Japanese Chin Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits

Sensitive, intelligent, responsive and affectionate, the Japanese chin is reputed as the ideal pet by those familiar with the breed. It is dignified yet silly and thrives in any environment.

Japanese Chin At a glance
The Japanese Chin Dog Breed

It is suspected that British breeders crossbred the Japanese chin with the King Charles spaniel, resulting in the similarity in appearance.


Weight Range:

Male: 4-12 lbs.
Female: 4-12 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 10

Female: 9


Brachycephalic (squashed face), floppy ears (naturally)


Exercise Requirements: 20 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 12-14 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low Tendency to Snore: High
Tendency to Bark: Low
Tendency to Dig: Low Social/Attention Needs: High

Bred For:



Length: Medium
Characteristics: Straight
Colors: Red and white, black and white with tan points
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Toy
UKC Classification: Companion Dog
Prevalence: So-so

The Japanese chin has a bright and intelligent look and a distinct Oriental expression. These dogs have a large broad head, large wide-set eyes, short broad muzzle, ear feathering and the evenly patterned facial markings. This toy breed ranges in weight from four to 11 pounds and in height from nine to 10 inches.

The color of the chin is either black and white, red and white, or black and white with tan points. The term tan points includes tan or red spots over each eye, inside the ears, on both cheeks and at the anal vent area if any black is displayed. The term red includes all shades of red, orange, lemon and sable, which includes any aforementioned shade intermingled or overlaid with black.

It is suspected that British breeders probably crossbred the chin with the King Charles spaniel, and that accounts for the similarity in their appearance.


A Japanese chin is a good companion. He is a sensitive and intelligent dog, albeit somewhat independent, whose only purpose is to serve as a companion. Responsive and affectionate with those he knows and loves, he is reserved with strangers or in new situations. Naturally clean, the feisty chin makes an ideal pet that can thrive in any environment.

Living With:

Those who know this breed will never again live without one. Japanese chins exemplify everything that is ideal in a pet. They are elegant yet comical, dignified yet silly. Their thick, luxuriant coat requires little care. The chin makes a perfect companion.


The Japanese chin is an old toy breed that most likely evolved from the Tibetan spaniel. Dogs similar in appearance to the chin have been found on ancient pottery and old Chinese temples. The dogs appear to have originated in China. It is reported that the Chinese Emperor gave a pair of chin to the Japanese Emperor. The first European records of the chin go back to the 1600s when Portuguese sailors presented Princess Catherine of Braganza with some chins as a gift. In 1853, Admiral Commodore Perry gave Queen Victoria a pair of chin after his warships visited Japan. World War I and Japanese earthquakes diminished the numbers of chin in Japan.

No firm records exist as to when the chin first appeared in the United States. When they were first recognized in the States, they were called Japanese spaniels. In 1977, the American Kennel Club recognized them as the Japanese chin.

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