Japanese Chin’s distinctive expression is characterized by a large broad head, large wide-set eyes, short broad muzzle, ear feathering, and evenly patterned facial markings. The Japanese Chin’s coat is very smooth. Most dogs have two types of hair in their coat: an under and over coat. However, the Japanese Chin has only one coat that is referred to as “silky”. An adult coat can take up to two years to completely grow in.
The coat can be either black and white, sable (black and white with tan points), or red and white. These colors can vary in intensity (such as lemon and white, mahogany and white)
This breed is considered one of the most cat-like of the dog breeds in attitude: it is alert, intelligent, and independent, and it uses its paws to wash and wipe its face. Other cat-like traits include their preference for resting on high surfaces, their good sense of balance, and their tendency to hide in unexpected places. A companion dog, the Japanese Chin is loving and loyal to its owner and typically happy to see others, though a few are distrustful of strangers. While Japanese Chin prefer familiar surroundings, they also do quite well in new situations. This, combined with their love of people, make them good therapy dogs. Very early socialization of Japanese Chin puppies leads to a more emotionally well-balanced Chin that is more accepting of different situations and people.
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 6 months or weighing 4 to 5 pounds or less.