Japanese Chin Picture, also called Chin and Japanese Spaniel
Canis lupus familiaris

A toy spaniel breed, the adorable Japanese Chin is a small indoor dog!

The Japanese Chin, also known as the Japanese Spaniel, is one of those lovely little toy dogs that don’t need much activity. That makes the Chin dog a great companion animal for people who live in apartments, as well as those with a more sedentary lifestyles. It is beloved for its mild-mannered and affectionate temperament.

The Chin is very loyal to its owner, but it also tends to get along with everyone in the household. This includes not only other people, but dogs and other pets as well. There are some Japanese Chin health concerns to be aware of. These small dog breeds are prone to genetic knee and heart problems. When choosing a Chin, it is wise to check its bloodlines and medical records to help identify possible problems.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Canidae
  • Genus: Canis
  • Species: lupus familiaris

Common Name(s)

Japanese Chin, Chin, Japanese Spaniel

Breed Type

The Japanese Chin is a toy spaniel breed. This breed makes a great companion, and is best suited to areas with moderate climates. The Chin is sensitive to extremes in temperature.


The Chin is thought to have originated in China or Korea. It was, however, developed in Japan and became a favorite of the country’s royalty. The breed became very popular in 1853, when Queen Victoria received a pair of them as a gift from Commodore Perry. The Chin is divided into two classes by weight: Under 7 pounds and over 7 pounds.


The Japanese Chin is 7-11 inches tall and weighs 4-15 pounds. Its long hair is white with patches of black, red, lemon, orange, sable, or brindle. The nose is short and wide, and its color matches the dog’s markings. The Chin’s eyes are large, protruding and dark, and its ears upside-down and V-shaped.

Care and Feeding

A Chin’s diet needs to consist of a high-quality dog food, ideally with a good protien base but also high in fiber. They need an adequate amount of fiber in their diet. They can be prone to developing impacted anal glands if their diet lacks a good dietary fiber. Ideally feed them two meals a day, with the total amount of food being between 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Teeth cleaning chews are also good for their dental health.

The regular vaccination schedule is as follows; however, since some lines of Chins are prone to distemper, your veterinarian may choose to adjust the schedule:

  • 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus (DHLPPC)
  • 10-12 weeks: Second DHLPPC
  • 14-16 weeks: Third DHLPPC and rabies
  • Annually: DHLPPC and rabies booster

The Japanese Chin sheds year round and blows its coat twice a year. Therefore, regular vacuuming is necessary. This breed also needs daily brushing to keep its coat in good condition. Dry shampoo is usually sufficient, and the dog should be bathed only when necessary. Its eyes and ears should be checked regularly for infection.

Housing Your Dog

Chins are indoor dogs, and they do not require a lot of space. They are content in a house or an apartment, and with or without a yard. They require moderate temperatures.

Social Behaviors

Japanese Chins do well with other dogs and all sorts of other pets. They are also gentle with children, but are not recommended for smaller children who may not be as gentle with them.

Handling and Training

Housetraining may go slowly with the Chin at first, up to about 4 months of age. After that they usually do well. They are also good at learning obedience and tricks.


Chins do not need much exercise. Just a daily walk and normal play should suffice.


When considering a mate for your Chin, it is important to check the potential mate’s bloodlines for heart and knee problems. As with any small dog, females may need Cesarean sections when giving birth if the puppies are large.

Common Health Problems

Because of its large and protruding eyes, the Japanese Chin often suffers from eye problems. Corneal scratches and ulcerations are not uncommon, and depending on their severity may require emergency care. This breed often suffers from breathing problems due to the shape of its nose.


Japanese Chins are fairly easy to find from breeders. Prices average around $500.


Featured Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock