The Japanese Chin is a charming toy companion of silky, profuse coat and an unmistakably aristocratic bearing. Often described as a distinctly ‘feline’ breed, this bright and amusing lapdog is fastidious, graceful, and generally quiet.
Chin are the unrivaled noblemen of Japanese breeds. They’re tiny ‘indoorsy’ companions, with an unmistakably Eastern look and bearing. The head is large, the muzzle short, and the round, dark eyes convey, as Chin fans like to say, a ‘look of astonishment.’ The profuse mane around the neck and shoulders, the plumed tail arching over the back, and the pants or ‘culottes’ on the hind legs project the elegant, exotic appearance so typical of Asia’s royal line of laptop cuddle bugs.
That’s a good question. Historians have long debated the breed’s beginnings. Some maintain it was a product of China; others say Korea. Various origin tales credit Buddhist monks, Chinese emperors, or European merchants with the Chin’s introduction to Japan anywhere from 500 to 1,000 years ago. But all agree that it was Japanese nobles who cultivated the breed as we know it today. Chin were unknown in the West until 1854, when Japan was reopened for trade after 200 years of isolation.
Temperament: Charming / Loving / Noble
Height: 8-11 inches
Weight: 7-11 pounds
Life expectancy: 10-12 years
The Japanese Chin is a generally healthy breed, and responsible breeders screen for health concerns such as luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps), cataracts, epilepsy, and early-onset heart murmurs. Japanese Chin can be affected by a fatal neurological condition called GM2 gangliosidosis, or Tay-Sachs disease; using a DNA test, breeders can identify carriers and plan breedings to prevent the disease from manifesting in their puppies.
Recommended Health Tests From the National Breed Club:
- Patella Evaluation
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation
- Cardiac Exam
- GM2 Mutation DNA Test
The long, silky coat of the Japanese Chin gives him the appearance of a high-maintenance breed, but he is surprisingly easy to maintain in top condition. He will require weekly brushing and a bath once a month or so, depending on his surroundings. The breed’s nails grow very fast and should be trimmed regularly to keep them short and neat. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris that can cause ear infections, and teeth should be brushed regularly to avoid dental problems.