The Japanese Chin is a small dog with a silky, straight, and soft coat. The breed usually comes with white and black markings, but it may also present with white and red markings. These dogs have a plumed tail carried over their backs that curves to either side. Their eyes are large, round, and dark, and their ears are small and V-shaped. They have a broad and short muzzle. The Japanese Chin ranges in size from 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 4 to 9 pounds.
These dogs not only love finding trouble, but they also enjoy watching their human family's reaction to their behavior. Sharing a home with one of these little guys requires patience and a sense of humor.
An intelligent and sensitive breed, the Japanese Chin is a devoted and affectionate family companion that is very playful and can be taught to perform tricks. These dogs are a bit reserved around strangers, but they are very friendly around people they know. Their small size makes them ideally suited for apartment life, but they do well anywhere. They enjoy attention, showing off to an audience, and playing in an open yard.
Although the Japanese Chin originated in china, the breed is considered a higher being in Japan. The name Chin comes from the belief that these dogs are not dogs (inu) at all, but are their own distinct entity (chin).
Sensitive and intelligent, the Japanese Chin's only purpose is to be a companion animal. The breed is affectionate, friendly, and responsive with familiar people, but it can be a little reserved or hesitant in new situations and around strangers. These dogs make great family pets due to their playful, mischievous, and easy-going personalities.
The Japanese Chin is a good fit for families who love small dogs with a great sense of humor. These impish and clever dogs are always entertaining and love spending time as the center of attention. The breed enjoys making his family laugh, but it also has a special fondness for mischief. These dogs not only love finding trouble, but they also enjoy watching their human family's reaction to their behavior. Sharing a home with one of these little guys requires patience and a sense of humor.
The breed's size makes it a perfect fit for apartments or single-family homes. Their small size does not prevent these dogs from being excellent watchdogs, however. The Japanese Chin breed does not like to spend a lot of time outdoors, and they are sensitive to the heat. Still, they need plenty of exercise and benefit from walks and short romps outdoors. It's important not to carry these dogs everywhere; they may look cute in your arms, but they need activity for their mental and physical health.
The Japanese Chin is a relatively healthy breed, but it is known to suffer from certain health conditions that can reduce quality or length of life. One such problem, luxating patellas, is a knee problem that can severely interfere with mobility. Other potential problems include mitral valve disease, epilepsy, and achondroplasia, a type of dwarfism.
These dogs are also prone to multiple eye disorders, including cataracts, entropion, progressive retinal atrophy, and keratoconjunctivitis sicca, which is also known as dry eye. These dogs are also at increased risk for developing corneal abrasions. Additionally, the breed is heat intolerant and sensitive to anesthesia. If allowed to exercise in high temperatures, the breed can quickly succumb to heatstroke, a potentially fatal condition.
With routine veterinary care, proper attention to temperature regulation, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and vaccinations, the Japanese Chin can live a long life of 12 to 14 years.
The Japanese Chin is a very intelligent breed and is easily trained, provided he likes his trainer. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise, food, and play rewards, work best on these dogs; overly firm methods can backfire. If the Chin respects his owner, a firm voice is generally all that is needed to correct behavior. It also helps that these dogs rarely do anything seriously wrong. A bit of mischief making is generally all they are responsible for.
Unlike most other dog breeds, the Japanese Chin has a knack for reaching high places when desired. Some people even joke that these dogs are part cat or can fly, but really they are just highly agile and very determined. These dogs excel in agility trials for this same reason. To keep the Japanese Chin safe, make sure medications and other hazards are stored in places inaccessible to these clever, agile dogs.
Although these dogs are not known for being excessively noisy, they may "sing" with people, each other, or the radio. They are also prone to chattering a bit when company comes to visit. Overall, though, they are not prone to barking, yapping, or other vocalizations.
The silky coat of the Japanese Chin is easy to care for but requires regular brushing. Matting is rarely a problem with this breed, although the ear fringes are prone to tangles. Brushing a couple of times each week with a pin brush is generally sufficient to keep the coat manageable, attractive, and healthy. During times of heavy shedding, more frequent brushing can prevent hair from piling up around the house.
Bathe the Japanese Chin about once monthly to clean the coat and keep him smelling nice. If bathing more often is necessary due to the breed rolling around in a harmful or sticky substance, a pH-balanced canine shampoo will gently clean the coat without harming the breed's delicate skin. After bathing, the coat should be towel-dried and brushed.
The nails need trimming every few weeks to prevent breaks and snags, and the teeth require brushing every day to remove tartar, prevent cavities, and protect against periodontal disease. The ears should be examined about once each week for excess wax and signs of infection. If any redness, discharge, odor, or pain is noticed, it is important to consult a veterinarian right away.
The Japanese Chin breed was bred for the primary purpose of keeping the laps of the Chinese aristocracy warm. While adored in its native China, the breed quickly became stunningly popular in Japan. The dogs appeared on ancient embroideries and pottery and evidence suggests the dogs were not available for sale, but were given as gifts of esteem from one noble to another or to diplomats or others who contributed in some remarkable way to Japan.
After many years of being closed to foreign influence and trade, Japan was reopened in 1854 by Commodore Matthew Perry. It was at this time that the Japanese Chin was introduced to the Western World. The first Chin to make it to America never bred, but it wasn't long before more of the dogs entered the country. The breed also became popular in Europe around the same time.
Today, the Japanese Chin is popular with families and is loved for its easy-going personality, intelligence, and small size.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Japanese Chin in 1888.