Japanese Chin Puppy Facts

Did you just bring home a new Japanese Chin puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

There are several theories about the origin of this breed. Some believe that it originated in Korea while majority of experts accept China as its birthplace. It's also assumed that the Pekingese played a major role in its development.

What we know for sure is that it belongs to a group of toy breeds that were developed in the Far East. Some of these breeds include the Pekingese, Tibetan Spaniel, Pug and Shih Tzu. We also know that the breed that we know today as the Japanese Chin was refined in Japan.

Similar to other toy breeds that originated in the Far East, the Japanese Chin was most likely developed from small dogs that accompanied travelers and traders who crisscrossed the region. Some of these dogs settled in Buddhist monasteries, where they were mated to produce various types of dogs.

Similar to other toy breeds, the breed that later became known as the Japanese Chin was bred for companionship.

These dogs were never sold but some of them became gifts to diplomats and other dignitaries. Many were given to Imperial palaces. They were closely guarded and protected, with the common folks not allowed to own them.

Just to illustrate how valuable these dogs were, and still are... In Japan there are two types of dogs -- Inu and Chin. Inu are more common, working dogs while Chin are considered royalty.

Exactly when and how these dogs found their way to Japan remains a mystery. The date of breed's introduction to Europe also is not clear but there is some evidence that suggests it was introduced to Europe around the 17th century by Portuguese sailors.

In 1853, Matthew Calbraith Perry, a Commodore of the U.S. Navy, re-opened Japan to the Western world. Among numerous gifts he was taking back were 3 pairs of Japanese Chin -- one for himself, one for President Pierce, and for Queen Victoria. It's believed that only two dogs survived the voyage.

The breed was recognized by AKC in 1888 but at that time it was known as the Japanese Spaniel. The name was officially changed to Japanese Chin in 1977.

Physical Characteristics

The Japanese Chin is a small and well balanced dog with a distinct expression similar to that of other breeds that originated in the Far East.

He has a square, solidly built body with moderately wide chest and rounded ribcage. The neck is moderately long and set on the shoulders in such way that it allows the dog to carry his head straight up. The plumed tail is set on high and carried over the back. 

The front legs are straight. The back legs are straight when viewed from the rear, with moderate bend of stifle. The feet are hare-shaped and point straight ahead. Mature dogs have feathering on the ends of the toes.

Words "wide" and "broad" appear often when describing Chin's head. The skull is large, slightly rounded and broad. The nose is short, with wide nostrils. The eyes are protruding, large, dark, and set wide apart. The ears are V-shaped, small, and. you guessed it, set wide apart!

The single coat is straight and silky in texture. It tends to stand out from the body, especially on chest, shoulders, and neck. The tail is heavily coated. The facial hair is short, except for the heavily feathered ears. The coat comes in several color combinations -- black and white, red and white, or black and white, with tan points.

    Height Weight
  Male 8 - 11 inches 4 - 7 pounds or 7 - 15 pounds (2 classes)
  Female 8 - 11 inches 4 - 7 pounds or 7 - 15 pounds (2 classes)


The Japanese Chin is a pleasant, lively, and intelligent dog. He is loyal and affectionate towards his family and those he knows well, but may be reserved around strangers and in unfamiliar situations.

He loves to spend time with his family and loves to be the center of attention. As a sensitive breed, his own behavior and personality will be shaped by emotions and behavior of his owners. Dogs with active owners will themselves be more active and outgoing than dogs that live in a quieter environment.

The Japanese Chin will get along well with other pets, including dogs and cats. He is gentle, playful, and good with children, but if you have small children, you need to teach them to be gentle and respect the dog.

In many ways, the Chin behavior resembles that of a cat -- he loves to climb and be in high places, will wash his face with his paws, and will curl up in your lap. He can also be quite independent.

The breed is not known as a barker but it doesn't stop it from being a good watchdog. Smart and fast learners, Chins can even be taught to perform tricks!

Similar to other smaller breeds, the Japanese Spaniel may develop a Small Dog Syndrome. It's a condition where a dog likes to act as a pack leader to his family. Some behaviors common to this syndrome include guarding, snapping, and puppy separation anxiety.

To prevent this condition from affecting your dog, set the rules he needs to follow. Also, provide consistent leadership and set the limits to what he is allowed to do. You need to act as your dog's pack leader.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

The Japanese Chin is moderately active indoors and doesn't require a yard to fulfill his exercise requirements. It will have no problems adjusting to an apartment lifestyle. The only thing to keep in mind is that it's sensitive to extreme heat and cold.

This breed will do fine with just about anyone, but not everyone is qualified to own a dog, irrelevant of the breed. Some Japanese Chin breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

The Japanese Chin doesn't require a lot of exercise. While playing and running off leash can provide all the exercise that it needs, all dogs need to be taken on a regular daily walk, and this breed is not an exception.

At a minimum, take your pet on a daily walk.


This breed is an average shedder and easy to groom. Comb and brush daily to remove tangles and loose hair. Also check and trim the nails, clean the ears, and brush your dog's teeth. Dry shampoo occasionally and bathe when necessary.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, Japanese Chins are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

Additional health concerns include eye problems, heart problems, and respiratory problems. Though not a health issue, the breed is known to wheeze and snore. All these conditions, with the exception of eye problems, are directly related to the flattened face that makes breathing more difficult. The breed is also sensitive to heat.

Buy only from reputable Japanese Chin breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems become big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for healthy Japanese Chin puppies is around 10 to 11 years, which is not a lot considering the size of these dogs.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Japanese Chin rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? If you answered "YES", then check this Japanese Chin Behavior and Obedience Training Guide.

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Japanese Chin Puppies » Dog Breeds

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