The Japanese Chin temperament is self-confident and intelligent. If you’re looking for a dog who excels at being a constant companion, you need to look no further than the Japanese Chin.
What's the Japanese Chin Temperament and Personality Like?
If you’re looking for a small dog with a big personality, the Japanese Chin temperament is the one for you.
Not only do they have a big personality, but they also have a fantastic sense of humor. Chins have a reputation for continually making their owners laugh.
You’ll never know what’s in store when it comes to a Japanese Chin.
They Do What They Want – Independent
The Japanese Spaniel has a wayward temperament and tends to pursue their interests.
With a healthy dose of self-confidence, the Japanese Chin behaves as though it is aware of its royal origins.
Japanese Pug dogs will choose who they will and won’t like.
They will sulk when they don’t get their way and be careful if you anger them – Chins have an excellent memory.
They are Talented Clowns Who Put on a Good Show
You certainly don’t need a television with a Japanese Chin around.
Though they put on a pleasant and polite front, they are clowns at heart and love mischief.
The Japanese Pug loves to do things they aren’t supposed to do to see your reaction.
In addition to their clownish behavior, Japanese Chins love to put on a show – even singing, dancing, or talking.
Some have described their voices as “little killer bees.” But if you don’t praise them, they’ll never do it again.
Chins are generally quiet dogs, though – only known for their “singing” with humans or another Chin.
Aside from their antics, they are brilliant so make sure you keep them mentally stimulated.
The Japanese Chin is a little dog who loves to have a great time. While he is playful, he’s definitely not the kind of yappy, annoying little dog who refuses to leave you alone.
Sometimes, his playful nature can get him into trouble. As a result, you should always keep him in a fenced-in yard. This will prevent him from becoming overly curious and taking off after a bird or some other such small animal that catches his eye.
Another aspect of his playfulness is his love of climbing. You may often find him perched at the top of your recliner or sofa, just as a cat would do.
They’re Adaptable, But Love to Be Around Family
Japanese Chins (also called Japanese Spaniels or Japanese Pugs) are homebodies and love to be around their humans. In fact, they make fantastic cuddlers, never forgoing the chance to be in your lap if you’re settling in on the couch. They know their main purpose is to be your companion, and it is a skill they have mastered in spades.
They tend to suffer from separation anxiety when away from their owners for too long.
Because of their small size, Japanese Chins do well in apartments and can adapt to any living situation.
They’re Agreeable, But Sometimes Shy
Japanese Chin's e generally pleasant dogs and get along well with everyone.
They are friendly with other dogs and cats. And, they make an excellent companion for older children.
Due to their small size, this breed doesn’t do well with young children, as they could accidentally get injured. However, they do make fantastic pets for the elderly.
They can also be a bit shy around new people and situations. To combat this, make sure you socialize them as early and often as you possibly can.
Sensitive Japanese Chin Temperament
Japanese Chins are very sensitive dogs. They can sense their owner’s moods and change their own moods to match.
For example, if a Chin lives in a quiet home, they may be more reserved. However, if they live in a more active home, they tend to be more active and outgoing themselves.
A Brief History of the Japanese Chin
The Japanese Chin's origin is Asian and dates back more than 1,500 years. It was the product of the Chinese imperial court.
Highly prized, Japanese Chins – known as “Chins”, Japanese Spaniels, or Japanese Pugs – were often gifts given to nobles or high-ranking emissaries.
Chin’s were particularly desirable in Japan. The Japanese did not regard them as dogs (or ‘inu’) but rather as ‘chin’ – their own distinct entity.
Japan is where the Chin developed their distinct look after breeders crossed them with a Continental Toy Spaniel (later known as Papillons).
How to Train a Japanese Chin?
Japanese Chin’s frequently display catlike behaviors, and it can show during training.
Though extremely intelligent, the Japanese Chin is picky when it comes to training. But you can successfully train them – if they like you. Something important to remember with training is that if you’re bored, he’s bored too. And if he gets bored, he’s going to stop listening to you and look for something else more exciting to do.
When your Japanese Chin respects you, training should be a breeze. Correct them with a firm (not harsh) tone and never use punishment. Harsh training methods do not work with Chins – especially since they have an impeccable memory.
Helpful Dog Training Resource:
For help with training your Japanese Chin dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.
To avoid an untrained Japanese Chin, keep training sessions short, fun, and full of positive reinforcement, like praise and treats.
Remain consistent with their training, and they’ll eventually come around. You must establish early on that you are the leader here, especially with more independent breeds like the Chin. Else, the dog will sense your trepidation and will walk all over you like a doormat.
Finding the Perfect Japanese Chin
If reading about the Japanese Chin’s temperament and personality convinced you to add one to your family, now it’s time to decide how. Do you want to purchase a Japanese Chin from a breeder or adopt one from a rescue?
Japanese Chin Puppies for Sale
So how much does a Japanese Chin Cost?
A Japanese Chin for sale will cost you around $1,100. But, you can expect to pay between $1,900 and $6,100 for top quality Japanese Chin puppies.
Japanese Chin puppies with breeding rights and papers will cost you more than those without a superior pedigree.
Japanese Chin Rescue and Adoption
There are several Japanese Chin rescues if you have an interest in adoption. When you adopt a Japanese Chin from a rescue, you have the option of adopting an older Chin, a Japanese Chin puppy, or a Japanese Chin mix.
