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Meet the breed: Japanese Chin

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle presents the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for a small and loving companion to add to your family, find out everything you need to know about the Japanese Chin.


  • Loving
  • Loyal
  • Cat-like
  • Agile
  • Smart



Despite his name, the Japanese Chin originates from China. Bred for the sole purpose of becoming a companion dog, the breed was originally referred to as the Japanese Spaniel. Eventually moving to Japan and other parts of Europe, the dog was given as a royal and meaningful gift. Playful and intelligent, the Japanese Chin is a good fit for any person or family.

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Breed standards

  • AKC group: Toy
  • UKC group: Companion/Spaniel
  • Average lifespan: 12 – 14 years
  • Average size: 4 – 7 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Silky, straight and luxurious
  • Coloration: White with black patches, ruby and white
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Body is same length as height; wide-set, large eyes; small V-shaped ears covered with hair; typical black nose with like-colored markings; straight legs; tail set high with feathering
  • Possible alterations: Patches of color may be red, brindle, orange and other similar colors; markings will match the coloration of the nose

Is this breed right for you?

Very friendly, the Japanese Chin fits in well with any family. Due to his delicate nature, it is best that children are taught how to handle the small breed. Good with other animals, he’s an indoor dog that can live well in an apartment. Needing only moderate exercise, he’ll be content with short walks around the neighborhood. The Japanese Chin is easily trained, enjoys playtime and is best kept out of the heat for a prolonged period of time. His luxurious coat will need to be groomed twice a week and it’s best to socialize and train him to know that you are master to avoid any potential behavioral problems.

Breed characteristics

A dream day in the life of a Japanese Chin

The Japanese Chin will ideally wake up in the bed of his master. Following the family wherever they may go, he may stop for a trick or two while awaiting his meal. After a bit of TV time with his master, the dog will enjoy a quick stroll around the neighborhood. Upon returning home, he’ll be happy to hang out with the little ones of the house until bedtime, where he’ll contentedly snuggle up to his humans.

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