Japanese Chin - Information and NZ Breed Standards

Membership ID

Japanese Chin

General Information - Japanese Chin



12-14 years

very little



Watchdog ability:
very high

Protection ability:
very low

Area of Origin:

Date of Origin:
ancient times

Other Names:
Japanese Spaniel

Original Function:


Despite its name, the Japanese Chin is actually of ancient Chinese origin, probably sharing a close relationship with the Pekingese. Like the Pekingese, the Chin was kept by Chinese aristocracy, and sometimes presented as a gift to visiting nobility. Different stories exist about how it arrived in Japan: Zen Buddhist teachers may have brought the breed sometime after A.D. 520, a Korean prince may have taken some to Japan in AD 732 or a Chinese emperor may have presented a pair to a Japanese emperor about a thousand years ago. However it got there, it gained great favour with the Japanese imperial family and was kept as a lap dog and ornament; some particularly small Chins were reportedly kept in hanging "bird" cages. Portuguese sailors first traded with Japan in the 16th century and may have been the first to bring Chins to Europe. However, the first official record of Chins coming to Europe was in 1853, when Commodore Perry presented a pair from his trip to Japan to Queen Victoria. In the succeeding years, traders brought back many more Chins, selling them in Europe and America.


The Japanese Chin is a devoted companion, relishing a warm lap as much as a boisterous game. It is sensitive and willing to please, tending to shadow its owner. It is a friend to all: strangers, dogs and pets. Its playfulness and gentleness make it a good child’s companion for equally gentle children. The breed has been described as almost catlike-some even climb.


The Japanese Chin is lively but small enough that its exercise needs can be met with a short walk, romp or game. This is not a breed that can live outside. It does not do well in hot humid weather. Some Chins tend to wheeze. The long coat needs combing twice weekly.

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