Adoption is an excellent choice for those who want to add a Japanese Chin to their family but may not have the budget for a purebred, show-quality Chin. It is also great for those looking for an adult Japanese Chin.
Japanese Chin Breeders
To find Japanese Chin breeders in your area, try the AKC Marketplace for Japanese Chins. There, you will find information on breeders by location and by quality.
When choosing a breeder, find one that is reputable but also knowledgeable about the breed. Ask them questions to make sure the Japanese Chin is the right breed for your family.
Read our ultimate guide to finding a reputable breeder. It will answer all the questions you have about dealing with a dog breeder and avoiding terrible alternatives like puppy mills.
What does a Japanese Chin look like?
Japanese Chins have a regal look about them. They have a large, broad head with wide-eyes and a flat face. The average Japanese Chin weighs around 4-7 pounds and is about 8-11 inches tall.
As far as colors go, the Japanese Chin comes in a lot of different combinations that all involve white. For instance, you can buy a Chin who is:
- Lemon and white
- Black and white
- Sable and white
- Red and white
Japanese Chin Mixed Breeds
If you love mixed breed dogs, then you are certainly in luck with the Japanese Chin. There exists a slew of Japanese Chin mixed-breed dogs out there for you to choose from. Here are just a few examples:
- Ja-Chon (Bichon Frise mix)
- Jatese (Maltese mix)
- Japillon (Papillon mix)
- Japug (Pug mix)
- Chineranian (Pomeranian mix)
Caring for a Japanese Chin
How to Groom a Japanese Chin?
Though they appear to be high maintenance, the Japanese Chin’s coat is quite easy to maintain.
Japanese Chin grooming requires only weekly brushing and a bath once per month. Their nails grow quickly and so don't forget to trim them regularly.
And, because they have floppy ears, check their ears regularly for wax buildup and debris. You should also regularly trim their ear fringe if you notice mats. Else, their coats are not of the type to frequently mat.
I mentioned earlier about how the Japanese Chin has similar mannerisms to a cat, and this is also true about how he grooms himself.
The Chin will actually lick his paw and drag it across his face to clean it – just like a cat!
If you tend to have an allergic reaction to dogs, then you’ll be sad to know that the Japanese Chin is not hypoallergenic.
While no dog truly is, the Chin sheds enough to activate your allergies, while other breeds may not.
To clarify, it’s not the dog’s hair that’s (usually) the problem. It has more to do with the dog’s dander. And when the dog sheds, he’s also leaving his dander all around the house, which is what causes your nose to run and eyes to itch.
Which Japanese Chin Health Issues Do I Need to Know About?
A healthy Japanese Chin’s lifespan is between 12 and 14 years.
The Japanese Chin is generally healthy, but like all dog breeds, they can suffer from specific health conditions.
For example, the Japanese Chin dog breed can suffer from
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA),
- Patellar Luxation (kneecap issues),
- Atrioventricular Endocardiosis (a heart condition),
- Heart Murmurs,
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar),
- Entropion (abnormal eyelids),
- Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) (dry eye, or an inability to produce tears),
- And Cataracts.
Experts have also found that this breed tends to wheeze and has an intolerance for anesthesia – something to keep in mind should your dog ever need surgery of any kind.
To be on the safe side, and to help keep your Chin on the healthy side, it’s good to have a Good Dog Health Guide on hand.
Helpful Dog Health Resource:
Note: if you agree that your health and your dog's health should be a top priority then get a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health. Your doggy friend will love you for it. This guide will help save you money, time and most of all help you keep your dog healthy.
Something important to note is that the Japanese Chin does not do well in very hot and humid weather. Try to refrain from bringing him outside in this kind of weather.
Though small, the Japanese Chin is an active dog.
They love to go on walks with their owners or roam around a (fenced) backyard. However, that’s all they really need.
You don’t have to go crazy exercising this dog. Some moderate activity every day is plenty.
You can get some examples of things to do with your Japanese Chin in our article on exercising your dog.
What’s good about this breed is that, if you become a bit lax in the exercise department, you don’t have to worry about him tearing your house apart.
He’ll be just as happy with or without exercise (though for both his health and your own, you should still make a concerted effort to get him outside every day, weather permitting).
Ensure your backyard has a fence, as the Chin excels at jumping and reaching high places. Some Japanese Chins have been known to jump six feet!
However, if it’s a rainy day and he gets the “zoomies” inside, you don’t have to worry much. The Japanese Chin is so grateful that he really disturbs your belongings – even when he’s racing through the house at top speed!
A Final Word about the Japanese Chin Temperament
For those looking for a tiny dog with a huge personality, the Japanese Chin temperament is a perfect match. This is a dog who knows people used to treat him like royalty, and he expects that you will continue the tradition!
These dogs have a great sense of humor and will never fail to put on a show for their humans.
Japanese Chins do well with other pets and adult children, only requiring a moderate amount of exercise and minimal grooming.
Adding a Japanese Chin to your family will keep you on your toes – there will never be a dull moment with this breed around!
Kailyn has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2012, and during that time she has written about nearly every dog breed imaginable. Her mother loved Collies, and so Kailyn grew up with three of them throughout her childhood – including a blonde one who was half-blind! Now her home belongs to her first official dog, Macho, a Dogo Argentino rescue.