Japanese Chin: Dog Breed Information

Country of origin: Japan
Shoulder height: 20 – 27 cm
Weight: 3 – 5 kg
Age: 12 – 14 years
Colour: white with black or red markings
Use: companion dog, companion dog

The Japanese Chin is a small, long-haired companion dog that does not make any great demands, is considered to be easy to train and particularly adaptable, and is therefore also well suited for dog beginners.

Origin and history

The Japanese Chin is a very old breed of dog whose ancestors are believed to have come from China. It probably came to the Japanese imperial court as a gift or tribute, where it was bred with great care and quickly became a favorite of the aristocratic ladies. The small chins were considered a special treasure by the Japanese nobility and were kept in bamboo cages like exotic animals or worn in the sleeves of women’s kimonos. The first chins made their way to Europe at the end of the 19th century as a gift to Queen Victoria. The first pair came to Germany in 1880 as a Christmas present from the Japanese Empress to Empress Augusta.


The Japanese Chin is a small, compact dog with an elegant, graceful appearance. Its body is roughly square. It has a broad, round, and short-nosed head with a typical oriental expression. Its eyes are large, set wide apart and round, and the ears are long and hanging. The tail is covered with lush fur and is carried over the back.

The coat of the Japanese Chin is long, silky, and smooth. Only in the facial area is the hair a little shorter. Ears, neck, thighs, and tail are richly feathered. The coat color is white with black or red markings. According to the breed standard, these markings should be distributed as symmetrically as possible on the body. A white blaze from the muzzle to the skull is also typical.


The Japanese Chin is a very lively, cheerful little dog that is playful until old age and gets along well with other dogs. It is alert and reports on visitors, but is generally calm and never aggressive toward strangers. Its demeanor is described as “cat-like”: alert, intelligent, and independent.

The Japanese Chin forms a very close bond with its people. He is extremely affectionate and cuddly and is also easy to train. It adapts well to all living conditions, is intelligent, learns quickly, and wants to be a good, loyal companion to its people. Even beginners will get along well with a Japanese Chin. It can also be kept well in an apartment if he is given enough attention and given long walks to exercise him. The Japanese Chin’s coat is easy to care for because it does not become matted. Eyes, nose, and ears must be checked and cleaned regularly.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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