The Japanese Chin has only one layer of hair, unlike many breeds that have an undercoat and an overcoat. Their one coat, however, is very full and luxurious. Even the ears, as small as they are, are thoroughly feathered. The same goes with the tail, which is abundantly feathered with silky long hair that goes right over the back. The neck consists of more long silky hair that forms a ruff. The legs have a full amount of hair as well. Anyone looking at this small dog would think they have more hair in weight than a large breed dog!
When the Japanese Chin is young, the amount of coat he has is affected by genetics, hormones, their age, diet, and the climate. They will lose most of their hair between five and twelve months of age and often don't get their full coat until they are two or three years old. An interesting note is that females lose their coats after their heat seasons, so a male or spayed female will have more coat than a female.
The Japanese Chin has a coat that needs more than the occasional brushing like some breeds. They blow their coats twice a year, usually just before summer and before winter. They are not a heavy shedder, but they do shed year round, and need a lot of brushing and combing to maintain their neat appearance. Many owners need to bathe their Chin regularly to avoid the hair getting tangled and matted. Always use a gentle shampoo and make sure it is thoroughly rinsed. Blow-dry the dog (on a low setting) until he is dry to avoid him being chilled, which can cause them to get ill quickly.
The Japanese Chin may have only one coat but they come in a variety of different colors and shades. Some are characteristic of the breed and others are considered flaws.
The most common color combination for the Japanese Chin is black and white. At the dog shows, you will see more black and white Chins than any other color, which is understandable since black and white is the dominant trait.
Red/Brown is another popular Chin color, although red Chin are usually white when they're born or have light color markings but get darker as they get older. When they become adults, they may be any color from tan to dark red. The pigments of the red and white chin are not as dark as the black and white.
Sable is the second most common and recognized color for the Chin. Although many confuse sable with red, they are really quite different. Sable Chins are usually born dark and get lighter as they get older. They also have some black pigment in their color.
The tri-color Japanese Chin is the rarest of all the colors and is only recognized in the United States and Canada. They are usually black mixed with tan along with some white markings.
The coat colors of the Japanese Chin should be uniform on both sides. Any irregularities are considered as mis-marks or smudges and both are frowned upon in the show ring.