The Japanese Chin is a devoted companion, relishing a warm lap as much as a boisterous game. He is sensitive and willing to please, tending to shadow his family. He is a friend to all: strangers, dogs and pets. His playfulness and gentleness make him a good child's companion for equally gentle children. The breed has been described as almost catlike, some even climb.
Japanese Chin Dog Care
The Japanese Chin is lively but small enough that his exercise needs can be met with a short walk, romp or game. This is not a breed that can live outside. He does not do well in hot humid weather. Some Chins tend to wheeze. The long coat needs combing twice weekly.
Japanese Chin Dog Health
Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: patellar luxation, KCS, entropion
Occasionally seen: achondroplasia, epilepsy
Suggested tests: knee, (eye)
Life span: 12-14 years
Note: The breed is sensitive to anesthesia and does not tolerate heat well. He is also prone to corneal abrasions.
Interested in the history of the Japanese Chin dog breed?
Despite his name, the Japanese Chin is actually of ancient Chinese origin, probably sharing a close relationship with the Pekingese. Like the Pekingese, the Chin was kept by Chinese aristocracy, and sometimes presented as a gift to visiting nobility. Different stories exist about how he arrived in Japan: Zen Buddhist teachers may have brought the breed sometime after A.D. 520, a Korean prince may have taken some to Japan in A.D. 732 or a Chinese emperor may have presented a pair to a Japanese emperor about a thousand years ago. However he got there, he gained great favor with the Japanese imperial family and was kept as a lap dog and ornament; some particularly small Chins were reportedly kept in hanging "bird" cages. Portuguese sailors first traded with Japan in the 16th century and may have been the first to bring Chins to Europe. However, the first official record of Chins coming to Europe was in 1853, when Commodore Perry presented a pair from his trip to Japan to Queen Victoria. In the succeeding years, traders brought back many more Chins, selling them in Europe and America. The breed was recognized by the AKC in the late 1800s as the Japanese spaniel. These early imports were larger than modern Chins, and he is possible that some crossing with English toy spaniels may have occurred to reduce size. World War I ended the steady supply of importations, but the breed had already gained a strong foothold. He maintains a modest popularity in America, but still enjoys his greatest popularity in Japan.