If ever a dog could help you reach Nirvana, it would be the Japanese Chin. For centuries, this breed was the favored companion of Buddhist monks — we have to assume they absorbed some knowledge about following the Eightfold Path after all that time at the monastery!
Chins aren't actually from Japan, though. They were bred to be lapdogs for Chinese aristocrats. But the Japanese gave this breed its name — “chin” is Japanese for “royalty.” They're a very dignified breed with two major exceptions. Those short snouts mean they make a distinctive “snizzle” sound, which sounds something like a backwards sneeze. And there's nothing dignified about the “Chin spin,” when this playful pup stands on back legs and twirls.
Originally from China, this small-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 7-11 pounds and lives an average of 10-12 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Toy group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Companion
Breed Group: Toy
Average Lifespan: 10-12 years
Bark Factor: Rarely barks, if ever
AKC RANKING 76
AREA OF ORIGIN Japan
DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times
ORIGINAL FUNCTION lap dog
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 8-11 Weight: 4-7
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 8-11 Weight: 4-7
OTHER NAME Japanese spaniel
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Low
Playfullness Very playful
Affection level Very affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Very friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly
Ease of training Moderately easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs Moderate maintenance
Cold tolerance Low tolerance
Heat tolerance Low tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A JAPANESE CHIN'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
These are playful, gentle dogs who love a warm lap and a rousing romp better than anything in the world. They make devoted and affectionate companions and great family dogs, though children should be supervised during play.
WHAT IS JAPANESE CHIN BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Japanese Chins have a noble demeanor and are fairly quiet for a toy breed. They enjoy walks and games and pretty much anything else you want to do as long as it means they get to be with you.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A JAPANESE CHIN?
For a smart dog, the Japanese Chin sure can play dumb when it suits her. Start training while your Chin is still a puppy, and be patient and consistent.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO JAPANESE CHINS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
This breed's long coat is silky and single-layered. But despite their decadent-looking coats, Japanese Chins only require brushing a few times a week. They are seasonal shedders.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO JAPANESE CHINS HAVE?
Most Japanese Chins are fairly healthy. Some do develop heart murmurs.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE JAPANESE CHINS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Japanese Chins among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and allergy-aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, so they produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as small as a Japanese Chin! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS A JAPANESE CHIN'S BEST DAY?
Whatever else you do together, a Japanese Chin's best day starts and ends by sitting with you. These are loyal, loving dogs.
SHOULD I ADOPT A JAPANESE CHIN?
Japanese Chins might be the perfect choice for apartment-dwellers — unless that apartment is in, say, Texas or Alaska. These dogs have a low heat tolerance, and they're not crazy about the cold either. They have modest exercise needs, are relatively quiet, and fit well in small spaces. This dog will be by your side or on your lap as much as you'll let her. If what you want in a dog is a beautiful and travel-sized constant companion, the Japanese Chin is a wonderful choice.
Have you decided that a Japanese Chin is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! BBe sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.