The Japanese Chin dog breed is a delightful toy dog that is very affectionate and playful. They are extremely devoted and loyal to their family, and easily make friends with other household pets and visitors, making them excellent housedogs. Their small size and moderate exercise needs make this breed suitable for apartment dwellers too.
The Japanese Chin dog breed is of ancient roots that originated in the Orient, but their exact origins are lost in antiquity. Even though there are generally thought to be a Japanese breed, their lineage points to Chinese origin as they have a lot in common with the Pekinese breed. They were the prerogative of the aristocratic Chinese in earlier days and were often exchanged as gifts by noble families. This probably led to their arrival in Korea from where they were thought to have been brought into Japan in the 8th century. Some argue that they had been brought in by Buddhist monks sometime in the 6th or 7th century.
The Japanese Imperial family adored these dogs, and they were offered as gifts to the Portuguese who brought them into Europe. These dogs had become quite popular in Europe by the 18th century, and reached America sometime in the 19th century. They were often crossbred with other toy breeds, particularly English Toy Spaniels, to reduce their size further, and AKC recognized the breed as Japanese Spaniels.
The Japanese Chin dog breed is quite small in size, measuring just 8 to 11 inches at the withers. Many smaller dogs of this breed weigh as little as 3 pounds, but some may be as heavy as 15 pounds too. Being a toy breed, the lighter dogs are preferred as lapdogs. These dogs are cat-like in appearance with their short muzzle and broad head. The large eyes are wide-set on the nearly flat face, giving the dog an endearing look.
The dogs have a long, fluffy, single coat that comes mainly in black and white combination, usually with symmetrical markings on the face. Other coat colors include different shades of red, ranging from lemon to mahogany in combination with white, as well as sable coats that have tan points along with black and white. The folded ears are completely covered with long hair with some amount of feathering, and the plume-like tail is carried on the back.
The Japanese Chin dog breed is known for its cat-like nature that includes self-grooming their face with their paws. They climb high over tall furniture and rest on top of them, and often hide themselves in cozy nooks. They are very independent in nature, even though they are attached to their owners and show their affection openly. They love playing with children too, as long as they are handled gently. These dogs love to learn tricks and entertain people by doing ‘Chin Spins’ and ‘singing’ in a varied range of pitch.
The Japanese Chin dog breed is not aggressive in nature, and do not make great guard dogs, but they are defensive, and respond to unusual circumstances and unknown people by barking to alert their owners.
Grooming and exercise
The long, fluffy coat of the Japanese Chin dog breed requires regular brushing once or twice a week, but being single coated dogs, it is not too hard to groom them.
Their moderate exercise requirement can be met by a few brisk walks on the leash, or some amount of free play in the yard. They will take care of the rest of their exercise needs by running around the house. They enjoy games and love playing with their family members.
These dogs are as comfort-loving as cats, and love soft beds and the comfort of indoor life. They are not suitable for living outside. Even though a few hours in an enclosed yard will do them good, they cannot tolerate too much warmth.
Common health issues of Japanese Chin dog breed
Being of ancient origins, the Japanese Chin dog breed generally remains healthy and free of many breed related disorders, but several common canine problems such as patellar luxation, cataracts, entropion and dry eyes (KCS) are found in these dogs. Their large eyes are prone to injuries too. Regular eye testing may help detect and treat these potential problems early. These dogs are at risk of having achondroplasia, portacaval shunt and heart murmurs.
Lack of fiber in their diet may cause anal gland impaction that needs occasional expression. Epilepsy and some other neurological problems are sometimes encountered in these dogs. They are not as long-lived as many other small-sized dogs, their average lifespan being 10 to 12 years, but with good care, some healthy dogs live up to 15 years.