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About the Breed: Japanese Chin


This small companion dog is more like a “cat wearing a dog suit” with funny, sensitive, quirky personality.


The Chin was originally bred solely for the entertainment and companionship of Palace dwellers in ancient China, and they have never forgotten their royal roots.


Chin are intelligent, sensitive and have a sense of humor. A Chin will remember—for life—their friends and enemies. They can be aloof and reserved, or little show-offs, it really depends on each individual! 


Chin are sensitive and do not do well with negative reinforcement.


Chin are not yappy. They often can climb, so expect to find your Chin anywhere from the back of your sofa to on top of the bookshelf!

Some Chin can be taught to do tricks, but for the most part Chin have an “it has to be MY idea” way of looking at the world. For instance, you can throw a ball, and a Chin may chase it, but if you want it back you’ll most likely be getting it yourself.


  • Funny, sensitive, intelligent and quirky. Chin can be a surprise every day.

  • Chin are good for apartment dwellers as they can run around a small space easily and fluidly.


  • Can be difficult to housetrain.

  • Heavy shedding.

  • Not very “dog like.”

Best With

  • People with a sense of humor who do not want a ‘doggy’ dog.

  • Other Chin.

  • Lots of love and attention.

Not For

  • People who expect that ball to be brought back.

  • Very young children (generally).

  • People who do not like dog hair.




The AKC standard for Japanese Chin says the ideal size is 8 inches to 11 inches at the highest point of the withers, with a length between the sternum and the buttock equal to the height at the withers.

Substance – Solidly built, compact, yet refined. Carrying good weight in proportion to height and body build.

However, in rescue, we tend to see larger Chin with slightly longer noses than those bred for show.



Most Japanese Chin are black and white, however, there are also varying shades of red (from deep sable to almost-white or yellow ‘lemons’), and even tri-coloured Chin, who are black and white with red eyebrow, cheek and elbow points.

Energy Level:


Chin puppies are nuts.

Expect high energy in bursts, but Chin in general want to do what you are doing and follow your lead. Chin make a good friend for apartment dwellers as they can run around a small space easily and fluidly.

For some reason, 7:00 pm is internationally acknowledged as “Chin go crazy hour” as they always seem to want to run and play about then. We don’t know why, but it’s funny to note that it does seem to be an actual event with Chin owners everywhere!

Life Expectancy:

Between 8 to 13 years.



Like many small breeds, we do not recommend Chin be placed in homes with very young, unpredictable children. A small dog’s only means of defense is his teeth, and if threatened or afraid they may snap. Unless a child has been raised with small dogs, we recommend that a Chin be placed in homes where children are older and more predictable in their behavior. That said, some Chin are open to anything, it is all about talking with the breeder or rescue rep to learn each Chin’s personality and needs.

Other Animals:


Chin seem to love other Chin especially. As for other animals, again, it is an individual issue for each Chin. Many Chin live happily with and love cats, big dogs, other small dogs—even ferrets and guinea pigs!


Chin are sensitive and do not like to be alone, so if you are considering a Japanese Chin, please keep in mind his emotional well being and make sure they have a friend if you are at work long hours, etc.



They may look fancy, but one visit to the SuperChins website shows that Chin can do anything from agility to therapy work and excel! Chin require positive reinforcement, but they love to be with you and love to be praised, so you can go from there! Chin have titles in agility, rally obedience, herding and tracking!



Chin shed. All day. Every day. Like cats. Period.


They are a dander-producing dog and therefore may not be acceptable in a home where a resident is allergic.


However, Chin are easy to groom—they do not require trims at the groomer! Simply wash and wear, as they say in the breed. Good brushings, toenail trims, and keeping the paw-pads free of excess hair are your main goals with the Chin..


Generally healthy breed, but problems exist with enlarged hearts and related issues and eye problems (because of the size and vulnerability of the eyes themselves) can occur. Like many toy breeds Chin can have patella issues as well.

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