Japanese Chin

They were named Japanese Chin by AKC in 1977, but originated in Korea and bred in Japan. This breed was introduced in Europe in the 1700’s and became famous when Queen Victoria was given a pair of the Japanese chin as a gift by Commodore Perry after he returned from Japan in 1853. During the early period, they were bred as court dogs and became royal gifts.

They are dainty Japanese spaniels with a short and a broad face. It has an extremely short nasal canal and nostrils are open. It has a thick ruff on the neck down to the chest. The coat is soft and feathered and comes in various colors and patches. They are basically companion dogs and accommodate well in the home.

Colors of the coat vary and generally come in white with colored patches, commonly black but often in red, orange, and sable. Black and white Japanese spaniels should have black noses while the others should have matching coat-marking colors. They have a proportionate body with length equaling height. The coat is soft, silky textured with a feathered tail curling up at the back. People prefer small sized dogs as companion dogs, therefore, the Japanese Chin is sought after by many. They have protruding, expressive almond shaped eyes with an intelligent look on their face. Japanese Chins have an elegant short stepped gait. They are active indoors and do not need much running around in the yard so they are suited for a small apartment.


Japanese spaniel or chins are lively toy dogs that look very aristocratic. Japanese chins come in two types, one smaller variety of under 7 kg. and the other which is over 7 kg. They stand between 7 to 11 inches and are short built. They are proportionate in size with the front legs straight and delicately boned. Face structure is short and broad with a dainty elegant look. The forehead is round and has a defined stop. Nose is wide in shape with open nostrils with a short nasal passage. It has dark protruding, almond shaped eyes with an intelligent expression.

The jaws fit in an undershot bite or may fit together level. It has a very fine, straight, and profuse haired coat, with a thick ruff covering the throat and chest. Coats come in different colors like black, white with patches of orange, tan, and sable. Japanese chin have an “oriental” look with a very short, upturned muzzle and wide set eyes with a surprised expression. It has a feathered tail, which curls at the end. Color of the nose depends upon the color of the dog’s coat.

Black and white dogs generally have black noses while others have similar marking color noses. Ears are upside down with pointed ends and well covered with hair. They have an elegant high stepped gait with fast movements. Tail merges well with the shape of the dog. They need looking after, as they are sensitive to changing temperatures.


Japanese spaniels have a cat like nature of being alert, independent, and intelligent. The similar characteristics of the cat that can be seen in this dog breed as it also uses its paws to wash its face. It is loyal to the owner and loving towards the family but reserved with strangers. They are happy in familiar surroundings and a quiet breed of dogs as such.

It has gentle ways but does not adjust easily towards small kids unless familiar with them. They are compatible with other breeds of dogs and different pets. They can be taught to perform tricks as they have an agile mind, dainty, and elegant outlook, basically a breed with a natural playful attitude.


Brushing everyday is important to keep the coat looking well maintained. sometimes, proffesional grooming is required. combing out the tangles is important for maintaining the fine silky hair clean. Eye care is very important and ears should be checked for any ear infection.

Trimming of the hair is important as and when needed. Dry shampoo is recommeneded on an as needed basis as this breed of dog is an average shredder. Skin folds around facial areas usually trap moisture which can give rise to fungal infections if care is not given. Cleaning with a damp cloth is recommended for hygiene and proper grooming. They are basically clean dogs with little odor.


One theory on the origination of the breed of Japanese Chin theorises that Japanese Chin’s ancestors came from Korea to Japan as a royal gift in 732 AD. It was bred in Japan and during the 18th century and later they were exported abroad. This breed may have shared ancestors with the Pug and Pekingese as they all have delicate features with short muzzes and oriental looks.

Professor Ludvic Von Schulmuth who studied canine origins from canine skeletons as old as 10,000 years and made a family tree of all Tibetian dogs evolution from a scavenger to a hunter. Thus, gave rise to Japanese spaniels, Tibetian spaniels, and Pekingese. Another branch is of Papillon and Chihuahua while another branching out gave rise to the breeds of Shih Tzu and Pug.

While another theory claims that the breed has been there for the last 1500 years and originated in Western China. Others claim that the Japanese monks had discovered these dogs 250 years before they were gifted by the Koreans.

It has been historically verified that the Portugese sailors while on their many voyages introduced the breed in Europe during the 1600’s. These sailors also presented a few of the Japanese Chin to the then reigning Queen Consort of King Charles II of England, Catherine of Braganza.

Commodore Perry, an American naval officer made this dog come in the limelight in Europe in 1853, when he presented a pair of japanese Chin to Queen Victoria after coming from Japan. These were the first canine gifts to royalty. He also helped them become popular in the USA when the President receved them as gifts from him.

However, in 1882 they were shown in New York and have spread all over the world as good companion dogs. The AKC named them Japanese Chin in 1977 as before that they were only known as Japanese spaniels.

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