The Japanese Chin is a royal dog with a royal disposition. “Chin” means “royalty” and any Chin owner could tell you the name fits the personality. Also called the Japanese Spaniel, this dog is a great family pet with a lively and funny personality. Read more about this royal dog in the Best Bully Sticks Breed Spotlight on the Japanese Chin!

History & Background: Always and forever a companion dog, the Japanese Chin was first bred for accompanying the ladies of the Imperial Court to the palace where the dogs warmed the laps of the Chinese ruling class. When these dogs first entered Japan is debatable, but most historians think Buddhist monks brought them to Japan.  Japan is where the dog was selectively bred to be distinct from all other dogs. Dogs in Japan during this time were only used for work or herding, so a companion dog was new to the Japanese. Chins became the dog of the ruling class and only those of royal or noble blood could own these dogs.

There are differing stories about how and when Japanese Chins came to the Western world. What is known for certain is that these dogs were frequently given as gifts to prestigious foreigners.  One story goes that in the 17th Century Portuguese sailors brought the breed to Europe, presenting them to Catherine of Braganza, Queen Consort to King Charles II. Another story says Chins were a gift to an American Naval officer, Matthew Calbraith Perry, in 1853 by the Emperor of Japan during trade talks.

Height: 8 to 11 inches

Weight: 4 to 15 pounds, but averaging 7 to 9 pounds

Coat: Japanese Chins are extremely “feathery” dogs. Their long, single, straight and silky coat is resilient and stands away from the body so that it gives this dog a light and fluffy look. Chins have short hair on their face, but longer hair everywhere else, including the ears, which are feathered. The tail’s hair is very profuse and forms a plume. Hair on this dog’s back end forms “pants” in conjunction with fur on the back legs and the front leg’s hair is graduated from shorter in the front to longer in the back.

Color: A Chin will show one of three color combinations: white & black, white & red or white & black with tan points. Red can mean shades of red, lemon, orange and sable. The color of the nose in black and white dog will be black and the nose color for any other coloring should match the coat’s marking color. Most of the time a Chin’s facial markings are almost perfectly symmetrical.

Appearance: Japanese Chins have tiny features to match their very small size and overall Chins are very fragile and delicate dogs. However they do sport a broad head, large eyes, and a short muzzle. These features give Japanese Chins a very unique and distinctive look. This breed also has small, V-shaped ears that set far apart and below the crown of the skull. The Chin’s tail is carried high and curves onto the back and then to one side. When viewed from the side, this dog has a square body outline.

Temperament: A Chin is very much a cat-like dog. Chins are sensitive and intelligent, as well as loyal and affectionate to their owners. However, around strangers, they are reserved. Otherwise, these dogs are lively and exuberant. Chins train well, are great as watchdogs and generally good with other dogs and pets. This breed is also very clean, graceful in all movements and fairly quiet. Japanese Chins aren’t known to be barkers. This is a great dog for apartment living.

Health & Grooming: Because of the size of their eyes and the slight protrusion from the face, eye issues can be a health problem for this breed. Also like many small breeds with short muzzles, Chins suffer from respiratory problems and tend to wheeze and snore. A Chin’s short muzzle also causes the propensity for overheating. Japanese Chins usually live 10 to 12 years.

Grooming is easy enough for a diligent and consistent owner. A quick brush every day keeps tangles out of fur and the coat healthy. Cleaning, or at least checking, the eyes and ears every day is also suggested. Dry shampoo is a great investment for this dog and baths should only be given as necessary.

Product Suggestions: This wee-little dog needs a wee-little toy, that’s why Best Bully Sticks suggests the Wee-nut from Ruff Dawg. This peanut-shaped dog toy can double for playing fetch or a good tug-of-war game! The unique toys are even scented like peanut butter!

For a tasty and healthy treat, try out Max and Ruffy’s Organic Treats! The health and well-being of your dog and the environment both benefit from these nutritious treats. Try the Powerhouse Sweet Potato & Alfalfa or the Five Star Blueberry to give your pooch a boost!

Do you own or know a Japanese Chin? Tell us your favorite Chin story in the comments section!