The Japanese Chin
"Japanese Spaniel"

descriptive textDog breed info
Japanese Chin
(Japanese Spaniel)
Weight: 4 — 7 lbs
Height: 8” — 11”
AKC Rank 2008 #72
Lifespan: 10—12 yrs
Group: Toy
Origin: Japan

Dog Breed Info - Japanese Chin

descriptive text

Breed Overview

Origin: Ancient times. Original function: Lapdog. Today: Lapdog, companion. Colors: Blk and Wht, Red and Wht, Blk and Tan and Wht.

The Japanese Chin is really of Chinese origin and ma share a relationship with the Pekingese. The Chins were kept with Chinese aristocracy and sometimes presented as gifts to visiting nobility. A visiting Chinese emperor may have presented a pair of Chin to the Japanese emperor about a thousand years ago and gained favor with the Japanese/ The gift was kept as a lapdog and ornament by the Japanese. Portuguese sailors traded with Japan in the 16th century and might have been the first to bring the Chins to Europe, recorded in 1853. Commodore Perry presented a pair from his trip to Japan to Queen Victoria of England, Traders brought more Chins, selling them in Europe and America. The breed was registered by the AKC in the 1800’s. Actually, the breed was known as the Japanese Spaniel until 1977 when it was officially renamed the Chin. The breed continues to be highly popular in Japan as a household pet and lapdog.

descriptive text


Somewhat trainable for a little dog. Normally the little Toy dogs are tough to train. This one does pretty well.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Japanese Chin? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Japanese Chin and puppies are relatively easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.


This is an attractive, active, elegant looking dog that needs to be in the middle of everything going on. An agile, lively and active little toy dog, the Japanese Chin, also known as the Japanese Spaniel, is friendly, affectionate and always ready for a romp and play. This breed gets along well with other pets, dogs and well-behaved, gentle kids as long as it realizes it is not the leader of the pack and not top dog in the house. This is really a calm, mild-mannered dog but will try to dominate if given the chance. She’s playful and can be gentle which makes her a good family lapdog and pet. The Chin doesn’t bark much except when serving as a watchdog or having a problem with separation anxiety.

If you happen to get a Chin with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Yes, likes other dogs as a rule.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Yes, known to get along with other pets in the house, quite friendly and blends in.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Yes, very friendly. Bring on the relatives, neighbors and friends.


Very playful. A bouncy, fun-loving little dog.


Yes, very affectionate. One of the most affectionate of the Toy breeds.

Good with children

Yes, as long as the kids are well-mannered, gentle and respect the dog. The kids should have dog etiquette training before getting the pooch.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes. The Japanese Chin is a good match for seniors. With low exercise needs, lots of affection and a loving lapdog, this little companion has a lot to offer a senior. If longevity or training are issues, go online and find a Japanese Chin Rescue group or kennel. Get a dot 2 or 3 years old that is house trained and knows a few commands. It will save a lot of headaches.

Living environment

Apartment, condo, house, farm—all okay. Does not tolerate hot, humid climates well. The Chin should have an air-conditioned house if in a hot and/or humid climate.


Energy level

Moderate. On a scale, give her 5 bars out of 10.

Exercise needs, daily

Low. A moderate daily walk or some play time in the yard or house will do it.


Excellent watchdog. Can make quite a lot of noise for a little dog.

Guard dog

NO. Too small to do much damage or be intimidating.




They have a long coat. Comb or brush twice weekly or it will mat.



Reading For The Japanese Chin

The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It is a very useful book for all dog owners.


Japanese Chin Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Japanese Chin puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Japanese Chin Breeders with puppies for sale.

Japanese Chin Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Japanese Chin Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Japanese Chin Rescue - (Nationwide) Onquire about any dog health problems your newly adopted dog may have had in the past.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but Petfinder (above) is listing only a few of this breed. Go online and search for Japanese Chin Rescue or kennels. There must be more available for adoption out there.

Health Issues For The Japanese Chin
Below: The dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Chin by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical issues this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position for the Japanese Chin. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. It’s most common in small and toy dogs. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca—(Keratitis) A fancy way of saying “dry eye.” Inadequate tear flow causes painful eye infections of a chronic nature. Causes vary from distemper to certain medications to removing the third eyelid tear gland.. Often treated with cyclosporine drops. or an ointment called cyclosporine topical therapy.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision similar to humans and can cause blindness if not treated.

  • Heart murmur. The Japanese Chin is prone to heart failure.

  • Epilepsy - A serious seizure disorder that usually shows up around two to four or five years of age in dogs.

  • Portacaval shunt—Hereditary in origin, neurological and other serious problems are caused by a tiny embryonic blood vessel that exists within the liver before birth to disintegrate after birth allowing fluids to flow where they shouldn’t. Symptoms include central nervous system disorders and undersized, underweight puppies are also suspect. Medical and surgical remedies are in place for the Japanese Chin. If a puppy survives surgery, there is a chance for it to live a good life.

Other health problems could occur with your Japanese Chin. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


Return To Dog Breeds

Return To Toy Dog Breeds