Japanese Chin Information

The Japanese Chin originated in China many centuries ago where they were bred to accompany the ladies of the Imperial Palace and to warm the laps of visiting nobility. Although when they were not available to anyone occasionally one, or two, found their way to Japan probably given as a valued gift to visiting diplomats for ‘services rendered’. A Commander Perry imported into England the first two Japanese Chins from Japan in 1853 and were given to Queen Victoria.


The Japanese Chin is a very decorative little dog, quite dainty in appearance, with a smart, compact body covered in a fairly profuse coat and glorious feathering. His skull is quite broad and rounded in front, but in no way domed. The Japanese Chin’s eyes are very important in that the white shows in the inner corners giving the Chin the characteristic look of astonishment, which on no account should ever be lost. His coat colour can be either black and white or red and white.

IMPORTANT.  A  Japanese Chin  with exaggerated features is the result of bad breeding.  CreditThe Breed Club Connection.


HEIGHT – General: 8 inches to 11 inches tall at the shoulder

WEIGHT – General: 4 to 9 pounds

LIFE SPAN – 10 to 14 years


The Japanese Chin are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Chin will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

Common health issues in the Japanese Chin include luxating patellas (slipping kneecaps), cataracts, and early onset heart murmurs. The Chin, as with most small breed dogs, can also have a risk of hypoglycemia when aged under six months or weighing four to five lbs. or less. Some Japanese Chin have seasonal allergies.

This degenerative disease affects the mitral and tricuspid valves of the heart. It occurs when polysaccharide deposits distort the shape of the valves and cause them to leak. This can lead to heart failure. A change in diet and exercise may be necessary.
A degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness. Blindness caused by PRA is a slow process resulting from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. PRA is detectable years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. A reputable breeder will have dogs’ eyes certified annually by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Also known as “slipped stifles,” this is a common problem in small dogs. It is caused when the patella, which has three parts — the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf) — is not properly lined up. This causes a lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait in the dog. It is a disease that is present at birth although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always occur until later. The rubbing caused by patellar luxation can lead to arthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease. There are four grades of patellar luxation, ranging from grade I, which is an occasional luxation causing temporary lameness in the joint, to grade IV, where the turning of the tibia is severe and the patella cannot be realigned manually. This gives the dog a bowlegged appearance. Severe grades of patellar luxation may need surgical repair.
A cataract is an opacity on the lens of the eye, which causes difficulty in seeing. The eye(s) of the dog will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur with old age and can be treated surgically.