Japanese Chin Breed Guide

Breed Group:
Companion Dogs

Middle Age: 5 years

Geriatric Age: 9 years

Life Span: 10 to 14 years

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Japanese Chin Background

The Japanese Chin is known to be one of the oldest breeds in history dating all the way back to the 9th century A.D. Once serving as the hand to aristocracies and noblemen, the Japanese Chin’s main purpose was to be a trusted companion and lap dog. Because of their small size and docile personalities, the Japanese Chin was often sought out by royalty in both China and Japan.

Many speculate that this breed shares a close relation to other popular oriental toy breeds like the Pug and the Pekingese. While they may appear to be very different in their looks and personality, their origins make many believe that they all share a similar ancestry with one another.

Japanese Chin Personality

If there is one thing this dog is known for (besides their unique appearance), it’s their lovable and affectionate personality. They also are charming and spunky, giving them a unique personality all of their own.

The Japanese Chin is meant to be a lap dog and constantly craves attention from their owners. While this may be cute and endearing, if they don’t get enough attention back, they may develop anxiety or depression.

If there is any dog breed that is most similar to cats, it would definitely be the Japanese Chin. Most of the time they are quiet and don’t require strenuous exercise to stay healthy. If you are torn on whether to get a dog or a cat, the Japanese Chin would be the perfect pet for you.

Japanese Chin Training

As long as you start the training process at an early age, the Japanese Chin can be an easy breed to train. They are naturally intelligent and love to please their owners, however, if training becomes boring or repetitive, they will quickly lose all interest. Make sure when training your Japanese Chin that you are always making the practices fun and exciting so he stays intrigued throughout the entire lesson.

It is also very important to socialize your dog from a young age. Introduce him to different places, people, sounds, and experiences so he learns how to become a well-behaved pup later on in life.

Japanese Chin Exercise

If you want a low-maintenance dog that doesn’t require a lot of exercise, then the Japanese Chin is the perfect dog for you. While they love to go on a quick trip around the block, they don’t need too much more than that.

Playing around with children is also another way that the Japanese Chin can get in their exercise. All they need is to chase them around a bit before they are tired out. Unlike most breeds, the Japanese Chin will not become destructive or develop bad behavior if they don’t get their walk on a daily basis.

Japanese Chin Lifespan

The average lifespan of the Japanese Chin is between 12 to 14 years.

Japanese Chin Breed Popularity

Even though the Japanese Chin may not be very popular in the United States, they are still a family favorite in both China and Japan. In more recent years, the American Kennel Club has ranked these dogs as the 105th most popular dog breed in the United States.

Japanese Chin Feeding

Because they are so petite in size, the Japanese Chin only needs about ¼ to ½ cup of high-quality food a day, split into two equal meals. When choosing your dog food, it is critical that you buy one that has all natural and nutritious ingredients. Try to stay away from any products that contain preservatives, by-products, or harmful fillers that can be detrimental to your dog’s overall health.

Japanese Chin Grooming

The Japanese Chin tends to be a very clean breed and only requires bathing when necessary. Weekly brushing for your furry companion is also recommended in order to reduce his minimal shedding.

Along with a grooming regimen, make sure to brush their teeth at least once a week to reduce tartar and bacteria from building up. It is also recommended to check their eyes and ears every so often to watch out for infection or irregularities.

Are Japanese Chins Good with kids?

The Japanese Chin can be a great companion for children, however, small toddlers may be too rambunctious for this fragile breed. As long as the child is old enough and understands how to interact with a small dog, then there should be no issues in your household. Just like with any breed, make sure a parent is present during any interactions between a dog and child.  

Japanese Chin Health Problems

Japanese Chin’s do not have any major health concerns, however, that doesn’t mean they are exempt from all issues. Some possible health problems that can inflict your Japanese Chin include:

Cataracts: Cataracts in dogs are a common eye issue that occurs when the lens becomes opaque or clouded over. This degeneration causes a loss of vision over time, and will eventually lead to total blindness. If your pet has reached this point, corrective surgery may be recommended.

Heart Murmurs: Heart murmurs in dogs occur when there is an obstacle restricting the blood flow to travel normally throughout the chambers of the heart. In severe cases, a dog may need to reduce their physical activity, change their diet, or take medication.

Atrioventricular Endocardiosis: This condition causes the valves of the heart to become distorted, which leads to leakage and other complications. Heart failure may occur in severe cases.

Other Resources

National Breed Website: Japanese Chin Club of America 

Rescues: Japanese Chin Rescue