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Japanese Chin Dog
A Toy Dog Breed With Cat-like Traits

Japanese Chin Dog

The Japanese Chin dog is thought to have originated in China, but developed mainly in Japan. How these toy dog breeds arrived there is a matter of debate, though it is speculated that they may have accompanied Chinese monks who migrated to Japan around the 5th century.

Dogs with a strong likeness to the Chin have been seen depicted in ancient artifacts and embroidery found in China, lending support to the early history of this breed.

The Japanese Chin is considered by many to be a descendant of dogs that were revered pets of the Chinese aristocracy.

They are very ornate and compact in appearance with large eyes and a lot of feathering throughout their substantial coat.

Their expression is both exotic, appealing and a little on the proud side.

This breed was previously known at the Japanese Spaniel, but since it bears no relation to a spaniel, its name was later changed.

Personality and Traits:

Although the Japanese Chin dog seems like the perfect lap dog, it has been known to be a rather good watchdog. Interestingly, it is one of the quietest dogs and while not a barker, when it does sound the alarm, its bark is surprisingly quite deep and serious sounding.

Another pleasant attribute of the Chin is its high intelligence and trainability. This little dog aims to please and will do well if gentle and consistent training methods are used. They are also clean by nature and considered easy to housebreak.

The Japanese Chin dog makes a loyal and interesting companion with a very loving and affectionate nature, though he is discerning with strangers. They are playful, happy and good-natured in their demeanor.

Appearance, Coat and Care

japanese chin dog book japanese chin dog book
Height: 7-11 inches
Weight: Up to 7 lbs.
Coat Colors: Black/white or red/white.

The Chin is a very clean dog and has the unusual habit of using its paws - much like a cat - to wash its face.

Having said that, your help is still required for the largest share of grooming!

The Chin has a very full coat that is straight and silky. To prevent matting and maintain its condition, the coat does need regular attention including a light brushing almost every day. Shedding for this breed is about average.


When it comes to the health of this breed, respiratory and heart conditions are the most common concerns. Because of the flattened muzzle, they are also more prone to overheating.

The eyes being on the large side and rather prominent are susceptable to scratches as well as more serious eye conditions. Rolled-in eyelids and cataracts are also somewhat common in the breed.

Inherited genetic issues that can affect the Japanese Chin dog include luxating patellas and heart murmurs.

Activity Level:

This toy dog breed requires almost no daily exercise if allowed to romp freely around the house. However, it is recommended that he be taken out for walks because every dog needs to have mental and physical stimulation to maintain good health.

Space Needs:

The Chin doesn't need a lot of space and doesn't make a lot of noise which fits in very well with apartment living or any other setting.

japanese chin figurine japanese chin dog figurine


The Chin is a delicate dog and not recommended for active children, but could be a nice pet for a child who is gentle with animals. The Chin does not like rough handling.

As always, the best policy whichever breed of dog you choose, is to have an adult supervise any interaction between children and the household pets.


Low exercise demand, loving, loyal, smart and clean makes the Japanese Chin dog the ideal companion for the elderly, more sedentary or housebound individual. Grooming needs would be the only variable to consider.

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