Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator Update cookies preferences
Skip to Content

Japanese Chin

Size: Small

Weight: 7 - 11 lbs.

Height: 8" - 11"

Life Span: 10-12 years

Health Problems: Chins can be subject to chronic wheezing, snoring and heat exhaustion due to short snout; heart problems; eye problems; ear infections; distemper (may require adjusting vaccination schedule); and a fatal neurological condition called GM2 Gangliosidosis, or Tay-Sachs Disease (can be DNA tested).

Origin: China with strong influence from Japan

Also Known As: Japanese Spaniel, Chin

Group: Toy

Category: Companion Dog

Exercise Needs

The Japanese Chin is moderately active indoors and does not require much exercise. This breed does best with a daily walk and occasional play sessions.

Grooming Needs

Daily brushing is required for your Japanese Chin's silky hair. Chins will often groom themselves to stay clean. Occasional professional grooming is recommended. Keep hair inside the ears well trimmed to avoid ear infections.


This breed is intelligent, lively, charming and affectionate. The Japanese Chin makes an excellent indoor companion. Good with other dogs and pets, this breed is best suited for homes without small children. Although it has a gentle nature, this dog enjoys being the center of attention. Chins have a tendency to be more obedient than other small breeds, and can be taught good manners and entertaining tricks. Barking is uncommon, so when a Chin barks you can be sure a stranger or disturbance is near.

Compatibility with Kids

Best suited in homes without small children.


Initially known as the Japanese Spaniel, there is some mystique around the true history of the Japanese Chin. It is believed to have originated in China, based on works of art from the 17th to the 20th Century. Most likely a cross between an early Japanese breed that resembled the old Continental Toy Spaniel from Europe and a Chinese Chin, also known as an Imperial Chin. They inevitably found their way to the laps of royalty in Imperial Palaces as part of the trade commerce of the time. The breed was shaped by Japanese nobility and introduced to the rest of the world when Japan reopened for trade in 1854. At that time, Commodore Matthew Perry was the first to bring the Chin to Europe, giving a pair to Queen Victoria. In 1863, Queen Alexandra, a Danish Princess who wed the future King Edward VII of Great Britain, brought attention to the Chin once again when one was given to her as a gift after the wedding. She was devoted to the breed, often surrounded by her many dogs, helping the Chin to gain popularity. The American Kennel Club recognized the Japanese Spaniel early on and in 1977, the breed was renamed the Japanese Chin.

Pet Facts

Chins love to climb to high places and have been called "cats in a dog suit."

The Japanese Chin is still held in high regard in Japan.


Dog Food for Your Japanese Chin

Small Breed Puppy 6 lb. Front Counter

Small Breed Puppy

For the care and nutrition of Small Breed Puppies.

Small Breed Adult 6 lb. Front Counter

Small Breed Adult

Carefully formulated for the care and nutrition of small breed dogs.

Small Breed Senior 6lb. Front Counter

Small Breed Senior

Helps support the lifelong health of small breed senior dogs.

Bil-Jac Picky No More Small Breed Dog Food package front on countertop

Picky No More™ Small Breed

Created to please even the pickiest of small breed dogs. 

The Dog Blog

Health and Nutrition, Grooming and Care

Blog Post Preview Image

Health and Nutrition, Lifestyle, Breeds

Blog Post Preview Image

Training and Behavior, Lifestyle

Blog Post Preview Image

Breeds, Health and Nutrition

A group of different dog breeds waiting outside to be fed different types of dog food.