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Japanese Chin… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Regardless of what “kind” of dog person you are, Big vs Small, it’s hard to deny the fact that the Japanese Chin is SUPER cute.  And we can tell you there are a lot of Japanese Chin owners who prior to actually picking up a Japanese Chin puppy who would have sworn that they never would have owned a “toy dog” in their life!

But who can…

Blame these unwitting victims of the Japanese Chin’s charm and cuteness?  After all, there is a reason why these dogs have been around for so long, and there is a reason why first the Chinese and then later the Japanese nobility found these dogs so irrestible!

The real question…

Then becomes is whether or not one of these cute little guys will be right for you.  Because if not, under no circumstances should you put yourself in the same room as a Japanese Chin puppy that is available for adoption because if you do, there is a very good chance you will be the proud new owner of one.

This is why…

We decided to write this article all about the Japanese Chin so that you can get a better idea of what it might be like to actually own one so that you won’t be disappointed should you ever be given the chance to be the proud owner of one of these really unique animals.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Japanese Chin Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Japan

Original purpose:  Companion animal, lap dog

Height: 8 to 11 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 4 to 9 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Toy Group

Life Span: 12 to 14 years

Origin of the Japanese

The Japanese Chin Dog had his origins in Asia more than 1,500 years ago. And like most “ancient” breeds, the exact origin is typically up for debate.  That said however, most will agree that the Japanese Chin is most likely related to the Pekingese dog breed that originated in China and was a favorite in the Imperial Court of the Chin Dynasty.

Hence the name…

“Chin.” Now once these guys made it to Japan, they almost instantly became hugely popular and began to develop their own unique Japanese identity. These was accomplished by cross breeding them with Continental Toy Spaniels that were slightly different from their Chinese cousins.

And despite…

Their popularity, these little guys remained a mystery for much of the Western European world until the mid-1800’s when they were first presented to Commodore Perry as a gift from the Japanese emperor for Queen Victoria.

And as one…

Could expect, these guys became instantly popular all throughout Europe and quickly made their way across the Atlantic to the United States.  This is probably why the American Kennel Club (AKC) “officially” recognized this breed as early as in 1888.

In fact…

The Japanese Chin is one of the first dog breeds to be recognized by the AKC although back then folks typically referred to them as the Japanese Spaniel. A Japanese Chin Club was formed shortly after, which still exists to this day.

Physical Characteristics

Probably the best way to describe these guys is to think small and squished.  This is because they are small, dainty looking dogs with protruding eyes, almost bug-like (and we say that with the utmost respect) and a flat face. He also has small ears shaped like a “V” with feathered feet that are much like that of a small hare or rabbit.

They also have…

A high-set tail that is covered in a coat that is smooth and silky and comes in many color combinations such as lemon and white, tan and white, white and black, sable and white, red and white, or white and black with red markings.

And as we’ve…

Already eluded to several times, these guys are very small, of 8 to 11 inches in height and very light, only 4 to 9 pounds in weight. He is a tiny little dog but is unusually athletic. He can jump very high, up to 6 feet at times, and run at a tearaway pace when he wants to.

Personality and Temperament of the Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin is a very smart dog, playful and proud, perky and elegant. Plus, he is not as “yappy” or “hyperactive” as some of the other toy breeds.


He does not need much exercise but loves playing in the yard. He is a spaniel and has a prey drive. So, you will find him chasing birds or butterflies all the time.


More than anything, the Chin loves snuggling into a blanket and wants to be pampered all the time. He craves love and attention, and he is a perfect pet for seniors.

That said…

He is still a little shy around strangers, but never unfriendly. However, he is very sensitive and does not like being teased or disrespected. Which is why he is not the right dog if you have a toddler or a small child at home. You know how little children are like around dogs!

Japanese Chin Health Issues

The Japanese Chin Dog has a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years, but he is not the healthiest of breeds. The reason for that is many breeders deliberately deform this dog to make him appear “cuter”.

That’s why he has his fair share of health issues such as…

This is why…

If you do choose to adopt a Japanese Chin puppy, you want to be sure to only work with a reputable breeder that is well aware of all the issues that this breed can have and actively works to try and avoid them in their litters.

It’s also why…

Sometimes choosing to adopt an adult Japanese Chin rescue dog can also be a great way to avoid any unexpected issues as well.

And while…

Many of the issues that can plague the life of a Japanese Chin may not be life threatening, they can certainly become quite expensive to deal with particularly if they become recurring issues.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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