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Nicole Cosgrove

June 18, 2021
The Chin-wa is the mixed offspring of a Japanese Chin and a Chihuahua. This cross is a small toy dog with a life span of 10 to 12 years. He has talents in tricks, agility, competitive obedience and watchdog. He is a bright and clever little thing and loves to be around people, being very social..
Here is the Chin-wa at a Glance
Average height Up to 11 inches
Average weight 4 to 8 pounds
Coat type Long or short, straight
Hypoallergenic? No
Grooming Needs Moderate
Shedding Moderate to above average
Brushing Daily if coat is long, otherwise two to three times a week
Touchiness Somewhat sensitive
Tolerant to Solitude? Low
Barking Rare
Tolerance to Heat Moderate
Tolerance to Cold Low to good depending on coat type
Good Family Pet? Good to very good
Good with Children? Good but needs socialization
Good with other Dogs? Moderate to good – needs socialization
Good with other Pets? Good with socialization
A roamer or Wanderer? Low
A Good Apartment Dweller? Excellent due to size
Good Pet for new Owner? Very good
Trainability Moderate hard
Exercise Needs Slightly active
Tendency to get Fat Average
Major Health Concerns Patellar Luxation, Hypoglycemia, Heart problems, Eye problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes, Collapsed Trachea, Open Fontanel, Hydrocephalus,
Other Health Concerns Shivering
Life Span 10 to 12 years
Average new Puppy Price $200 to $700
Average Annual Medical Expense $435 to $535
Average Annual Non-Medical Expense $530 to $630

Where does the Chin-wa come from?

As one of the latest designer dogs the Chin-wa is a mixed dog so not a member of the kennel club though there are several designer dog clubs that have been created, to which he could belong. Designer dog is a term coined recently and applied to crossed dogs who have been deliberately bred, to set them apart from mutts. Over the last three decades their popularity has increased among some people though others are very much against them, citing the increase in puppy mills and bad breeders as reason. For a few we have some knowledge about their origins but for most we have nothing. Therefore to see where the Chin-wa comes from we can take a look at the parents first.

The Chihuahua

Discovered in Chihuahua a Mexican state, in the 1850s was the shorthaired version. There are two theories as to where they come from, one is that they are a result of breeding small hairless dogs from China with local dogs when they were brought over by Spanish traders. Another says he is descended from the Techichi a central and south American dog dating back to the 9th century. After the 1850s the Chihuahua was taken to America and in 1904 the first one was registered with the AKC. The short haired was bred with the Papillons or Pomeranians to get the long haired variety and the breed became very popular over the years.

He is a brave, daring and confident dog, alert, and usually bonds more closely to one person. He can be quite sensitive and demanding in his need for affection and attention. He is not a natural with children, especially younger ones, and early socialization helps.

The Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is a very old breed of dog who probably began in the Chinese court and was given as a gift to visitors from other countries. Japan received it and back home they saw him as a separate being not a dog! He was crossed with other native small dogs to become what he is now. It was not until the mid 1800s that he became known to other countries and he became a popular import to the US and to Britain.

Today he is a happy and affectionate dog who can be chatty and is intelligent too. He is good at charming people and is sensitive to his owner’s emotions. Should he live with people who are quiet and reserved that is what he will be like, if he lives with people more outgoing then that is what he will be like. He does suffer from separation anxiety and can be shy so socialization is important.


The Chin-wa is a clever dog who while can have a stubborn side and is therefore harder to train, is still good at doing tricks once he has learned them and loves to please. He is a people dog, always wanting to be where the activity is and enjoying the attention more people bring. He could be a great family dog, he is playful and can be loving. He is alert and loyal too.

What does the Chin-wa look like

This is a toy dog weighing only 4 to 8 pounds and measuring up to 11 inches in height. He can have flappy or erect ears, or ones that fold over at the tip, like the Chihuahua. His head can also be apple shaped like the Chihuahua and his tail can curl. He can have a short to long coat that is straight and common colors are brown, red, cream, black, white, red and gray. His eyes tend to be large and round and his nose looks like the Chin’s.

Training and Exercise Needs

How active does the Chin-wa need to be?

This is just a slightly active dog, he will not need a lot of exercise to keep in shape and happy. This means he is well suited to apartment living and having owners who are less active. Some of his indoor play will go towards his physical needs and his toys should also offer him some mental stimulation. He needs to get outside still each day and that can be in the form of a couple of leashed walks. If he meets the requirements for the local dog park in terms of size some off leash time and play time there would be good too.

Does he train quickly?

The Chin-wa can be difficult to train since he has a stubborn side and will often choose whether or not he is going to obey any command! He is smart though and with an experienced trainer he can learn quickly when positive techniques are used. Be firm, consistent and patient. Early socialization and training are a key part of raising a dog so make sure they are taken care of.

Living with a Chin-wa

How much grooming is needed?

There is not a lot of grooming to do especially when he is short coated. Brush him two to three times a week or daily if it is long and prone to tangles. Give him a bath just when he needs it using a dog shampoo and try not to make those baths too close together so that you do not dry out his skin. His nails if they are not worn down naturally should be clipped by someone who knows what they are doing. His ears should be checked for infection and wiped clean once a week. His dental care is important so at least brush twice a week, more if you can.

What is he like with children and other animals?

If more like the Japanese Chin he can get on well with other pets and dogs but if more like the Chihuahua that socialization can be key in his interactions. Usually he gets on fine with children too, the socialization does help though and it is best not to have him around smaller children without supervision because they do not yet know to be careful due to his small size.

General information

He is not a noisy dog and barks on rare occasions. He will need to be fed ¼ to ½ cup of good quality dry dog food each day, split into two meals at least. Be careful and strict with his diet as he can become fussy if over spoiled or indulged.

Health Concerns

Health concerns that can be passed on from either parent dog to the offspring include Patellar Luxation, Hypoglycemia, Heart problems, Eye problems, Legg-Calve-Perthes, Collapsed Trachea, Open Fontanel, Hydrocephalus and Shivering. A good breeder will be able to show you health clearances for both parents to assure you that these are not problems either have. Visit the puppy before you purchase as a way to see the conditions it is in and how the breeder keeps their other animals. This is usually a good indicator of how healthy that puppy will be.

Costs involved in owning a Chin-wa

A Chin-wa puppy costs between $200 to $700. Other costs come to between $360 to $400 for a crate, carrier, blood tests, deworming, micro chip, neutering, vaccinations, collar and leash. Annual medical costs for the basics like check ups, flea prevention, shots and pet insurance come to between $435 to $535. Annual non-medical costs for essentials like food, grooming if long haired, toys, treats, license and training come to between $530 to $630.


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The Chin-wa is a great option for people looking for a lap dog, one he will not need a lot of walking and is easy to look after. However he does not naturally get along with everyone so will need that early socialization and he does not like being left alone at all.

Featured Image Credit: nirutti, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.

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