Japanese Chin

As its name suggests, the Japanese Chin is a dog from Asia. These tiny dogs have been around for over 1,000 years and were popular Chinese and Japanese court members.

If you’re looking for a companion that’s loyal to the bone, this dog breed is ideal! Despite their regal history, a Japanese Chin can adapt to living in an apartment. These toy dogs’ easygoing, friendly, and comical nature makes them suitable for new and experienced dog owners.

However, it’s best not to leave your Chin dog home alone for long. They generally prefer to be around their owners and enjoy calm environments. They also have low-energy levels, which is ideal for beginners who are still figuring out the ropes. This cat-like trait makes these little pups the perfect dog for people who like cats and dogs.

Japanese Chin Dog Breed Pictures


What Does a Japanese Chin Dog Look Like?

When it comes to their appearance, the Japanese Chin easily falls into the toy size category. Their large heads, wide-set eyes, short and broad muzzle, and even face marking patterns will help you recognize them. Aside from white, Japanese Chin puppies can also have sable, red, lemon, and black coats.

Standing no taller than 11 inches, the breed has no choice but to find greater heights to improve their view. You’ll even find them climbing up sofas and reachable shelves to take a peep at the outdoors through the window. And if you also own a cat, you’ll notice the two pets will often have similar characteristics.

It is no surprise that a full-grown Japanese Chin weighs between 8 and 11 pounds. Their miniature size makes them the perfect lapdog for owners who prefer small dogs. It also explains how they can easily climb up furniture.


The Japanese Chin personality has been the same over the years: happy, friendly, calm, loving, and loyal. These pups have made their mark as the most entertaining companion for dog owners. Their warm personality is a testimony to their friendship with the Asian upper class and their appearance in court.

While other dog breeds may not care for climbing, a Japanese Chin puppy enjoys resting on high surfaces. Don’t be surprised to find your furry friend hiding in weird places as your cat does. Another cat-like trait you may notice is how they wipe their faces with their paws.

Although these dogs are generally friendly, it’s best to socialize them with other animals early. Doing this from the start ensures their emotions are well-balanced. They also don’t enjoy living with other dogs unless they’re another Chin or a cat.

Living Needs

Japanese Chin pups do well in large homes with backyards, but they also suit small apartments. If you have an outdoor space, the best thing is to fence it so your dog doesn’t run away. Although these cute dogs enjoy being independent, they also suffer from separation anxiety. Thus, it’s best not to leave them alone for too long.

This cat-like breed’s quiet, sensitive nature means they do well with adults and seniors with low energy levels. Living in a home with energetic toddlers and active pets with loud personalities will likely stress them out. Besides, their fragile bones also mean that playtime sessions may likely become fatal.

Like most toy breeds, the Japanese Chin has an unstable neck. Keep walks short as the pups may not enjoy them. When going for a stroll, it’s best to use a back-clip harness.


How to Groom a Japanese Chin

Before getting yourself one, here are some Japanese Chin grooming tips that will come in handy. For instance, did you know that this breed’s grooming needs are not as high as most people imagine? That’s right!

You can easily maintain their silk coats by brushing them once every other week, depending on the shedding season. You should also trim their nails and regularly check their ears and teeth.

How to Train a Japanese Chin

When it comes to Japanese Chin training, these pups are somewhat difficult to work with. Most Chin dog owners admit that these mini dogs like things on their terms. They will ignore you when they feel like it, so you’ll need some tricks to outsmart your tiny companion. You can start by using simple commands and a gentle, stern voice. There’s no need to get too repetitive as Chin dogs learn quickly.

How Much Exercise Does a Japanese Chin Need?

Japanese Chins are the best pets for people with inactive lifestyles. These small dogs don’t need to exercise to be happy. They are not like most dogs that were bred for work. Instead, they’d rather lay on their owners’ laps.

Those who prefer a little activity can also adopt Japanese Chin puppies. You can take them on short walks daily or play some mentally stimulating games. Either way, your little dog will be happy!


A Japanese Chin needs a diet that is rich in fiber. The correct portion is ¼ to ½ cup of premium quality, dry dog food, divided into two meals every day. You’ll also have to buy the right kibble for their age, i.e., puppy, mature, or senior.


As for their average lifespan, Japanese Chin dogs live for 10 to 12 years. However, during this period, your pup may undergo some health problems. As with other toy breeds, a professional breeder should check these dogs for various health issues. They include cataracts, epilepsy, luxating patellas, heart murmurs, dental and respiratory problems.

These mini dogs can also get a neurological condition called Tay-Sachs disease. However, by using a DNA test, breeders can prevent the disease from affecting the puppies.


As previously mentioned, the Japanese Chins make great companion dogs. Their behavior is explained by their origin, which dates back to the ancient Silk Road age. Chins were later offered as gifts to Chinese nobles for their graceful, calm nature. They took to royalty well, and soon enough, lower-class people were not allowed to keep them.

In Japan, Chins weren’t viewed as dogs but as separate beings. People weren’t even allowed to buy them. However, someone could gift you as part of a dowry or a great favor. It is believed that the Japanese crossed them with small Spaniels to create the lapdogs we know today.

Thanks to trade expansion routes, these tiny Japanese dogs finally got to the US. They’re still known for their royal and loyal traits.

Fun Facts About Japanese Chins

  • Did you know that the Japanese consider Chins as royals? This explains their name and why they refer to ordinary, working dogs as Inu instead.
  • This Japanese Chin breed is so intelligent that they’ll train you, and not vice-versa. They are known to outsmart first-time dog owners.
  • Did you know that these dogs do a playful “Chin spin” when excited? Pay close attention when they are about to eat or when their favorite person arrives.

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