The Japanese Chin is a small, affectionate dog with a big personality. Loving, loyal, and as friendly with kids as they are with other pets, they make great companions. If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering if the Japanese Chin is the right dog for you and your family, here’s everything you need to know about this amazing breed.
1. No one knows where they come from
If there’s one thing everyone agrees on, it’s that no one quite knows where the Japanese Chin comes from. Some people think they come from China. Others believe they were given as gifts to the Japanese Royalty by members of the Korean ruling class. The only thing we know for sure is that the breed was introduced to Europe in 1613.
2. They can stand up to 11 inches tall
As a lap dog, you wouldn’t expect the Japanese Chin to be big. And you’d be right. These little dogs stand just 20 to 27 cm (8 to 11 inches) in height.
3. They weigh around 9lbs
Japanese Chins are the featherweights of the canine world. Although sizes can vary to some degree, most Chins tip the scales between 7 to 9 pounds.
4. They have an unusual coat
Most breeds have one thing in common: they all have both an undercoat and an overcoat. Not so the Japanese Chin, a breed that somewhere along the line decided that an undercoat was an unnecessary addition to its arsenal and abandoned it in favor of a single-layer coat instead.
5. Their coat takes two years to grow
If there’s one thing you need to have around a Chin, it’s patience, at least as far as their coat is concerned. It can take two full years for a Chin’s coat to grow in.
6. Their coat can be one of several colors
A Chin’s coat is distinctive, and not just on account of how long it takes to grow. Silky, luxurious, and as soft as a feather, it’s one of their most endearing features. In terms of color, a Chin’s coat will be either black and white, red and white, or black and white with tan points.
7. They have a long lifespan
Once you welcome a Japanese Chin into your life, be prepared for the long haul. According to the AKC, the breed usually lives for between 10-12 years.
8. They don’t need much exercise
If you’re looking for a dog with minimal exercise requirements, the Japanese Chin might be your ideal match. As yourpurebredpuppy.com writes, playing in the yard should be enough to meet their exercise needs. Just be wanted that they have a strong hunting instinct, so be sure the yard is fenced to stop them running off after any passing squirrels or cats.
9. They’re very cat-like
Don’t tell them this to their face, but the Japanese Chin has more characteristics in common with a cat than a dog. As well as using their paws to wash and wipe their faces in the same way as a cat, they also have a very feline predilection for hiding and climbing onto the highest surfaces they can reach.
10. They make great watchdogs
If you’re looking for a tiny watchdog, look no further than the Japanese Chin. As thesmartcanine.com writes, the vigilant nature of the breed makes them a great watchdog. If there’s anything suspicious happening in the neighborhood, be sure your little Chin will let you know about it.
11. They were crossbred with the King Charles spaniel
When the first Japanese Chins made their way over to Europe, they were a lot bigger than they are today. It’s widely believed that after their arrival, British breeders crossbred them with the King Charles spaniel to reduce their size to the more dainty proportions we know them for today.
12. They’re very dependent on their owners
When a Japanese Chin bonds with its owner, it bonds hard. This is a breed that doesn’t like to spend time alone: leave them to their own devices for too long, and they’ll become bored, unhappy, and anxious. To reduce the risk of separation anxiety, plenty of training and early socialization are needed.
13. They’re surprisingly low maintenance
Looking at the long, silky coat of the Japanese Chin, you’d be forgiving for thinking they were a high-maintenance breed. In fact, they need only minimal grooming: a weekly brush and a monthly bath are more than enough to keep them in peak condition. The one thing you’ll need to keep a close eye on is their nails. As they can grow at an incredible rate, they’ll need to be checked and trimmed regularly.
14. They shouldn’t be let off the leash
If there’s one thing you should never do with a Japanese Chin, it’s let it off the leash. As they can be incredibly stubborn, they’ll happily ignore your calls to come back if they spot something more interesting happening elsewhere. As they have a strong prey drive, they’re also likely to chase after cats and wildlife when left to their own devices.
15. They’re great at tricks
The Japenese Chin is a performer at heart. Although they were bred primarily as companion dogs, they were also bred to entertain. The instinct still runs strong. As Wikipedia notes, some of the most common tricks that Chins are known for include the “Chin Spin”, in which they spin around in circles at breakneck speeds, dancing on their hind legs while clapping their front feet together, and even ‘singing.’
16. They adapt well to apartment living
If you live in an apartment, you’ll know that certain breeds don’t do well in tight or confined spaces. Fortunately, the Japanese Chin adjusts to most living arrangements easily, and will be as happy in an apartment as they would in a family home.
17. They have strabismus of the eyes
All Japanese Chins have one thing in common: strabismus of the eyes, a condition that means their eyes don’t align or track together in the usual way.
18. They often have breathing problems
Like many flat-faced breeds, the Japanese Chin is vulnerable to breathing and eye problems. Other conditions that sometimes afflict the breed include cataracts, heart murmurs, and luxating patellas.
19. They shouldn’t be fed corn
If there’s one type of food that shouldn’t be let anywhere near a Japanese Chin, it’s corn. Most Chins are sensitive or even allergic to corn, and can suffer skin and digestive complaints if it’s included in their diet.
20. They can be wary of strangers
Japanese Chins are generally very friendly and affable. They don’t, however, care too much for strangers. To help curb any shyness or social anxiety, Chins should be socialized from puppyhood.