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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Japanese Chin Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More

Japanese Chin Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More

japanese chin in grass

The Japanese Chin is a popular dog breed featuring a broad head, wide-set eyes, and a short muzzle. This toy breed is small and perfect for life in a home of any size. The Japanese Chin originated in China but developments to this breed did not truly take place until it found itself in Japan.

Originally known as the Japanese Spaniel, the arrival of the Japanese Chin cannot be easily traced. Several rumors surround this arrival, including being given as gifts to royals and arriving as early as the 6th century.

Breed Overview


8-11 inches


4-7 pounds


10-14 years


Black and white, red and white, black and white with tan

Suitable for

Singles and couples with time to dedicate to their pet, families with older children


Loving, intelligent, sensitive, friendly, stubborn, socializes well with training

This dog was bred to be a lap dog and companion. This was unique in Japan considering most dog breeds were used as workers. Due to the love and favoritism bestowed upon the breed by Japanese royals, only those of nobility were allowed to own them.

Over the years, the Japanese Chin was sent to others around the world by the Japanese royals. Now, this breed is in most parts of the world and is loved by people of all ages.

Japanese Chin Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


Japanese Chin Puppies

japanese chin puppy lying on the rock
Image Credit: Ann Marie Kurtz, Shutterstock

The Japanese Chin is a very unique dog breed. Before you buy a puppy, you should know what you should expect. While they are loving and sensitive dogs, they don’t require tons of exercise but it’s recommended to play with them and take them for regular walks to avoid weight gain. Training is possible but should be done early as it is not always easy with this particular breed.

The Japanese Chin is a generally healthy dog. Keep reading their full care guide to know what they need in terms of nutrition, grooming, and exercise so they grow into a happy and healthy dog!


Temperament & Intelligence of the Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is an intelligent and loving dog. The overall temperament of these dogs is gentle and playful. The Chin doesn’t require a ton of exercise but they are energetic. These dogs are amazing companions. Due to their small size, they are perfect to stay on their owner’s lap and provide hours of love and affection.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Japanese Chin is ideal for singles and couples. Unfortunately, they don’t do their best with children. The perfect family for a Japanese Chin would be one with older kids who aren’t overly excited and wouldn’t upset this little dog.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

The Japanese Chin is a breed that can easily be socialized with other animals. Considering their royal beginnings these small dogs are used to an easy-going lifestyle. They were not used for hunting or other sports activities to make them instinctively aggressive toward other small animals.

Japanese Chin
Image Credit: Pixabay


Things to Know When Owning a Japanese Chin:

Before bringing a Japanese Chin into your home, understanding their needs is important. Having a happy and healthy pet requires a dedication to giving them their needs. Read on below, to learn more about their daily food requirements and needs to help make the perfect home for the new arrival.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

A Japanese Chin puppy should eat roughly 170 calories per day. These feedings should be spread out into three or four feedings throughout the day to ensure pups don’t get an upset stomach.

Adult chins require more calories. Anywhere between 210 to 270 calories should be consumed by a healthy adult. The more active the dog is, the more calories it will require.

When choosing food for your Chin, make sure you choose high-quality kibble to help ensure all your pet’s dietary needs are met.

Exercise 🐕

The Japanese Chin is not an overly active dog breed. Mostly, these dogs tend to enjoy sitting around the house and spending time with their owners. To keep your Chin from becoming overweight, you should insist they play a bit each day.

Walks are another way to keep a Chin active. Taking routine walks will keep their bodies moving and allow them to spend any pent-up energy they have.

japanese chin playing on grass
Image Credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

Training 🎾

Japanese Chins are known to be stubborn dogs. This can make training difficult. The best chance to work with this breed of dog is to start training early and stay on top of it. Reward training with their favorite treats is the best way to get these dogs to follow your commands. Stay dedicated to training and you will have a well-behaved Chin.

Grooming ✂️

Although they have long, silky hair, the Japanese Chin doesn’t require a lot of grooming. Routine bathing with a trusted detangling shampoo and conditioner will help keep your dog clean and smelling fresh. Using a good brush will leave their hair looking natural and free of tangles.

A Japanese Chin should remain natural-looking. Overly grooming this breed isn’t wise. Trimming of their hair is acceptable and should only be done when needed. The use of thinning shears can keep their hair looking shapely and healthy.

japanese chin dog
Image Credit: Piqsels

Health and Conditions 🏥

Fortunately, the Japanese Chin is an overall healthy dog breed. When well cared for, this dog doesn’t have major health concerns. A dependable owner who keeps up with routine veterinarian visits and vaccines will have few concerns when it comes to raising a happy, healthy Japanese Chin.

To be a good pet owner, choose a reputable veterinarian who offers routine care as well as emergency services. Although it is rare, it’s hard to predict when something could happen to any pet in the home. Knowing where to turn during these situations makes life easier for both the pet and the owner.

Serious Conditions
  • Heart Problems
  • Breathing Problems
  • Luxating Patellas
  • Heart Murmurs
Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Hypoglycemia

Male vs Female

Like with most dog breeds, male Japanese Chins have better mood control. They are less apt to have mood swings like female dogs. Unfortunately, male dogs are also known to be more aggressive and bolder.

Female Chins may be considered more playful and outgoing but they are also prone to swings in their moods where they may sulk or act depressed.

Deciding between a male or a female Japanese Chin shouldn’t be difficult. Honestly, it is more up to the preferences of the pet owner. With only these small differences, either sex should be a great fit in any home.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Japanese Chin

There’s a lot we know about the Japanese Chin, but like with any dog breed, there are little known facts that may surprise people. Take a look at these cool facts to learn more about the Chin.

1. Queen Alexandra Made the Chin Popular

Alexandra received a Japanese Chin when she married King Edward in 1863. She loved the breed so much she continued welcoming Chins into her home. Several paintings were made of Queen Alexandra with her beloved pets helping make them popular in Britain.

2. The Chin Spin

A fun quirk of the Japanese Chin is their love of spinning. When excited or happy, they spin in circles, often on their back legs, to show their mood. This move is cute and a favorite of pet owners.

3. The Japanese Chin Comes to America

Commodore Matthew Perry is the first person to bring the Japanese Chin to the United States. He was originally given three sets of Chins, but during the voyage, two sets didn’t make it. When he arrived in the states, the duo was given to his daughter to live a happy life.

Japanese Chin
Image credit: GoranH, Pixabay


Final Thoughts

The Japanese Chin is considered one of the top 100 dog breeds according to the American Kennel Club. With their royal background and fun disposition, this isn’t surprising. Like with any dog breed you decide to bring into your home as part of your family, the Japanese Chin will require love, a warm bed, and a loving family to spend time with. If you’re ready to commit to a dog, then this breed will make a great companion.

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Featured Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

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