Japanese Chin Care

The Japanese Chin: tiny but lively, playful, and affectionate. This little breed is the perfect companion dog, and is beloved by owners everywhere. One of its greatest qualities is that Japanese Chin care doesn't take much work at all! These dogs' exercise needs in particular are low compared to other breeds, so they make great pets for people with limited mobility.

Below you'll find plenty of details on caring for a Japanese Chin: puppy development, exercise requirements, diet and nutrition, and more. For answers to all your questions about Japanese Chin ownership, read on!

Japanese Chin Breed Development

As a toy-sized breed, Japanese Chin puppy development typically spans about 12 months from birth to full maturity. Physically, Chin puppies grow fairly quickly in height and length for the first 4-5 months, then those growth rates slow somewhat while the adolescent "fills out" some by gaining a bit of muscle mass and fat; a Chin normally reaches its full adult size (an average of 10 inches at the shoulders in height and seven pounds in weight) by 8-9 months of age.

Socially, Chin pups develop steadily: they reach adolescence at about four months, sexual maturity at 7-8 months, and full mental maturity by about 12 months (though many retain their playful puppylike behavior well into adulthood). For specific milestones in Japanese Chin development, see the following chart:

Japanese Chin Exercise Needs

Exercise requirements for these little dogs are pretty minimal. As small (but graceful and active) animals, Japanese Chins don't need much daily activity, so they're great for seniors, disabled people, or others with limited mobility.

The typical adult Chin will be fine with 20-30 minutes of exercise each day--which can easily be fulfilled with a short walk or two and a brief play period. You can start exercising your Japanese Chin puppy at two months of age by taking it on a brief walk around the house or by playing a quick game of indoor fetch; you can gradually increase the puppy's exercise as it approaches its full adult size at about nine months of age.

A few things to consider when exercising a Japanese Chin: first, puppies younger than seven months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of running, jumping, and navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. (This may take some extra supervision. Japanese Chins have the interesting habit of jumping onto tall objects--tall to them, at least!--like tables and fireplace mantels, so a Chin pup will need to be kept from doing this if possible until it's fully grown.) And all Chins, regardless of age, will need to be leashed when in public. These dogs are so small that they can actually be viewed as prey by large dogs or other predators, and a leash will help you protect your Chin if a dangerous situation arises. Finally: when walking or playing with your Japanese Chin, make sure to consider its small size. A Chin will have to walk faster on its tiny legs to keep up with you, so it might be good to slow your walking pace some when you're out for a stroll; Chins are pretty fragile, too, so try to avoid any rough play that could injure them (a precaution especially important for children).

Safeguards aside, it's good to exercise your Japanese Chin for a few minutes every single day. While it won't turn destructive, a bored or restless Chin may become irritable, fussy, and disobedient--so consistent exercise will be good for the dog's peace of mind (and your own as well). A few exercise ideas:

  • Walking: Two 10-minute walks per day is a good target
  • Fetch: Can easily be played indoors
  • Hide-and-Seek: Give the dog a treat when it finds you
  • Blowing Bubbles: These dogs will love "attacking" the bubbles you blow
  • Dog Park: Chins usually love the company of other dogs

To burn excess energy, your Japanese Chin will love playing with balls or toys when you're indoors. It's also recommended that you try to exercise the dog at about the same time every day, such as a walk after breakfast and/or dinner and playtime in the afternoon.

Japanese Chin Maintenance

In terms of shedding and drooling, these dogs need low to moderate care. Japanese Chin shedding is fair and year-round; drooling isn't an issue.

Japanese Chins have medium- to long-haired, silky coats that shed an average amount. Owners say brushing their Chins 2-3 times per week with a pin brush will minimize the amount of shed hairs pretty well. Owners of these dogs will need to vacuum the floors and use lint rollers on clothes and furniture from time to time to pick up stray hairs, but it won't be a constant task.

And a Japanese Chin practically never drools. If your Chin is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care will be necessary.

Japanese Chin Diet

Like all breeds, the Japanese Chin diet will need to consist of food that has plenty of animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy; vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for digestive and immune health; and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. This means the best food for these dogs is premium dry food, specifically the kind made for small breeds. These high-quality foods, while more expensive and difficult to obtain, have balanced portions of the above-listed portions that a Chin will need to maintain its health. Blue Buffalo, Organix, and Nutro Natural Choice are recommended brands that have excellent lines of foods made for small breeds. Cheap, generic dog food is not recommended for these dogs, because it contains mostly empty "filler" ingredients that simply won't keep a Japanese Chin healthy in the long term, and may even shorten its lifespan.

As to Japanese Chin food portions: as you'd expect, they're quite small. The typical adult Chin, depending on its age and activity level, will only need about ½ cup of dry food per day, divided into two meals. Puppies will need even less: again depending on its age, a Japanese Chin pup will require about 0.3 cups per day. You can feed your Chin puppy a few pieces of dry food three times a day until six months of age, then reduce the feedings to twice a day after that. For more information on feeding a Japanese Chin from puppyhood through maturity, here's a handy feeding guide:

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by first mixing in a bit of adult formula with the puppy formula. Over the course of a week, with each meal add a bit more adult food to the mixture, until the dog is eating it entirely.

Try to stick to the above-listed portions, as tiny as they may seem. A Chin that constantly overeats will actually become obese quite easily--and a fat Japanese Chin will have joint, breathing, and digestive problems, not to mention a shorter lifespan. You can help control your Chin's weight by having a regular feeding schedule, by not feeding the dog table scraps and other "human" food, and by not leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time, thereby allowing it to eat anytime it wants. It's better to put your Chin's bowl down only at mealtimes, then pick it up a few minutes after the dog begins eating.

If you're worried your Japanese Chin is overweight, give the dog this simple test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't easily feel ribs, it's diet time. Reduce your Chin's daily food consumption by a little, and add an extra walk or play period to its daily exercise schedule.