Japanese Chin Dog Breed

The Japanese Chin is an affectionate and mellow companion.
By: PawCulture Editors
Japanese Chin Dog

About the Japanese Chin Dog Breed

The Japanese Chin is believed to have originated in China. They showed up in Japan around 732. They were primarily kept as pets by royalty, who restricted ownership of the breed to members of their own class.

Japanese Chin Physical Characteristics

The Japanese Chin is small in size, generally under ten pounds and under a foot in height. It is a brachycephalic breed, with a round head, short muzzle and large eyes. The ears are feathered drop and the tail is full and curled over the back.


The Japanese Chin is black and white or red and white.


The Japanese Chin’s coat is long and silky.

Japanese Chin Personality and Temperament

Activity Level



The Japanese Chin is an affectionate and mellow companion. They get along well with children and other dogs. Their behavior is cat-like in that they use their paws to clean their face and move around like cats – walking on tables and resting on the backs of furniture.

Things to Consider

Being a brachycephalic breed, the Japanese Chin has issues related, such as breathing and heart problems, and sensitivity to high temperatures. Care also must be taken to keep their eyes safe from injury.

Japanese Chin Care

Ideal Living Conditions

Japanese Chins do well in the country or city.

Special Requirements

Japanese Chins need to be brushed daily.

Japanese Chin Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in Japanese Chins:


Japanese Chin History and Background

The Japanese Chin is closely related to the Pekingese, both of which were popular among the Chinese aristocracy and given as presents for visiting nobility on occasions. The name of the Japanese Chin may be misleading, as it is widely believed that the Chin actually originated in China.

There are many tales that relate the manner in which the Chin was introduced to Japan. For instance, Zen Buddhist instructors may have brought the breed to Japan after 520 A.D., or a Korean prince in 732 A.D. may have carried them to Japan. Others say a Chinese ruler gifted two dogs to a Japanese empress many thousands of years ago. No matter what the true story is, however, the Japanese Imperial family was very fond of the breed and kept the dogs as lapdogs, or for the simple purpose of ornamentation. Some very small Chins were even said to be kept in hanging cages, the type generally used for birds.

As Portuguese sailors were the first to trade with Japan in the 1500s, they may have been instrumental in bringing the dogs to Europe. According to official records, however, the first Chin arrived in 1853, when Commodore Perry presented Queen Victoria with a pair of Chins from his journey to Japan. In following years, traders and merchants brought more Chins to sell in America and Europe.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the breed in the late 19th century as the Japanese Spaniel. The earliest imports were bigger than the present day Chins and were probably crossed with English Toy Spaniels in order to create a smaller breed. The imports of the dogs ended with World War I, but by then the breed had already been accepted.

Although it is modestly popular in the United States, it is in Japan where the Chin still has the most fans.