Japanese Chin

Temperament: Charming, Noble, Loving

  • Height: 8-11 inches
  • Weight: 7-11 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Group: Toy Group 

The Japanese Chin is a charming toy companion of silky, profuse coat and an unmistakably aristocratic bearing. Often described as a distinctly “feline” breed, this bright and amusing lapdog is fastidious, graceful, and generally quiet.


The Japanese Chin is a small, well balanced, lively, aristocratic toy dog with a distinctive Oriental expression. It is light and stylish in action. The plumed tail is carried over the back, curving to either side. The coat is profuse, silky, soft and straight. The dog’s outline presents a square appearance.

About the Japanese Chin

Chin are the unrivaled noblemen of Japanese breeds. They’re tiny “indoorsy” companions, with an unmistakably Eastern look and bearing. The head is large, the muzzle short, and the round, dark eyes convey, as Chin fans like to say, a “look of astonishment.” The profuse mane around the neck and shoulders, the plumed tail arching over the back, and the pants or “culottes” on the hind legs project the elegant, exotic appearance so typical of Asia’s royal line of laptop cuddle bugs.

NUTRITION The Japanese Chin should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING The long, silky coat of the Japanese Chin gives him the appearance of a high-maintenance breed, but he is surprisingly easy to maintain in top condition. He will require weekly brushing and a bath once a month or so, depending on his surroundings. The breed’s nails grow very fast and should be trimmed regularly to keep them short and neat. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris that can cause ear infections, and teeth should be brushed regularly to avoid dental problems.

EXERCISE The Japanese Chin is a fairly active little dog. He will enjoy going for slow walks with his humans, or exploring his fenced backyard. The breed is an excellent choice for apartment living. Because of their stubborn nature, it is never a good idea to allow them to outdoors off lead. If they see something they want to explore, they are likely to refuse to listen to any commands or pleas. They are a bit reserved around new people, pets, and situations, but with proper socialisation will enjoy going for romps in a supervised dog park with other small dogs.

TRAINING Training a Chin can be simple for the trainer who can make them believe they are doing only the things they want to do. Bred strictly as companions for royalty, the Chin’s only job throughout the breed’s history has been to charm, amuse, and comfort their humans. They are often referred to as “catlike,” and this trait can certainly be visible during training. They react well to positive training methods, but will shut down at the first hint of harshness. Training sessions must be interesting and fun to keep their attention. They love to learn tricks to perform for their adoring public.

HEALTH The Japanese Chin is a generally healthy breed, and responsible breeders screen for health concerns such as luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps), cataracts, epilepsy, and early-onset heart murmurs. Japanese Chin can be affected by a fatal neurological condition called GM2 gangliosidosis, or Ty-Sachs disease; using a DNA test, breeders can identify carriers and plan breeding’s to prevent the disease from manifesting in their puppies.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • GM2 mutation DNA Test

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