Breed Category: Toy
Country of Origin: Japan
Average Size: 19-27 cm (at the withers)
Average Weight: 3-5 kg
Average Life Span: 10-12 years
Grooming Requirements: Medium
Exercise Requirements: Low


The Japanese Chin is a small toy breed with a rich history in its native Japan. Initially bred to be a companion dog, this breed is thought to remain largely the same as it was at the beginning of its history, which dates back 1,000 years or more.

The breed, initially referred to as the Japanese Spaniel was exclusive to Asian royalty in its early days, as dogs were a common gift amongst visiting rulers. The Japanese Chin or variations of this breed may have originated in China or other nearby areas, but it is Japan that developed the breed and helped it achieve its current status.

The popularity of the Japanese Chin began with ancient royalty and its recognition as a companion pet is now appreciated worldwide.


White is a signature colour of this breed’s coat and it is accented either by black or red. Though it is not a high-maintenance breed, it is important to keep the soft coat, which varies in length from medium to long, in pristine condition with semi-weekly brushing to keep tangles from developing. Its face should also be regularly cleaned, as its eyes may water and its nose may be runny.

The Japanese Chin is a brachycephalic breed, which means that it was bred to have a flat face. The muzzle is short and set close to the head between the eyes. In addition to the increased risk of health problems, it also creates the appearance of protruding eyes. The large, dark eyes of this breed are round and observant.

This breed is small in size, but some Japanese Chins are taller than others. It averages 19-27 cm in height and 3-5 kg in weight.


Companionship has always been the main purpose of this breed and it is well-suited for those looking for a charming, yet low-maintenance pet. Living in a flat will provide the Japanese Chin with enough space as long as it can experience times of play both indoors and outdoors. They will be happy with a daily walk, though less frequent walks may also be adequate as long as they spend some time outside.

The Japanese Chin prefers companionship to solitude, but it also has an independent personality and should be trained and socialised from a young age, as exposure to children, adults and other animals will help it reach its potential as a friendly breed. It may otherwise be reserved and shy with strangers. This breed is not a guard dog and does not bark excessively, but it will bark to alert its family of guests or movement outside the home.

This is also an intelligent breed with catlike mannerisms and a penchant for learning new tricks. It has an inherently playful nature that should be embraced by its family.


As a result of the Japanese Chin’s muzzle being short and set close between the eyes, the breed may experience breathing difficulties and eye problems. The breed is prone to snoring, though this behaviour alone is not a danger. The breed may be afflicted with cardiac conditions such as congestive heart failure or heart murmurs.

The average Japanese Chin lives to be 10-12 years of age, though a history of good health may help extend its lifespan.


Japanese Chin Organisations in Australia
Japanese Chin Club of Victoria Inc
Secretary : Mr Darryl Watts
Phone : (03) 9741 0648
Puppy Enquiries : Mrs Coral Kamp
Phone : (03) 5243 6096

Japanese ChinOrganisations in the UK
The Japanese Chin Club UK

Japanese Chin Organisations in the US
American Kennel Club – Japanese Chin
Colorado Japanese Chin Rescue

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