricks and perform for audiences. Often compared to a cat, the Chin is independent and very intelligent. The shaggy coat of the Japanese Chin is typically tri-colored, with hints of lemon, red, and sable.

This toy breed is extremely fun to own, but difficult to handle. They remember if any harm is done to them and by who, so be kind to them. Although they do get along with everyone, they are best suited for older children.

Physical Characteristics

Their ears are small, but appear to be large due to the long hairs covering them, and their tail is short with a slight curve. Their eyes are brown with a black nose. Their long coat is dense and straight, as well as soft to the touch. Coat colors include black, red, brown, light brown, cream colored and white.


Originally named Japanese Spaniel, this breed is thought to be a descendant of the Pekingese. Although their exact origin is unknown, it is believed they were brought into Japan by Buddhist teachers around 520 A.D., even though others believe around 1000 A.D. they were presented to the Japan Emperor by the Chinese Emperor as a gift. Another theory is that they were brought in by Portuguese traders, especially given the fact that Princess Catherine of Braganza was given a puppy of this breed by them. Once in Japan, it became highly popular, and in 1854 Commodore Matthew Perry officially brought the breed to Japan. He also gave some dogs of this breed to both Queen Victoria and to the president of the United States. In the 1800s the breed was accepted as the Japanese Spaniel into the American Kennel Club, changing their name into Japanese Chin in 1977.


This small dog gets along with everyone, as long as they treat them right. Due to this, they get along best with older children who know how to handle them. They will remember any harm done to them and by who. They are fun to be around, but also love doing whatever they want, so training may be difficult. Being firm yet kind is the best way to go with them.


This breed is usually healthy, but they may suffer from:

  • Atrioventricular Endocardiosis, which affects is a degenerative disease in which the polysaccharide deposits affect the mitral and tricuspid valves of the heart by distorting them and causing them to leak, which can lead to heart failure.
  • Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.
  • Heart Murmurs, in which the heart has a malfunction that prevents it from providing enough blood for the body.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
  • Patellar Luxation, a disease where their kneecaps are slightly out of place or even dislocated, although this disease is genetic, it can also happen through injuries.
  • Legg-Perthes is a disease caused by the lack of blood reaching the femur bone, causing the cartilage around it to crack and for the bone to eventually collapse, affecting the hip joint, and noticeable through the dog limping.


Despite what its appearance might suggest, this breed is easy to care for. They only need weekly brushing and monthly bathing. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as their teeth brushed and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. They are not overly energetic, but do need daily exercise, preferably through slow and short daily walks. This makes them ideal for apartment living. Training can be difficult, seen as the trainer needs to be able to convince the dog it is doing it for itself. They can also get bored easily, so training sessions must be short and fun. Positive reinforcement works best for this breed.



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