Animal-World > Dogs > Toy Dogs > Japanese Chin

Japanese Chin

Chin, Japanese Spaniel

Family: Canidae Japanese Chin Picture, also called Chin and Japanese SpanielCanis lupus familiarisPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Justin Brough
Latest Reader Comment - See More
We've had our Japanese Chin for about 1.5 years. She is a sweetie. The previous owner had her for about 3 years. My concern is that she had these scratching... (more)  Bridgett Baker

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.


Lastest Animal Stories on Japanese Chin

Bridgett Baker - 2011-01-10
We've had our Japanese Chin for about 1.5 years. She is a sweetie. The previous owner had her for about 3 years. My concern is that she had these scratching fits every couple of days. She starts barking and yelping until we go to her. She stops when we call her name or pet her. The previous owners gave us drops for her ears, but they do not help. Is this common?

  • Cindy - 2014-01-10
    She is most likely demonstrating a food allergy. Ear infections, Scratching, hotspots, buttdragging or obsessive Paw licking are all symptoms. Just had yo put My girl on venison and potato diet!
Jonathan Seer - 2009-09-18
Japanese Chins no matter what they eat have a digestive tract designed to process animal products ONLY. Try to avoid soy, corn, and gluten. Millions of humans suffer from the horrible condition known as ciliac disease from eating this, so what do you think it does to a Japanese Chin?  If Corn and the often included gluten are so bad for us humans, it's can be toxic, life-threatening to Japanese Chins - thus they're much shorter than usual lifespan.

Soy is a huge reason why dogs in general have so many skin conditions and infections and Japanese Chins are particularly susceptible. Soy isoflavins are 'estrogen precursors' and dog food companies KNOW this, but don't care, because it's a super cheap way to bulk up dog food. Isoflavens, being estrogen related compounds, play havoc with a Japanese Chin's reproductive system, and help make them far more suseptable to reproductive illnesses, because they're hormones will be way out of balance.

IDEALLY, being a carnivore, Japanese Chins should have a diet consisting of meat by products, bone by products, bones, meat, animal organs. They'll eat lots of other things, but unless it's animal based, they won't be able to digest it, and quite often be hypersensative to plant compounds that are perfectly fine for humans.

I'm an owner of many chins for several years, and NONE of mine EVER get sick. The only reason they've ever gone to the vet is for shots. They do NOT have skin problems, NO breathing problems, NO knee problems and so on and so on - and it's because I feed them the way carnivores should be fed.

  • Kelly - 2010-02-26
    Your comments make a lot of sense. I have a japanese chin and dont want to feed him processed pet food. What do you recomend a good homemade "carnivores" diet should be?
  • Kiyo - 2010-11-26
    So what do carnivores eat or what do you exactly feed them, I have a 6 years old
    chin and I am trying to figure out what exactly to feed him.
  • raven - 2013-03-29
    I have a chin mix, who will not eat dog food.When she was younger it was real hard to keep her sugar and weight up. But her vet said to feed her fish. She is thriving now. :) but she still will not touch dog food or store bought dog treats.
  • Helen - 2013-04-22
    Can you tell me what you feed your chins we have a 5 month old pup and have been feeding him eukanuba small breed puppy food as recommended by the breeder but he has become bored of this so we have given him chicken ,salmon ,mackerel,sardines and turkey but feel he needs a high quality cibble to achieve a balanced diet and healthy coat please help
  • Priscilla Anderen - 2013-08-23
    I just got a 3 year old Chin, and he is very selective as to food. The breeder said he was eating Pedigree dry food, but he has refused to eat it for me. Then I was told to try can with the dry. He ate some, but still is not eating well. What kind of food do you suggest, and can they really eat carrots and green beans? Please advise me by email.
Janet - 2011-01-17
I have a 5 year old Japanese chin she has gone blind overnight and I need some help I took her to the vet and she was put on steroids she is completely blind in one eye and almost all in the other, I cry all day don't know what to do for her can someone tell me what to do?

  • brandy - 2011-06-27
    Love your puppy a lot. If it was the other way around he'd still love you and take care of you if you were the blind one.
  • brandy - 2011-06-27
    Love your puppy a lot. If it was the other way around he'd still love you and take care of you if you were the blind one.
  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-28
    I know you feel terrible and I know this is hard but it is much harder for you than the pup. I have seen blind dogs (dogs that could not see anything at all) and I had a totally blind cat. They had no problem at all. They do not know they have a problem. They adjust. You obviously can't let your dog out to go running around the neighborhood but you didn't before. Your pup will be on his leash and just walk right beside you like hehas always done making even better use of his sence of smell and hearing. He will find you in the home and find his way around the home. Maybe sometimes you will hear him bark because he is in a room and forgot where he was but just call his name and he will come to you. You know there is a problem and for us humans it is a very difficult problem. However, for your pup, with your love, he will be the same wonderful little creature he has always been. Don't cry - give him a hug.
  • donna - 2011-10-16
    Please dont panic. There is a site called You might have to register on yahoo. They have so much info. I have raised a blind from birth pug pup who lived for 7 years and it was the best 7 years of my life. Your girl will adjust. Eyesight is as important to a dogs as the sense of hearing and smell. The website will give you tons on info. good luck donna
Anonymous - 2013-03-28
there is a comment on here about the Chins' diet containing corn. I was told when I purchased my Japanese chin that the breed is allergic to corn. After my dog accidently ate some cat food containing corn I found this to be true. DO NOT feed your Japanese chin anything containing corn if you value their health!

Gucci Oma - 2011-10-27
Hello. We have a 6 month old Japanese chon girl and we are looking for boyfriend for breeding. Pls help us

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-10-27
    Ought to tell folks where you live. Just a thought.
  • rita - 2011-11-21
    I am in Flordia. I have two great males for breeding. Miso is akc reg. He is black and white then we have Edward and he is not reg but he is a pure breed chin. He is black and white also. They both are super chins in all ways. If your interested e mail us and we will send pictures and answer any thing you want to know thank you
  • Pam - 2011-11-24
    I have a boy looking for a girl friend, where do you live?