Japanese Chin

Breed History

Japanese Chin puppy

Japanese Chin is a toy sized dog that comes from China. Small but huge in personality you will see a dominant lap dog that has a strong presence in their household.

Although their name starts with Japanese they do come from China. Japan was the place that the breed standard starts to take place and most dogs will get their name from the location of development.

Some of the first documentation for the Japanese Chin comes from artwork in the 17th century and continues to present day. Older breed by any standard, but they were held in their land for a long time.

Isolation of the breed would take place for hundreds of years. That is common amongst dogs that come from island or places with little importing and exporting for a substantial period.

Origins of the breed are a mystery and most people will resort to folklore and legends, but no one really knows and can provide proof. Due to their extensive isolation it is hard to determine what happened at what time.

Most small dogs are pets of royal families and these dogs are no exception. Elite members of society would own, breed and only sell Japanese Chins to each other.

England, Europe, and America are all lover of this breed and continue to maintain their popularity through varies activities. Independent with a tendency to like themselves just like cat would.


In 1888, they would receive recognition from the American Kennel Club, and they were one of the earliest dogs to get registration. After many years in isolation they came to America in the 19th century.

Top 100 in popularity they will most likely maintain their status in the middle of the pack. Other lap dogs have come into America and taken over in terms of popularity alone with the working group dogs.

Toy Group, companion, or lap dog are the categories they are in that mean the same thing in all major Kennel clubs. Here are the major kennel clubs and the breed standards they have for the Japanese Chin.


Male Height: 8-11 inches

Female Height: 8-10 inches

Male Weight: 9-11 pounds

Female Weight: 7-9 pounds

Litter Size

4 puppies is the average litter size for a Japanese Chin. Breeders should be aware of the number of dogs that will come in and need care for the first eight weeks before being sold to a responsible owner. Smaller breeds at times need c-sections to deliver their puppies. Make sure you let a professional give you an opinion on if the dog can or cannot deliver naturally.


  • Black and White
  • White and Black
  • Lemon and White
  • Sable and White

Any color that is not on the list is unacceptable.


$1,000-$3,000 is the average price for the Japanese Chin. Prices vary depending on the location, supply, demand, currency and other factors that can affect the cost.

Registration consists of tracking their bloodline from their Japanese roots until they came to the current kennel club your puppies’ parents are in connection with.

Without papers you can almost guarantee at some point the parents were not able to receive papers due to crossbreeding or illegal breeding practices.


Take the time to exercise your dog for at least one hour before the grooming session. This will make the process of grooming calmer and a pleasant experience for the owner and the dog. Lower energy will help to ease right into the session.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing the dog a few times per week is ideal. Using a tool that can reach the skin will give you the best results. During shedding season, you will find it important to get the right brush for hair removal.

Combing should be done at least once per week as well. Shedding season should bring a different comb out to get most of the excess hair off the dog.

Bathe the dog after a long exercise session and put a leash on to communicate to the dog to stay still. Getting them hot and needing a drink fits in perfectly with drinking from the hose while getting a bath to cool off.

Ears should be clean at least once a week. When the ears never get clean they will be prone to infections and lead to costly vet bills that you could avoid.

Trimming the nails will happen during exercise, which we recommend. If you don’t exercise, which we don’t recommend, take the time to cut the nails with trimmers.

Professional help is a recommendation for most dog owners.

Life Span

10-12 years is the average lifespan for a Japanese Chin. That a shorter lifespan for a toy breed but still a long lifespan in terms of dog years. Owners should make the commitment to owning the dog for at least 12 years when they first get them. Great adoption dog because of how long they live.

Health Issues

Patella Luxation – kneecaps slipping out of position is always an issue with smaller breeds and the Japanese Chin is no exception. Partial of complete dislocation of the kneecap can occur at any time leaving the dog limping or showing a disinterest in exercise sessions.

Cardiac – heart problems exist in this breed and you should get them a heart evaluation to determine the condition of the heart. Sometimes issues are small like an irregular heartbeat and other times they are more serious.

Eye Examination – cherry eye, glaucoma, and cataracts can all affect your dog at some point in their life. Serious issues can lead to partial or complete blindness while others are an eye sore. Take them to get an evaluation at least every two years after they turn one year old.

Breed Group

Japanese Chin is a proud member of the Toy Group. All these dogs are lap dogs that don’t have much of a historical job other than being a companion and great house dogs.

Royalty and elite members of society held them in high regard and never sold them. They were simply a great to other people and that’s the only way they got out of their country.

A lot of them are ancient, but new to the rest of the world due to the native people never wanting to share them. Here are some of the dogs in the Toy Group

Exercise Needs

Japanese Chin needs a lot of exercise daily to find the fulfillment they need. Many people lie and say that little dogs don’t need exercise and that’s only an opinion and a bad one at that.

If you look at any wild dog, wolf, or lion they all walk and run around the entire film. There is no dog that wouldn’t benefit from daily exercise given by the owner and that’s what we recommend.

When you don’t exercise the dog, they will start to engage in unfavorable behavior. Taking the bull by the horns and finding anyway to release of their energy.

Digging, excessive barking, jumping, over excitement, whining, anxiety, nipping and eventually biting will all start to arise at the same time or one after another.

Whenever a dog is doing any of these behaviors you should know that the dog is bored and will benefit from doing a simple exercise program.

Here is what we recommend for new clients.

Morning: Hour (run, walk or treadmill)

Evening: 30 mins (run, walk or treadmill)

Younger dogs will need the most runs and two exercise session days to make them calmer. Doing this while they are young and becoming adult will have a tremendous impact on the dog.

Adult dogs will show declines in exercise needs and will start requiring only one session a day. At times they will need two, but it will be fewer if any depending on the age of the dog.

Senior dogs will rarely need runs and will never need two exercise sessions. Once they reach this age you need to monitor their energy levels and behavior just like any other age, but it will be easier to them the exercise they need.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Every house should be built on a solid foundation and no foundation is more solid than exercising daily. Imagine the difference between never exercise your dog and adding 365 hours of exercise in one year. How much different would the dog act? Maybe one hour isn’t cutting it per day and you add another hour later in the evening and now the dog will get 720 hours of exercise per year. You think that would change the dog’s behavior? I think it will as well and that’s why we recommend it. Expect to spend most of your time in this area.

Commands are important but take less time to teach the dog and isn’t ongoing like exercise will be. When you use repetition for any command the dog will start to learn the command quickly and it shouldn’t take longer than 3 days.

Socializing the dog is done wrong for most dog owners but you won’t make the same mistake. Before vet visits, going to the park, dog park, or before road trips take the dog on a long exercise session and that will result in better behavior. Continue to exercise before, not during or after, socialization and the benefits will show right away.

Correct the dog using verbal, on or off leash corrections. Timing of the correction should feel like you are preventing the action from every taking place. Failure to time the correction before the action takes place will make you ineffective at correcting the dog and lead to frustration. Make the dog sit or lay after the correction for the best results.

Are Japanese Chins Good Pets?

Yes, Japanese Chins are great with the family, kids and other dogs. They are trainable but people tend to not put in the work it takes to teach the dog through daily exercise and correcting them with the right timing. A lack of all knowledge when it comes to dogs will make the dog seem independent because you can’t communicate with them properly.

Additional Resources