The Japanese Chin is a very popular breed of toy dog that is loved by every individual owner lucky enough to own one. Most Chin owners claim that after owning a Japanese Chin they would never own any other dog, with some owners having two Chins. There are still many people that are unfamiliar with the Japanese Chin, but they are becoming more and more popular. They have had a very interesting history, with facts many aren't aware of regarding this little dog.
The dog is so popular and revered in Japan and China that the dog is shown on many Chinese temples, embroidery, pottery, and decorations. They were often used as a fashion statement, too. The Chins that were smaller were kept in hanging pens in the same fashion one would have a bird in a birdcage. The dog was truly honored and protected.
When the dog first came from China, they were transported to Japan as a royal gift, often given away as a gift to some important person that did a service for the Japanese government or country. Prior to 1977, the Japanese Chin was known as the Japanese Spaniel. The name was changed the same time the Japanese Chin Club of America was started.
There has been much speculation as to where the name "Chin" originated. Some say it came from China, whereas others say Japan is where it came from. In Japan, the meaning of chin is "to give a reward" or "to do a lot of tricks" or "order to sit down". Any one of these meanings could apply to this very intelligent obedient dog.
Other theories are that the Japanese Chin was at one time called Makura Tsin (makura = cushion). This name implied someone or something that was pampered and existed by sitting on tasseled cushion, another description that fits the pampered Chin dog, also known as a lap dog.
Many names have been used for the Japanese Chin such as Japanese Terrier or Japanese Pug. In Scandinavia, the dog is referred to as the "Sun Dog" and "the child of royalty" in Holland.
The Japanese Chins often have a white spot on the middle of their foreheads, which is called Buddha's thumbprint. This title came about because many Chin dogs were owned by the Emperor Ming of Han China.
The Japanese Chin is such a loving companion; they are often used to lift the spirits of sick patients. Just their quiet ability to lay on the laps of patients (hence their name lap dogs) makes them equivalent in value to therapy dogs.
The Japanese Chin is closely related to many other small eastern dog breeds, but the Chin has been the most preserved. Every effort has been taken to preserve and multiply this breed.