This dog has been around for centuries and, despite the name, most likely originated in China. It is sometimes referred to as the Japanese Spaniel. They reached the western world sometime in the 1800’s. There was a time when this breed was reserved for royalty, no “commoner” was allowed to own one. Each house bred their own Japanese Chin to their own standard, this resulted in there being many variations in size and weight. They are one of the few breeds to be classed solely as a “companion dog” with no specific role as a working dog. The American Kennel Club doesn't mention any precise weight boundaries, though usually they are somewhere between 7 - 9 lbs.
The Japanese Chin is seemingly cat-like in behaviour. They even wash their faces with their paws, just like a cat. They are a friendly breed that will get on well with just about anybody, children included. They will bark when someone is at the door, but this is only to alert you and they tend to greet strangers with a wagging tail. They also get along well with other animals if raised together. Another seemingly cat-like trait, these dogs love to be high up and have excellent balance. You’ll often see them on the mantelpiece or bookshelf trying to get the best vantage point.
Chins have low exercise needs and are happy with a walk around the block or a vigorous play session. Their recall is usually good and it is important to socialise them with larger dogs to prevent fear.
Their coat requires more care than some other dogs. It’ll need brushing several times a week to keep it in good order. This being said they rarely need a bath, as they are clean dogs who dislike getting dirty and will avoid it when possible. Due to their smaller size they may need a coat during the winter months. They have no undercoat and really do feel the cold. The folds around their eyes and nose will need cleaning with a cotton swab.
Many Chins are allergic to corn, so a special corn free diet should be given to prevent allergies. They have a delicate neck, so a harness should be used when walking to prevent damage. Like many small dogs, they can suffer from Patellar Luxation and Heart Murmurs.
Devoted and kind dogs who will be immensely attached to their owners, the Japanese Chin loves nothing more than cuddling up next to you on the couch and playing with you in the garden. Early socialization isn’t needed, but is recommended so then in adulthood they’ll be a confident dog who is happy to meet all newcomers.
Japanese Chins may develop chondrodysplasia (deformed bones), brachycephalic syndrome (breathing difficulties), luxating patella (dislocation of the knee cap), canine hip dysplasia (CHD), eye disease, heart disease, allergies, Atlantoaxial subluxation (inherited defect where neck vertebrae compress the spinal cord and can cause paralysis), and epilepsy.
- Status: Common
- Life Expectancy: 10 - 12 years (sometimes 15+)
- Weight: 7 - 9 lbs
- Height: 8 - 11"
- Rare: No
- Coat: Medium
- Grooming Requirements: More than once per week
- Town or Country: Either
- Minimum Home Size: Flat
- Minimum Garden Size: No Garden
- Breed Type: Toy Dog
- Size: Small
- Energy Level: Medium
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