The Japanese Chin has a long, silky coat that's quite luxurious--and surprisingly, this breed's coat doesn't require much maintenance. See below for details on caring for the Japanese Chin coat, as well as info on optional haircuts.
With this breed, looks can be deceiving. Toy breeds with similar coats--the Maltese or the Pomeranian, for example--require a great deal of coat maintenance; with the Japanese Chin, that's not the case. This is more of a "wash-and-go" breed, so Japanese Chin grooming is not very time-consuming overall. Though they do shed some, these dogs' coats don't mat or tangle much, so they'll only need brushing once or twice per week. Chins are also fond of licking themselves clean, so they only need baths every 3-4 months (or if the dog gets particularly dirty or stinky). And since the Chin's coat is its signature feature, a majority of breed owners say they don't give their dogs proper haircuts; they only trim the hair in a few necessary areas.
To brush a Chin, you'll need a pin brush (and possibly a 2-in-1 comb for working through tangles and mats); first wet the coat with mist from a spray bottle, then go through the coat section by section with the brush, moving in the direction of hair growth. If you encounter a tangle or mat (which occur most frequently on the ears and tail with these dogs), first try pulling it apart with your fingers, then continue working it out with the comb. If you're following the brushing with a bath: these dogs are small enough to bathe in the kitchen sink. Be sure to use canine shampoo, as the human kind can irritate a dog's skin. Wet the coat, then apply a small portion of shampoo to the dog's back; lather well and work downward (and don't forget the legs!). Save the ears and head for last, being careful not to get suds in the dog's eyes or inner ear canal; rinse thoroughly, towel-dry, then give the coat another quick brush-through to neaten it. (NOTE: Many Chin owners say they use dry shampoo on their dogs in between baths to keep the coats looking shiny and clean.)
Most people don't give their Chins actual haircuts, only scissor trims in certain areas. This can easily be done at home, but it's a good idea to visit a professional groomer at least once; the groomer will be able to provide you with plenty of tips on how to groom a Japanese Chin in general.
With this breed's silky, flowing coat (which doesn't mat or tangle much), Japanese Chin haircuts are actually quite rare. Instead, breed enthusiasts say, the Chin's coat is best left in its natural state. Many owners do use scissors occasionally to trim the hair on their Chins' ears and tail, where tangles and mats happen most often; trimming the hair an inch or so in these areas minimizes the tangling there. You can also trim the excess hair on and around a Chin's feet to keep it from collecting dirt and debris.
If you do choose to clip the dog's coat, giving a Japanese Chin a Puppy Cut is a good choice. This style sees the entire coat shaved fairly short (to 1½-2 inches); with these dogs' luxurious ear and tail hair, leaving the hair on those areas a little longer will look fabulous. A Puppy Cut can be given at home, but it might be good to have the cut done at least once by a groomer, who can demonstrate how to give your Chin a haircut yourself.